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Trumpeter 1/144 scale Kawanishi Type 97 "Mavis"

Kit: No. 01322
Scale: 1/144
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, distributed by Stevens International, P.O. Box 126, 706 N. White Horse Pike, Magnolia, NJ 08049, 856-435-1555
Price: $16.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 67 parts, decals
Pros: Very good fit, good detail, sharp trailing edges, two-piece display stand
Cons: Filler needed to smooth pylon-to-wing fit, stubborn decals need strong solvent
When it comes to 1/144 scale models, it's nice to see something other than airliners and bombers. Trumpeter's "Mavis" flying boat has fine recessed panel lines and reasonable detail for this scale. The propellers and struts are also well-executed. There is even cockpit detail, including control wheels.

After painting the interior, I began building the airframe. The fit of all components was outstanding. I used filler only to blend the wing pylon struts and the canopy to the top of the fuselage. All other joints were cleaned with a swipe of sandpaper. I didn't install any of the small clear parts in the fuselage, preferring to use Microscale's Kristal Klear instead.

The top end of the front wing pylon is molded flat - it should curve upward to meet the under-wing surface. I built this up from putty and carved it to shape.

The wing was simple to build, and I was impressed by the thin trailing edges. However, they are so thin that I chewed a divot from them when I removed them from the sprues. The engine cowlings required some minor attention with a knife to improve the fit.

Each propeller is protected by a circular sprue. I had to carefully sand the blade edges and smooth the mold-parting lines on the spinners.

The fine fit of the components allowed me to keep the fuselage, wing, floats, and tail as subassemblies for easier painting. I glued the struts into the wing, then dry-fitted them onto the fuselage to set the angle. When the glue was set, I removed the wing for painting. A little trimming on the smaller bracing-strut attachments allowed them to practically snap into place later.

Painting was a breeze. Color options are Imperial Japanese Navy green over gray, or overall gray. I chose the two-tone version.

There are three decal options for each scheme. The decals needed strong solvent to conform to the surface detail. After three applications of setting solution, they still needed to be sliced with a knife and adjusted. The color density (even the white ink) is very good.

I spent 17 hours on my flying boat, a little less than usual because of the good fit and easy paint scheme. Beginners should be able to make "Mavis" a fine looking model.

- Chuck Davis


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