Laura - little known, but nicely kitted! (OOB)

One of the fun parts of modelling, I find, is coming across a kit of something unfamiliar. It could be a different variant of a known machine, or something you’ve not seen a kit of before. For me, it always makes me raise my eyebrows and, more often than not, end up purchasing the kit as an excuse to learn more about the esoteric subject at hand.

However, after being into planes for over 40 years, I didn’t think there were too many (at least not from the mid-‘30s forward) that I wouldn’t at least have heard of. However, on a trip to a local store, I came across just such a beast. When I picked up the box, I didn’t even really know if what I was looking at was a real plane or something from an alternate history story.

The plane, though, was real: the Aichi E11A Laura. It was a night recon/spotter flying boat used in tiny numbers by the Japanese up to and just into WWII. Despite having no experience rigging biplanes, I decided I’d learn, and quickly added the kit to my stash.

Since it won the poll for which of the Japanese Floaty planes people wanted to see a review of first, I thought it was time I dug into it. So, check out the Fujimi 1/72 Laura out of box at the link below. I have to say, for a plane I’ve never heard of, it looks like one heck of a kit!

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That art looks like something from a Miyazaki movie

Damn right! An ideal way to scratch a “Porco Rosso” itch without getting too silly…

Cheers,

M

Nothing about that aeroplane looks real! It’s straight out of a cartoon. I want one!

Really great review. I completely agree about the box art, it’s gorgeous! Thank the plastic god’s that the Japanese manufacturers are still producing beautiful artwork on their kits.

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That’s a good point about the ability to go full Porco Rosso on that thing! It would look awesome in sky pirate paint!

I normally find newer Japanese kits (well, from the 80’s and 90’s at least, that’s “newer” to me) a bit lacking in art and imagination, but Fujimi just blew it all away on this box. What with this, and the crazy art of modern Mobile Suit kits, I think it’s fair to say that the art of Box Art is alive and well, eh?

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My thoughts precisely, but it looks good enough to be a “hero” plane; think what it would look like in overall red…
As for an adversary, I have a Matchbox “Whistling Sh1thouse” (Supermarine Stranraer) around somewhere but I wanted something smaller. After picking up several kits over a period of time I have most recently acquired a Heinkel He 51B-2. This is appropriate for the never-made “Porco Rosso 2” which was to be set during the Spanish Civil War. I also have the Revell boxing of the old Matchbox Heinkel He 70 “Blitz” which has the option to build it as a He 170 with a radial motor. (Revell now box the ICM He 70, so presumably the Matchbox version is dead and gone.) The He 51 and the He 70 had the same BMW motor so I’m hoping I’ll be able to fit the radial engine to the He 51 to make it a fantasy machine. The He 70 would look good on floats if I could find a suitably sized set, as would a Matchbox Wellesley I have lying around, best of all would be if I could get hold of a pair of floats suitable for a HP Heyford!

Cheers,

M

Hey, you and I think way too much the same!

I have two He-70/170 kits, and I wanted to build one as a float-equipped torpedo bomber, basically the German equivalent to a Latecoere 298. I never thought of swapping the radial onto the He-51, another kit I also have! Great idea! I was trying to think if I had a use for the inline, or even the engines from my spare He-111…

Floats… on a Heyford??? HOLY SMOKES! What a brilliant idea! As for floats, try something like 1/48 Seiran floats, they might be big enough! Man, my mind is racing now! Awesome!

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Given the state of my brain, that makes me worry for you…
:crazy_face:

a Latecoere 298

Azur kitted that beast in both 1/72nd and1/48th scales but I’m not sure of availability.
It would appear the best source for big floats (cheap) would be 1/48th SMER kits, they have a Swordfish floatplane, and a Macchi Castoldi M.C.72, and in 1/72nd they have an Amiot 143 which would look good on a couple of large pontoons.

I have many more ideas than my shaking old hands will ever allow me to build, even as a glue bomb, so if
I ever come up with an concept you like please feel free to run with it; when others have done so it’s given me pleasure to see an idea made real, usually to a standard I could not have hoped to attain and with refinements I had not imagined…

Cheers,

M