1/48 Kyushu J7W2 Interceptor Fighter Shinden Kai "Jet Version"
Kit Number: 09846
Reviewed by  Tim Hortman, IPMS# 19789

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MSRP: $59.95
Kit Supplied by Dragon Models USA: www.dragonmodelsusa.com

The Aircraft:

The Kyushu J7W1 Shinden (Magnificent Lightning) was Japan's WWII canard fighter. Several large scale research gliders proved that the canard concept was feasible, so production was ordered on the J7W1. Two prototype aircraft were built before the end of the war, but only one was flown for two short flights. During these flights, there was a strong torque and vibration which was in need of correction before full production could take place. Designs were in place to have the rear mounted radial engine replaced with a turbojet engine (J7W2 Shinden Kai) but World War II ended before such a configuration could take place.

The only surviving J7W1 is housed in the National Air & Space Museum Collection.

The Kit:

Let's face it; this is not a new kit. In fact the mold has been around for 25-30 years now. The kit has finely raised panel lines throughout the kit, and minimal cockpit detail for today's 'standard'. Hasegawa has re-released the kit several times over the years in different boxings usually with only minor decal changes & new box art. Here, for the first time, the modeler can build the jet version of the Kyushu Shinden in 1/48 scale with this release.

What you get in the kit is exactly the same as all of the older versions of the J7W1, with the following exceptions in this release:
  • The kit contains two "W" weapons sprues from the recent A6M8 Zero which contain fuel tanks, and both large and small rockets.
  • There is a resin engine exhaust nozzle, and the two larger resin air intakes.
  • There are new 'placement holes' in the wing bottoms and one in the fuselage bottom for the proper fitting of the weapons and fuel tanks.
  • A new decal sheet for two fictional aircraft: Japanese Navy 302nd Naval Flying Group, 1947 & a Luftwaffe 1947 aircraft.
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The molds are showing their age somewhat, as I had to clean up minor flashing around some of the parts. This release contains the normal Hasegawa Grey sprues. Overall the fit of the kit parts is very good, but use some caution with part B11 - the forward wing & fuselage. It takes a little work to get it to fit flush on both sides. Other than that, I had no fit problems with any of the parts. This old kit still holds up with some of the more modern kits on the market today! Don't forget the weight in the nose or you'll end up with a tail sitter. You will also have to replace a few of the raised panel lines if you sand the seams. The cockpit could use a little detailing, but if you close the canopy the results are convincing.

The new resin parts are smartly designed to fit right over the original kit parts, so there is no surgery of the kit necessary; only some small sanding to get the proper fit to the resin. The two larger side intakes fit almost perfectly into the fuselage with the smallest amount of filler needed. The rear resin jet exhaust nozzle dropped right onto the rear of the kit.

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The kit also contains the weapons sprues from the recent A6M8 Zero and these parts are also molded very well. You'll end up with some extras no matter what combination you choose. I chose to depict this Shinden Kai with the center fuel tank, and both the large and small air-to-air rockets on each wing.

The decals are the standard Hasegawa quality. What was interesting to me was the way they cut the German markings. Rather than try and work with a single German cross the decal is in two parts for each side of the fuselage, and are cut to match the contour of the new larger resin intakes. Of course the purist WWII Japanese aircraft modeler will know that the Germans never came close to having the J7W - it was solely a Japanese undertaking. Both schemes depicted in the kit are fictional, as the Shinden Kai was never completed.

Overall this is a great kit that still holds up to some of the more modern releases on the market today. I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in WWII Japanese aircraft, or those with a "1946" collection. The biggest drawback for me was the raised panel lines that the kit started its life with several decades back. When I build another one, I will re-scribe the kit for a more convincing look. It is a little pricy for an older kit, but worth it to finally add a Shinden Kai to my collection.

My thanks to Dragon Models USA for the chance to review the kit- it was fun!

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