Hasegawa | 64735: 1/32 Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai (Shiden Kai no Maki)
Reviewed by Kevin Williams
I decided at the outset to remove myself from the somewhat typical and lengthy description of the Shiden Kai (George) technical development and operational history.
(Since this is more of an in-box review than a build review, I have no photos of assembled sub structures, so my inputs should be considered more of an overview of the various areas I thought might be of interest, rather than an analysis of any accuracy issues, if indeed any are inherent.)
This kit, an anime boxing of what otherwise is a standard Hasegawa N1K2-J George, has it's own inherent peculiarities, specifically those items that are related to the anime nature of the character(s) involved. As such, I will cover them, but not dwell upon them.
Instructions & Miscellaneous Documents
Instructions are depicted in the typical Hasegawa pictographic way, making assembly a fairly straightforward process. Much to my happiness, a complete parts chart is provided within the provided instruction booklet. As can be imagined with a boxing of this nature, the cute little bunny girl (for lack of a better term), offers up advice throughout the assembly process. The usual disclaimers/warnings are also included; don't stick sharp objects in your eye, don't sniff the glue, don't feed the parts to your child, etc.
Markings are provided for one George, again completely spurious:
- Student pilot Maki Hagaromo, Ishigami girls high school
Decals appear to be in register, quite opaque, and well detailed, with plenty of stenciling, albeit fictitious. My disappointment with this type of arrangement, is that there are no typical WWII Japanese schemes and decals included, but perhaps that's not all that surprising after all, given the anime nature of the kit. I would have undoubtedly chased down AM decals anyway, so this is certainly not a deal breaker for me. No mention is made of where these decals were printed, but they look quite acceptable to me, and will no doubt prove more than adequate for those wishing to build the cartooned version of this bird.
This is something I certainly hadn't expected, two figures (one standing, the other sitting), of the bunny girl (again, for the lack of a better term/explanation). I'm at somewhat of a loss to understand this anime stuff, but I imagine for those that are into it, it has it's merits, though I'm not quite sure exactly what those might be.
Major Kit Sprues
Offered up here, are a selection of major sprue components, with more detailed photos in the categories to follow.
Fuselage Major Components
Most major fuselage components are represented above. Proportions and detailing are done to a very high level indeed. One note: it would seem that Hasegawa used a slightly deeper tooling for panel lines and rivet/fastener detailing here, and I highly approve of this approach. Even after several coats of paint, one should still be able to easily get a wash to snuggle down into these recessed areas. Without a direct comparison to other Hasegawa tooling, this may just be my imagination run amok, but I don't believe so. Either way, the tooling is some of the best yet that I've seen from this company, and that's saying quite a lot.
Cowl flaps feature a nice back beveled edge (on exhaust side) to more accurately attempt to capture scale fidelity, rather than the boiler plate depiction seen on some kits, a clever and considerate thing to do.
Wings & Wing Armament
Again, wings are very well detailed, and to a high standard, also including hollowed out gun barrels, a nice touch. The internal wing spar (something we're seeing more and more of these days), is a welcome addition anytime, and should greatly assist with achieving and maintaining correct dihedral on the model, as well as providing additional strength. While there are no weapons as such (nor any way to access them), the AM folks may well come to the rescue here, for those that desire such things. (One note: On my Tony, I completely missed the inclusion of a retractable boarding step (one on each side of lower wing), and the George is configured similarly, so you may wish to open small holes for them to insert into, rather than flush mount as depicted.)
Flying Surfaces, General
Flying surfaces are again, done to a high degree of quality, with the rudder looking especially good to me. The ribbing on the fabric areas may be a wee bit overdone, but a few swipes with a Scotch-Brite pad, will swiftly take care of that.
All in, the 'pit would apear to build up into quite an acceptable representation of the real McCoy. No P.E. belts are included, so those will need to be sourced elsewhere.
The kit includes one seated pilot figure (two heads), that has to be one of the best figures I've ever seen in a 1:32 scale kit, just beautiful.
Canopy & Clear Parts
The clear parts are exactly that, crystal clear. Clarity is astounding, as the photos readily attest.
The Engine is an injected marvel, quite complex and busy. Too bad mine will be buried and never seen, but for those wishing to display it exposed, it offers up a whole world of detailing opportunities. Exhausts are also hollowed out on the ends of the one piece exhaust assembly (photo #72), and are quite nice.
One centerline fuel tank and associated braces are given, and look quite acceptable.
Landing Gear, Wheels & Tires
Landing gear is actually reasonably complex and busy, to include appropriate retraction mechanisms, while tires and wheel combinations look excellent. Kit also includes brake lines as separate pieces, another nice touch, I think. (Note: assuming I'm reading the instructions correctly, the brake lines just seem to disappear behind outer doors, and are really not attached to the wheel per se, but this detail will probably never be seen anyway.)
Nothing really special here at all, save to say that proportions (diameter, chord, twist, etc.) look good, as does spinner.
All in all, I think this is a very commendable effort from Hasegawa, and I am very pleased with what I've found so far. I anxiously await the opportunity to begin working on my example. I also expect that the AM folks will jump on when and where needed (and in fact already have to some degree), to provide us with additional enhancements for this cool kit. I'd also like to make the point once again, that while this is not by any means a typical Hasegawa Japanese aircraft boxing (being specifically anime driven), the contents within, otherwise constitute the great George kit that one might expect from Hasegawa, a handsome kit indeed, and is quite desirable as a consequence.
This kit is highly recommended by this reviewer, for overall aesthetic appeal, and for giving us another choice by which to display the brute force appearance of this truly iconic aircraft.
Many thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review kit, which can be purchased at the following link:
© Kevin Williams 2016
This review was published on Sunday, October 30 2016; Last modified on Monday, October 31 2016