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Kawanishi Rex

by Rick Marshall


Kawanishi Rex





The floatplane fighter was born to fill the gap that the Japanese saw between the time that an invasion commenced and an airfield could be built. The purpose of the floatplane fighter was to provide defense to the invasion force and close air support.

In 1940 the Japanese Navy contracted Kawanishi to build a high performance floatplane fighter. This aircraft was known as the 15 Shi Floatplane fighter. Kawanishi built the aircraft as an all-metal midwing aircraft with a single centerline float. The aircraft was to be powered by the Mitsubishi Kasei Radial engine. At one time a counter-rotating propeller was planned to counter act the torque from the engine, this would have made its water manners better and takeoffs much easier, however the counter rotating propellers were dropped.



The Aircraft first few in late 1943 and did not play an important role in the war effort. With a top speed in the order of 280 mph it most likely would not have faired well against Hellcats or Corsairs.



Tamiya's Rex


I had no intention of buying this kit. However, my 3-year-old son would not leave the Hobby Shop without the "funny airplane with the upside down skis". Ain't youth grand? So this is his model and he just let me build it.

As with other Tamiya kits this one looked good in the box and appeared to have no flaws in any of the parts or sprues. The clear parts are quite clear, distortion free and thin. The decals looked to be on register but appeared thick.





The instructions were easy to follow and well laid out. Everything fit and I had no problems with the construction. The only flaw that I found was on the bottom of the left wing where the pitot tube attached. The hole for the pitot tube extended well into the wing which would have resulted in some touch up if not installed and filled prior to painting, so I decided to glue it on early and risk breaking it.

The kit is well detailed and I built this one straight from the box. This kit is well designed and impossible to get wrong - there is only one way to put it together. If you mix-up the horizontal tails no problem - they can't be glued on the wrong side. It is the same story for the outrigger floats.

With just a small amount of sanding the seams were gone, all major components had seams where they were joints or panel lines.

This is an excellent kit for beginners and experienced modelers who want a break from filler and test fitting parts.



Painting and Finishing


Construction was so straightforward that I spent some extra time thinking of ways to weather the model. From my own time flying floatplanes I know that the tops and bottoms take a real beating, so I painted the main float with Metalizer, and then covered it with Tamiya J.N. grey on the bottom and sides followed by Tamiya Green on the upper surfaces.

Those of you who know about Kawanishi aircraft are probably wondering about the black cowling on this model. Well it shouldn't be black, but I found out after I painted it and I couldn't be bothered to fix it. In fact the paint scheme on this model is also questionable. My recommendation would be to follow the kits paining directions - imagine that!

I painted the floats prior to installation on the model. This made painting and weathering the undersides much easier.

The kit's decals would not settle in for me at all. Micro Sol had very little effect. I wound up using Solvaset and this did the job. I was not too happy with the decals and would recommend using after market decals. The next time I build a Japanese kit I think I will paint the markings on.

For weathering I used a soft lead pencil to highlight the panel lines. Oil washes were used to simulate oil stains and pastels made up the gun and exhaust stains. Paint chips are a mixture of silver pencil crayon and scraping off the top colour to expose the Metalizer.



To further weather the float I used Micromesh polishing cloths to thin the paint on the top and underside of the main float, this very lightly exposed the Metalizer and made the paint look worn though. The effect is subtle and is difficult to pick up from a distance, but the closer you look the more apparent the thinned paint becomes.





This is a nice easy model to build and it was fun to weather. This is the first time I have undercoated a model with silver and chipped the paint. It was also the first time I thinned/sanded the paint to simulate worn paint. Both worked well and were not difficult to do. I would recommend this model to anyone.

Model and Accessories

Model was build OOB Kit Tamiya Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofo type 11 REX TM61036


All Aircraft references were obtained via the Internet (Beware not all info is Accurate) Color References: IPMS Color Cross-Reference Guide by David H. Klaus


Text and Images Copyright 2000 by Rick Marshall
Page Created 20 November, 2000
Last updated 26 July, 2007

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