1/32 Kyushu J7W Shinden model kit

Product #60320 from HobbyLink Japan

Product Article by Dave Johnson on Nov 19 2010


Product #60320 (http://www.hlj.com/product/VOL50283) and available from HobbyLink Japan 

*History – *
 The Kyushu J7W Shinden was developed for the Imperial Japanese Navy as a short-range interceptor in a specific response to the B-29 Superfortress raids on the Japanese homeland. For this type of mission, the J7W was armed with 4 forward-firing 30mm cannons in the nose. It was to be operated from land bases.

 The canard (forward surface is smaller than the rearward) configuration was chosen by Captain Masaoki Tsuruno from the technical staff of the Imperial Japanese Navy in early 1943. The idea of Captain Tsuruno was that the aircraft could easily be fitted with a jet engine in a later stage of its production life. The construction of the first two prototypes began around June 1944, stress calculations were finished by
 January 1945, and the first prototype was completed in April 1945. The 2,130 hp Mitsubishi MK9D (Ha-43) radial engine and its supercharger were installed behind the cockpit and drove a six-bladed propeller via an
 extension shaft. Engine cooling was to be provided by long, narrow, obliquely mounted intakes on the side of the fuselage. This configuration caused cooling problems while running the engine while it was still on the ground. This, together with the unavailability of some equipment parts postponed the first flight of the Shinden until 3 August 1945, when Captain Tsuruno himself took to the air at Itazuke Air Base.
 Even before the first prototype took to the air the Navy had already ordered the J7W1 into production, with quotas of 30 Shindens a month given to Kyushu's Zasshonokuma factory and 120 from Nakajima's Handa
 plant. It was estimated that some 1,086 Shinden fighters could be produced between April 1946 and March 1947. In fact only the two prototype aircraft were ever completed. After the end of the war the second prototype was shipped to the USA, while the first is reported as being scrapped.

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*The Kit – *

 Zoukei-Mura is a new comer to the plastic model injection scene, and the company and product came out of nowhere. Based in Japan, Zoukei-Mura has a few interesting releases that are planned for the future. Their main business is producing dolls and accessories under the name Volks. (check this out). The kit itself is very impressive once you remove the box top and expose all the plastic parts. The parts are moulded in grey, black and silver plastic which reminds me of the old Matchbox kits that I tried to assemble when I was growing up as a kid. 252 parts make up the kit along with 16 clear parts, so there are a few parts within this kit.

  The instruction sheet is very neat looking, and appears to be an old Japanese war document from the front. The first page of the booklet is printed in English and happens to be an A4 insert and that is about the only English text that you will see during the build process. The instruction manual shows the constructional process in neatly drawn renderings, and completed with photos showing the model at the same stage of completion during the build process. Most of the callouts are in Japanese and the odd English one. But the pictures are very clear and most modelers should be very able to follow along with the pictures. The paint callouts are from Vallejo range. The exterior parts are molded in the grey plastic, and have fine scribed panel lines and fine rows of rivets, there are a couple of small areas that have some flash but the kit is free of any signs of sink marks. The molded silver parts make up the interior components. The first thing that stands out is the very large framing that is the base of the fuselage and wings. There are also two seats included, one has a molded seat harness and the other hasn’t which is great if you prefer to use a photo etch harness. The side walls has a lot of detail, which some will say that it looks to be overdone slightly but I think it looks fine.The engine is also included on the silver sprues and work of art by itself. The Mitsubishi Ha-43 engine is
  molded in 66 parts. The level of detail is excellent and is worth display the engine cowling off. If the modeler was alsoto add some plumbing to thehe engine, the results will be fantastic. The engine assembly is a mini kit in itself. The cooling fins on the cylinders are very finely molded and will lookawesome with a coat of paint and a wash to make the detail pop.

  On the black sprue is the huge 6 bladed propeller, tires which are molded separately from the hubs, which will ease the painting stage. Also included are the 4 30mm Type 5 autocannons. These cannons are molded very nicely and will look the part when the barrels ends are drilled out. The instrument is included on the clear sprue with the canopy parts and other small clear molded items like the gunsite and the wing tip lights. The instrument panel has very fine molded dial faces and will look fantastic when they are painted up. Zoukei-Mura has molded a 3 piece canopy, so the modeler can display it open and show off the cockpit area, also included is a one piece canopy if you do decide to close it up. Also included is a pre-cut mask set to help the ease of masking.

  The decals are printed on a single sheet and only for one aircraft. The decals are not for a particular airframe as there were only the two prototypes built, so the modeler can be creative with unit markings or even a captured airframe with stars and bars. The decals themselves are nicely printed and in very good register. 

Overall the kit is fantastic for a first release from a new comer to the plastic injection model kits and their future releases will be very interesting. Zoukei-Mura also offer a few extra upgrades as weighted wheels, photo etch, turned gun barrels, Prototype cowling and a Ne-20 jet engine, just to name a few! This is surely a must have kit for anyone that has a interest in Japanese or late-war/X-type aircraft.

  I would like to thank HobbyLink Japan for the review sample.

Dave Johnson

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Photos and text © by Dave Johnson