by Mike Driskill

IPMS #7409

Following on the heels of their much-needed kits of the early mid-wing N1K1-J George variants, Aoshima has followed with kits of the much-revised low-wing N1K2-J. This choice of subject is more of a surprise, as Hasegawa already has a nice kit of this model in 1/72, and the two make an interesting comparison. Overall both kits looks very accurate, but the new one is noticeably fatter just aft of the cockpit than the old Hasey. Aoshima'a rendition perfectly fits the latest Koku-Fan drawings. Both tape together with no major fit problems evident.

Aoshima's surface detail is a mixture of fine recessed lines and "stepped" overlapping panels, giving a most realistic flair especially in the wingroot fillets and the bomb stays under the wings, and is more convincing than Hasey's plain scribed lines. Hasegawa's fabric detail is vastly more subtle, though. The new kit's landing gear is a huge improvement, with deep and realistically ribbed wheel wells, paper-thin fully-detailed doors, and gorgeous struts, retraction arms, and wheels. Breakdown of the cockpit (floor, rear bulkhead, seat, stick, panel with decal) and engine (cylinder insert, crankcase, prop, spinner, backplate) is similar between the two. Aoshima's parts are all much more fully detailed, though both kits leave plenty of scope for extra work in the "office." Hasey's canopy is good but Aoshima's is great. It is clear, extremely thin, and offers a choice of one-piece "closed" or three-piece "open" versions. Aoshima throws in a pilot figure, a beautifully rendered throwback to the 50- cent kits of my youth. Both kits offer a well-done drop tank. The Aoshima kit has four decal choices, but only two are illustrated in the instructions! They offer no less than four variants of the late George, besides the N1K2-Ja there is the initial N1K2-J with wider fin, both in two
box art/decal variants.

Hasey's kit is the more common N1K2-Ja, with three decal choices. The new Aoshima kit is really excellent. It is a solid improvement over the 15-year-old Hasegawa, and even better than Aoshima's other recent kits of the N1K1-J and Ta-152. But it's also hard to get, costs over 20 bucks, and hey, you already have some paid-for Haseys in your closet...just get one anyway!

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