Hasegawa 1/48 J2M3 Raiden 'Prisoner of War'
KIT #: 52105
PRICE: 2,240 yen SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Andrew Garcia
NOTES: Gloss coated kit decals


Per the Hasegawa folks: “Feeling the need for a high-speed, quick climbing interceptor work began in 1938 on what was to become the Raiden (Thunderbolt).  Total production of all variants totaled approximately 500 by war’s end. In service, the Raiden, code named “Jack” by the allies –proved a fine aircraft and it was the preferred bomber-destroyer of IJN pilots late in the war, where it frequently faced incoming U.S. B-29’s with some success.”   But, “many advocated the faster Shiden (George) in the interceptor role.”


First released in February of 1996 (as Hasegawa 9145 JT45 J2M3 Type 21) the kit is similar to the many Japanese WWII kits released by Hasegawa in November of 1996. Excellent surface detail, good tight fit, clear and easy assembly with decals for the instrument panels that gives you a great cockpit out-of-the-box (OOB) build.

This kit appears to be a “special” release from Hasegawa probably reflecting the unusual nature of the subject of the kit decals. This latest incarnation of the Raiden family features two very unique subjects whose decals represent two captured aircraft. There have been about nine releases of new mould Raiden kits by Hasegawa. Notably, one of them, kit number 09248, Jt 148, had a single, very small brass 20mm gun barrel, part number UB1, but was not marked as a “special release”.

Hasegawa is the master of kit re-boxing and for most releases it is just a new set of decals and no new plastic. This is one of those as it appears with no new parts or resin enhancements that sometimes accompany Hasegawa “Special Issue” kits. I have come to appreciate their superb package which includes nice decals, instructions, etc. with the required research to enable me to correctly portray some unique aircraft. This release contains the normal highly detailed hard plastic Hasegawa trees from previous releases. The primary component of this release is the decal with some unique markings. Unlike some recent releases featuring flat paint this one is thinly printed and has a gloss coat. But, knowing Hasegawa does good research on its Japanese subjects, it could be because the original aircraft markings were done in a gloss coat. I will leave that answer to the web message boards to sort out. I too would like to know! 

This release, Kit # 52105 SP305, features two aircraft. The first option is a J2M3 Model 21 captured in Malaya by the U.K. and used by the ATAIU-SEA (Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit – Southeast Asia) in its 1946. Its previous owner was the 381st Kokutai featuring paint and markings from its original owners. The second marking option is a J2M3 Model 21, serial number 3008, captured in the Philippines by the U.S. and stripped down to a natural metal finish before the stars and bars were applied. It was used by the TAIU - S.W.P.  (Technical Air Intelligence Unit – Southwest Pacific) in June 1945 with tail code “S12”.


This is another very nice release for anyone who likes the J2M Raiden. I really like the unique markings which had previously been available on a random basis in aftermarket decals. Those decals were usually hard to find. I think the combination of the United Kingdom and United States markings is a superb touch and I bought two of these kits as a result. Yes, I know I could have used the same set of decals and found an old Raiden release on the contest used table but by choice I went this route. It will not be a problem selling these kits off in the future if the need or lack of interest arises.

For the builders like me out there Aires has a very nice recently released resin cockpit detail set,  Aires (# 4538, J2M3 Raiden)which can enhance this nice kit if you so desire.


 Maru Mechanic #7 Mitsubishi J2M3 JACK

Andrew Garcia

October 2012

 If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page