Wings 72 1/72 E8N 'Dave'
Before the start of
the last war the Imperial Japanese Navy issued an 8-shi specification for a
2-seat, catapult launch, short-range reconnaissance floatplane to replace the
Type 90 Nakajima E4N2…a design derived from the original Chance Vought 02U-1
“Corsair” of the 1920s. Nakajima won the contract, which was designated as the
Type 95 reconnaissance Float Plane Model 11, the E8N1 and which had the allied
code name ‘Dave’. This proved to be a highly successful design with a service
life matched only by the Kawanishi E7K1-2 “Alf”.
E8N1 was an exceptionally maneuverable for a floatplane having rugged
construction and was powered by a 580 hp Kotobuki 2 Kai 1 nine cylinder radial
air-cooled engine. A later version, the E8N2 was powered by the 630hp Kotobuki 2
Kai II engine with the only outward appearance change being the location of
aileron connecting rod being placed further to the edge of the trailing edge.
Armament consisted of one fixed forward firing 7.7 mm machine gun and one
flexible 7.7 mm gun at the rear seat plus two 66lb or 132 lb bombs slung under
the wing racks.
saw service in China as a fighter, dive bomber and observer but its primary role
was a short-range reconnaissance for aircraft tenders, battleships and cruisers
of the Imperial Japanese Navy ranging from the Aleutians to the Philippines and
throughout the vast reaches of the Pacific wherever the IJN roamed.
terminated in early 1940 after 755 ‘Daves’ had been produced, 48 having been
built by Kawanishi who were one of the original competitors for the contest. One
of its last roles was as a spotter during the
of Midway in 1942. The type was thereafter replaced by the Aichi E13A1 ‘Jake’
and the Mitsubishi F1M ‘Pete’. ‘Dave’ continued in service as a trainer, liaison
and coastal patrol before being expended as a “Kamikaze” attacker. There are no
known surviving examples. The E8N1 had a wingspan of 36’; length of 29’ 10-3/4”,
a height of 12’7”. Empty weight was 2,90 lbs; loaded 4,189 lbs. Maximum speed
was 186 mph at 9,845 ft and service ceiling 23,850 ft and had a range of 558
The kit comes in a
polythene bag containing two sheets of white acetate with all the kit vac-form
parts, nicely presented on them. One sheet contained four wing halves, upper and
lower; central float parts,
side wing floats, two crew seats, and printed struts and other smaller items.
The other sheet, which is half the size of the first sheet, contained two radial
engine rows, the two tail plane parts, a propeller and two fuselage halves. A
good quality decal sheet with just six Japanese meatballs is also included.
The instruction sheet
is quite comprehensive containing color details in 2-tone side views of the
basically dark green upper and light gray lower while other shore based types
carried dark earth and dark green upper camouflage in contrast to early machines
in overall silver and red tail unit. There is also a brief history of the
aircraft; a scrap side view depicts the differences between the E8N 1 and E8N 2
derivatives. The last page is dedicated to the assembly instructions, an
exploded view of the kit parts, reference material and a detailed sketch of the
7.7 mm Type 89 machine gun complete with flat drum magazine containing 68
rounds. This is a quick easy reference when building the rear m/c gun even at
such a small scale.
Having built several
vac-form kits my observation is that they go more or less by the same method and
I will be describing in brief detail the method as directed by the Wings kit
parts were first lightly scribed around individual kit parts but avoiding cut
through as we do so using a sharp X-acto blade. These parts are then snapped
from the backing sheet. The mating edges are then sanded perfectly flat on a 400
grid wet and dry sanding paper fixed to a flat piece of plate glass or other
smooth surface. Before fitting seams and wing joints are treated with ‘Plasto’
filler, sanded, assembled and painted. At this stage this applies to the floats,
wings and cowling.
fuselage, a floor is cut from the backing sheet, trial fit and fixed in place,
adding seats, instrument panels, column, gun assembly, rudder bars and other
side instruments that may be present. Interior grey green paint is applied to
the wall sides and floor and the fuselage halves can be mounted together. Lower
wings are mated and allowed to set. Two windshields are shaped and cut from
clear acetate sheet and applied to the front of each cockpit aperture. Seat
straps cut from masking tape strips are added to the leather brow seats. Other
detail in grey and black paint is applied.
central float has two metal strips cut to equal lengths and these are applied to
the sides forming two streaks running the length of the float sides. This small
detail makes a difference to a small graceful float plane. Boarding-step is
added to the port side. This is made from a thin steel wire cut in form of ‘U’
shape and fitted in two small-predrilled holes. A tiny motor is fitted to the
upper wing leading edge complete with a tiny 2-blade propeller. Wind speed
indicator is added to starboard wing strut. Other details like gun sight, bomb
shackles. Tie brackets are fixed to front of float and rear of fuselage made
from bent wire bent and cut to size. Cutting the printed wing struts was too
much a hassle and instead I made these struts from narrow metal tubes cut to
small pin is inserted at each end. The rest of the strut is then flattened in
the jaws of a vice.
going to the next important stage of fitting the upper wing on the wing struts
the upper fuselage is painted in green camouflage. This is done at this stage,
as the area will be difficult for the paint to reach all localities if the upper
wings are in place. Windshields are also hand painted and later masked using
Maskol. Since the struts have locating pins their location is first marked and
then drilled. Other holes to take the wire bracing are also drilled at this
stage. The struts (fuselage and outer ones) are fixed in place using super glue
and checking them with an angle gig made from cardboard shown. This will ensure
the correct angle of inclinitation of the strut to the horizontal surface of the
lower wing. A suitable metal propeller was added from one available at a cottage
industry. After paintwork two small bombs were added under the wing racks.
used invisible thread for rigging the tail and wing struts but for the floats
struts, which were of a thicker nature, I used steel wire.
model was carefully masked and airbrushed in Humbrol dark green N1and light grey
N10. Orange yellow N15 leading edge recognition panels on both wings, Prop was
silver with two red stripes. White rear gunner deflection stripes painted on the
horizontal tail surfaces that radiate in 5 degrees increments. A red
propeller-warning stripe was hand painted on top center only on main float.
White trestle marks are on sides of main float (these were still to be applied
when pictures of the kit were taken.
Since my kit
represented an N2 version the aileron connecting rod is fixed to rear position.
The E8N2 represent the Dave of IJN HC ‘Nichi’ in 1943 during the cruiser’s
operations in the
as the first ship of the 21st Sentai. Red Hinomaru with white
surrounds on upper wing while those of lower were without the white surrounds.
Most were found from decal spares box, as the ones given were oversize. Kit was
given another coat of Klear and finally airbrushed in semi gloss lacquer.
all was found to be a very accurate kit dimension-wise. Being a vac form kit
this could involve more work for the modeler but considering how soft the white
plastic is one could only be careful to avoid over sanding, the rest was quasi
plain sailing. I am satisfied with the end result and maybe my next build will
be a Pete made by Wings as I hear it is another accurate kit in same the range
Carmel J. Attard
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