Hasegawa 1/72 Shinkai 6500

KIT #: SW-01
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Richard F.


Astronauts get all the glory. Wow, so you spent two weeks in a tin can trying to grow worms in weightlessness. My hero!

Well, that's how some deep sea oceanographers seem to feel. And why not? They get a fraction of the funding of the space program yet they have already discovered some freaky weird life forms in a super hostile environment, while the space cowboys have found, well, a bunch of rocks. And the underwater adventurers have found cool things like the Titanic and the Bismarck, while the space cowboys have found, well, a few more rocks.

Before you space nuts freak out and send me the hate mail, let me point out that the two fields are becoming more and more integrated. Space explorers are now realise that if there's life in the solar system, it's probably on one of those icy moons with liquid water underneath. Maybe the bacteria that might live there is pretty similar to the stuff that somehow survives next to volcanic vents on the deep sea bed on earth? Maybe it's worth studying the home-grown bugs first? Maybe, one day, a little submersible like this will be boosted into space and flown to Saturn's moon Enceladus to do some extra-terrestrial fishing. (Well, it weighs 27 tonnes, so it might be a while).

This neat little submarine is the underwater equivalent of a crewed space probe - a self-contained craft that keeps its inhabitants alive in an environment just as punishing as the vacuum of space. Down deep there's no air, and instead of the lack of pressure, there's way too much. You'd die just as fast in either place if something went wrong. You'd be crushed like a bug hitting a truck windscreen before you had time to drown.

Shinkai 6500 was built in 1991 and significantly overhauled in March 2012. It can dive to 6,500 meters (compared to Jane's Fighting Ships' estimate of a maximum 450m for a Los Angeles class SSN). It has a spherical cabin inside the sub which is 2 meters in diameter and hosts three crew. The whole thing is made of a titanium alloy for extra strength. And its manipulator arms can lift 100kg in the water.


Hasegawa has a new series called Science World. This is SW-01; SW-02 is a 1/48 Voyager space probe previewed right here on MM.

Like most new Hasegawa kits this is well moulded and fairly detailed, but it is also aimed at those with less experience in building kits. The main parts are white, and the conning tower (for want of a better description) and the tail fin are moulded in the same orange colour shown on the box picture. No need to paint it, if you're so inclined! I will though, because the tail is moulded with a raised circle to place the decal, and I'll want to sand that off.

According to someone on the internet, the kit reflects the Shinkai 6500's pre-2012 refit configuration.

The hull comes in two pieces and there are two large white sprues and a small one in each of orange and clear. The clear parts are three little portholes, and the stand.

Decals are fairly straightforward - a gold area for the top deck, a few markings and your choice of English or Japanese for the nameplate that goes on the stand. They look to be good quality.

There's a couple of obvious things you could do to dress up this kit. First, and this is something I think I will try, is a few LEDs on the spotlights would look cool, as would another one to light up the interior. Doing the spotlights will be harder than lighting the cabin because the parts are both solid and very small. Second, the submarine has two baskets for carrying samples (gold doubloons maybe, or an old cannonball, or maybe a few lobsters for dinner). On the kit they are moulded solid but on the real thing they are mesh on a framework.


This is a cool kit. Something different, nicely moulded and that looks not too hard to put together. I snapped this up the second I saw it and I am looking forward to what comes next after this and the Voyager space probe.



Richard F.

September 2012

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