"Shidenkai no Maki" Kawanishi N1K2-J Shidenkai (George)

Published: October 27th, 2016     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Gino Dykstra - IPMS# 11198
Scale: 1/32
Company: Hasegawa
Price: $46.00
Product / Stock #: HSGS4735
Product provided by: Hasegawa

"Hagoromo Maki is going to an all-girls high school, a special one that allows its students to commute by plane! She and her first friend at school, Hasegawa Motiko, have found a plane and fixed it up for themselves to fly! However, it turns out that it was a plane used by a legendary pilot who protected the airspace for their school, and their school's ace pilot does not approve of them having it. Will Maki be able to fly and protect the air for their school?" (tethydust)

But of course.

To Western sensibilities, Japanese pop culture sometimes offers seemingly bizarre juxtapositions, such as giant warrior robots shaped like teddy bears. Or a girl's school involved in deadly aerial warfare with other schools using antique aircraft. Go figure.

In 2013 Hasegawa released a truly beautiful 1/32nd scale rendition of the Kawanishi N1K2-J Shidenkai, a formidable late-war naval fighter which was an adaptation of a less successful float plane. Apparently this reboxing is just one in a series which features a number of aircraft from these opposing schools. Looking on the net, there are currently already a Zero, Spitfire, Tony, Me109G and Tojo available in this range in various scales.

So what does this particular model include? First, it offers the lovely George kit in all its glory. In addition, it includes nicely rendered resin models of Maki, both seated in the cockpit and standing as well as her rather odd little pet . . . rabbit or something. Looks a bit like a Pokemon. Anyway, the sizeable decal sheet not only features the specific markings for this version but also several large glamour shots of Maki herself. I guess they could go a on a billboard behind the model or something.

Anyway, on to the build.

This begins with the cockpit, which is very nicely detailed with over twenty pieces making side panels, seat padding, throttle controls and other details that many 1/32nd scale aircraft kits lack. The only detail I added were some safety belts, which I would have passed up on, had I chosen to place either the resin girl or the included Navy pilot in position. Both are extremely well detailed, and I must admit I was tempted for a few minutes.

The main fuselage comes with extensive internal bracing to keep the rather voluminous interior space rigid for later assembly and the completed cockpit slides in comfortably from the bottom. A note on the fuselage; the tail comes separately, and I'm not sure what approach is best, but I attached the tail pieces to each half of the fuselage before assembly. Even so, unless you're miraculously good at alignment, you're going to have a wee bit of sanding and perhaps rescribing at the fuselage/tail juncture. Be sure to also drill out the tiny holes in the tail for the rudder actuators before you close everything up.

As one assembles the fuselage and wings, there are a few minor spots requiring either filling or scribing. You are instructed to remove an access panel on the right fuselage, and there are separate inserts under the wings for the casing discharge slots. All of these are relatively easy to attend to with a bit of patience. There is, on the other hand, a fair amount of surgery you have to perform if you elect to build the aircraft with the flaps up. Personally, I like the dropped flaps so left well-enough alone.

The engine is something of a paradox. Hasegawa has gone to some length to add all the necessary finicky details, and yet they left the rear half of the cylinders open. Admittedly, they themselves state that not much of the engine is visible once the cowl is on, and the lack of this detail is obscured by the tangle of exhaust pipes for the most part. Nonetheless, the fact that the prop is a press-on item and the cowl clearly intended for removal makes this seem a rather odd decision. Despite this shortcoming the engine is very nice indeed, and looks quite impressive when painted.

There are no notable problems with the build, generally speaking. I was a bit surprised to find several pin marks on the long landing gear covers, but it was a matter of moments to sand these out. Otherwise, everything fell together perfectly.

When it came to painting and decaling, I faced a bit of a personal conundrum. The kit only provides markings for this girl's school, although they feature several variations on those. Personally, I found these just a bit too silly for my liking. While dealing with this issue, one odd thought came to mind - if this situation was real, why would the various girls' schools paint their aircraft in historical camouflage? Wouldn't school colors make more sense? In any case, I opted to make my own more correct markings using stencils. The resin figure of Maki, however, was so appealing I just had to paint it up.

My conclusions: the model itself (as well as the resin figures) are beautifully done. As I've never seen this manga series and probably never will, the markings left me a bit cold, but that's strictly a personal choice. Ultimately, Hasegawa went to considerable trouble to make the included markings as inclusive per this fantasy series as possible, even including various "eye" decals for the resin figures. If you are a fan of manga, you will absolutely adore this kit. Even if you aren't, you'll love the quality of the moldings. All in all, a fun kit that I can recommend with no reservations. My thanks to Hasegawa for making this charming model, and to IPMS/USA for a chance to build it.

  • Decal sheet
    Decal sheet
  • Assembled nicely detailed cockpit
    Assembled nicely detailed cockpit
  • Due to separate tail, sanding on the joint was required, and the tiny holes for the rudder actuator have been drilled out.
    Due to separate tail, sanding on the joint was required, and the tiny holes for the rudder actuator have been drilled out.
  • Nicely detailed engine, with the rear-half of the cylinders left open
    Nicely detailed engine, with the rear-half of the cylinders left open
  • Completed kit with the adorable Hagoromo Maki resin figure
    Completed kit with the adorable Hagoromo Maki resin figure
  • Left-rear view of completed aircraft
    Left-rear view of completed aircraft
  • Close-up view of Hagoromo Maki
    Close-up view of Hagoromo Maki
  • View from left-front above
    View from left-front above
  • Close-up view of fuselage and cockpit
    Close-up view of fuselage and cockpit
  • Right-above view
    Right-above view

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