KIT:

 Fujimi 1/72 F1M2 'Pete'

KIT #

72048

PRICE:

$27

DECALS:

See review

REVIEW &
PHOTOS :

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

 

HISTORY

The F1M 'Pete' was unique amongst Japanese naval aircraft as it was the only observation seaplane accepted for quantity production: 1,118 being built, all but four of them F1M2s. Despite being designed as a short-range observation aircraft, it fulfilled many other roles including light bomber and fighter.

The prototype, F1M1 was flown in  June 1936 and the entire production was the responsibility of Mitsubishi, unlike other types, which were often farmed out to other companies with excess production capacity. Not a fast aircraft with a top speed of only 230mph, it was extremely maneuverable and so was not easy prey for enemy fighters. No F1M2s survived the war.

THE KIT

This is only the third mainstream injected kit of the Pete, the others being a 1/75 scale version by Hasegawa, and the 1/50 Tamiya kit. However, this one is definitely state of the art (kit is dated 1997), with finely engraved panel lines, a more complete interior, and a nice beaching trolley. A very nice touch is the inclusion of floats that are designed to do a waterline version if the builder is so inclined. The kit is completely flash free. Rather than use up a lot of space showing the sprues, the parts trees are shown to the right.

The Instruction sheet is quite adequate consisting of 12 construction steps using the exploded diagram method so common in modern sheets. All the color callouts are for Gunze paints and are shown in the construction steps. The interior consists of two seats, a pilot's control stick, two instrument panels, rear bomb aimer pedestal and rear gun. Though there are no bits for the fuselage side, there is stringer detail

The kit's engine is a bit generic and not up to the quality of some other manufacturers, but it is convincing. The wings are both two piece affairs with an upper and lower section. It is nice that the lower wing is one piece so there should be no problems with dihedral. There are two different aft cockpit canopies for the builder to choose from.  The attachment points for the floats and the wing braces are large and positive. There are also separate clear lenses for the wing tip lights.

Not sure how big a deal the waterline option is or how many builders will use that. The beaching dolly is really a fine little kit in an of itself and looks exactly like the one in the Tamiya 1/50 kit. Riggins is not a big deal with this kit as there are only four flying wires to deal with. Lengths are given in millimeters. Also gives are the lengths of the four wires needed for the HF radio antenna. This antenna covers most of the area in between the wings and tail plane so those modelers adding the wire will have to be careful on how to pick up the kit!

There are decals for three aircraft, all in dark black green over grey, and all from the Kashima Kokutai. Why Fujimi couldn't have given us a wider selection of markings is unknown as the aircraft served on dozens of ships and with many other units. Anyway, the decal look very usable and come with the yellow IFF bands for the leading edge of the wings so you don't have to paint those on. If they are like other Japanese decals, don't use setting solution on them.

Overall it looks like a great little kit. I have never seen one built up, but that really isn't surprising due to the high price of Fujimi kits. This one lists for 1500 in Japan which is about $16 dollars. Add to this the money charged by the importer and distributors (so they can afford their Corvettes and Infinities) and you can see why this kit retails for $25-30.00. 

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! 

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