Hasegawa 1/350 IJN Navy Carrier-Based Aircraft Set

Reviewed by Tracy White

Tree AI (Three each)

Hasegawa's 1/350 IJN Navy Carrier-Based Aircraft Set was released at the same time as their Akagi aircraft carrier kit (reviewed here) and comes with the three main types flown in combat by Akagi as well as other carriers and land bases throughout the entire war. Molded in clear plastic are three A6M "Zero" fighters, six B5N "Kate" torpedo and high-level bombers, and three D3A "Val" dive bombers, with two Kates per tree and one each of the Val and Zero. Three trees are included with each set.

Molding is well done, with fine panel and canopy bracing lines. Each aircraft is broken into a left and right half, so some care in filling and sanding may need to be excercised. Stores are included to a point; torpedos and the larger bombs carried during the attack on Pearl Harbor and battleship row executed in beautiful detail. The smaller bombs carried by Kates and Vals are not provided, and I don't think that injection technology has caught up to the point that they economically could be, so this is not a mistake on Hasegawa's part. It is certainly more than we've seen on any 1/350th ship kit recently released.

Instructions & Decals

A folded piece of paper provides four sides of instructions, with one dedicated to construction, two to markings, and the last to decal methods and boilerplate (mostly in Japanese). The instructions provide guides for the markings of five A6M Zeros, six B5N Kates, and five D3A Vals, the same aircraft markings provided in the kit. Many of the tail codes used that are not mentioned are known and available from other sources, but generally the system was that fighter numbers started in the hundreds (I.E. AI-154), dive bombers in the 200s (I.E. AI-207), and torpedo bombers in the 300s (you guessed it, AI-301, commanded by overall strike leader Mitsuo Fuchida).

This set is designed for Hasegawa's Akagi kit, but markings are provided to help modelers who may want to use the aircraft in other settings, perhaps Fujimi's future aircraft carrier Shokaku. This is not to say that you can build aircraft from any ship out of the box, however. While the tail codes for the six different aircraft of the Kido Butai (Special Attack Force that attacked Pearl Harbor) are included, the colored tail bands that signified which ship a plane was from only include the single red band for Akagi. Other

There is one error in markings that should be mentioned. The instructions show Kate 3, tail code AI-316 with outer wing panels marked "green is thinly painted over silver. In talking with Pearl Harbor Historian and Student David Aiken, he mentioned that this was probably based on artwork he helped research for this aircraft, but for service later on in its career when it had seen a couple of months of service. At the time of Pearl Harbor the paint would have been much newer and not worn.

The box art shows the bombs in a light gray color, but the instructions correctly instruct you to paint them in gray-green.