Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 Bomber Model 3 Limited Edition
Mfg. Number: 09553
Parts: 113 pieces
This limited edition 1/48 B5N2 "Kate," Imperial Japan's ship-killer, features beautiful molding, new photo-etched wing folds and decals for two planes involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Nakajima B5N Type 97 kankō
Designated by Japan as Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (kyū-nana-shiki kanjō kōgeki-ki
) and codenamed "Kate" by the Allies, the Nakajima B5N torpedo bomber was the executioner of American aircraft carriers. While her stablemate Aichi D3A Type 99 dive-bomber is considered the greatest Japanese ship-killer, USN carriers survived pummeling by their bombs. No carrier struck by Kate's type 91 torpedo survived.
Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) carrier force (Kido Butai
) Kate kankōs
opened the Pacific War at Pearl Harbor with bombs and torpedoes;
A bomb from a B5N2 caused half the casualties at Pearl Harbor when it detonated the forward magazine of the battleship Arizona.
This advanced carrier bomber was the best in the world when it took to the sky in 1937. An advanced design with fully folding wings, B5N had impressive performance, fast and maneuverable. However, lacking protection for the crew and fuel tanks yet armed only with a single rear 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun, when faced with determined fighter opposition and flak, Kate was extremely vulnerable. The excellent crews were killed off and kankō
was regulated to 2nd line roles, eventually used up in kamikaze attacks.
Hasegawa must be proud of this model as the box art is a photo of the completed model on a top-opening box. Except for the metal wing-fold parts, the photo-etch, and clear sprue, all the sprues are bagged together. A few parts are scuffed but I doubt you'll see it through paint. Including the four poly-caps there are 13 sprues and parts bags, plus decal sheet a decal sheet. These are
- 79 x light gray parts
- 15 x clear parts
- 4 x poly-caps
- 4 x cast metal
- 11 x photo-etch
Molding of the parts demonstrate why Hasegawa is a leader in models. They have a smooth finish without flash, sink holes, noticeable mold seams, and few noticeable ejector marks. Very crisp detail includes panel lines and rivets that are engraved, with relief detail as appropriate. The fabric control surfaces and flaps are molded with sag between the internal structure but without any texture.
The airframe is of almost conventional breakdown with a two-piece fuselage, a single wing bottom with left and right top surfaces, one-piece stabilizers, and three-part cowling. I wrote "almost conventional" because Hasegawa engineered two transitional fuselage halves to join the powerplant to the fuselage ahead the cockpit. These are modular parts because Hasegawa also kitted the bulbous cowled B5N1 Model 1 kankō
(Kits 09748 & 07328).
To fold the wings, Hasegawa molded recessed lines in their interiors. You will have to slice the wings apart and cut away the hinges. Slight raised guides help you position the photo-etched wing interior.
Topping the airframe off is an impressive clear sprue of canopies with both a single-piece buttoned-up unit, and seven separate pieces for positioning the greenhouse open. If you build it open you will see that the parts are very thick. Also included are nav lights, cockpit side windows, and bomb sight windows. While very thick, the pieces are clear, undistorted, and detailed with fine low framing.
The p/e fret contains ribs for the face of the wing interiors, plus the flaps and ailerons, ring and bead gun sights, and powerplant ignition harness.
Finally, Kate's calling card - a seven-piece Type 99 No.80 Mark 5 800kg armor–piercing 'battleship bomb.' These were actually battleship gun rounds fitted with fins and propeller fuses.
Kate's heart was the twin-row, 14-cylinder air-cooled 1,000 hp (750 kW) Nakajima Sakae (栄 Prosperity) 11 radial engine, which is built in four parts - five if you use the p/e harness. The well detailed front cylinder row is separate from the rear cylinder bank, as is the crankcase front.
Turning to the 30-piece cockpit (36-pieces if you count the machine gun), it has impressive detail rivaling resin. The sidewalls are neatly detailed including some wiring and piping. Sadly, these sides are marred with visible ejector circles. Perhaps the many separate parts that detail the cockpit will hide these, or perhaps they won't be visible when the fuselage is joined. Otherwise, there are many well detailed parts for the cockpit including a good Type 96 Model 3 R/T stack, weapon release handles, rudders, and a bomb sight.
Three seats for the pilot, aircraft commander, and rear gunner/radio operator are not prototype-thin but are getting better! However, horrid ejector circles ruin them and need to be hidden. Also, no seatbelts are included - very noticeable in this scale.
Hasegawa appears to be sensitive to inexperienced or aging models who still desire good detail. While the impressive instrument panel and consoles have good - if over-scale - instrument bezels and faces, detailed decals are provided to alleviate the need to paint that detail. I imagine that trying to get those thin decals to settle over the general plastic detail will require copious amounts of Solvaset. If you use the decal, consider sacrificing the detail and carving and sanding the panels down.
The gunner's seat can be assembled facing forward with the 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 92 machine gun stowed, or facing aft ready for action. The Type 92, basically a copy of the Lewis Gun, is crisp with some basic detail but lacks the rivet and other detail that would be noticeable in this scale.
Instructions, decals, and painting
A quad-fold sheet with open and shaded line art guides you along several steps and sub-steps to build this model. It is clear and easy to follow.
Decals are printed thin, opaque, crisp, and precisely registered. You are provided tail codes for HIJMS Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, and Zuikaku. Individual numbers are supplied so you can model whichever kankō
you favor. While the carrier film is thin, you might want to cut away the large clear areas inside the wing "No Step" border lines.
One unique decal is for the pilot seat, black dots simulating lightening holes!
The specific markings included are for two B5N2:
1. AI-301, HIJMS Akagi, flown by a hikotaicho with strike commander Cmdr. Mitsuo Fuchida; pilot Lt. Mitsuo Matsuzaki; gunner/radioman A1c Norinobu Mizuki. Camouflaged green over gray.
2. BI-318, Soryu, 2nd aircraft, 1st shotai, 1st chutai; first wave over Pearl Harbor. Lost over Wake Island, 1941. Soryu kankō sported unique mottled camouflage in December, 1941.
Only two paint brands are keyed to parts, not surprisingly, Mr. Color and GSI Creos Aqueous Hobby Color. Two camouflage finishes are shown: S2 - green over aluminum; solid green mottled with brown over aluminum. Unpainted ailerons and elevators are keyed for gray-green. Paint suggestions are keyed to most parts at each stage.
Hasegawa's B5N2 kankō
is an excellent model. While I do not place the parts onto an outline to compare profiles, it looks very accurate.
Molding is excellent. Surface detail is sharp. Clear parts, while thick, are clear. The model has a detailed interior. The positionable wings and the photo-etch fret really enhance the model. Decals are printed thin, opaque, crisp, and precisely registered.
I am disappointed with the ejector marks on the seats and visible side of the cockpit walls, although they will probably be difficult to see what the fuselage is closed.
Hasegawa's 1/48 B5N2 Kate with Folded Wings is an impressive and pleasing kit that, in my opinion, has held up very well over the decades. Whether you elect to build Cmdr. Mitsuo Fuchida's Kate at Pearl Harbor or any others it should be a very satisfying model to build. Happily recommended!
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
* Wikipedia. Nakajima B5N
. 12 April 2013.
* Francillon, René J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War.
London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-30251-6.
* Hasegawa. Japan's deadliest bomber