|PRICE:||3680 yen at www.hlj.com (approx $47.00)|
|NOTES:||New tool kit|
The J2M “Raiden” (Thunderbolt) was a land-based interceptor designed by Jiro Horikoshi for the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was the first fighter design for the Navy that emphasized speed, climb and dive capability over horizontal high-g maneuverability.
Trouble with the
engine delayed production and led to extended development.
tion that December. Trouble with the engine delayed production and led to extended development.
The J2M3 Model 21 was based primarily in the home islands for defense
against the B-29s.
The lack of an
adequate supercharger handicapped it at the operating altitude of the B-29s, but
the four-cannon armament was effective in bringing down a bomber with only a few
Assigned the Allied reporting
name of “Jack,” the Raiden was fast with a top speed of 417 mph. The lack of
maneuverability made the airplane a target for Hellcats and Corsairs, and
particularly for P-51D Mustangs that began escorting the B-29s from
Hasegawa has basically owned the Raiden ever since they released a 1/72 kit in the early 1970s. This had been originally designed by Mania, and introduced such revolutionary features as detailed parts that actually fit well and trailing edges to flying surfaces one could shave with. The kit is still available and still makes up into a decent model. Tamiya released a 1/48 J2M3 in the mid-1970s which is also still available, but the best kits of the airplane in this scale are those released by Hasegawa in the mid-1990s.
Essentially, this 1/32 kit is the excellent 1/48 kit scaled up, with some additional detail, such as a very complete engine with cooling fans and exhausts. The cockpit out of the box is nicely detailed, and a truly superb pilot figure with three different heads including one wearing an IJN oxygen mask, can be placed in the cockpit. This figure is the equal of anything I have seen cast in resin.
The model definitely shows its 1/48 ancestry in parts breakdown. However, it does two interesting things that no other kit I know of has done: the complete cooling fan system and exhaust system is included in the engine assembly, most of which is not visible when completed, and the fuselage and wings have internal bracing that makes for a very sturdy model when finished. Given the way the fuselage parts get molded, in 1/32 they will lose their strength and become too flexible without this. This is only “fiddly” when it comes to mating the fuselage sub-assembly to the wing sub-assembly and getting the interlocking internal tabs to fit right. You can tell they have when you hear a “click” and all of a sudden the wing is in position.
I painted everything before commencing assembly. The cockpit is easy, since just about everything is either Mitsubishi Interior Green or Mitsubishi Exterior Green, with some semi-gloss black. I used Tamiya’s “Japanese Cockpit Colo” with is Mitsubishi Interior Green, and “IJN Green 2" which is Mitsubishi Exterior Green (FYI, the original Tamiya “IJN Green” is “Nakajima Green”). Decals were used for the instrument panel and they look just fine once they settle in. The decals are a bit thick and needed two applications of Micro-Sol and a final lick of Solvaset after being “sliced” to get them down without silvering. I had to do the same with the external decals, too.
I still needed to use Tamiya Surfacer for the centerline seam and the big rear seam of where the lower wing and fuselage come together. I also had to use Surfacer to sand down the plugs for the cowling weapon openings (Yes, they will be making a J2M2 from the parts breakdown) to get a smooth surface.
The kit provides two different types of prop blades, and the instructions do not indicate which should be used for which airplane. However, an advertisement included in the kit shows a photo of Lt(jg) Aoki’s airplane, equipped with what the kit instructions call “high performance” prop blades, so these were used. I didn’t attach the drop tank because all the photos I have found of this airplane show that not used.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The three photos I found of this airplane show it to have been pretty clean for a Japanese fighter, likely because it was new at the time. I only “dinged” the area of the wing and fuselage where the pilot and crew would have mounted it.
I unmasked the canopy and left the sliding section closed for now, because opening it destroys the clean lines of the airplane and because the canopy is clear enough to see all the detail within. I assembled the landing gear and attached it, and attached the prop. I then attached the cannon barrels and the pitot tube.
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