Tomy 1/32 N1K2 Shiden-Kai “George”
KIT #: ?
REVIEWER: Scott Weir
NOTES: Last released by Doyushu


Arguably the best fighter fielded by the Imperial Japanese Navy during WWII. Beyond that I will digress to the history of the N1K2 previously posted here at MM.

This kit was released by the toy company Tomy some 40 odd years ago. Also released along with the George were a KI-84 Hayate and an A6M2 Zero. They have since been resurrected by Swallow a little over 20 years ago and more recently in the past few years by Doyushu. Being the products of a toy company in the 70’s these kits were engineered to be toys as much as they were models. The prominent toy like feature was an electric motor and internal AA battery pack to power the prop. In turn the battery housing pushes the cockpit floor up considerably as to where the pilot would probably need to be no more than 3.5 scale feet tall to function in this confined space. The other toyesque feature is the rather wide and deep tracks for the sliding canopy which I didn’t really notice until the build was almost complete. To me these were the biggest issues this model possessed.
For the finer attributes one has to take in to consideration that this kit was tooled long ago in the days when raised panel lines, rivets and details were pretty much the industry norm. For the time, these three stable mates were seemingly light years ahead of a lot of what was being offered back then. The external appointments are really quite well done. I’ve seen some kits of late where the scribing isn’t as good as this golden oldie. I’m not sure how exactly it scales out but it looks like a George and is the only game in town for an injection N1K2 in 1/32nd that I’m aware of. The Ki-84 has since been eclipsed by the Hasegawa and the A6M2 by Tamiya. Revell released a superb N1K1 in this scale in the 70’s only to have the tooling lost at sea along with some other classics. The only other large scale offering I know of is Bandai’s 1/24th N1K2, another toy company.
This kit comes molded in a green styrene with instructions and a very nice color chart all printed in Japanese. The parts count is fairly low due in part to the sparse cockpit and engine. There are some extra parts that appear to be for other kits. It comes with another longer set of landing gear that looks like they may be for an N1K1 along with two styles of tail wheels and a smaller prop that appears like it might fit a Ki-84. The instructions give plans to use these different parts. One of the main reasons for the lowering of the wing on the -2 was to alleviate the problems that were incurred with the -1’s rather lengthy landing gear. Once I figured out which ones to use it was time to get on with the build.

First I start with the engine and cockpit subassemblies. The engine itself is comprised of two main pieces. The engine assembly was painted aluminum and given a black wash. The cockpit is as equally void of detail as is the engine so, if you’re not going to scratch build a new cockpit and super detail the engine getting through these is quite simple.
The airframe is where most of the work is needed. Just about every seam on the fuselage and wings require sanding and or filler. A lot of the recessed detail gets sandblasted away on the fuselage trying to get the two halves to blend together. A nice thing about engraved details is that it is much easier to reestablish then raised detail if lost. After the cowling ring was glued down it needs to be sanded and filed to get it to conform to the shape of the front end. There is a large rectangular hole {opening for the power switch} on the bottom just aft where the fuel tank hangs that gets filled along with another one in the bottom of the oil cooler. When all the work in the body shop is complete it’s time to head for the paint barn.

   In lieu of writing paragraphs to describe the paint process I’ll list each step instead. Do note that most of the paint and clear coats were applied fairly thin as to not bury the surface details.

1. Primer the entire kit.
2. Covered the aircraft with decanted Plasticote Aluminum.
3. Pre-shaded panel lines.
4. Lightly painted over pre-shaded undersurfaces with aluminum to desired effect.
5. Clear coated to protect aluminum undersurface in the paint chipping process.
6. Painted upper surface with ‘’Floquil’’ Imperial Japanese Navy Green. Painted the fuel tank ‘’Floquil’’ Imperial Japanese Navy Gray.
7. Clear coated.
8. Masked and painted leading edge i.d. and tail bands. Recommend using a low tack tape as not to peel the paint from a very slick glossed metallic surface.
9. Gently chipped away upper green shade to desired weathered effect.
10. Clear coated
11. Applied decals and Solvaset.
12. Chipped up decals.
13. Sealed up decals with clearcoat.
14. Raw Umber oil paint wash over all external surfaces.
15. Dull coated.
16. Sprayed on exhaust stains. Oil stains are hand painted with a mix of Raw Umber and Black oil paints.

Light at the end of the tunnel! Most of what’s left is attaching the landing gear, gun barrels, fuel tank, antenna mast, canopy and pitot tube.

This was a fun build of a classic kit you just don’t see every day. Japanese aircraft don’t seem to have the popularity of their German or American counterparts After doing several Wunder kits this old gal was just what was needed to get back into and brush off some basic modeling skills. I’m sure a new super-kit may be in the pipeline that will one day eclipse this George too someday. But as I mentioned before it’s still currently the only game in town for an injection 1/32nd N1K2 Shiden-Kai. Recommended!!!!

Kit sample courtesy of the friend and brother who introduced me to the airbrush 30 years ago. Richard L. Shank 1957-2011

Scott Weir

April 2012

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