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In-Box Review
1144
Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden-Kai
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

I think if any single series of kits has changed my whole conception of what is possible in mainstream 1:144 kits, it has to be Platz's range of fighters. The petite detailing and extensive decal options are a total eye-opener - quite the opposite of the rather basic small-scale kits I remember from the dim and distant '70s.

Platz's Shiden-Kai kits aren't new, in fact they've been around for about five years, but they have been out of production for some time and hence hard to find. Happily, they are now back in the catalogue, and Platz have sent us all three of the available versions for review. These are:

Kit # PD-4 - Shiden-Kai "Later Version"
Kit # PD-10 - Shiden-Kai "343rd Naval Flying Group Version"
Kit # PD-11 - Shiden-Kai "Early Version"


The kits arrive in tough and attractive little end-opening boxes, with colour photos of the finished models on the front and a full-colour painting guide on the back of the carton. The packs each contain parts and decals for two complete aircraft, and are based around the same core set of parts, with an additional sprue for the early version's tail. A single aircraft comprises:

29 x grey styrene parts (plus 2 extra for the alternative tail where appropriate)
1 x clear styrene canopy

The moulding is excellent, with the parts crisply formed and no sink marks to worry about. The exterior finish is highly polished and sports delicate panel lines that other mainstream manufacturers would do well to copy, even on larger scale releases.

A test fit of the major parts (if you can have "major" parts on so small a model!) shows there should be no problems at all - the fuselage halves align perfectly and the wings have sharp trailing edges and a snug fit at the roots. The horizontal tail fits very positively, but needs a little careful sanding to remove small steps at the roots' leading edges on the late version tails - the fit is spot on with the alternative early tail. Fitting the latter latter involves some simple surgery, cutting along a heavily engraved line inside the rear fuselage.

The overall level of detail is very good for this small scale, with a basic cockpit "tub" moulded into each fuselage half. Into this fit a seat, control column and instrument panel. Superdetailing fanatics could obviously add more, but how much you'll actually be able to see through the neatly moulded closed canopy is debatable. If you add a little seat harness from tape, what's provided is really quite adequate.

Up front, a nicely moulded front row of cylinders and crankcase for the radial engine slots neatly into the cowling, and the propeller has a separate spinner. The undercarriage is well done and the main doors are moulded suitably thin for this scale. Lastly, there's a 2-part drop tank with separate sway braces.

Instructions and decals
The instructions are neatly drawn and basically written totally in Japanese. This is no problem as the assembly is pretty much self-explanatory, and it's easy to spot the numbers for Gunze Sango paints keyed to the details. All the decals are numbered, so again, the placement guide is simple to follow. A nice touch is that the colour painting guides on the back of the boxes include English descriptions for the various schemes.

Platz give a good choice of markings options with each kit:

Kit # PD-4 - Shiden-Kai "Later Version"
1. Prototype, 1944, Yokosuka
2. "45", 343rd Naval Flying Group, April 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
3. "30", 343rd Naval Flying Group, April 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
4. "35", 343rd Naval Flying Group, August 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
5. "5243", Kawanishi factory

Kit # PD-10 - Shiden-Kai "343rd Naval Flying Group Version"
1. "17", 301st Fighter Sqn., 343rd Naval Flying Group, February 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
2. "37", 301st Fighter Sqn., 343rd Naval Flying Group, February 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
3. "38", 301st Fighter Sqn., 343rd Naval Flying Group, February 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
4. "20", 407th Fighter Sqn., 343rd Naval Flying Group, March 1945, Matsuyama Air Base

Kit # PD-11 - Shiden-Kai "Early Version"
1. Prototype, Kawanishi factory, December 1944
2. "15", 301st Fighter Sqn., 343rd Naval Flying Group, April 1945, Matsuyama Air Base
3. "517", N1K4-J, Kawanishi factory, January 1945
4. "27", 407th Fighter Sqn., 343rd Naval Flying Group, March 1945, Matsuyama Air Base

The decals look superb, which is hardly surprising as they are custom-printed by Cartograf. The registration is spot-on, and on most items there is no excess carrier film to worry about. Where there is film, it is kept to a minimum and is crystal-clear.

Conclusion
Platz's Shiden-Kais are real little gems! It's clear you could easily knock them together in a weekend - or maybe even in an afternoon - but it would be a shame to rush. Whether you're a true fan of 1:144, are looking for kits to pose in the background of photo-dioramas, or simply want a break from working in larger scales, these are great kits. Unreservedly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Beautifully moulded and well detailed for this scale. Excellent decals.
Lows:
Verdict: These are excellent kits with a level of detail that belies their diminuitive size.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: PD-4, PD-10 & PD-11
  Suggested Retail: 1,260 JPY each
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 05, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.04%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.70%

Our Thanks to Platz!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)
FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2019 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. All rights reserved.



   

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