Hasegawa 1/72 P1Y1-S Ginga ďFrancesĒ Type 11

KIT #: CP 101 (51261)
PRICE: $
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Nathan Stevens
NOTES:  

HISTORY

Early in World War 2, the Japanese Navy wanted a dive bomber with a top speed greater than the Zero fighter (A6M), a cruising range greater than the existing type 1 bomber, and able to carry a ton of bombs, delivering them horizontally or by dive bombing.  These desires exceeded the state of the art of aircraft production for the times, so the Japanese Naval Air Technical section decided to go with the Kugisho Y-20, already planned for and on the drawing boards of the Kugisho Co.  Completed in June 1942 the prototype Y-20 had a top speed of 556km/h and a range of 5370km, which met Naval requirements.  With these favorable test results the ďGingaĒ (code named Francis by the allies) was put into mass production as the Kugisho P1Y1 dive bomber. 

Because of the high degree of engineering, very close tolerances were required during manufacturing.  This, plus problems with the Homare engines, delayed production of the twin engined P1Y1 attack bomber.  It was not until October 1944 that the Ginga began coming off production lines and a few were modified for night fighting by installing exhaust flash hiders and two 20mm cannons.  These were mounted behind the cockpit and angled upwards about 30 degrees, to fire into the pursued aircraft.  The Japanese Imperial Navyís 302 squadron received these modified aircraft and were used successfully throughout the remainder of the conflict.

THE KIT

This is a fine example of the Hasegawa thought process from a few years back: ďIs there a kit of this aircraft available thatís up to our standards?  No.  Then make one!Ē  The fully engraved panel lines are fine and crisp, the surface is smooth and free of defects, the molding is virtually devoid of flash and there are ejector pin marks everywhere you donít want them, particularly the inner gear doors and gear legs.  Typical of mid-90ís Hasegawa.

In the box are 7 sprues of shiny gray plastic, 2 clear, and one of 4 poly plugs to slide the prop shafts into during final assembly.  The clear sprues contain a 1 piece canopy, a 2 piece nose assembly and the bulkhead behind the pilot (meaning careful hand painting is sure to follow.)  The instructions are laid out in 8 clear steps.  You must use caution to make sure any necessary holes in the fuselage are opened up prior to joining the fuselage halves.  Iím terrible about this myself.  Options are limited to a DF loop antenna for one version and there a number of goodies to top off the spare parts bin.  Color callouts are for Gunze Sangyo Aqueous and Mr. Color with semi-appropriate descriptions.

There are 2 decals choices, both in the uninspired IJN green over light gray scheme and both of the 2nd Squadron of the 302nd Naval Flying Group.

CONSTRUCTION


The cockpit consists of 10 parts: floor, pilots tub, 3 seats, 2 piece bulkhead, radio panel, control column and instrument panel.  Thereís no sidewall detail whatsoever but there is an included array of 6 decals for all the necessary buttons, gauges, and gizmos scattered throughout the cockpit.  I painted the whole interior, wheel wells and inner gear doors in my version of ďNakajima cockpit colorĒ, this time itís Model Master Italian Olive.  Perhaps, the wells the doors should have been unpainted aluminum.  Perhaps not.  I donít know so I defaulted to what the instructions suggested.

The main wheel wells are separate pieces that fit beautifully between the main wings.  The tail well is molded into each fuselage half but on this particular version, the tail wheel didnít retract so thereís no seeing inside anyway.

Each engine is 2 parts with the prop socket encased between the single row of cylinders and the gearbox.  This assembly then mounts to a cowl flap/exhaust stub base which then mounts to a 2-piece forward nacelle to which you also mount a separate oil cooler intake and then you hide most of this within a one-piece cowl.  It seams like a lot of parts here and it is but the fit is nearly perfect.

The wings all fit to the fuselage with a minimum of fuss and very little filler was needed.  The nose glazing was a very different story.  This is the kitís weak spot.  The two pieces fit together just fine and perfectly meet the mating edges of the fuselage.  The problem is theyíre far too wide.  I had no desire to file down the otherwise flawless clear parts so out came the filler.  The difference in width was such that I had to apply filler well below the seam just to retain the graceful rounded shape of the aircraftís cross section.  Iíll admit I did use a touch of profanity to help get things in order here.

At this point the instructions suggest assembling and installing the landing gear.  I saved that until after paint and everything worked out just fine.  The main gear is 3 pieces and fit is adequate.  The wheels are molded in half but they fit well enough that a little sanding took care of the seam with no need for filler.

For whatever reason, the instructions suggest that nowís the time to cap off the bomb bay.  Personally, I highly suggest fitting the clear parts, the bomb bay doors, and the tail well cover before adding any wings, as thatís where all the filling and sanding takes place.  The bay doors were a tad too wide but a little careful sanding solves this with just a touch of filler being required around the seam.  The tail well cover is undersize so a little shimming is suggested prior to applying the putty.

COLORS & MARKINGS

Paint started with a very light coat light green I had left in my airbrush from a different project.  This was my primer for the Alclad which followed.  Through a lot of experimenting Iíve found that Alclad requires very little base to stick to but has relatively poor adhesion to raw plastic.  The color of the base matters little, if it shows through then the Alclad isnít on thick enough anyway.  One light coat of enamel makes a world of difference and further coats just end up adding a texture which detracts from the final look anyway.

The undersides of the control surfaces were sprayed in MM IJN gray and masked off then the Alclad Aluminum went down over the entire surface as well as the gear legs, wheel hubs and other remaining bits and pieces.  Once dry, I masked off the lower surfaces to work on the yellow ID markings.  I dusted the leading edges with water through my airbrush and sprinkled on the salt.  I used a wet toothpick to move the salt around as I saw fit and then sprayed several coats of MM deep yellow.  When that was dry, I chipped away the salt, masked off the yellow leading edges and rolled up some silly putty for the demarcation line in preparation for the green uppers.  I used the same salting process on the uppers but I didnít get it thick enough.  To make the salt chipping really look its best, you need to Ďchunk upí the salt more than one layer thick.  If you donít, you end up with what I had.  Little silver circles tightly grouped together.  The paint can get in between the salt grains and it ends up looking ridiculous.  Anyway, I sprayed MM IJN green in light, uneven coats and kept it as thin as possible.  The Japanese werenít wasting a lot of time on painting at this stage of the war so bad looks best.  The cowlings received the same treatment, with even heavier chipping and sprayed with straight flat black.

Here I took my chances again.  The Model Master IJN green is pretty glossy by itself so I decided to skip the coat of Future.  The decals were cracked and all but ruined upon opening the box.  A couple of coats of Testors decal film in the rattle can managed to save them though it involved a lot more trimming around the markings.  The decals settled in wonderfully against the raw paint and I even managed to get the white stripes on the tail wings to set down without incident.

 Once that was all settled I airbrushed Testors dullcoat reduced with about 70% lacquer thinner over the upper surfaces being very careful to avoid getting it past the demarcation line. 

Detailing involved spraying the props in old Testors brown, the tires in a dirty black and then thinning down the tire mix to spray the exhaust stains lightly around the cowling.

FINAL CONSTRUCTION

 Gear leg oleos were wrapped in Bare Metal Foil chrome and the exhaust stubs received a light coat of heavily thinned dark brown paint.  The tail wheel was carefully picked out in flat black, the prop slid in to place (which is a wobbly fit), gear assemblies attached, gun barrels, etc.  The fit of the gear doors is a touch fiddly but certainly not the worst Iíve seen.  Otherwise, everything fit quite well.  Further touchups involved using a silver Sharpie marker to fix my polka-dotted paint chips, which worked wonderfully I might add.  A final touch was lightly wet sanding selected surfaces to thin out the green and pull a little more of the base aluminum through.  I know these werenít the most particularly war-weary aircraft of the era but I wanted it to show some use.  Right or wrong, itís still mine and overall Iím pleased.

CONCLUSIONS

This is a fine example of why Hasegawa has the lead of the industry.  It has itís shortcomings to be sure but theyíre easily overcome by anyone with at least some experience in putty and sanding.  Highly recommended to anyone willing to spend their hard earned cash!

REFERENCES

Kit Instructions

June 2011

Nathan Stevens

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