Sweet 1/144 Akagi Fighter Group

KIT #

14123

PRICE:

1600 (about $21.00) at Hobby Link Japan

DECALS:

21 options

REVIEWER:

Scott Van Aken

NOTES:

Three kits

HISTORY

Undoubtedly the most successful Japanese aircraft of WWII was the A6M2 Zero. This early Zero was much feared by the Allies. Piloted by the most experienced pilots on either side (most of whom were enlisted), the Zero was able to rule the skies during the early days of the war. It wasn't until Allied pilots finally were able to discover the aircraft's weaknesses (mainly the lack of armor plating for pilot and fuel) that they were able to develop strategies for defeating it. Combine that with the loss of many of the more talented pilots during the battles for Guadalcanal, and the Zero stopped being so feared by the time that 1943 and the Corsair came into the picture.

THE KIT

There is a reason why this model company is called Sweet. That is because it is one of the first things that you say when you open the box. These folks make the finest 1/144 fighters ever produced, and that is purely because they have thought things through before producing the kits. Engineering is excellent as is the detail, even in this scale. They are also quite easy to build with no real fussing and fiddling about to get things to fit.

This particular boxing is for the Akagi fighter group and includes three identical kits.

Included in each kit is a drop tank, and you can pose the wing tips in the raised position. The drop tank is not absolutely necessary and the kit is designed so that you do not have to install it if you don't wish. Providing a one-piece wing really helps with assembly as well.Unlike land based Zeros, it seems that all carrier borne aircraft had a radio, or at least kept the radio mast. The interior is devoid of additional bits like a seat, control stick or instrument panel, though few will really complain.

Instructions consist of a single folded sheet with a four step construction sequence on one side and a full color decal placement guide on the other. Painting info is given using Gunze paint references, a bit of an issue for those in the US where the paint is no longer being imported. The decal sheet itself is very large and provides enough markings to do the three aircraft in overall Ame-iro. What is very nice is that the entire fighter wing is provided. This includes the wing commander, each of the 1st and 2nd section leaders as well as the 'plain jane' aircraft. Even the tiny aircraft numbers for the lower cowling are included. The red is also the darker shade used, unlike earlier sheets that had the red in a brighter shade. The decals themselves are superbly printed by Cartograf.

CONCLUSIONS

I built one of these kits from their initial release and liked it very much. They are not difficult, and while some of the small parts may cause the very young and very old some issues, the kits make into really nice replicas. Now that Sweet has done the Akagi group, one wonders if they will continue this trend into other carrier groups.  

January 2012

Thanks to  Hobby LInk Japan for the review kit. Get it here.

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

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