Platz 1/100 Kawasaki T-4 'Blue Impulse'

KIT #: FF-2
PRICE: 900 yen from 
DECALS: Six options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit


In November 1981, Kawasaki was selected as main contractor to design and produce an aircraft relating to the MT-X program. This program was launched to replace the Lockheed T-33 and Fuji T-1 jet trainer aircraft in service in the Japan Air Self Defence Force. The initial program planned the build of 220 aircraft and entry into service in 1988.

The Blue Impulse(ブルーインパルスBurū Inparusu?), or 11 Squadron, is the aerobatic demonstration team of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Originally founded in 1960 as a team of six F-86 Sabres, the team switched to the Mitsubishi T-2 in 1980 and then to the Kawasaki T-4 in 1995. They are based at Matsushima Air Base.


Platz seems to be moving into 1/100 scale for some of their coming kits. This scale is one that was very popular with Tamiya in the late 1960s and early 1970 and was used as a major scale by some Eastern European model companies back when these nations were behind the Iron Curtain. It is a scale that has never really caught on much outside of Japan, at least not compared to the larger 1/72 and smaller 1/144 scale.

The kit is molded in white plastic and comes with a display stand, something that is rather rate for model kits. The engraved plastic is superbly done and very much up to modern standards. The cockpit is well appointed for this scale with two fairly well done ejection seats, control sticks and instrument panels (which are molded in clear plastic). Also in clear plastic are two single-piece canopies and the formation lights for the tail and wings. In fact, there are clear bits for two kits so I can anticipate a double kit being done sometime in the future.

The kit has nicely done landing gear and gear wells in addition to reasonably deep engine intakes. The kit comes with two drop tanks, which are not used during performances. Holes in the lower wings are already drilled to take these so those wanting to do a model without the tanks will have to either fill the holes or ignore them. The kit can be built with the gear up if one wishes and since there is a display stand, I'm sure many will. Separate gear doors are provided for gear up or gear down options. I should note that this kit has the largest ejector pips I've seen on any kit!

Instructions are nicely done and entirely in Japanese. In fact, actual construction drawings only take up about 2/3 of one of the four pages. Markings are provided for any of the six different planes. Decals have both white and blue bits on them, though the modeler will need to paint the underside of the wings and lower fuselage in blue (a color that has to be mixed). I have been informed that the blue on the decals may be the wrong shade so perhaps painting all the blue bits will be the wisest choice. Paint information is with Gunze paints, a brand that is no longer available in the US for its acrylic line-up. Decals are superbly printed by Cartograf so you know you'll be getting the best.


All in all, it is a superb kit and having it released as the Blue Impulse version for the first issue is a great idea. Like other Platz kits, I'm sure it will build into a real beauty.


November 2010

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