The Shin Meiwa US-2 and PS-1 are large STOL aircraft designed for air-sea rescue (SAR) and ASW work respectively.
In 1960, Shin Meiwa demonstrated a prototype flying boat, the UF-XS, that featured a novel boundary layer control system to provide enhanced STOL performance. The company also built upon its wartime experience (as Kawanishi) to refine the Grumman Albatross hull that the aircraft was based on. In 1966, the JMSDF awarded the company a contract to further develop these ideas into an ASW patrol aircraft. Two prototypes were built under the designation PS-X and flight tests began on October 5, 1967, leading to an order for production under the designation PS-1 in 1969.
The PS-1 ASW variant carried homing torpedoes, depth charges and 127mm rockets as offensive armament but had no defensive weapons. It was equipped with dipping sonar, which had limited use as it required the aircraft to land on water to deploy. It could also carry up to 20 sonobuoys. It had a crew of ten: pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator and six sensor/weapons operators.
The PS-1 had not been in service long before the JMSDF requested the development of a search-and-rescue variant. The deletion of the PS-1’s military equipment allowed for greater fuel capacity, workable landing gear, and rescue equipment. The new variant, the US-1, could also quickly be converted for troop-carrying duties. First flown on October 15, 1974, it was accepted into service the following year, and eventually 19 aircraft were purchased. From the seventh aircraft on, an uprated version of the original engine was used, but all aircraft were eventually modified to this US-1A standard. The US-1A’s first rescue was from a Greek vessel in 1976. Between that time and 1999, US-1As had been used in over 500 rescues, saving 550 lives.
With the US-1A fleet beginning to show its age, the JMSDF attempted to obtain funding for a replacement in the 1990s, but could not obtain enough to develop an entirely new aircraft. Therefore, in 1995, ShinMaywa began plans for an upgraded version of the US-1A, the US-1A kai. This aircraft features numerous aerodynamic refinements, a pressurised hull, and more powerful Rolls-Royce AE 2100 engines. Flight tests began on December 18, 2003. The JMSDF purchased 3 of these aircraft around 2007 and they entered service as the ShinMaywa US-2.
The aircraft is currently operated by the 31st Fleet Air Wing (71st Air Force, 71st Flight Squadron) at Iwakuni air base and Atsugi air base.
The Indian Navy is prepared to buy between 15 and 18 US-2i Amphibious Search and Rescue (SAR) aircraft at cost of $1.65 billion. It is expected that these amphibious aircraft will be stationed in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
The top opening box contains 2 models in separate bags. There is just a single sprue for each kit and a stand is also included for each kit. The sprues are similar, although there are differences. The sprues are identical to those in the the similar release containing a US-1/1A and US-2. The only difference being different decals and instructions.
The instructions are a single piece of paper folded to give 4 pages. Page 1 is the usual safety warnings and a brief overview of the 2 aircraft. Pages 2 and 3 are colour and decal instructions, colours being referenced in Mr Color and Testors/Model Master ranges. Each of the 2 kits has 2 decal options and there’s also a decal for the stand. These aircraft are amphibians so you can put them on their undercarriage if you don’t want to use the stand. Each aircraft comprises of approximately 27 parts, of which 3 will not be used as you have the option of undercarriage down or up. Page 4 is the build instructions and a photo of each of the sprues so you can tel which sprue is for which aircraft, and hence which colour and decal scheme. This is helpful with the sprues being so similar. The build instructions are very simple and you could probably build the kits without even looking at them.
The decals are by Cartograf and are very comprehensive, as is the norm for Platz.
Two very nice little kits for a reasonable price with very nice decal sheets. They will build into colourful models and look good on the shelf. The 1/300 scale is unusual and I notice the sprues are by F-Toys, who Platz are obviously collaborating with on this kit.
Thanks to Platz for the review sample.
Paul Tosney – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com