Platz Hobby

 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse model kit

Product # M-48 007

Product Article by Steve Bamford on Nov 17 2010

 

This new kit from Platz Hobby is a plane that we all know well.  This is the Kawasaki T-4 currently in use with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's Blue Impulse aerobatic demonstration team.  The Blue Impulse Aerobatic Team was officially founded in 1960 and first flew F-86 Sabres.  They then switched to the Mitsubishi T-2 jet trainer in 1982 and currently fly the Kawasaki T-4 sporting a very attractive blue and white paint scheme.

The first thing that caught my eye is the fact this kit in 1/100 scale.  This is a metric scale and was popular with the eastern Europeans and Japanese in the past and it is interesting that Platz has chosen this scale, perhaps they are catering to the Japanese home market with this scale.  1/100 does provide more detail than their 1/144 kit but doesn't have the large size of 1/72 kit, so it does provide a happy medium for the modeler. 

This model kit is moulded in white plastic with finely engraved panel lines.  The kit includes 3 sprues of white plastic, one sprue of clear styrene and a neat little posible in-flight stand with an adjustable connection point so you can chnage the angle of the model on the stand anytime in the future.  The decal sheet includes markings for 6 different Blue Impulse jets.  

The jets include the following:

  • Blue Impulse # 1 serial # 46-5730
  • Blue Impulse # 2 serial # 26-5804
  • Blue Impulse # 3 serial # 46-5729
  • Blue Impulse # 4 serial # 26-5805
  • Blue Impulse # 5 serial # 46-5726
  • Blue Impulse # 6 serial # 46-5728

All 6 of these jets are in the identical blue and white paint scheme.  

This kit includes 2 canopies, but they are both one piece canopies.  You do have the option to cut them up and pose your jet with the canopy open if you decide not to use the in-flight stand.  Considering the fact that there are no pilot figures included, using the in-flight stand is not a really viable option for the seriously anal types.  For myself I would cut up the 2 canopies to get  a canopy posed in the open position and then pose this jet sitting on a tarmac.  The wheels have fantastic detail on the front and back sides.....spokes on the front side and brakes on the backside.  The landing gear are well done and up to the usual high level of detail Platz Hobby in known for in their small scale kits.  The wheel wells lack any detail.......so the option of gear-up and closed wheel bays and pilot figures would have been the best option, but with the lack of figures you will have to ponder what option works best for you.  Considering the fact this is a 1/100 kit, finding pilot figures could be difficult.  Or just build it with no pilot figures using the in-flight stand and don't worry about it.  You do get 2 sets of landing gear doors for the closed and open position, so you don't have to try to make one set fit both options, a very smart decision by Platz Hobby.

The kit is a joy to behold.  Cockpit detail is actually pretty good with raised lines for side wall detail and quite well done raised detail for the side consoles.  You get 4 instrument panels molded in clear styrene, so you have some creative options for lighting up the video displays if you are so motivated.  You'll only need 2 of these instrument panels for this 2 hole trainer, so don't worry if you mess up two of them experimenting with different techniques.  The clear styrene sprue also includes clear strobe lights you can tint with your favorite clear colored paint.  The 2 ejection seats include ribbed detail for the back rest cushion.  The kit also includes 2 drop tanks, but check your reference photos as the jets don't always carry these tanks, more than likely the tanks are only used to transport the jets between shows, but that is just my guess.

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The decals are excellent quality and in register and include stencils and formation lights.  All parts are packed in separate bags to protect the smaller more delicate parts.

Platz Hobby has always impressed me with their tiny high quality kits and this one is no exception.  If you build this one, you will be satisfied with the finished model.

Steve Bamford

Check out http://www.platz-hobby.com/ for this and other fine products.  I'd like to thank Platz for the review sample......this kit is made in Japan and the high quality is evident throughout this tiny model kit.

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Photos and text by Steve Bamford