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Hasegawa Kawanishi H8K2 "Emily"

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/72 scale plastic model aircraft kit

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | WORLD WAR II
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Murphy’s Fourth Law of Modeling states that in order for a new kit to come out, I need to have previously suffered through an older issue of the same model. Procrastination sometimes works in mysterious ways, though — I never built Hasegawa’s 1972 release, but its all-new H8K2 “Emily” is a real winner.
 
The crisp parts feature beautiful, mostly-recessed detail, with raised detail on the hull bottom. Beaching gear is provided, and optional torpedoes or bombs plus posable guns are supplied. The separate hull strakes, bow section forward of the windshield, vertical fin, and other parts suggest variants of the H8K to come. A color poster — printed in Japanese with cutaway fuselage showing interior details — is included with this first issue.

I felt that assembly strictly by the instructions might make painting difficult, so I deviated slightly from them, making subassemblies that I joined after painting.
 
The basic-but-extensive interior fit great, though locating aids for a couple of interior details in the bow were a little vague. Most of the interior won’t be visible when the model’s completed, but what’s there is suitable. I added masking-tape seat belts.
 
Two hefty spars (extensions of the interior bulkheads) provide a stout structure for the wings. On my sample the wings fit perfectly, but the bow section needed filling and sanding at the starboard joint line. Hasegawa has molded the nacelles separately, so there’s no nuisance seam at the wing and nacelle juncture. The Kasei engines with separate exhaust manifolds and stacks are excellent.

There are lots of clear parts, and Hasegawa provides a sheet of masks with its own instruction page for identifying each; sidebars in the comprehensive kit instructions provide placement info. Cabin windows may be installed from the outside — a huge aid in painting the model — and each has a sprue nub marker indicating its “forward” end for correct orientation.

Color callouts reference GSI Creos paints. But the internet provided photos of Hasegawa’s cutaway display model at the Shizuoka Hobby Show, so I matched my own Tamiya acrylic mixes to what I saw there. I used wood-grain decal for the breakaway “wood” torpedo fins.

Decals are provided for three H8K2s. They settled down nicely except for the wings’ yellow leading-edge ID panels, which needed solvent. The box art shows the wing-float bracing wires, and there were small dimples in the kit’s floats and lower wings, obviously meant for placement of those wires. I drilled them out and used ceramic wire to “rig” them.

Nicely done crew figures with separate arms, heads, and torsos are given, but they’re molded to be located at in-flight battle stations. I modified three of them to pose them outside the model and show its comparative size. (They don’t look the best, so you know I’m not a figure modeler.)

Great kit! Despite its size and number of parts, the fit and ease of assembly makes for a relatively easy build. But less-experienced modelers should be advised that it takes a goodly amount of patience, time, and careful handling of very small parts. I spent 50 hours building my Emily.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2017 issue.

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