Kit No. 72049
Decals: Two versions
Comments: Engraved panel lines, photo-etch detail
The Yokosuka K5Y was a two-seat biplane trainer (Allied codename: “Willow”) that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy during the World War II. Due to its bright orange paint scheme (applied to all Japanese military trainers for visibility), it earned the nickname “aka-tombo”, or “red dragonfly”, after a type of insect common throughout Japan.
The aircraft was based on the Yokosuka Type 91 Trainer, but stability problems led to a redesign by Kawanishi in 1933. It entered service in 1934 as a land-based K5Y1 with fixed tail-skid landing gear, and remained in use throughout the war. Floatplane types (the K5Y2 and K5Y3) were also produced. After the initial 60 examples by Kawanishi, manufacture was continued by Watanabe (556 aircraft built), Mitsubishi (60), Hitachi (1,393), First Naval Air Technical Arsenal (75), Nakajima (24), Nippon (2,733), and Fuji (896), for a total of 5,770.
These aircraft were the mainstay of Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service’s flight training, and as intermediate trainers, they were capable of performing demanding aerobatic maneuvers. Two further land-based versions, the K5Y4 with a 358 kW (480 hp) Amakaze 21A engine and the K5Y5 with a 384 kW (515 hp) Amakaze 15, were projected but never built.
Valom’s K5Y2 Willow floatplane is molded in grey and consists of 63 injection molded plastic parts, crisply detailed on a single sprue in a clear plastic zip lock bag. The decals, photo-etch parts, instrument panel films and the resin control column are contained in a separate, smaller zip lock bag. The ailerons and rudder are separately molded, and the engraved detail on the fuselage and radial engine are impressive. The rear machine gun and bombs are molded in clear plastic for some reason, and the modeler may want to replace the machine gun with a more detailed aftermarket example. The instruction sheet includes glossy color plates of the two versions of the Willow for which decals are provided. There is also a paint guide calling out colors for Humbrol, Gunze Sangyo, Model Master, Agama and Federal Standard 595b. The photo-etch parts are for the seatbelts, instrument panels, and exterior hand- and footholds on the fuselage.
This is an excellent kit of an important trainer and observation aircraft for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Highly recommended.