KIT REVIEW: Tamiya 1/48 Kawanishi K1K1-Ja Shiden Type 11 (George)

From: Jason Aufderheide


Tamiya s 1/48 George is typical of other contemporary kits by this manufacturer these days. It has very clean recessed panel lines and the instructions are among the best in the business - well laid out and easy to follow. There are nine exploded view steps and they feature Tamiya s nice touch of shading areas to make painting obvious. The canopy glass extremely clear and adequately thin.


This is one nicely designed kit. At times, it felt like I could throw all the parts up in the air and they would come down and fall into place as the finished product.
The cockpit detail is good but I wouldn t classify it as outstanding. I built mine with only the kit-provided parts but detail hounds might want to consider resin or photo etching. Tamiya suggested an interior color consisting of a mix between their olive green (XF-58, 2 parts), flat yellow (XF-3, 2 parts), and sky (XF-21, 1 part). I took their advice but probably won t do so again if I build another George. The end result seems a little to light. It doesn t match with any color guides I have seen for interior colors on Japanese planes. Since colors varied so greatly on Japanese planes, I don t get too upset if interior colors don t look perfect to me.

The overall fit and design of this kit is excellent with three minor exceptions. The completed underwing gun pods rock a little back and forth and require a little filler to eliminate the gaps. Possibly related to this problem is the fit of the small landing gear doors (parts A17 and A22). There isn t enough room between the landing gear and the barrel of the underwing machine gun to fit both the large and small gear doors. The propeller shaft also doesn t snuggle into the engine far enough. Definitely, the propeller shaft and gun pod issues are no big deal. This is knit picking on an otherwise outstanding model.

The kit decals are very nice. Four choices are provided. All four represent fairly "boring" Georges (just JN green over JN gray or natural metal). This won t bother the historians out there but those who want to take advantage of some of the more exotic Japanese WWII paint and marking schemes may want to look to aftermarket decals and painting instructions.

I made one major gaff. I worked a little too late one night and accidentally only masked half the canopy before airbrushing it! I include this admission here because it punctuates another nice feature provided by Tamiya: It is easy to order replacement parts for Tamiya kits when you screw something up. Unlike other foreign manufacturers, it is relatively easy to get parts for Tamiya kits. I called their US headquarters the next day and I had a new clear part tree for the George 4 days later. I had to pay almost 1/3 the price of the kit for it though. If a kit contains a defective part, you are required to send them the part before they replace it and if a part is missing, you have to send a letter explaining problem before Tamiya takes action. This is not nearly as user friendly as Monogram, which simply sends new parts, no questions asked. But it is nice to know all is not lost if you mess up on an important part.


Tamiya s George is truly a kit that will make any modeler happy. It would be a great first kit as well as the base for an experienced modeler s contest entry. Accomplishing these two feats in one kit says a lot about the Tamiya N1K1-Ja.

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