|PRICE:||$59.00 from Cooper's Models|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Full resin kit|
In 1960, Shin Meiwa demonstrated a prototype flying boat, the UF-XS, that featured a novel boundary layer control system to provide enhanced STOL performance. The company also built upon its wartime experience (as Kawanishi) to refine the Grumman Albatross hull that the aircraft was based on. The UX-FS was fitted with four engines, two of them the Albatross's normal Wright R-1820 radials with 1,065 kW (1,425 HP) each, plus two additional Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radials with 450 kW (600 HP) each. The aircraft's hull was extensively modified, and the Albatross's conventional tail was replaced by a tee tail. As a result of the success of what we now call a proof of concept aircraft, in 1966, the JMSDF awarded the company a contract to further develop these ideas into an ASW patrol aircraft. Two prototypes were built under the designation PS-X and flight tests began on October 5, 1967, leading to an order for production under the designation PS-1 in 1969.
A&W contracted to Anigrand for this particular kit. This is not unusual as one finds Anigrand developed kits in the boxes of many resin model companies. Typical of their current work, the moldings are superbly done. I did find some minor glitches such as a build up of resin on one the wing roots and a chipped surface, but these will be easily overcome.
The fuselage halves are a bit warped out, but test fitting showed that this will not be an issue. There are large tabs and slots to allow the halves to be properly aligned when glued. I also fit the fin and stab, finding the fit there to be excellent. The engine cowlings are tabbed for proper alignment and while there is no marked distinction as to which are the 1820s and which are the 1340s, however, the 1340s are smaller in diameter, so fitting them in place should not be an issue. Test fitting shows a good fit once a bit of excess is removed from the back of the tabs on the engines. A small bag includes props as well as float strut supports and a nose probe. The two three blade props are not symmetrical and will need some heat treatment to look right.
There are actually seats for the cockpit though one will see little through the thick, resin cockpit glass. The fuselage windows are molded in place so one will want to paint these black after the kit has been painted. Props and the wing float struts are in a separate bag to prevent loss and are well molded. The kit comes with a handling trolley. Mine had a wheel broken and thanks to the flimsy plastic bag in which the kit was packaged, had fallen through a hole punched in it by the fuselage.
Instructions are typical Anigrand with two CAD drawings of the completed kit showing where the parts are to be placed. A side view give paint and markings information. These planes were in dark grey with small day-glo patches on the nose, tail, wing tips, stabilizer tips and float struts. Unfortunately, no above view is provided to show the extent of the tip markings. I would recommend engine grey (FS 13081) for the overall shade. Decals are also typical Anigrand with two small identical sheets. These markings will fit well, though it seems setting solutions have no effect on them. The aircraft also has white lines all over the fuselage sides. It will be up to the builder to find thin enough striped decals to duplicate these. I daresay few if any will end up adding this feature.
Overall, a very cool prototype kit that is not very large, measuring about 6 inches in overall length. It should build relatively quickly and will make for a great addition to your 1/144 line-up.
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