Hasegawa's new 1/48th scale Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" fills a gap in the World War II aircraft lineup that previously was represented in this scale only by the old 1/50 scale Tamiya kit.
This kit is crisply molded in neutral gray plastic, with no flash or sink marks. There are options for bomb armament, detail front and aft cockpits, aft canopy options, and a beaching dolly. A photoetched-metal set for rigging, cockpit details, and other parts is sold separately by Hasegawa, and I used it on my model.
The cockpits are ingeniously designed as one module. There's a lot of detail, but much of it won't be visible after assembly. The cockpit module fits neatly into the fuselage.
The fuselage parts are molded with an integral float pylon. A locking-tab design at the bottom of the pylon creates a positive fit. The large central float will require some weight in the forward end to balance the model.
I was impressed with the wing struts, which also provided a positive and precise fit when the top and bottom wings are attached. Wing assembly is quick and easy. The bottom wing is made from three parts, the top only two. The prop has nice details, such as counterweights. Unfortunately, they won't be seen with the spinner in place.
The clear parts are very well done. The gunner's canopy can be installed closed or open; for the latter, the sliding portion is cleverly molded into the windscreen.
The photoetched-metal set provides the rigging. The wires are finely etched, but working with them is a challenge.
I finished my Pete with Hobby Color's Japanese naval aircraft series acrylic paints. Decals are included for three aircraft. They applied well to the gloss base colors, but they are a bit fragile.
Material on the F1M2 is scarce. After searching my library, my primary reference was a Koku-Fan Illustrated Special, Japanese Military Aircraft Illustrated, Vol. 3
(Bunrin-Do). The completed model looks good when compared to the photos.
I finished my model in a quick 14 hours. Any biplane with rigging takes more planning and patience than a monoplane, but the kit is well engineered and poses no surprises. If you are into WWII Japanese aircraft, this kit is for you.
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