In-Box Review
Nakajima E8N1
Nakajima E8N1 Type 95
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Hasegawa sprang a very welcome double-surprise last autumn with the release of a quarterscale “Dave”. A double-surprise? - well, firstly, it’s been so long since the company brought out a new (as against re-boxed) WW2 aircraft kit in this scale that there was an understandable fear that they’d abandoned the genre and, secondly, the E8N1 is quite an unexpected subject for a mainstream producer. It’s certainly one in the eye for those who moan that all we ever see are the same old done-to-death aircraft.

Comparable to the Royal Navy's Fairey Seafox as a catapult-launched fleet spotter, the Nakajima E891 was a more capable aircraft than its British counterpart. As well as fulfilling its intended role, it served as a light bomber during the Japanese invasion of China and even proved quite capable of looking after itself in dogfights against defending fighters. But by the advent of WW2, the “Dave”, as it was known to the Allies, was increasing relegated to second line duties such as training, in which role it soldiered on until the end of the war.

The Kit
Hasegawa’s new “Dave” arrives in a typically stylish conventional box - very much in the fashion they’ve used for the last 20 years. Basically, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it - so the style of the packaging, parts and instructions are all “classic Hasegawa”. The main sprues are in one bag, while the clear parts and poly-caps are in another, with the decals right at the bottom of the box, safe under the instruction sheet. The kit comprises:

113 x grey styrene parts
2 x clear styrene parts
A set of poly-caps
Decals for 2 x colour schemes

The moulding is excellent, as you’d expect with a new kit from Hasegawa. There’s basically no trace of flash or other problems, and most of the ejector pin marks have been kept out of harm’s way. There are still a few to deal with, but they are small and easily fixed.

The surface finish comprises very crisply engraved panel detail on the metal areas of the airframe, with lightly embossed rivets and some appliqué panelling. The fabric areas are a bit overdone for my taste - fairly taught, but with what I presume are meant to be rib tapes running right ‘round the leading and trailing edges of the wings and tail. From my hunting online so far, clear shots of the full-sized aircraft’s flying surfaces aren’t exactly legion, but I’ll knock back the effect to a best guess of what I think more likely.

Test Fit
Hasegawa have broken the main components down in a rather novel way. The two fuselage halves have a separate top decking that runs the full length from nose to the base of the fin. The seam runs through the fabric effect behind the cockpit, but follows a stringer on each side and should be invisible if you’re careful. The lower wings have distinct “gull wing” roots, and are moulded as butt-joints within indented outlines. This is a little bit more complex than having a full-span wing, but it does away with any awkward filling on the fabric belly.

The top wing is full-span, and the strut locations look good and sturdy; similarly those for the floats. The main float itself fits together beautifully, while the tailplanes slot in solidly.

All in all, the engineering seems well thought out for a straightforward build.

A Few Details
The cockpit is quite simple, with only 19 parts, but the sidewalls feature plenty of integrally moulded detail. I'd have liked to see the trim wheel as a separate part, because it does look a bit heavy moulded-on but, otherwise, it should all look pretty good and will repay careful painting. There are two styles of decals provided for the instrument panels, plus neatly detail dials in the bezels if you prefer to paint them. Hasegawa don’t include any seat harnesses (an etched detail set is available separately), but do provide a pair of well sculpted multi-part seated crew figures.

The engine is, again, quite simple, but very effectively moulded. The 5 parts show subtly depicted cooling fins and moulded-on ignition wires. The intake pipes are moulded integrally with the back of the engine, while the exhausts are separate and feature lightly hollowed-out ends. While you could undoubtedly add more detail, most of it will be hidden by the cowling front-plate, so what Hasegawa have included will be more than adequate for most modellers.

The struts for the wings and floats have good, solid, locating points which should make alignment straightforward.

The 4-part bombs have nicely thin tails and attach to well moulded racks with separate sway-braces.

The windscreens are crystal clear, but it’s a shame the transparent parts don’t include the prominent navigation lights on the wingtips, as these bulbous lamps will be a little bit awkward to make from scratch.

Unless you intend to mount the finished model on a sea-base, it'll tip over on its floats, so a nice final touch is the inclusion of a nicely detailed beaching dolly and stand on which to display it.

Instructions & Decals
The assembly guide is very clearly laid out and illustrated, breaking the construction down into 12 logical steps. Colour matches for Gunze Sangyo paints are given for most details.

The one thing really lacking is any form of rigging guide beyond the boxtop painting. The reason for this is clear – Hasegawa sell a separate etched detail set which includes rigging wires, but it's a bit mean not to at least include a diagram in the standard kit for those who prefer to do their own rigging. Where it does get plain crafty is that one of the colour schemes selected has a water-rudder on the float, and this isn't among the kit parts – it's only on the etched fret – and not even a template is provided with the kit. Naughty, to say the least.

The actual colour schemes are very attractive, with two variations on tan and green topsides over grey-green undersides:

1. E8N1, B1-3 on the battleship Kirishima, 1938
2. E8N1, 5-55 from the seaplane tender Kamoi, 1938

The decals look excellent quality, with perfect register and good colour depth on the sample sheet. Extra numbers are provided on the decal sheet, but there's no mention of them in the instructions.

Hasegawa's new “Dave” is a great little kit that should really appeal to fans of Japanese WW2 aircraft. Looking at Japanese hobby shops' websites, it's well priced domestically, but it really does suffer badly due to very high import prices overseas, which is a great shame because it will almost undoubtedly put off many potential purchasers.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Excellent design and moulding, with straightforward construction. A good level of detail.
Lows: No rigging instructions or water-rudder provided in a push to sell the accompanying etched detail set. The cost in the UK is high.
Verdict: Hasegawa's new "Dave" is a lovely little kit - and just the sort of subject I like. The poorly-disguised ploy to get you to splash out on the extra upgrade set does rankle a bit though.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: JT97
  Suggested Retail: $59.99
  PUBLISHED: Jan 27, 2016
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Great review Rowan. That certainly is a surprise package from Hasegawa, and it looks really nice out of the box. Cheers, D
JAN 27, 2016 - 01:56 AM
Very welcome subject! First "Pete". Then "Rufe". Now "Dave". I hope a new "Jake" is in the works, too; I have their 1/72 "Alf" and hope the tool a 1/48 one, too; I suspect that floatplanes would be a hot series if Hasegawa makes them. For me it looks satisfying without their extra upgrade set - except for the Type 92 machine gun. It looks better than awful but c'mon, at least put a rivet or two on it so it has token detail; Nichimo's Type 92 in their 50-yr-old "Kate" is far superior.
JAN 27, 2016 - 02:32 AM
Nice review - A surprise to say the least ! I watched and waited with great anticipation when Hasegawa announced their Pete kit well in advance of it being available here in the USA. I pre ordered it from a major internet retailer and when it came I was delighted to find it included the dedicated photoetch set as a bonus. It was a very enjoyable build indeed. Fast forward to the Dave kit - my first knowledge of it was when I saw it listed as a new arrival on the same retailer's home page and already sold out ! Got on the wait list and after a short time a new batch arrived and I got mine . I was happy to find that a photo etch set was produced for the Dave in the same style as the Pete but not included - no worries - it's only money so I promptly e mailed the retailer to try to obtain one. I included Hasegawa's Part number for the set as called out in the Dave's instructions. They had no knowledge of set or any idea on availability. I did some research and contacted the North American distributor for Hasegawa with the same result - no one knew anything about it. I like to give US retailers my business but I had to source the photoetch from Japan via the Internet . Now all I need is some time to build it. This isn't a complaint really - I
JAN 27, 2016 - 02:42 AM
Oops ! Reply continued - I am just baffled by the two different ways the release of these very similar kits was handled- I assume that most modelers will want the photo etch but they made it difficult to buy it. This was a while ago so perhaps it is now available here in the USA. Cheers ! Richard
JAN 27, 2016 - 02:49 AM
VERY strange antics with the wire rigging. And annoying too. Plus, it IS hard to track down the rigging set here in the States, at least for now. It's a lovely kit, so far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough in the rigging dept.
JAN 27, 2016 - 02:55 AM
The high "import" price is the 45% inflated (over the Japanese domestic price printed on the box) MANUFACTURER SUGGESTED -FOREIGN- RETAIL PRICE, exclusively for overseas export kits, which Hasegawa started doing in September 2008 in their own FOREIGN DEALER CATALOGS, as was pointed out to me by my LHS owner, who showed me the +45% jack-up from the previous dealer catalog to the next... No such jack-up inside Japan, of course, because only foreigners are supposed to play the role of the suckers in this scenario... Importers don't set the marketing policy of the manufacturers they import... It is an extremely well-established habit of Japanese specialty manufacturers to retreat to their home market when the slightest sign of world wide economic trouble peers over the horizon, and in late 2008 it did more than peer... At the same time that they jacked everything up near 50% -for foreigners- , almost eight years ago now, they also stopped all 1/48th WWII aircraft new tool kits, this new E8 being their first such kit in seven years... (Not exactly a subject of such excitement as to reflect the seven year wait... But again, who cares what the non-Japanese might be interested in...) This behaviour by some Japanese kit makers (but NOT Tamiya for instance) is why you have a bevy of Japanese-based one-man "stores" on Amazon and elsewhere, to cash in on the avoidance of the distribution gouging Hasegawa chose to do... Plamoya, Hobbylink, Hobby Search and even Hobby Easy are other very good places to avoid the Hasegawa-determined price gouging specifically directed towards foreigners: Shipping is fast and only slightly more expensive with those Japanese dealers: Excellent service on all of them... I don't know if the price-gouging is still as high as the +45% it was years ago, as I have not checked US sources in some time now, but Sprue Brothers continues to be the one US-based exception that avoids the price gouge on aircraft kits, but NOT, for instance, on Hasegawa ship kits (a pretty stiff price-gouging on those)... Other than aircraft kits at Sprue Brothers, avoid buying Hasegawa kits from a US-based store... Gaston
JAN 28, 2016 - 04:50 PM

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