Hasegawa 1/48 B7A1 Ryusei
KIT #: 09281 (Jt 181)
PRICE: 2600 yen when new
DECALS: Multiple options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1999 release


The Aichi B7A Ryusei (流星, Ryūsei, "Shooting Star", Allied reporting name "Grace") was a large and powerful carrier-borne torpedo-dive bomber produced by Aichi Kokuki for the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during the Second World War. Built in only small numbers and deprived of the aircraft carriers it was intended to operate from, the type had little chance to distinguish itself in combat before the war ended in August 1945.

Given the codename "Grace" by the Allies, the B7A first flew as a prototype in May 1942, but teething problems with the experimental NK9C Homare engine and necessary modifications to the airframe meant that the type did not enter into production until two years later in May 1944. Nine prototype B7A1s were built and 80 production version B7A2s completed by Aichi before a severe earthquake in May 1945 destroyed the factory at Funakata where they were being assembled. A further 25 examples were produced at the 21st Naval Air Arsenal at Omura.


The kit is quite large for its day and provides a very nicel appointed interior. There are a lot of items for the side walls and the interior makes into a nice subassembly. A decal is provided for the instrument panel if you don't want to paint what is there. This is trapped in the fuselage halves and then one can concentrate on building up the engine assembly. This assembly includes separate ejector exhaust so it is important to get it all properly aligned.

Next are the wins with properly deep main gear wells. These and the stabilizers are attached to the fuselage. The kit offers the choice of either a bomber or torpedo plane. With the bomber, the trapeze and several bombs are provided for the bay along with the multiple piece bay doors. If using the torpedo, a closed bay door piece is provided and one simply attaches the torpedo and its mounts to the outside. Main landing gear is fairly complex and you are provided 'flattened' tires. The greenhouse includes separate canopy sections, though it appears that they cannot be posed in the open position due to their thickness. The last items to attach are the props and wing guns.

Instructions provide Gunze paint references though the interior shade is simply listed as 'interior color', so your guess is as good as mine on what shade that might actually be. All options are dark navy green over light grey with yellow wing ID markings and a black cowling. You are provided codes for any of the three units that operated the B7A along with a wide variety of aircraft numbers. Decals are old school where the white is actually off-white. I doubt if there are any aftermarket available.


There it is. To my knowledge, this is pretty much it if you want a B7A in 1/48 scale. Fortunately, the kit is not difficult to find and will make into a fairly large model.



March 2024 

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