Aoshima 1/72 HTV H-II Transfer Vehicle

KIT #: 049648
PRICE: 2000 yen
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), called Kounotori(こうのとり, Oriental Stork or White Stork), is an unmanned resupply spacecraft used to resupply the Kibō Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) and the International Space Station (ISS). The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been working on the design since the early 1990s. The first mission, HTV-1, was originally intended to be launched in 2001. It launched at 17:01 UTC on 10 September 2009 on an H-IIB launch vehicle. The name Kounotori was chosen for the HTV by JAXA because "a white stork carries an image of conveying an important thing (a baby, happiness, and other joyful things), therefore, it precisely expresses the HTV's mission to transport essential materials to the ISS".


The kit comes on three injected sprues, one of which is a clear blue plastic. This sprue basically contains the solar panels. The quality of the moldings is first rate and basically consists of the body of the module, the payload and the thrusters, of which there are many. The kit comes with a display stand that is molded to be the docking port of the ISS. There is also a robotic arm. This robotic arm is articulated to allow different ways to display the module. Of course, those of us with imaginations can see this arm grabbing the empty module and tossing it earthward to burn up in the atmosphere!

Basically, you have four options. First is to have it mounted on a pole (pare of the blue sprue) to simulate it just arriving at the ISS. Second is to have it just grabbed by the robotic arm. Third is to have it in position above the docking port with the arm attached. Third is to have the module fully docked. Rather ingenious if you ask me. The kit includes a removable payload section  which consists of the special pallet and three payload canisters.

As you might expect, you have no real leeway in painting this and much of your time will probably be taken with the painting process. The kit takes only five different shades, all provided with Gunze references. Instructions are very well done with easy to understand construction steps. As with most Aoshima kits, English is used sparingly, but there is enough for you to understand what is going on. No decals are needed so none are supplied.


This is a bit of a first for me. I've seen full stack kits and manned spacecraft kits, but never a payload module. It is understandable that a Japanese company would want to tout its national space efforts and so we have a kit like this. Not the norm for sure and since it is in 1/72 scale, it fits in with several other real space kits out there. Highly recommended for the true real space addict.


August 2011

Thanks to for the preview kit. Get yours at your local retailer or have them order one for you.

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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page