Jim Anderson has kindly shared another collection of images and build notes, this time for his 1/72 LS model of the Yokosuka K5Y2 'Willow' trainer in floatplane configuration. This venerable kit was first released in 1973 in both wheeled and floatplane versions and is still intermittently available from Arii. Over to Jim then:-
"Firstly, let me say 'thank you' to Nick and the Aviation of Japan audience for all of the encouraging comments I’ve received in response to my previous postings. I started this 1/72 LS Yokosuka K5Y2 ‘Willow’ with floats in August 2010 with the build lasting about 3 weeks. For a vintage model it was nicely molded, being about to 1970s Airfix or Hasegawa quality. The box art was very colorful and the surprise was inside as I laid eyes on the shockingly brilliant orange plastic!
"There were no issues with the kit although some might consider replacing the kit supplied windscreens, which I chose not to The only scratch building being two simple instrument panels and two pilot seats. Attaching the upper wing to the ‘N’ struts went well. I used the kit supplied decals which by that time had to be well over 20 years old but were in remarkably good shape.
"Painting was as follows: the interior from a 50/50 mix of 'old school' Pactra M-7 Artillery Olive (FS 34088) and Pactra XF-19 Flat Battleship Gray - fine. Now to priming in preparation for the color coat. I airbrushed everything with a light coat of Testors Flat White but that was not enough. In hindsight it really needed another coat of opaque light gray as the glaring orange plastic was too much for my casual attempt to hide it.
"I figured it was going to be orange anyway – famous last thoughts. The rudder and vertical stabilizer were painted with Testors 1/4 oz. Red 1103. The overall color is 60% Model Masters Chrome Yellow FS 13538 with 40% (approximate) Pactra Insignia Orange X-13. I think that using a regular yellow would have been a better choice than the chromate version I used, as I was never satisfied by the way it looked. The upper pontoon struts were painted Humbrol HF1 Khaki, the engine cowling was Humbrol Matt Black #33 and the cockpit coaming was Model Master Leather.
"The decals and rigging were applied next then a diluted coat of Testors Dullcote Lacquer was applied to the model to complete the project. The combination of pontoons on a biplane can be vexing to a modeler, but with this kit proved not to be the case. I’d suggest 'Willow' with floats to anyone wanting to 'have a go' at one."
'Willow' was the Imperial Japanese Navy's Type 93 Intermediate Trainer, popularly known as 'Akatonbo' (赤蜻蛉 - red dragonfly) from its orange and red plumage, the design originating in 1932 as a joint project to improve on the Type 91 trainer by Kawanishi and the First Naval Air Technical Arsenal at Yokosuka. The wheeled version was designated K5Y1 and the floatplane version K5Y2. The K5Y2 type was produced at five different aircraft factories with production stretching from 1933 at Kawanishi Kokuki K.K. to 1945 at Fuji Hikoki K.K. and Nippon Hikoki K.K. The best English language reference to this long serving and iconic biplane is undoubtedly the superb and highly recommended Arawasi Eagle Eye Series No.2 monograph which includes a wealth of detailed information, plans, photographs, inspiring colour profiles and a translation of the Fuji company's painting specifications.
In addition to the LS kit there have been more recent kits of 'Willow' in 1/72 scale from Valom and AZ Model. There is also a classic 1/48 scale kit of the K5Y1 wheeled version released by Otaki in 1972 and subsequently available under the Arii label. 1/32 scale kits of the K5Y1 and K5Y2 were released by Nitto Kagaku in the same year as the LS kit. The Nitto Kagaku kits were also issued by Entex Industries and from 1991 were issued by Doyusha and are still available under that label. The 1/32 scale 'Willow' floatplane was featured here in November 2010.
Image credit: All model photos © 2020 Jim Anderson; LS Box art via Scale Mates