Hasegawa 1/72 Shidenkai no Maki Shidenkai, Hien, & Zero type 21
|PRICE:||3200 yen (about $27.00) at www.hlj.com (4000 yen) SRP|
|DECALS:||One option each|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Limited Edition, three complete kits|
"Shidenkai no Maki, is a tale about high school girls meddling with World War era fighter planes, much to the same legitimacy as other popular manga story lines.
Very much like Girls und Panzer, reading this book, one will find that while it contains cute teenage females, itís truly all about the planes and the ensuing action. Of course one canít help but notice the physical qualities of the ladies as theyíre all so delightful, though the book doesnít force any of that upon us.
Now to branch off the Girls und Panzer bit, beyond the high school girls obsessed with war machines, itís highly different. Because the events within, in this case, donít transpire as part of a tournament, theyíre all real, real in the sense of their world anyway. The girls are engaged in real dogfights, with elaborate, exquisite gunplay, for sake of their lives and othersí. The group we follow is the local student council, who already have a small army of planes.
Interestingly, they come upon one relic of a fighter which they determine is worth the effort of restoration (similar to an early Girls und Panzer occurrence, but inevitably an occurrence to be expected in these kind of series regardless). In the midst of that, we see many battles, with enemies introduced in the previous volume, as well as new contenders, all of whom are high school girls, sprout up. Itís pretty much turf wars between cute girls, fought through the most unlikely of ways.
The mangaís beauty emerges in witnessing the deeply intricate choreography in the skies of the combat fighter planes, and the relationships which control the assorted pilotsí actions, as well as the general relations, reasoning, and emotions of the girls as a whole. Thereís a lot of pride at stake, bounds of friendship, and intensity in the techniques and actions that ensue as the girls clash in the skies.
Itís a great read, and it would make such a splendid anime series if ever put into the proper hands."
(BTW, Maki is the pilot of the Shidenkai and is the blonde girl with the bunny on her shoulder. Ed)
Hasegawa, like many other Japanese kit makers (Bandai, Fine Molds, Aoshima, etc) is not beyond delving into anime, manga and sci-fi to produce kits. Obviously these sorts of subjects are quite popular otherwise they would not be produced. Hasegawa has put kits like this under their Creator Works banner as you may recall seeing on a couple of recent previews. Once a company signs a license to produce subjects from a series, it is in their best interest to make the most out of it. So it is with Shidenkai no Maki.
While Hasegawa has or will release kit of the Hien, Shidenkai, and Zero in separate boxes for their 1/48 scale models, they felt it was a good idea to put all three planes into the same limited edition box for the 1/72 variant.
All three of these kits should be well known to most who model WWII Pacific war types in this scale. Since the kit provides separate instructions for each kit (and each kit is separately packaged), I won't be showing the sprue layout as you can find that by looking in the archives. Hasegawa has obviously taken good care of its molds. None of these kits are particularly new, having been developed some 25-30 years ago.
They all have engraved panel lines, cockpits that use decals for instrument panels and could all benefit from a replacement resin cockpit. The Shidenkai and Hien are very basic with the Hien not even having a control stick. The Zero is the newest of the three molds and is quite a bit better, but still rather Spartan.
The Hien and Shidenkai will need to have the landing gear doors cut as they are single molds. The Hien has wing racks molded to the underside of the fuselage so if you don't want them, you'll have to sand them off. The Zero is the only one with separate propeller blades. All three kits are in good shape with minimal flash on the Hien, a bit more on the Shidenkai and none on the Zero.
As mentioned, there are three different sets of instructions, each one newly done for this boxing. THere are little helpful notes from the 'pilots' of each aircraft, and while much of it is in Japanese, there is enough English in there to be useful, despite some rather odd sentence structure and words. There is a single very large decal sheet that has marking sections for each of the three planes and a lot of extra decals of some of the characters. I am assuming these are for decorating your mirror at home or perhaps to use on a display stand. Regardless, the decal sheet is superbly done and is new age Hasegawa which means the markings will be very thin.
I seriously doubt that this will be a huge seller outside of Japan, but have noticed that it is selling very well at HLJ, so perhaps some gaigin have latched onto a copy of the kit. Even if you are not into the subject, it is a nice collection of kits that will help you use up some aftermarket sheets.
Thanks to the increasing strength of the dollar over the yen, ordering this one from HLJ will still be less expensive that what it would cost getting it locally (assuming your LHS gets it in).
Thanks to www.hlj.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at this link.
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