Hasegawa 1/48 E8N1 'Dave'
| KIT #: || 19197 (JT 97) |
| PRICE: || A bit less than $28 direct from Japan |
| DECALS: || Seven options |
| REVIEWER: || Scott Van Aken |
| NOTES: || New tool kit. Base boxing |
The E8N was ordered into production, designatedNavy Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1 in October 1935. A total of 755 E8Ns were built by Nakajima and Kawanishi, production continuing until 1940. It was subsequently shipped aboard all the capital ships then in service, 16 cruisers and five seaplane tenders.
It was used successfully in the Second Sino-Japanese War not only for reconnaissance, but also for dive-bombing and artillery spotting.
One E8N was purchased in early 1941 by the German Naval Attache to Japan, Vice-Admiral Wenneker, and dispatched on board KM MUNSTERLAND to rendezvous with the German auxiliary cruiser Orion at Maug Island in the Marianas. The meeting occurred on 1 FEB 1941, and Orion thus became the only German naval vessel of the Second World War to employ a Japanese float plane.
Some aircraft remained in service with the fleet at the outbreak of the Pacific War but they were soon replaced by more modern aircraft such as the Aichi E13A and the Mitsubishi F1M, being reassigned to second-line duties.
Hasegawa releases very few new kits each year and even fewer 1/48 WWII subjects. Generally, for Hasegawa to produce a kit requires that it be able to be boxed in a number of limited editions. Look at what they've done in the past and you can see that to be true. It is also nice if the kit can be done in several variants. In the case of the E8N, there were only E8N1 and E8N2 versions and those differed only by the engine.
While not exactly a household name in other parts of the world, this is a Japanese plane and so it will sell very well in the home market, which is really where Hasegawa tends to focus its products. If it sells elsewhere, so much the better.
This kit is like every other new Hasegawa kit in the last dozen or more years in that all the sprues are in one bag with a separate bag for the clear bits and the polycaps. Molding is excellent and while some may think that the fabric surfaces are a bit too exaggerated, most will not mind. The kit comes with a pilot and gunner figure so you won't find any belt detail molded into the seats. There is a lot of nice sidewall detail molded in place, but I'm sure the resin folks will be offering upgrades soon for those who want it. The two instrument panels have a choice of just instrument decals to be placed on a black painted panel or a decal with the black background. A control stick and rudder pedals are provided for the pilot. The gunner faces forward rather than to the rear, which would have been nice.
Wings are split on the bottom with upper and lower halves for each side while the upper wing halves are full span. Single piece tailplanes are provided and there is a separate rudder. Bomb racks are provided and one needs to open the holes in the lower wings for these. A nicely done single row radial is provided with well molded exhaust stacks. In the front is an engine cover so the detail provided is sufficient. A polycap is provided so you can push the two blade prop in place after painting. Cabane and wing struts are N shaped and there are separate aileron push rods. Hasegawa does not provide a rigging diagram, but you can get that from the box art. Those with additional funds can buy their aftermarket P.E. set that includes some of the rigging.
This is a central float plane and here is were there are quite a few struts. The two piece float is held to the bottom of the fuselage by four single struts. Wing tip floats are in two halves with one half having the vertical struts molded in place. Add to it the angled inner struts and you are done. As with just about all float planes, you have a beaching dolly provided as well as a rear float brace. Interestingly, only one of the main options has a rudder.
Instructions are well done with Gunze references. Two markings options are shown, both in brown/green over grey-green. You are to mix the brown but there are paints that offer this shade pre-mixed. One option is the box art plane from the battleship Kirishima in 1938. You can do one of three planes carried aboard this ship. The other is from the seaplane tender Kamoi, also in 1938 and you can do one of four planes. All these planes differ only in the tail code numbers. The decals are nicely done and while the reds look rather bright, I'm told that is the proper shade for the late 1930s. The sheet image has been darkened to make the white easier to see.
To my knowledge, this is the first mainstream injected kit of this aircraft. It was carried aboard every aircraft-capable ship in the Japanese Navy prior to Pearl Harbor so it isn't like it was built in small numbers. Those who like biplanes or float planes will be very pleased to have it. Though it will take a bit of rigging work, and that may well cause some to shy away, the end result will be a very nice model of an equally neat two seat floatplane.
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