IPMS Gent modelbouwclub

Twee Willows

KitsYokosuka K1Y1 and K1Y2 “Willow”
TypeInjection moulded
PaintHumbrol, MIG pigments (diorama)

Reheat Models
ReferencesScale Models International May 1990


Yokosuka is one of the lesser-known names in Japanese aircraft history but they did produce some important aircraft for the army. One of them was developed in the pre WW2 period as a trainer that could be fitted with wheels (K1Y1) and floats (K1Y2). It was a rather big aircraft according to Japanese standards and it is often compared as being the Japanese counterpart of the American Boeing Kadett / Stearman. There has been a time in model-land where aircraft of Japanese types, except for the all-famous “Zero”, have been quite rare. One of the then lesser-known names that released lesser-known types was LS. I bought the floatplane K1Y2 many years ago but never started the build by lack of reference material. One of our club members specialised regarding the Japanese air force brought change in things and the 2nd hand buy of the K1Y1 fitted with wheels decided to start the build.

The kit

WillowLS offer bright orange plastic parts on four sprues. This bright orange was probably intended as the base colour for the K1Y2 because the box-art of this kit shows this aircraft in these colours. Finding an article regarding the build in 1/48 of a wheel equipped type aircraft learned that these wheel type planes often received a silver livery. I thus opted to paint the wheel type in silver with a red tail and the floatplane in orange.

The decals in both kits are the same with only one digit difference between both aircraft. No rigging plan and almost no interior is provided. All parts need minor clean up and there are two separate cockpit windscreens on a small separate sprue. Both aircraft are almost identical with only the vertical tail plane of the K1Y2 being bigger and undercarriage differing between the types.


1: Undercarriage

WillowI drilled out the main wheels of the K1Y1 until only the tyre was left. The wheels rims were replaced by spoke wheel types from the Airwaves WW1 set. It required quite some work but the result is worth the effort, tyres painted in Panzer Grey, spokes in silver.
The K1Y2’s floats are weighted at the front with small pieces of lead, fixed in Blue Tack, before both halves are cemented. This way, I hoped that the Willow would not become a tail sitter when not put on a base or a cart. Undercarriage supports are fixed and will receive some rigging in a latter stage.

2:Cockpit interior

WillowOnly 2 enormous seats and 2 giant pilots are provided. These pilots went on leave to the spares box and the seats received a new look by adding some rounded side supports and PE seatbelts from Reheat Models.

Left and right inner sides receive a tubular frame made from horizontal running pieces of metal wire on which are added some small control panels on the right and some trim wheels on the left in both cockpits. 3 bulkheads are constructed and are fixed before the front cockpit instrument panel, between both cockpits and behind the rear seat. Both instrument panels are also scratch build and are painted black. The complete cockpit is painted Interior Green followed by a black wash. Both instrument panels receive instrument bezels from Reheat Models, sealed with a coat of Klir (Future). A cockpit floor is constructed from fine veneer wood, 2 control sticks from Evergreen rod and foot pedals from a Reheat Models set.

3: Wings and struts

WillowWing parts consist of 2 short lower wings and one big upper wing. They are connected with struts but these struts are connected by pair at top and bottom ends by horizontal parts that must be inserted in the wing parts. This provided a much stronger connection but on the other hand it brings along a lot more work because of careful filling and sanding needed to correct the protruding supports. The supports between hull and upper wing are of the same type and it is even more difficult to clean these up without damage. I drilled out the strut location points in the hull parts to make their emplacing easier and the joins stronger. The lower wing must be fixed under a slight upward angle. Take care to let dry and use slow drying glue so that adjusting is still possible.

4: Tailplanes

The tail planes of K1Y1 and K1Y2 differ slightly in size and shape; the one of the K1Y2 floatplane are the biggest. The rudder is a trifle too short and is lengthened by a piece of plastic sheet. The vertical tail piece has a position light on its top but, when compared to drawings, it seems that this light is positioned the wrong way and so I cut it off an turned it to the rear. Ailerons are cut partially to provide a slight hanging down effect. The vertical part has two locating pins to be inserted in the hull. They provide strength when glued to the hull. Use of putty is necessary. They will receive supports on the lower side between hull and tail plane as well as 2 cables between tail plane and vertical part.

5: Main body

A small piece supposed to represent an air filter or supercharger needs to be positioned beneath the engine. I deliberately say, “supposed to” because this part, when compared to the box-art drawing, resembles nothing. Only good point is its very good fixation to the hull. I added a small grille from the spares box, glued on to the front of the piece and cut to shape. This way it does resemble an air inlet.

A black painted cylinder must be added to the left part of the body; I left it behind till after general painting. There are pieces in this kit to represent a fixed machine gun in its housing on the lower side of the body. This machine gun cannot be located on the box-art of none of both kits. Its exact location is not clear and the gun’s barrel looks ridiculous. I therefore decided not to use the machine gun on to build both aircraft as trainers.

The wheel-equipped aircraft receives its tail wheel but the tail end of the floatplane version needs to be filled and sanded.

6: Finishing touch

Fine copper wire was used to construct the rigging. The steps on both sides of the cockpit and the handholds at the tail are replaced by metal wire of various thicknesses. Both cockpits receive their windscreens.


WillowThe wheel-equipped version K1Y1, receives an overall silver colour with the exception of vertical and horizontal tail planes that are painted Humbrol Carmine red. Wing struts in dark wood colour. The K1Y2 water plane receives some silver paint around engine, cockpit and its floats. The entire aircraft, except the underside of the floats, is than sprayed in orange. Wing struts in dark wood. A scalpel and some sanding paper are used to reproduce scratch marks around footsteps, engine hood and floats so to represent wear and tear. These scratches are the result of climbing into the aircraft by pilot’s and mechanics and the wear of the water on landings. These floats also receive a small green shine around their water line so to represent some algae growing on them. Both aircraft get a Klir (Future) overspray followed by a black wash around the panel lines.


Both aircraft receive their decals as provided in their kits. They are applied using Humbrol Decal Cote 1 and 2. The decals provided on the wheel equipped aircraft refused their release from the carrier but once released, all went well. Those of the water plane on the other hand, released well but all serial numbers cracked up and had to be repositioned. I spend 3 hours on putting on decals on both planes. They are finally sealed by a coat of Klir (Future). Both floats also receive 2 wide, red coloured, bands across them just beneath the propeller. Two smaller red strips are applied around the area where the trolley’s wheel axle will find its place.


WillowThe wheel equipped Willow finds its place on a small diorama together with a restored Hasegawa Toyota Starter Truck. The Willow needed a starter truck and both go together very well, certainly because the truck has an open cargo bay that allows some equipment to be carried. The ground crew provided in the Toyota kit is used. A plant tray bought in a garden centre for 3,50 € provides ground base. It is filled with isolation foam and receives a plaster top layer. Grass is provided by Faller railway accessories, sprayed in several shades of green. Earth represented by Humbrol dark earth and MIG pastel powder in shades of green and brown. Wheel chocks are made of balsa and put in place before the wheels. The bomb trolley provided in the Toyota kit is used this time as an oil drum transport. This drum receives a hose and the rear bed of the Toyota is filled with another oil drum, an oilcan and a cap filler. I also constructed a small aircraft trolley for the seaplane version, made from balsa, Evergreen profiles, copper wire and some smaller parts like the wheels, coming from the spares-box. This trolley was build basing its construction on 2 pictures of such trolleys on which sea Willows were transported. It’s not a 100 % correct build but it provides a general idea of what it must have been.


This is another one of those kits that do exist for a long time but are not often constructed or showed and I really do not wonder why anymore now that I did build it myself. The interior is Spartan, wing struts need a lot of adjusting filing and sanding and it is very difficult to add some details without some decent hard to find documentation. As far as I know it is the only available injection moulded 1/72 scale kit of this type. I started it with a lot of enthusiasm but I can’t say that I really enjoyed building this kit; it rather became a challenge finishing it to a good result, rigging included. But they are some rather unique models that will find their places in my collection and I think they will attract many people, if only by their colour schemes.

Keep ‘m building

Erwin Bovyn



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