Kawanishi Type 93 Advanced Trainer K5Y1 by Otaki

1/48 scale
Kit No. OT2-8-250
Cost: $12.00
Decals: Two versions
Comments: Advanced Japanese Naval trainer of the 1930’s; molded in a striking orange; wire provided for rigging


The prototype K5Y1 trainer was built by Kawanishi in 1933 with the cooperation of the Naval Air Technical Arsenal of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The K-5Y1 was land-based while the K-5Y2 was a seaplane. 5,591 production models were completed from the period of the Sino-Japanese conflict through the end of the Pacific War (1937-1945). The K-5Y1 trained a generation of Japanese pilots and was affectionately known by the nickname “Red Dragonfly,” but its Allied code name was “Willow.”

Although too slow for front-line service well before the end of the war, some examples were pressed into service as Kamikaze planes in the closing months of the conflict. The Type 93 had varying types of the Hitachi Amakaze radial engine throughout its career, ranging from 340 to 515 hp. Armament was a single forward firing 7.7mm machine gun, and non-trainer seaplane versions sometimes carried a flexible rearward firing 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun. The Type 93 could carry either two 30 kg (66 lb.) bombs or ten 10 kg (22 lb.) bombs.

The Kit

Rarely is a model kit molded in such an attractive color that it seems a bad idea to paint it, but Otaki’s Type 93 Trainer is molded in a beautiful orange, breathtaking in its richness. Forgoing the painting might just be an option on this one. The instructions are well illustrated but entirely in Japanese. Fortunately there is an English-only insert which lists the parts, provides a detailed paint guide. Otaki has thoughtfully provided lengths of wire for the rigging of this biplane — a rare addition to any kit — and included in the English-only insert detailed instructions as to the exact lengths of wire needed. The rigging diagram included in the instructions is pretty basic and the modeler may be better off referring to the box art. The interior parts, engine, wheels and struts are molded in a deep purple, a stark contrast to the rich orange of the rest of the airframe.

The cockpit is fairly basic but does include separate seats, control columns and molded detail in the fuselage interior for the sidewalls, as well as the instrument panels. The radial engine is a single piece but has fairly well molded detail, and the pilot and trainee figures are well done. There are excellent profile illustrations to assist with decal placement, but as these are entirely in Japanese there is no hint as to which unit the two versions of markings belong to. An interesting note is that in profile the Type 93, a radial engined biplane with tandem two-position open cockpits, bears a passing resemblance to the British Fairey Swordfish. A paint guide on one of the box panels provides a choice of the overall choice of orange as depicted on the box art; overall orange with a red tail, or grey with a red tail.


An unusual kit of an important trainer for the Japanese Navy during WWII. Highly recommended.


  • WWII Imperial Japanese Naval Aviation Page ~ (www.combinedfleet.com/ijna/ijnaf.htm)
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