Platz 1/300 US-2/PS-1

KIT #: PF 19
PRICE: 2200 yen from
DECALS: Several options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Two complete kits with stands


In 1960, Shin Meiwa demonstrated a prototype flying boat, the UF-XS, a highly modified HU-16, 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. 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.

The PS-1 had not been in service long before the JMSDF requested the development of a search-and-rescue variant. The deletion of the PS-1's military equipment allowed for greater fuel capacity, workable landing gear, and rescue equipment. The new variant, the US-1A, could also quickly be converted for troop-carrying duties. First flown on October 15, 1974, it was accepted into service the following year, and eventually 19 aircraft were purchased. From the seventh aircraft on, an uprated version of the original engine was used, but all aircraft were eventually modified to this US-1A standard. The US-1A's first rescue was from a Greek vessel in 1976. Between that time and 1999, US-1As had been used in over 500 rescues, saving 550 lives.

One PS-1 was experimentally modified for aerial firefighling in 1976 with an internal capacity of 7,350 litres (1,940 US gal) of water.

With the US-1A fleet beginning to show its age, the JMSDF attempted to obtain funding for a replacement in the 1990s, but could not obtain enough to develop an entirely new aircraft. Therefore, in 1995, ShinMaywa began plans for an upgraded version of the US-1A, the US-1A kai (US-1A 改 - "improved US-1A"). This aircraft features numerous aerodynamic refinements, a pressurised hull, and more powerful Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engines. Flight tests began on December 18, 2003. The JMSDF purchased up to 14 of these aircraft and around 2007, it entered service as the ShinMaywa US-2.


 Platz has offered two kits in this box. One is a PS-1 and the other is a US-2. Both kits come with display stands and there are slots already open in the hull of both kits to accept it. As you might expect, a mass of parts is not what is in this kit. The four page instruction sheet has more space allotted to the painting and decals than it does to assembly. In fact, assembly instructions for both kits takes up 2/3rds of one sheet. The plastic for the two kits is virtually identical to that for the earlier boxing, but I'll recap.

Basically, you have two fuselage halves, a single piece wing and tailplane. Engines are two pieces trapping the propeller and the wing floats are also two pieces. One can model the plane with the beaching gear up or down with separate parts for both. The landing gear each incorporate the wheels.

You might expect the parts to be a bit clunky, but that is not the case at all. Everything from the prop blades to the landing gear and wheels is very nicely done and appropriate for the scale. Even the engraved panel lines are rather thin, though crisply molded.

Instructions, as mentioned earlier, concentrate more on the painting and decaling of the two kits. Starting with the PS-1, these are mostly 'light gall grey' (yes, it should be light gull grey) with a white upper fuselage. Other than the black radome, all the other markings are decals. There are serials for two planes. The US-2 is provided in the current colors used my maritime aircraft in that it is FS 15050 dark blue on upper and side surfaces with light gull grey undersides. The earlier boxing were the first two planes and in more flambouyant schemes. The decals for this plane offer serials for the first nine aircraft. I assume the first two planes are or will be repainted. White stand decals are also provided.


For those of us who don't have the space for the big Hasegawa 1/72 kit, this is a more than viable alternative. We get two nicely done kits and don't have to build a new display shelf to house them. What's more, both are colorful airplanes and unusual enough that most folks will never have heard of them. I should mention that the six blade props are not molded feathered, so those who want to do a US-2 at rest will need to do a bit of surgery.


September 2014

Thanks to Platz Hobby for the preview kit. You can get yours at this link.

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