Yokosuka E14Y Type Zero by Fujimi
Kit No. 72123
Decals: Eight versions, all Imperial Japanese Navy
Comments: Engraved panel lines, raised rivet detail, one-piece canopy
The Yokosuka E14Y was a small, submarine-launched reconnaissance seaplane operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the early years of the Pacific War. It is the only Japanese aircraft to bomb the United States during the conflict. It made its operational debut shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, when on Deccember 17, 1941 an E14Y launched from submarine I-5 flew over Pearl Harbor itself to survey the battle damage. Some time later another such aircraft from submarine I-9 also flew over Pearl Harbor.
On September 9, 1942, IJN submarine I-25 surfaced off the West Coast of the United States near Brookings, Oregon. Its Yokosuka E14Y1 was removed from its hangar, brought on deck and quickly assembled. Piloted by Warrant Officer Nobuo Fujita and his crewman, Petty Officer Shoji Okuda, it launched from the I-25 and flew on to drop four 167-pound incendiary phosphorus bombs in an Oregon forest. Whether this raid succeeded in causing a forest fire is unclear, in part because of wartime censorship that dictated suppressing the release of information that might encourage further such attacks.
Designed by Mitsuo Yamada of the Dai-Ichi Kaigun Koku Gijitsusho (First Naval Air Technical Arsenal) to meet the specifications for a small reconnaissance seaplane capable of being launched from a submarine, the prototype E14Y was completed at Yokosuka in 1939. It was powered by a Hitachi Tempu 12 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. Designed to be carried aboard a submarine in a water-tight hangar, the E14Y could be easily dismantled for storage. Accordingly, the twin floats and their supports could be detached, as could the wings at their spar fittings. Initially designed with a low-aspect ratio vertical tail surface, flight trails soon pointed up the need to enlarge the tail, requiring a detachable tail fin to facilitate storage while aboard a submarine.
Designated Navy Type 0 Small Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1-1 (later redesignated Model 11), and known to the Allies by the code name “Glen,” the E14Y entered service in 1941. The E14Y took part in some dramatic operations, including both the Pearl Harbor reconnaissance and the Oregon attack. The E14Y was able to operate safely across a vast area from Madagascar to Australia/New Zealand to the Aleuitans during the first two years of the war, but from 1943 on the increasingly widespread use of radar made such reconnaissance missions extremely dangerous.
Engine: Hitachi Tempu 12 12-cylinder radial engine
Span: 36 ft. 1 in.
Length: 28 ft.
Height: 12 ft. 6 in.
Empty weight: 2,459 lbs.
Maximum take-off weight: 3,533 lbs.
Maximum speed: 153 mph
Climb Rate: 10min 11sec to 9,845 ft.
Service ceiling: 17,780 ft.
Range: 548 miles
Armament: One 7.7mm machine gun in observer’s position
Bomb load: 132lb (more if only one crew member were carried)
Fujimi’s E14Y Type 0 floatplane, Allied code name “Glen,” consists of 42 parts, including two clear plastic parts for the one-piece canopy, and what is likely the bomb-aimer’s window situated in the belly where the trailing edge of the wings join the fuselage. In addition, there are eight more parts for launching rails facilitating operations from the deck of a submarine, the purpose for which the Yokosuka E14Y was expressly designed. Released in 1998 by Fujimi Mokei, Ltd., the kit features a basic cockpit with no-frills seats, a control yoke and a bulkhead between the pilot and the bomb-aimer, who sat immediately to his rear in a tandem seating arrangement. The decals include small instrument panel markings for both stations in the cockpit. These are necessary in the pilot’s case as the part for his instrument panel is devoid of detail; but the bomb-aimer’s panel features raised detail that can be brought out with painting and dry-brushing.
The surface of the kit is nicely detailed with engraved panel lines, raised rivet detail, and corrugated surface detail along the rear fuselage, elevators and wings, which feature separately mounted full-length flaps along their trailing edges. As the E14Y was a seaplane designed for operation from submarines, the corrugated surface was likely all aluminum rather than the result of stretched fabric-over-frame effect. Construction of the twin pontoons appears to be straightforward, with front and rear “W” support struts that attach to the belly, and two V struts attaching to the wings for additional structural support. A small schematic at the end of Step 10 provides a profile view of how the struts should look once cemented into place.
There is also a fairly detailed radial engine, which is to be cemented into a front-and-rear two-piece cowling that is going to require putty and sanding to hide the join seam. The launch rail assembly, like that of the pontoons, appears to be straightforward and should not present any problems other than deciding on an appropriate color to paint it, since the instructions do not cover this detail. The kit’s painting guide includes references for Gunze Sangyo and Mr. Color only.
While there are markings provided for eight different aircraft, any text that may provide descriptions is entirely in Japanese, so unless you can read Japanese you are left to guess as to which surface vessel, submarine or naval station these aircraft were assigned to. The decals are by Fujimi and are crisply done with a flat surface sheen. The colors are realistic, with red hinomarus and larger white circles being two separate markings, with the white circles applied first, followed by the red hinomaru, which is centered on the white to provide a white border. The only difficulty is that the white markings appear to look more like cream than white. There are a series of number markings in white/cream, orange, and smaller number markings of an intermediate blue color with an off-white border. Finally there are markings of black rings on a small, seperate sheet — these appear to correspond roughly to the diameter of the hinomaru markings, and to provide an option for a black instead of a white border for them.
An interesting kit of a lesser known aircraft of the Pacific War, and the only one to drop bombs on the United States.
- Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by R. J. Francillon; Putnam & Company, Ltd. London; Copyright 1970