Violet Lightning: 1/48th Hasegawa N1K2-J Shiden-Kai
This is Hasegawa's second iteration of this N1K2 aircraft model and it is this later version that should be your preference, as it has delicate panel lines as well as great kit detail throughout. Also of note is Hasegawa's typical good parts fit. The combination makes for a winning kit build.
Notable Kit Features:
Very good cockpit details featuring separate sidewalls and consoles complete with throttles. The main instrument panel has decals provided if you want to go this route as well
Wingtip clear lights are provided (or you can paint if you prefer)
Gear well detail is better than average with separate parts provided
Weighted main tires
Open or closed cowl flap parts
Decent engine detail
Separate wing flaps which can be built up or down
I picked up the Yellowhammer Models decal sheet (YHD48029) that featured a number of prominent N1K2-J aircraft. I selected Ace pilot Shoichi Sugita of the 343rd Kokutai, Hikotai 301 based at Matsuyama around April 1945 from the sheet as it features a long string of victories. The Japanese Navy N1K2 aircraft was quite a formidable opponent and well respected by both sides.
Above Photo: Pilots of the 343rd Kokutai review their flight plans prior to a mission.
This kit is a straight-forward build without any significant issues
If you want to build the kit with glass wingtip lights, the area will need to be notched out to fit them
Flaps down is probably the easier way to go (although most reference photos I saw had the flaps up). They looked too good down for me not to deploy them.
Propeller tip lines are moulded into the blades (I forgot to sand these off)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Third-party decals (Yellowhammer Models YHD48029)
For the interior colour I used a FS 34255 which I sourced as a good approximation of the interior tone. The N1K2's that I referenced all had metal undersides (as opposed to grey) so my model was given an undercoat of aluminium paint to start. Over this, the upper sides were given a coat of Japanese Navy dark green (Apx. FS 34092). After that point the yellow leading edges were painted on and everything allowed to dry for at least 24-hours in preparation for the gloss coat (Future floor wax - that really isn't wax) and decal phase.
The After-Build Report:
Hasegawa's first release of their N1K2 kit was back in 1980. This raised panel-line version was last released in 1998, however it is this later version that you want as it is much improved. (Heads up on distinguishing between the two as the numerical series are all in the 9xxx for the most part. Look for the specific kit numbers on Scalemates or a year 2000+ release date.) The new tool came out in 2000 and was last released around 2018. This Hasegawa 1/48th N1K2 kit is a beauty right out of the box with great details all around. Because the parts count is relatively low and the fit is so good, it would be suitable for a wide range of building skill levels. If you are looking to add more Japanese aircraft into your collection, this kit is certainly one to be had.
(The N1K1 version of the Shinden was also "New Tool" released by Hasegawa in 2005.)
Completed build #151 - April 2012 using the 1/48th scale Hasegawa #9484 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers