Kawanishi H8K2 Type 2 Flying Boat Model 12
This H8K Emily was certainly an eye opener for me as it to date is the largest model kit I’ve built and in 1/72 scale that is simply amazing. In scale, the wingspan of the Emily is 0.53 meters (20.75 inches). To give you an idea of its true size, the Emily is just a couple of meters smaller in wingspan than a C-130 Hercules. The first boxing of the H8K by Hasegawa in 1/72 dates back to 1967 and was in need of an update. Fast forward to 2017 and thanks to the good folks from Hasegawa we have a simply amazing new tool replacement to their earlier release. As a nice little bonus, Hasegawa includes a poster of a cutaway view of the fuselage with this boxing of the kit. This may only be a limited run bonus, so check the box top for the bonus item markings.
There is no surprise that I am a fan of Japanese equipment when it comes to my modeling tastes. I couldn’t resist taking on this Hasegawa offering of the Emily having just built their Peggy bomber just a few short months ago. The Emily kit includes 16 crewmen (Only 11 are needed) that exhibit amazing detail for such a small scale. The figures are molded in 4 parts: head, arms, and body. Assembly of the crewmen presented no problems other than attempting to paint the tiny figures. This kit provides decals for three schemes with the only real difference being the vertical fin markings. The only other option facing the builder is whether to attach torpedoes or bombs to underwing racks.
- IJN TAKUMA Naval Flying Group (T-31)
- IJN 802nd Naval Flying Group (N1-26)
- IJN 801st Naval Flying Group (801-86)
If you follow the directions verbatim, assembly begins with the engines, cowlings, and main wings. Make note, that holes will need to be drilled for either the torpedo or bomb racks. The mounting holes are different and must be accomplished prior to closing up the wing halves. I choose to go with torpedoes and also decided to leave the engines and nacelles off until very late in the assembly process to eliminate the need to mask off the engines and protect the exhaust stubs during the painting process. Builders should also note that holes for the RADAR whiskers will need to be drilled prior to closing up the forward fuselage halves.
After the wings are complete I moved on to fuselage construction. The fuselage is no small undertaking. The forward 2/3rds of the flight deck is included in the kit as is the tail gunner section. Expect to do quite a bit of painting before closing up the fuse halves. Likewise, you will need to build and paint the crewmen prior to closing up the fuse. I probably should mention it now but the fit of ALL the parts within the fuse was simply amazing and I don’t recall using any filler on this project.
I next moved onto adding the clear parts to the fuse and wing. Other than a small step with the main canopy part everything again fit just wonderfully. Hasegawa thankfully provides cut masks (108 of them) for all the turret and canopy glass in the kit. This nice little addition saves the builder what I’m sure would have been hours of masking time. Hasegawa does NOT provide masks for the individual windows that mount along the sides of the fuse or wing undersides. Count on masking another ~40 more individual clear parts. I chose to use “Bare Metal Foil” prior to attaching the clear parts. For me, this process seemed to work just fine. Please note, Hasegawa mounts both port & starboard clear parts together on the sprues and uses a clever system to indicate which end of the part faces forward. Yes, it matters which way they mount in the fuselage. Make sure to read and understand their system before removing parts from the sprue. Trust me, their system is simple and works very well.
As far as the beaching gear Hasegawa provides the two main gear and tail wheels used when bringing this behemoth on shore. I decided up front I was going to mount the Emily on a small base depicting her on a take off run. This allowed me to skip building the beaching gear, but a bit of extra work is needed to remove the fuselage mounting points (as well as fill the associated holes) where the beaching gear attaches. A razor saw and sandpaper took care of this little issue.
With painting and weathering complete it was time to attach the stabs to the fuselage. Although the fit was fine, I personally though the mounting tabs/slots could have been handled a tiny bit different to make alignment a bit easier. It was also time to offer up the wingtip pontoons to the wings. Molded into the pontoons and wings are small divots marking where the bracing wires should mount if you choose to make some. They, however, do NOT mark where the crossed brace wires locate within the pontoon mounting struts. I used some Nitrile wire to make the crossed brace wires as well as the strut braces. Please note that wires are NOT included in the kit. However, I did see on the Japanese Hasegawa-model.co.jp website two “Detail up” photoetch sets available for the Emily. Set 1 (QG67) includes the bracing wires and details for the bomb & torpedo racks. Set 2 (QG68) includes photoetch fins and details for the bombs and torpedoes. I checked the Hasegawa USA website but did not find these sets listed at this time.
Gosh, I almost forgot to mention the decals. One of my very few issues with other Hasegawa kits has usually been the decals. Normally I find them to be a bit thick, brittle and difficult to massage around raised details. Not with this kit!!! Although I painted on the Hinomarus as I was working on a war-weary finish, the wing walk lines, tail marks and lower fuselage station marking are all decals. I found the decals in this kit nothing short of fantastic. They were thin but not so thin to make working with them difficult. Well done Hasegawa, keep up the great work.
Saving the best for last, what I found to be a very nice design touch, with this kit, was the design of the wing spar system. The fore and aft spars positively lock into the fuselage during construction and as a result, there is NO need to glue the wings on this kit. For modelers like myself with limited display space, this is a GREAT thing. The wings very simply and easily slide on and off of the fuselage. For a model of this size, it is almost a necessity.
In conclusion, I found this kit to be worth every minute of time I spent building the kit. There didn’t seem to be anything really problematic issues during the construction process, so low time builders should not have any issues building this kit even with its advertised 283 part count. Yes, 283 is a bunch of parts, but the outstanding fit offsets that issue in my opinion.
I’d like to thank Hasegawa Corporation for the engineering work designing and manufacturing the Emily, Hasegawa USA for providing the kit for review and the IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.