New kits of Japanese aircraft are a bit of a rarity, so I thought I'd investigate this Airfix newbie.
As with the latest crop of Airfix releases, the parts have plenty of detail with finely done engraved panel lines. There is some innovative engineering with the cockpit floor and consoles being moulded onto the upper wing component. The interior is generally well done and worth the effort given the amount of glazing on this aircraft. The engine and cowling are nicely done, although given the limitations of injection moulding there is scope for the resin boys to work up some aftermarket parts. All the control surfaces are separate and there are options for deployed flaps, folding wings, permutations on canopy hood positioning and an excellent choice of weapons. The wing fold parts and weapons are very credibly detailed. Decals are printed very nicely and there are two schemes to choose from, a Pearl Harbour period machine from the carrier Shokaku and a 553rd Kokutai aircraft. One slight glitch with the Shokaku aircraft paint instructions, the colour descriptions for paints 116 and 168 have been mixed up (but are shown correctly as illustrated). One glitch with my kit is that one of the canopy parts was broken (bottom pic), but I doubt there would be any problem getting a replacement should I want to use it.
Given that this is medium sized, single engine aircraft I did baulk slightly at the 14.99 RRP, but to be fair the box is crammed with parts that look very good 'on the sprue', there are lots of options, plus it's Japanese subject matter - I'd suggest it's well worth a punt and there is the B5N1 to look forward to next year.
Useful review Paul, thank you. I agree the price seems high but as you say there is a lot of detail and options. I expect the online sellers will start with a 10% discount and head south. Other than a very lonely Zero I don't think I have built any Japanese types, probably time to add a few more kits to the stash in preparation for a Rising Sun dio coming to a model show sometime...