Hasegawa 1/72 B5N2 'Kate'


B 4




Two schemes; see review


Scott Van Aken






Nakajima's B5N was an answer to a 1935 requirement for a naval torpedo bomber that could also perform long range reconnaissance. It had to be of modern all metal construction, be relatively fast, and have retractable landing gear. In order to achieve that, Nakajima designed a low wing, three place monoplane. All ordnance was to be externally carried. The wings were quite long in order to achieve bombing stability and provide long range. Being carrier borne the wings were manually folded to save space.

After being blooded in China in the late 1930s, improved versions of the B5N were available in large numbers for the start of the war with the US. Kates were responsible for much of the devastation created at Pearl Harbor as they and their 'Long Lance' torpedoes were most effective against the battleships moored next to Ford Island.

Kates were used throughout the early and middle stages of the war, only replaced late in their career by the larger and faster Jill and Grace. However, by that time, though there were many targets, there were few operational carriers and even fewer trained crews.

No Kates have survived the war to be displayed in museums.


This is one of the kits that helped to make Hasegawa a household word with modelers. Considered to be second generation, it has fine engraved details, boxed in wheel wells, a nice interior, detailed engine, and some interior sidewall details. Not bad for a kit designed in the early 1980s.

It does suffer from some poor ejector pin placement, notably right in the middle of the seat. There is also some minor flash, but nothing major at all. This particular kit was purchased in 1984, so the mold was relatively fresh. It is still in the catalogue, albeit with different box art and undoubtedly different decals from this version. There is a clear but distorted canopy and a tube of glue.

The decal sheet is typical of this era of Hasegawa. It is rather thick and has reds that are too bright. They are from two of the carriers at Pearl Harbor. I would guess that Akagi and Kaga since the codes are AI- and AII- .

The instruction sheet is a fold out that has the history and paint/decal guide on one side and the construction sequence on the other. There are six steps, each showing the parts and giving color call-outs. Unfortunately, everything is in Japanese since this isn't an export kit. However, those of us with a few kits under our belts should have no real trouble figuring out colors, especially since recent information has undoubtedly made some of the call-outs obsolete.

Overall, it looks like it will be a nice kit to build and one that should not take that long to complete. Not sure what is available in aftermarket stuff for this kit, but built right from the box it should be a very nice presentation.

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! 

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