The "Rufe" was the float plane version of the Zero, built by Nakajima. Surprisingly, they lost very little of their perforance with the big float slung underneath. The Japanese couldn't build airfields, so they had to rely on floatplane fighters to make up for their lack of heavy earthmoving equipment. On the other hand, the Americans tried to build a floatplane version of the Wildcat, and it was a dud, so it's just as well that they had Catepillar tractors. The bravest of the brave flew the Rufes since they were the first in and the last out.
Another famous floatplane was the F1M "Pete" which was a highly manueverable biplane. This is also a very nice kit that goes together well. This one is in 1/48 and I have a 1/72 version stored in my closest.
Last Update: 26 December 2007
Web Author: Doug Ikemi