BanDai 1/72 Skyly J2

KIT #: 0156538
PRICE: 2800 yen when it was released
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES:  2008 release


The Sky Crawlers (スカイ・クロラ Sukai Kurora) is a 2008 Japanese anime film, directed by Mamoru Oshii. It is an adaptation of Hiroshi Mori's novel of the same name. It was released across Japanese theatres by Warner Bros. Japan on August 2, 2008.Animated by Production I.G, the film was written by Chihiro Itō, featuring character designs by Tetsuya Nishio and music by Kenji Kawai. The 3D CG animation for the movie was produced by the Polygon Pictures studio, who also produced the 3D CG for Oshii's previous film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

The Sky Crawlers is set in an alternative history timeline where although the world is at peace, in order to ease the tension of a populace accustomed to war and aggression, private corporations contract fighter pilots to engage in actual combat operations against each other. The film introduces a mystery involving characters called Kildren (キルドレ Kirudore?, "kill-dolls") - humanoids genetically engineered in a way that enables to live eternally in adolescence.

For those who want to see a movie that is superbly done and has both a lot of action and will make you think, I highly recommend picking this up or watching it on the various streaming anime sites. Here is a link to the opening of the film from You Tube.

All of the aircraft look like very modern WWII types that are vaguely based on planes with which many may be familiar. There are at least eight identified aircraft types in the film. Two have been kitted. This one is the Skyly J2, a rather aggressive mix of a FW-190D, F4U, and Hughes H-1 racer. It is the one blasting the Sanka's to bits in the video above. This is the plane flown by 'the teacher', the dreaded ace of the side opposing that of the side from which the movie is portrayed. It is rumored that this pilot is actually a human male and not a clone. 


A couple of years ago, I stumbled across The Sky Crawlers movie and immediately started looking for kits. It is not unusual for Japanese model makers to produce kits based on subjects seen in popular anime films and television series. I was able to locate a Sanka B and you can see that build here, but a Skyly at a price I could afford eluded me. Thanks to Tony Morgan, who had a spare and sent it to me, I can now add the other aircraft from the series.

Unlike the Sanka B, this is not a double kit and does not come with a stand. But it is a larger aircraft so that is understandable. Like the earlier kit, it is meant for the home market as everything is in Japanese. The kit has very large mounting holes and this makes it as much a snap kit as it is anything else. Surface engraving is excellent, and while the kit has a cockpit, it is really designed to have the pilot in it. However, the only pilot figure included is standing so the rather bare interior will go unmanned.

The aircraft has contra-rotating props and a gear assembly is built up for this which fits into the forward cowling.  The fuselage is four major sections. It consists of a right and left side which includes part of the lower rear fuselage. The upper fuselage is a separate piece that includes the horizontal stabilizer. Also separate is the entire section forward of the wings. Note that there are positionable turbo exhaust doors on the fuselage sides. Regarding the engine, it appears that the exhaust can be installed after the kit is painted. The lower wing includes the rest of the lower fuselage and has the control surfaces molded into it. The upper wings are separate. The leading edge of the wings is separate and contains the wing cannon.

Landing gear are not petite and somewhat blocky to provide solid gear door attachments, similar to the Sanka B. It does have separate wheels. The tail gear is a single piece. You are provided with closed gear doors and raised tail wheel if you want to get the display stand and do an in-flight model. For this you would need to install the clear prop discs earlier in the build process. There are various other lumps and bumps that need to be installed including the turbocharger impellers and lower wing radiators.

Instructions are entirely in Japanese, but not difficult to follow. This aircraft is in overall unpainted metal with a white cowling and tail tip. The lower cowling is yellow and there are black stripes on the wing. Based on my experience with the Sanka B's decals I'd recommend painting the yellow and black areas along with the white bits. Can't do much about the side stripe so I'm going to give mine an additional coat of decal film before using.


I am quite jazzed about having the opportunity to build this one as I really like the movie. It is a shame that a sequel never got made, but it is still something neat to have on the shelves.


March 2018

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Thanks again to Tony Morgan for providing this kit.

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