Hasegawa 1/48 F1M2 'Pete' (early version)
|DECALS:||Four plus options|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Mitsubishi F1M (Allied reporting name "Pete") was a Japanese reconnaissance floatplane of World War II. Between 1936 and 1944, 1,118 were built. Four were preproduction F1M1 aircraft as well as an unknown number of F1M2-K trainers. The Navy designation was "Type Zero Observation Seaplane" (零式水上観測機). (Not to be confused with the Zero fighter.)
The F1M1 was powered by the Nakajima Hikari MK1 radial engine, delivering 611 kW (820 hp), a maximum speed of 368 km/h (230 mph) and operating range of up to 1,072 km (670 miles) (when overloaded). It provided the Imperial Japanese Navy with a very versatile operations platform.
Optionally armed with a maximum of 3 x 7.7 mm machine guns (2 fixed forward-firing and one flexible rear-firing) and 2 x 60 kg (132 pound) bombs
The F1M was originally built as a catapult-launched reconnaissance float plane. However the "Pete" took on a number of local roles including area-defense fighter, convoy escort, bomber, anti-submarine, ocean patrol, rescue and transport. The type fought dogfights in the Aleutians, the Solomons and several other theaters. Though not really much of a 'ship buster', the PT 34 was sunk 9 April 1942 by "Petes". The "Pete" was highly maneuverable and not at all an 'easy kill', with many able to escape US fighters in the hands of a good pilot.
If you have read the previous preview of the base kit, there is very little that is different. However, there are some minor differences regarding the clear bits and perhaps the forward cowling as well from the earlier boxing which did a later variant. For those who may not have read that preview, I'll repeat those impressions.
Starting with the basic stuff, I should mention that Hasegawa does offer a photo etch set for this kit. It includes not only bits for the rigging, but most other aspects of the kit, including the interior. However, even without the p-e (which seems like minor embellishments to me), the cockpit and rear set are well detailed, lacking only belts to add that little bit extra. As is typical with Hasegawa, both raised detail and decals are given for the instruments. The dedicated can paint these while the lazy (that's me) will use the decals. There are a plethora of boxes and bits for the side walls, making photo etch even a bit redundant. All this will build into a complete tub that one can trap between the fuselage halves.
The wings have at least one half as full span so that will help eliminate dihedral issues. Clear bits are used for the various running lights. The struts, including the cabanes, are well molded and seem to be a simple fit. For those who wish to rig this one yourself, it would be a good idea to drill holes prior to closing the wings or fuselage. The locales are shown in the instructions, and truly, this is not a rigging intensive aircraft anyway. The kit provides bombs for under the wing and there is also a complete beaching gear to make it easier to display. A goodly amount of weight needs to be placed into the float prior to closing it up.
The instructions include assembling the kit with the photo etch bits, so things are not as complex as they seem to those who decide against the additional expense. The p.e. placement can be used for a rigging diagram as well. This kit provides markings for four different units and within those units there are optional numbers so you have nine actual markings options.
The first option is the box art plane in overall grey green from the seaplane tender Sanyo Maru in 1941. In the same color scheme are planes from the Kamikawa Maru, also in 1941. The third options has green upper surfaces and is from Kiyokawa Maru in 1942. The final option is from the 958th Flying Group in 1943. None of these planes have the yellow leading edge ID markings. The decal sheet is very nicely done and there are a number of markings that are not used for any of the options (like the gunnery markings). These are the 'new era' decals with white whites and should work superbly.
This is the first 'limited issue' boxing for the Pete and comes less than six months after the initial release. This kit completely obsoletes the older Tamiya 1/50 kit which modelers have had for years. Besides, that kit from what has to be the late 1960s had several shape and detail glitches. This is the one you want.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop or on-line retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly , please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page