Wednesday 13 March 2024

Green Cross Mavis by Mark Smith

Once again Mark Smith beguiles with a model which can easily be taken for a larger scale - the graceful Type 97 Flying Boat  (Kyu Nana Shiki Hikoh-tei 九七式飛行挺 or Kyu Nana Taitei 九七大挺), Kawanishi H6K 'Mavis'.

Rainy Day Kit: Trumpeter's Mavis

by Mark Smith

The Trumpeter 1/144 scale kit of the Kawanishi H6K Mavis flying boat has been around since 2003, and has always seemed a bit of a sleeper. It’s an accurate but simple kit which looks great in military or civil markings.  Considering the size of the original, it’s perfect for those who don’t have space to display the ancient 1/72 Hasegawa kit - generally the less accurate of the two. The usual suspects have it in stock for twelve to fifteen dollars (listed as £10.99 at Hannants in UK but currently on backorder. Ed) . It’s always been in production. Of course, if a rumor got round that the molds had been destroyed in a rare head-on train collision, then we’d be talking about a hundred-dollar collector’s item. So best get one now.

It was a relatively quick build with good fit, with the exception of the central V-shaped pylons for the wing; here the join is secure but needs special attention and some filler to fair things in smoothly. Only the clunkiest parts were redone here, necessitated by molding limitations - the unusual center-wing pitot tube, rdf loop, and antenna masts have been replaced by items made from brass rod. There appear to be two different versions of these molds released, civil and military, with beautiful box art for each. (The kit was also released in both versions by Monochrome which appears to be a Japanese outlet for Trumpeter kits. Ed)) In fact, lift the lid on either, and it’s the same kit with the same lovely decal sheet, which covers both options. The aircraft offers the modeler a wider scope for markings than some Japanese types: a civil-operated a/c in pristine natural metal, or IJN versions in overall grey or green over grey.

I built this one in the surrender markings of an aircraft found near the seaplane ramp at Yokohama. with only the back half of the fuselage in the prescribed white with green surrender crosses on the fuselage. Someone in charge had obviously thought it through: 'With a wingspan of about 131 feet, and a wing area of 1,830 square feet, on a cloudy day how many gallons of white paint would be required to evenly cover the surface of a Kawanishi flying boat wing?'  (Correct Answer: 'D. Too many').

Trumpeter's model comes with a clear stand, which I found unattractive, to display the model in-flight.  The finished project, with its rigging and antenna aerials, suggested an accident waiting to happen. So I built a V-shaped plinth for the hull to mount it, with the plate below finished in aotake, with brass plate underneath to give it weight.

This model was very much inspired by seeing Steve Hustad’s remarkable 1/72 Hasegawa build, and the article and photos he shared on j-aircraft many years ago.

With special thanks to Mark for sharing these images and details of another superbly realised 1/144 scale model.    

Image credit: All photos © 2024 Mark Smith


WK said...

Lovely build Mark, you have the hinomaru poking though the hastily applied white paint perfectly. For anyone interested in the footage of the aircraft Mark has modelled, here is a link to the Showakan Archive (1:28)

and another (8:59)


Jim Anderson said...

Let's hear it for the Floatboats! The Mavis is an elegant and graceful design and was good at what it did. Mark you produced a masterful job with this one and that it's 1/144 is noteworthy. I was fortunate to have seen this model in person. Your weathering and inclusion of a subtle patchwork of differing greens on the topside adds another level of realism to the kit. The surrender scheme you chose is uniquely Mark Smith. Gratitude Nick for giving us a look at it so as to better appreciate these impressive and long gone seaplanes.

Baronvonrob said...

Yet another excellent aircraft from Mr. Smith!...I truly thought it was the Hasegawa 1/72 realistic and a unique and successful choice of livery!

I am still holding out hope for an updated Hasegawa version of the H6K much like their recently retooled "Emily"...meanwhile I better pick up a 1/144 kit before the next railway disaster :)

Thanks to both Mark and Nick !!

Michael Thurow said...

My favourite flying boat, Mark! Thanks for showing it in a unique and unusual scheme. The half-and-half paintwork is such a nice deviation from the (often monotonous) green over grey, and you finished it perfectly. I'm also impressed about how the small detail stands up well against much larger scales. You must have very steady fingers! If the 'Mavis' would be released in 1/48 I think it would be the only oversize type that I'd be crazy enough to build.

Thank you also, Mark, for your exceptionally positive words about my 'Jake' story. I was touched by them - very kind of you!


Dan Salamone said...

Great job on this unusual Mavis, Mark. Thanks for sharing it here!