Review of the Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu Type 11 from Tamiya

by Hans Weijand

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu Type 11
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Kit: No. 36
Scale: 1/48
Comments: Injection moulded 45 parts and 4 clear parts.

Appearing too late to serve in its intended role, the Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu (Mighty Wind) floatplane fighter participated briefly in combat operations but its sound design led to its adaptation into one of the most succesful land-based fighter aircraft of the war.

Development of a series of floatplane fighters intended to provide air support to japanese amphibious landing forces where no airfield existed was initiated in 1940. Nakajima undertook the development of an interim aircraft based on the succesful Zero; the A6M2-N, but Kawanishi was instructed to start the design of an aircraft specially conceived for that purpose. The N1K1 made its first fkight on 6 May 1942. But problems with the contra-rotating propeller gear box led to the replacement of the Kasei 14 by a Kasei 13 engine driving a conventional three-blade propeller via an extension shaft. The plane was an pleasant aircraft to fly and combat flaps gave it remarkable manoeuvrability. Ordered by the Navy into production as the Navy Fighter Seaplane Kyofu Model 11, deliveries began in the spring of 1943 with the last planes delivered in March 1944. The N1K1 was used over Borneo and later in the war they were used in Japan itself by the Otsu Kokutai from Lake Biwa on air defence duties. Only 97 N1K1s were built by Kawanishi. They were phased out of production in favour of the Shiden (George).

The box, beautiful box top by the way, contains 2 trees of light grey parts, 1 tree of black parts and 1 tree of clear parts. Decal sheet provides markings for three planes; one from the "Ohtsu" Kokutai and two from the "Sasebo" Kokutai.

The cockpit is well detailed and and is made up from a floor, a front bulkhead and a rear bulkhead. This is completed by a seat, control stick, instrumentpanel, rudder pedals and a gun sight. I painted the cockpit and the fuselage inside Humbrol H86 Matt Light Olive, the instrument panel Humbrol H85 Satin Black and the dials Humbrol H21 Gloss Black.

The Kasei engine is well detailed and the extension shaft is glued to it. Two nylon bushes are placed between the extension shaft and the engine, so you can fit the engine after the model is finished. I painted the engine Satin Black and the extension shaft Humbrol H75 Bronze Green, the same color as the uppersurface of the airplane. After glueing the two fuselage sides and the engine together and leaving it to dry, you can insert the cockpit from the opening underneath the fuselage. You can choose from two versions of exhausts, a short one which was standard and a long one which was an early model. I glued these in place after the painting and decalling was done.

Beware to glue the engine and the cockpit well in their places, mine went loose for some reason I can’t recall.

The main wing is made up from a one piece lower wing and two upper wings which fit without problem. Add the engine cowl to fuselage, the wing and the tailpanes. Leaving this to dry we turn to the floats. First there are two wing tip floats, consisting of two parts. The main float consists of two halves. A weight is included to keep the nose down of the float. When you’ve glued the V-strut (A8) to the main float, you need some putty or filler to smooth the connection. When glueing the main float to the fuselage you find a small gap between the fuselage and the I-strut of the main float. Yo can fill this with putty or something like that. The wing tip floats fit without problem.

The propeller consists of three parts; spinner, backplate and the propeller. The spinner is painted in the same color as the gear box. Frontside of the propeller is painted Aluminium and the backside Satin Black.

Before painting glue the pitot tube and the antenna in place.

I used Humbrol H75 Bronze Green for the uppersurface and Humbrol H64 Light Grey for the undersurface. At the time I was building this kit I didn’t have Xtracolor paints, I think it’s better to use their Japanese WWII Navy colors since these are glossy which makes decals adhere better to the surface.

The decals are a bit thick but if you use some Microsol or some other brand, I think that this will enhance the result. I was glad that the decalsheet included yellow wing leading edge markings.

The canopy consists of three parts; windscreen, sliding canopy and the rear canopy. They are a little fragile so beware when masking them before painting. Don’t forget the loop antenna under the rear canopy.

The dolly, which is included, is quite neat and fits together without problem. It is painted Satin Black.

Now you can add the propeller and this plane is ready to take its place between the Rufe’s, Jake’s and Alf’s on your shelf.

Rene J. Francillon, JAPANESE AIRCRAFT OF THE PACIFIC WAR, Putnam & co., 1994 ed.

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