The Kawanishi Type 2 flying boat was probably one of the finest Japanese warplanes to see operational service during WWII. It was the fastest flying boat to serve with any of the combatants and its hydrodynamic qualities were superior to those of the British, American or German contemporaries. It was also well armored and carried a heavy defensive armament and was treated with respect by Allied fighter pilots. Designed as a replacement for the Type 97, it was developed to meet a 13-Shi specification that required a thirty percent increase in speed and a fifty percent greater range as well as greater maneuverability. The prototype, designated H8K1 was completed in December of 1940. It was powered by four 1,530 h.p. radial engines and had provisions for a defensive armament of five 20 mm. cannons and three 7.7 mm. machine guns. Initial water handling problems lead to a series of modifications and the second and third prototypes seeing additional modifications as well until handling was brought to an acceptable standard. The H8K1 made its operational debut with a night attack on Oahu Island in March of 1942. Unfortunately for the three boats participating in the raid the island was obscured by clouds and the attack was aborted. the eighteenth Type 2 Flying Boat was fitted with 1,850 h.p. engines as the first H8K2. This model was equipped with 5 20 mm. cannons and one 7.7 mm. machine guns and had a top speed of 290 m.p.h. It had fully protected fuel tanks, effective armor protection for the crew members and surface search radar. By the end of the war a total of 167 Type 2 Flying Boats had been produced.
The Hasegawa kit is old school with lots of rivets and raised surface detail but this was the norm when I assembled this kit over thirty years ago. I quite honestly don't remember all that much about building it but was pleased at the time with how it turned out. At the time it was probably had the most weathered finish I had ever put on a model. In spite of having been in storage in something less than good places, it survived amazing well with only minor damage, that consisting of a missing radar antenna, the rigging on the floats had come undone and the some of the decals were showing their age. Other than that it was in good enough condition that after some repair it will join the seaplane collection pretty much as is. The kit is still available from time to time and can be found on Ebay as well. I have no memory of what the box looked liked, the photo above I believe is one of the later boxings of the kit.
Links to kit build or reviews
A build can be found here.
Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume Five, Flying Boats by William Green
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