Saturday 4 July 2015

Model Commentary #4c - Choosing your next J. a/c model

IJNAF Reconnaissance Aircraft. Although various types were used in the reconnaissance role the dedicated types were basically two: the Mitsubishi C6M "Babs" and the Nakajima C6N "Saiun" (Myrt). "Babs" is one of the most favourite Japanese a/c types after the Zero so we will discuss here what's out there and include the IJAAF Ki-15 too. Please remember that experimentals and prototypes are not included yet.
Mitsubishi C6M & Ki-15 "Babs"
A beautiful type with lines more of a racer, "Babs" stands out as one of the best Japanese aircraft of the '30s. Unfortunately except for the "Kamikaze-go" we discussed in the past here there are relatively few "Babs" photos and material available. For example, no blueprints or maintenance manuals have survived the war and therefore many areas of the aircraft, the cockpit in particular, are unknown. This naturally prevents the bigger model companies to release a "Babs" model in larger scales, 1/48 or 1/32, even though it is quite certain that such a kit would sell well. So modellers are basically left with models in the 1/72 scale.
The old LS kits are the only ones relatively easy to locate. Slightly deeply engraved with very sparse cockpit and thick canopy they are nevertheless a great joy to build.
Below is a brilliant LS IJNAF C5M1 from here.
And here's a very cool LS Ki-15 by Vic Scheuerman (although I think the fuselage arrow is yellow instead of red).
Hasegawa has also released a very limited number of kits. The oldest box below.

So, although "Babs" is very interesting as a subject there are limited options in small scales and none whatsoever in larger.

Nakajima C6N "Saiun" (Myrt)
Although the fastest carrier based type of the IJNAF, Saiun was put into service for only about a year and all of them were finished in the typical IJNAF paint job, green-top, unpainted or gray - bottom. Very very few options regarding interesting markings.
There is one old Fujimi kit with very shallow engraved lines and a recent Sword in 1/72. The Aoshima kit is not even worth mentioning.

In 1/48 there are many options since Hasegawa has released a few very nice kits in this scale.
In conclusion, although Saiun is indeed a very beautiful aircraft, it offers very limited paint and marking options. 

1 comment:

Jacob Terlouw said...

Of all the J-aircraft kits I bought the Aoshima Saiun was the worst. I was very disappointed with the result and threw it away. At that time(1966) the LS- 1/75 range of Japanese aircraft was the best, even better than the Tamiya kits.