Kit: AICHI B7A2 "RYUSEI" (GRACE) CARRIER-BASED ATTACK BOMBER

Scale: 1/48

Manufactuer: Hasegawa

Kit No.: JT-49

Price: MSRP - $27.00

Media: injection-molded plastic

Decals: three different aircraft

Accuracy: Looks right to me from the four photographs I can find.

Overall: see review.

Reviewed by: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver (THE AERONUT)

Another kit release that raises a big WHY? For those who don't know GRACE, another quote from Donald W. Thorpe:  "Production of the RYUSEI (Shooting Star) was not begun until April 1944, although the first prototype was completed in 1942. Because of its late appearance in the war, few saw action, and most of that was centered around the waters off Honshu. Production of this aircraft was terminated by a gigantic earthquake in 1945."

This is another airplane I would never have expected to see in other than cast-resin, vacuform, or limited-run injection mold. I would have expected a JILL first. Yet here we are again with a major production run by a major manufacturer of a kit representing an airplane of which only 111 ever made it off the production line. From what I have discovered, the US Navy was lucky: GRACE would have been a nastier opponent for a Hellcat than a KATE was for a Wildcat in 1942, once it was in its attack run. GRACE was supposed to replace both JILL and JUDY, with the armament of a fighter and the maneuverability of a Zero. Another case of too little too late. Thank God.

So far as the kit is concerned, my comments are as they were for Tamiya's SEIRAN: this is one of the best kits Hasegawa has done. The cockpit is excellent. The moldings are flash-free and you won't use any putty assembling it. It is altogether an outstanding example of the kit-makers art.

From the four photographs of GRACE I could find in Donald Thorpe's book, the kit looks accurate. However, the painting instructions make no mention of the black antiglare area, and all four photographs show a black area extending down at an angle from the windshield quarterlights to mid-point on the fuselage, then on toward the nose. All four photos show this, and the three aircraft covered by the decals are in them, so...

If you're a Japanese Naval Aviation fan - and I know you're out there - this and SEIRAN will show up in your collections. Once again my overall grade is that this is likely the best kit (technically) Hasegaw has released. WHY?  As for the rest of us...

After writing the SIERAN review, I went to my local hobby shop and took a look at the new issue of "Scale Aircraft Modelling" from England, which covers rumors better than any other modelling magazine. According to them, Hasegawa will release a 1/48 Spitfire 9 and Hurricane I by the end of the year, and Tamiya will release a 1/48 Hurricane IIc between their 1/48 He-219 (October!!!) and their 1/48 A-3 Skywarrior Christmas present. Maybe there is a modelling God....

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