Hasegawa 1/48 N1K2-J Shidenkai 'early version'

KIT #: 09073 (Jt73)
PRICE: 2000 yen
DECALS: options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2000 release


The Kawanishi N1K-J Shiden (紫電, "Violet Lightning") was an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service land-based version of the N1K. Assigned the reporting name "George", the N1K-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II.

The Shiden Kai possessed heavy armament, as well as surprisingly good maneuverability, due to a mercury switch that automatically extended the flaps during turns. These "combat" flaps created more lift, thereby allowing tighter turns. Unlike the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the Shiden Kai could compete against the best late-war Allied fighters, such as the F6F Hellcat, F4U Corsair, and P-51 Mustang.


In the late 1980s and into the 90s, Hasegawa went on a kit development binge producing new tool kits in both 1/72 and 1/48 scale. One of those was the N1K2-J Shidenkai. They already had one of the aircraft that was inherited from Mania when they bought the company, but it was determined that a new tool kit was needed.

The kit is provided with a very nicely done cockpit with lots of detail on the floor panel and on the sidewalls. Th seat is nicely done with a harness decal provided. You have raised detail on the main instrument panel or you can put a decal on it.

As is often the case when different versions are kitted, some holes may need to be opened and detail either cut away or filled in. Hasegawa provides the option to remove the molded in formation lights and replace them with clear parts. A nice engine and exhaust are provided, which fits inside a nicely done single piece engine cowling.

You are provided a nicely molded landing gear assembly with separate oleo scissors. The three outer gear doors are attached to the gear strut. There is also the option to pose the flaps raised or lowered. One thing I noticed when looking at period photos is that none of them showed lowered flaps when the plane was on the ground. To do flaps up, some cutting is needed on the flaps.

The prop has a three piece spinner and separate blades. Clear bits are a windscreen, canopy and rear section. Not sure if you can pose the canopy open as the instructions don't show it. Thanks to the use of a polycap in the engine, you can mount the prop after the kit has been painted. A centerline fuel tank is also provided.

Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. Two options are shown, both in Kawanishi green (which has to be mixed) over unpainted metal with yellow ID sections on the forward, inner wings. This has to be painted on. You have markings for two planes shown. One is the box art aircraft with the other painted pretty much the same with the 03 on the roundel and a white fuselage stripe. You are provided with additional numbers so you can do other planes from the 343rd, however, you'll have to find fuselage insignia from another source as no spares are provided. Makes one wonder why there are even additional #03/15 provided as you can't use them without going aftermarket. The decals are ones where the whites are actually white.


This is a very nice kit. It doesn't seem to be hugely popular and this is probably due to the minimal number of alternate markings options and the lack of any alternate camo schemes save for the orange prototypes.



July 2022 

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