by: Jim Adams [ ]
Originally published on:
The Ko-Hyoteki, Target A, Ko Gata, Type A, midget submarine was equipped with an electric motor driven by 224 two-volt batteries. The Type A class could reach 19 knots submerged. They carried two bow 17.7-inch torpedoes. Fifty boats, HA-3 thru HA-52, were completed before the end of the war and were used against Allied warships and shipping in the 7 December 1941 Pearl Harbor attack and May 1942 raids on Sydney, Australia, and Diego Suarez, Madagascar. Midgets were also used in attacks off Guadalcanal in 1942-43 and as defensive units in the Aleutians and elsewhere in the Pacific.
Effectiveness of the class has been debated. Of the midgets launched against Pearl Harbor only one is know to have actually made it into the harbor. Claims have been made that is actually fired its torpedoes at West Virginia. One ran aground on the east side of Oahu, one was sunk by USS Ward prior to the attack, another was abandoned by its crew after being attacked, the fourth was sunk inside the harbor after it had fired, and the final midget has never been found.
The midget sub comes in a nice lidded box with a painting of the midget riding on its mother sub. Inside you will find the instructions, decals, and sprue. Yes, there is only one sprue of parts in the box.
The sub can be made in one of three different configurations. Scheme 1 is the Pearl Harbor configuration. Scheme 2 represents the sub used in the Northern Pacific Campaigns around the Aleutian Islands. Scheme 3 covers units in and around Hiroshima in August 1944.
All of the different parts are molded in a dark grey styrene. The hull is separated into two halves split between top and bottom. This does mean there might be some seam clean up. The hull has nice done molded on weld seams. Other hull features are also molded onto the hull in a fine manner. The conning tower has a nice rivet pattern on it surface. The base of the tower has vent holes on both sides that can be opened if wanted. Since the interior of the tower is hollow opening the vent holes might require some scratch building.
The other parts that go into making the midget are also finely done. There were a few parts that had some flash on them. The attachment points to the parts were a little heavy, so take care when removing them.
Besides the midget sub there is also a torpedo included. The torpedo has its own display stand. The seams might require clean up just like the subs.
The instructions are done in a single sheet folded format. The main draw back is there are printed mostly in Japanese. All of the historical information is in Japanese, so that is lost on most of us. The presentment information is provided in English.
Each different type of the midget is called out without any confusion. Painting is covered on one sheet. Colors are only listed by name ie, flat black and white.
There is a single small sheet of decals included as well. The markings included are for all three different schemes. Also included are a large and small set of national flags.
With more submarines being made in 1/72 scales the midget subs are a logical choice. The kit is straight forward in construction and packs plenty of nice detail. Ambitious builders could work this kit into a very dramatic dio.