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New Review: Kawanishi H8K1 Type 2, 11/12 Beaching Gear (Has)

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Review Author: 
Brian R. Baker
Scale Aircraft Conversions


The Japanese Kawanishi H8K1 flying boat,  code named Emily by the Allies,  was one of the best long range flying boats in its class during World War II. It is surprising that only one kit of this plane in 1/72 scale has been issued, by Hasegawa.  This kit dates back to at least 1967, as I remember buying the kit then and wondering when I would have enough space to store and display the model once built.  As a result I never built it although I have two in my stash, and after seeing this replacement unit, I have decided to do it in the near future.

The original kit parts are somewhat simplified, with a single strut and a couple of lumps coming out of it.  The SAC conversion kit replaces these with two small but very detailed struts. There is also a unit for the tailwheel, and another metal strut of unknown purpose.   Wheels from the kit are used in all cases. The problem with this unit is that there is no set of instructions, although it doesn't take a genius to figure out most of it.  

The unit is nicely cast, and very little trimming will be required. It appears strong enough to bear the weight of the model, which is considerable.  The detail in the kit is not up to Hasegawa's later standards, although when completed, the kit will result in an excellent model of a historically significant aircraft.  Only  167  were built, and at least one survived the war, which  was brought to the Navy's Patuxent River Test center where it was tested and then put out to storage. Fortunately, someone got the idea of shipping the plane back to Japan, where it has been restored and is currently on display. 

There are a few reference sources that cover the "Emily" in detail, including the R.J. Francillon book, Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, Profile Publications #233: Kawanishi 4 motor Flying Boats (H6K Mavis and H8K Emily), by M.C. Richards; and the 1975 December issue of Koko Fan, #68, which describes the H8K Emily if you can read Japanese.  Unfortunately, none of these publications has a detail photograph of the beaching gear strut so you're on your own as to exactly how the gear was attached and painted.

If you are going to build this little beauty, this beaching gear will add to the authenticity of your model.  Mine will certainly have it.  Highly recommended.

Thanks to SAC and Phil Peterson for the review sample.

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