Thursday 14 March 2024

Magnificent 1/72 Emily - 'She's A Big Bird' - by Jan Voorbij

Rather larger than the 1/144 scale Mavis preceding it, this magnificent and fully crewed Kawanishi H8K2 Type 2 Flying Boat Model 12 'Emily' flying boat in 1/72 scale has been built by Jan Voorbij of Holland from the Hasegawa new tool kit, presenting a 'Little and Large' feature for the IJN's flying boat duo. The title quote relates to the iconic 1944 colour movie 'The Fighting Lady', narrated by Robert Taylor, where an 'Emily' is encountered and attacked by aircraft from  USS Yorktown (CV-10). 

Jan's model represents an aircraft operated by 802 Ku at  Shortland Island in the Solomon Islands during 1943 and is well displayed on a plinth with its description presented on the image of an IJN battle flag.

Jan observes that the kit is fantastic but that the plastic is a bit soft. 

Jan also notes that whilst the instructions are in themselves clear, the advised building sequence is not always logical so he advises creating a building plan before construction starts.

Jan encountered one omission: the wing floats should be strengthened by cables attached to the wings. There is no mention whatsoever of these cables in the instructions. To solve this problem Jan referred to the instructions of the older Hasegawa version of the 'Emily' (kitographed here) and the relevant section of those is added below for the assistance of others who may be building or planning to build the new tool model.

In official IJN parlance 'Emily' was the Ni Shiki Hikoh-tei (二式飛行挺) colloquially abbreviated to Ni Shiki Taitei (二式大挺). 'Emily' was conceived to achieve a 30% higher speed and 50% longer range than 'Mavis' plus improved manoeuvrability for torpedo attacks. The flying boat had an impressive range of 3,800 nautical miles (4.370 miles). However whereas Mavis was stable on the water the prototype of 'Emily' completed in 1940 capsized during take-off runs due to the reduced hull width designed to lighten the aircraft. An in board step partly solved the problem and with the aid of a double flap combining fowler and split designs the flying boat was able to take off in 30 seconds even when heavily loaded.

Jan's superbly realised Emily flight deck with busily engaged crew

To further solve the problem of porpoising an indicator was installed to facilitate the pilot maintaining the nose up at 4-6 degrees by lining up the horizon with the so-called 'hairpin' bar fitted to the pylon on the nose in front of the windscreen. In post-war flight testing in the USA NACA (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) noted that 'Emily' left far less wash during take off and landing than comparable German and American flying boats. The Model 12 'Emily' was deemed to have superior performance to the Consolidated PB2Y Colorado and was 50 mph faster in level speed. A total of 131 examples of the flying boat were manufactured at Konan near Kobe and 36 of the Model 32 transport version 'Sei-ku' (Clear Sky) which could carry 64 personnel and their armaments.

'Emily' was noted for a second attack on Pearl Harbor in March 1942, albeit unsuccessful, when two flying boats made the sortie from Watje in the Marshall Islands, re-fuelling from submarines I-15 and I-19 at French Frigate Shoals after a flight of 1,605 miles, then flying another 482 miles to their target. Cloud cover disrupted bomb aiming and each aircraft dropped its four 550 lb bombs blind.

Although appearing elsewhere, special thanks to Jan for sharing these images and details of his magnificent model with AoJ and for his patience in waiting for them to appear here. Reference for the additional details of 'Emily' development from 'General View of Japanese Military Aircraft in The Pacific War' by the staff of 'Aireview', published by Kantô-Sha Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, 1956, in dual Japanese and English text volumes.

Image credit: All model photos © 2024 Jan Voorbij; Instruction excerpt and box art © Hasegawa Corporation


Baronvonrob said...

A very fine example of "Miss Emily" featuring an extraordinary detailed and imaginative interior! can almost imagine being part of the crew out on a mission (beware of those Yorktown Hellcats)

Hasegawa should be motivated to "refresh" their H6K "Mavis" as undoubtedly the updated Emily sold very well.

Gratitude to Jan and Nick for this fascinating posting

p.s. does the H8K feature the single largest Hinomaru (fuselage) of any aircraft during WW2?...they are huge :)

Michael Thurow said...

A very fine build of this huge airplane, Jan! I think I've seen it before and, as now, I was impressed by the detailed interior. I counted ten crew that you masterly painted and placed at their stations. Everytime I see or read about the 'Emily' I feel sorry for those ten men that went down with her when inflamed by gunfire (same feelings for a B-17 crew).
Thanks, Nick, for the information about the take-off problems. I didn't know that, but good to read that the 'Emily' was superior to other flying boats in many respects.

Dan Salamone said...

Wonderfully built model, love the interior detail! Thanks for sharing with us,


Jim Anderson said...

Really nice Jan. Emily is one of my top five flying boats. The inclusion of the radar antennas adds an interesting touch on your build not to mention the detailed interior spaces. Very enjoyable run these last couple of months on Nick's AoJ for seaplane fans. I'm wondering what the new kit provides in the way of a beaching tractor? Thank you Nick for describing the handling issues.

WD said...

Thank you for letting us see this fine build. As was said earlier, I'd love to see Hasegawa revisit the Mavis as well.


Mark Smith said...

Top notch build, Jan. I have admired the kit and its complexity, but it also gives the thought 'this would be a big project!'. You won! A beautiful result.

Thanks for the background on development, Nick. Seems almost every flying boat I've read about presented their own planing / water-handling difficulties that required reconsideration and re-design of the hull, its step, or in the case of the Catalina, the tail surfaces. A great enginnering feat, any boat that flies.

Mark Smith said...

Thanks to all for the kind comments.