Arii 1/144 Kate and Val


23031 7 23029


$3.50 (1997)


one aircraft


Bill Michaels


Simple kits


I know that other articles here on MM have covered these aircraft in some amount of detail, so I’ll just quote the boxes:

Kate:  “This was the first all-metal, low wing, mono-type carrier-based attack plane belonging to the former Japanese Navy.  It is also the first Japanese plane with retractable main landing gear.  The original model made its first flight in January 1937, and was commissioned in the following year, 1938.”

Val:  “This was the first all-metal, low wing, mono-type carrier-based bomber belonging to the former Japanese Navy.  It made its first flight in 1928 and was put into commission the spring of 1940.  Together with the Type 97 carrier-based attack plane and the Zero fighter, this plane played an active role during the Pacific war.  It became outdated in 1943, but continued to be used until the end of World War II.  Many disappeared in suicidal crash attacks into enemy ships.” (!)



The kits are very similar, hence the combined preview.  The planes are molded in light grey, with recessed panel lines.  As is often found in this scale, the lines are oversize, and meant to create a panel line effect, rather than accurately represent all the panels.  On both of my kits, the pieces are well molded, with no flash.  Also there are no ejector pin marks on any of the kit parts.  Both kits consist of about 15 parts.

Both models feature very similar construction.  There is no cockpit detail at all- just an opening.  The one piece stab is trapped between the two fuselage halves.  A one piece clear plastic canopy is included.  The elevators are separate left and right pieces. Getting these parts attached and even may be the hardest part of assembling this little kit.

The cowling is a separate piece, and has no engine detail.  Two prop hubs are included- one with and one without prop blades.  (So you can pose the model in-flight, I guess.)  The wing is one piece, with the flaps and ailerons marked out by panel lines.  The kits include a torpedo for the Kate, and three bombs for the Val.


The landing gear is one piece, with the strut wheel, and fairing or door.  I suspect some trimming and putty work would be required if you want to build the Kate with landing gear retracted.  A simple black plastic stand is standard equipment in these little kits.

The instructions are a single sheet of the typical pictorial style.  (The entire sheet is shown in one of the photos.)  There is no color or markings information, other than the box art.  On both boxes, there is the cover art, and a small profile on the box side.  On both kits, this small profile shows a plane finished in dark green over a light grey.

The decals don’t look to be anything special.  You get a small sheet of red rising suns, and some white markings for the tail that look to be too big.  They are of typical thickness, which may make them really stand out on the little airframes. 



Recommended for what they are.  These are simple models, and not as crisply done as the newest 1/144 offerings from Sweet.   I bought mine for use aboard a future 1/144 scale Radio Control model of a Japanese aircraft carrier.   These kits meet my basic needs- they’re inexpensive enough that I can buy several, and look enough like the prototypes.  I just wish they had something in the cockpit, even pilot busts would be nice. 

These kits will not make the detail-obsessed among us happy, but they’d make good subjects for a mobile, hanging form the ceiling  (or an RC carrier).  Stay tuned, and you’ll soon find out how easy to build they are.

Review kit courtesy of my wallet. 

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