Wednesday 23 November 2016

Jake - A Tale of Two Scales ~ Part 1

In 1/72 scale the Hasegawa kit of the Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane E13A 'Jake' (Rei Shiki Suijoh Teisatsu-ki 零式水上偵察機, commonly abbreviated  as Rei-Sui 零水), now long in the tooth at nearly 50 years old, is still the only game in town. Hasegawa will re-release their kit in January, the new guise being an aircraft of the `Kashima Air Squadron` (above) complete with catapult. Two tailcode options are included for カシ-95 (Kashi-95) and カシ-98. This presumably represents aircraft from the Kashima Kokutai and not the light/training cruiser Kashima, which also carried an E13A and reportedly used the tail codes 'R' and then 'L', although the inclusion of the catapult makes it a bit mysterious.

 Kit # B20 ~ probably 1977 rather than 1971

Hasegawa catalogue image 1978 

According to Burns* Hasegawa first issued their Jake kit in 1971 as B20 with a second release in 1981 as D10. The box art and box style were identical but B20 had a blue flash (above) and D10 a green flash (below). B20 appeared in the 1978 Hasegawa catalogue with the subsidiary kit designation JS-056. The B-20 box has the designation JS-056:400 on one end of the box but not on D10 which has D010:500 instead. The A and B kit designations do not appear to have been in sequence with the JS numbers as A1, for example, the Ki-44, is listed as JS-090. The box art was by Kihachiro Ueda who illustrated many LS boxtops as well as the 1/48th scale Fujimi and the Revell (Japan) 1/32nd scale box art. Both kits were moulded in dark green plastic and offered markings on the decal sheet for three aircraft - a radar equipped dark green Jake of the Saeki Ku with the tail code サヘ-20 (Sahe-20), another dark green example on the heavy cruiser Maya with the tail code EII-2, and a light grey finished floatplane of the 7th Ku with the tail code I-VII-05. The Hasegawa kit was listed as a "recent new release" in the August 1973 issue of Scale Models magazine, being imported by A A Hales Ltd of Hinckley, Leics. 

 Kit # D10 ~ 1981?

 Kit # JS-056 ~ probably 1973

But here is the rub. The magazine review describes the kit as being moulded in pale grey plastic and in the May 1973 issue a full page Hales advert listed their Hasegawa kits (although not the Jake) only with JS kit numbers. According to Burns the Jake was first issued as JS-056 in 1980 but the Scalemates website shows JS-056 as the first issue. The JS-056 box with the Hales logo is shown above. The logo also appeared on each end of the box and on one side.  The first advert for the Hasegawa Jake in Airfix magazine was in the June 1973 issue by Modeltoys of Portsmouth.  And in the September 1973 issue there was a revealing piece about the importer A A Hales Ltd:-

"Although Frog will no longer be the source of Hasegawa's superb moulding, the Japanese kits will still be available. Another importer A.A. Hales Ltd of Hinckley, Leicestershire, have taken over the licence and now the kits are available in their original Japanese home-market boxes with a Hales trade mark added."

So it appears that the JS-056 was indeed the first issue, appearing in the UK circa mid-1973 and then followed by the B20 and D10 issues circa 1977 and 1981 respectively. The artwork on the JS-056 box  is similar to early Shigeo Koike illustrations for Hasegawa but the signature does not appear to be his. Similar boxes were sold in the USA with the Minicraft logo added (below). 

 Kit # JS-056 US Minicraft import

 Kit # JS-056 Japanese domestic box?

The same style of box was also issued with Japanese characters in the lower left portion (above), perhaps for the domestic or Far East markets as suggested by the Airfix magazine statement. Scalemates show the B20 box as being the second release issued in 1977 which accords with my memory of first buying the kit in that box circa 1978.  Hales also sold the B20 kit in a flimsier cardboard, end-opening box with the art on both sides, moulded in dark green plastic. The JS-056 kit offered more decal options with tail codes for six aircraft - X-5 on the seaplane tender Kimikawa Maru, 531-03 aboard the armed merchantman Akagisan Maru for the Aleutians, 52-031 of the 452nd Ku (as shown on the box art), ZI-21 on Kimikawa Maru, I-VII-05 of the 7th Ku and YII-20 on the seaplane carrier Mizuho.

 JS-056 Instruction Sheet

In 1973 Hales sold the Jake kit for 45p and the Scale Models review was generally positive about the kit, commenting on the absence of overscale rivets and a straightforward construction requiring only minimal filler. The instruction sheet (above) had a good description of the type and drawings showing the three main versions. Although more recent appraisals of the kit are sometimes less than complimentary the weakest aspect was the lack of interior detail which consisted only of a floor, three rather crude seats and a simple instrument panel for the pilot. Three identical crewmen were also included and appeared to be based on the contemporary Airfix jet pilot modified to represent IJN flying kit. When installed the crewmen sitting in tandem, all with their heads turned slightly to the left, presented rather a comical appearance. 

Kit # C9/JS-117 ~ 1977 or 1980?

Burns records the kit also being issued as C9 from 1970-80 with a Kure Mk 2 Model 5 catapult and again as JS-117 with the catapult from 1980. The box art is shown above and the box in my collection is marked on the end as C9 and JS-117 with a price tag of HK$8.60 (less than £1). The kit was listed in the 1978 catalogue as C9 with the susidiary designation JS-117 although the catalogue image shows JS-116! The Jake is the basic B20/D10 kit moulded in dark green with the same decal options whilst the catapult is moulded in dark grey plastic. Scalemates record this kit as being issued in 1977 and another which appears to be exactly similar as E9 in 1981. The Encyclopedia of Military Models** records that the catapult was originally made by Ross Abare and sold seperately for $3 by Unique Scale Accessories of Springfield, Mass., with Hasegawa subsequently purchasing the mould for inclusion in their kits.  

Kit # 717 of 1990

Hasegawa's Jake was re-issued again in 1990 as # 717 in a new box with art by Tetsuo Makita (above). Moulded in pale grey plastic this kit offered decal options for a radar equipped E13A1 of the Yokosuka Ku in 1944 with the tail code ヨ-19 (Yo-19) as depicted in the box art, an E13A1b of the 452nd Ku at Shimushu in August 1944 with the tail code 52-026 and an E13A1 on the heavy cruiser Atago off the Philippines in January 1942 with the tail code DII-3. The first two examples were dark green over grey and the latter an overall grey aircraft. This issue included instrument panels for the pilot and navigator with decals for both.  

Kit # 51530 of 1995

In 1995 the Jake and catapult were re-issued in a new style box with modified art as # 51530 and NP10 (above). In 2001 the Jake by itself was re-issued as kit # 00277 Aichi E13A1 Type Zero (Jake) Model 11 'Battleship Yamato' with new box art and decal options for various tailcodes of aircraft carried on the battleship from 1942 to 1945 (below).

Kit # 00277 of 2001

  Kit # 01996 of 2012

In 2012 a limited edition of the Jake and catapult was released as kit # 01996 Aichi E13A1 Type Zero (Jake) Model 11 'Midway' w/Catapult (above). This kit included decal options for two overall grey aircraft from the heavy cruiser Tone and Chikuma with tail codes MI-4 and MII-6 respectively and a dark green over grey example from the heavy cruiser Myoko with the tailcode FI-I.  

Kit # 012154 of 2015

In 2015 the Jake and catapult were released again as as another limited edition kit # 02154 Aichi E13A1 Type Zero (Jake) Model 11 `Light Cruiser Yahagi` (above) with decal options for two aircraft with tail codes 220-21 and 220-22 involved in the Yamato Okinawa operation. 

Part 2 of this series will consider the larger Nichimo kit and Part 3 will focus on the details of the actual Hasegawa kit itself in relation to the real aircraft.  Please comment with any additional information about the kit or corrections, thanks.  

* 'In Plastic WW2 Aircraft Kits' by J W Burns, Kit Collectors Clearinghouse, 1993
** 'Encyclopedia of Military Models' by Claude Boileau, Huynh-Dinh Khuong and Thomas A Young, Airlife, 1988 (translation from first French edition of 1986)

Image credits: All box art © Hasegawa  Corporation circa 1971-2016 via Scalemates, Hobby Search and personal collection


Dan Salamone said...

I had no idea my 1/72 brethren were in the same boat as 1/48 enthusiasts. Surely new tool kits in both scales will be coming soon?!

Full disclosure that a new tool 1/48 Jake from Hasegawa is my "holy grail" of aircraft model wishes. The Pete and Dave are both wonderful kits, so why not a Jake, too!


MDriskill said...

Nick, your kit histories are always fascinating! I really enjoy seeing the various box art variations, etc. in sequence, and learning details of the difference releases.

If the Maru Mechanic drawings of the Jake are to be believed, the flying surfaces and floats of the Hasegawa 1/72 kit are pretty accurate, but the fuselage is noticeably under-scale. I certainly agree with Dan, that it's time for new releases of this attractive and historically significant floatplane.

WD said...

Thank you so much for this Nick. I believe I built this kit in 1974 or thereabouts. I bought a more recent offering (the 1990 boxing?) for old times sake. Your post made me pull it down out of the stash as I am in the process of cleaning out the stash. Just not sure if I'm ready to get rid of it, although I'd rather have the one with the catapult.
Hmmmm, I'm sure if I hang on to it, there will be a new tool issued.


Mark Smith said... do you track the chronology of all these releases? Are there some Hasegawa catalogues in the stash along with the kits? In any case, the 'kitologies' are one of the big attractions of the blog. The recent one on Hasegawa's Emily boxings uncovered art I'd never seen or knew existed. And this one makes one wonder how much the company might have made on a set of 50-year old molds that have hardly ever been out of production! Enough, may we hope to pay for a new tool release of Jake?

Scoobs said...

Great article! I have long wished for a modern kit in 1/72 scale to do justice to this prolific and important reconnaissance aircraft of the Pacific War. For a while Sword got my hopes up that they might be the one with progressive release of Japanese subjects; if anyone here has the ear of the company, please drop them a suggestion to release a Jake! As far as the lack of any attempts by the big Japanese companies, I can't help but wonder if this absence is due to the lack of any surviving aircraft or blueprints to reference?