|KIT:||Fine Molds 1/72 R2Y1 "Keiun" (Beautiful Cloud)|
|KIT #:||FP 23|
|PRICE:||2000 yen from www.hlj.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Japanese were always looking for a high speed reconnaissance aircraft and were one of the few nations who specialized in this type of aircraft. Probably the most well knows was the Ki-46 Dinah, but there were many others, all capable of high speeds and high altitudes where most enemy fighter would either not reach them or where they'd not be able to catch them. The Pacific war brought in some new twists to this in the form of some Allied aircraft (like the P-38 and F4U) which were both fast and capable of operating at relatively high altitude. So the need for newer and faster aircraft.
One design was the Yokosuka R2Y Keiun. Based initially on a 24 cylinder liquid cooled engine being developed by Mitsubishi that engine ran into difficulties and the project was modified and based somewhat on the He-119v4 which had been bought in 1940. This was to be powered by twin coupled engines in the center fuselage with a long prop shaft running forward to a six bladed prop. Progress was smooth until 1944 when the loss of the Marianas put all but fighter and bomber projects on hold, however, the adaptability of the Keiun was such that it was continued.
By late 1944 it was proposed to install a turbojets under the wings and have it carry a 800kg bomb with cannon in the nose. This was to be the R2Y2 and the R2Y1 was to be completed as a prop driven aircraft to prove the quality of the airframe. Completed in April 1945, the aircraft started ground tests. Problems with nose wheel shimmy and engine overheating delayed the first flight until May 1945. The flight was shortened due to engine overheating and a ground fire caused the need for an engine change which was never finished as the prototype was destroyed in a bombing raid. The second prototype was under construction but never finished.
I saw this kit at the Nationals this year and knew I had to have it. I thought it was brand new, but was soon told that it had been around for five years. Guess I hadn't been paying attention as it was the first I'd heard of it. Molded in the usual grey plastic, it looks like every Fine Molds kit I've ever seen. The quality of the molding is quite good and aside from a bit of flash on a few parts, I only found some pesky ejector pin marks on the inside of the gear doors. Others will disappear during construction. There are also some sink areas on the long nose gear doors caused by the detailing on the inside.
The cockpit is adequate and typical of what one gets from Fine Molds. There are seats, a control stick and instrument panel with raised detail. 15grams of ballast will be needed to keep this one on its nose and there is space to put it. The rest of the kit is unremarkable in terms of fancy stuff. It is about as basic a model as one can get. Only a few fiddly bits in terms of an exhaust or two and an intake. The transparent parts are thick but not overly so and clear enough to see what's on the other side.
Instructions are in Japanese as one would expect and a very nice (but unreadable by me) historical background sheet accompanies the kit. Color information is provided with Gunze references, but is basically dark green over orange as was typical of prototypes at the time. Only a set of hinomarus is provided with the white surround as separate decals. The white seems a tad translucent and it is more of an ivory color than pure white.
So there you have it. An injection molded Keiun for all of us who have a penchant for things Japanese, prototypes, or just neat looking planes. Now you can divulge yourself of your Eagles Talon vacuformed kit!
Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon, 1979 edition.
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