Aichi D3A1 Type 99 Bomber Model 11 Limited Edition
In 1936, the Imperial Japanese Navy requested bid submissions for a carrier-based bomber prototype from Mitsubishi, Nakajima, and Aichi. With Mitsubishi dropping out early, the contest was narrowed down to the two remaining competitors. The Aichi prototype made its initial test flight in 1938 and despite several R&D problems was officially adopted in 1939 over the Nakajima prototype on the merits of its superior speed and maneuverability.
My sample arrived in the typical Hasagawa Limited Edition box. On the box top there is a photograph of the completed model versus the artwork found on the standard kit. I should mention this is not a new kit, but the addition of a limited edition photo etch fret is. It’s just what it needed to bring it up to today’s standard. The photo etch options include new cowl flaps and the ability to display folded wingtips that also includes inner rib structures. In addition, upgrades like gun sights, bomb details, and an engine ignition harness are included. In all, there are a combined total of 134 pieces that are flawless, the standard B&W instructions, and one colorful decal sheet. The decal option is for the Aircraft Carrier SORYU No.1 AC.21st Section 1st Squadron, Dec 8, 1941 Pearl Harbor. but also includes combination numbers for any squadron mate.
I began by building up the cockpit tub. It has adequate sidewall details; the instrument panel has raised detail with a decal option, and the gunner’s position can be stowed facing forward or rearward in firing position. All the parts pretty much just fell together. The IP decal worked out great and I encountered no problems. I decided to have the rear gun face aft and not in the stowed configuration. About the 7.7 mm gun – Hasegawa included a very nice photo etch ring and bead sight to replace the clunky plastic sights.
After closing up the cockpit in the fuselage, I started on cutting the wing tips off. This isn’t a straight line cut and was a bit challenging, even with reverse score lines provided by Hasegawa. The photo etch parts include the inner rib structures that must be added before the wing halves are glued together. I waited until the major painting stages were completed before adding the exposed photo etch wing fold bulkheads. All these parts are nicely detailed and fit great. Of course, I left the wing tips until last. The next phase was attaching the wings and tail to the fuselage; again, the fit was superb.
The engine and cowling were treated to a little photo-etch as well. This included an ignition harness for the engine and improved cowl flaps for the cowling. The harness was simple enough once removed from the fret, but the cowling needed a little surgery. It’s basically just cutting the away the old cowl flaps and installing the photo-etch ones.
The bombs were next. The larger 250kg bomb received a photo etch belt and spinners fore and aft, while the two smaller 60kg bombs only required nose spinners. Also added later, the bombs were easily hung even with the elaborate center sling rack and sway brackets.
Once all the initial painting (including the red tail) was done, I added the decals. This went better than expected, as I was worried about the large sizes. I will mention that the decals are very thin and very delicate but they settled down nicely and needed just a little Solvaset.
I finished the project by adding all the remaining items and only applied light weathering.
The Bottom Line
This is classic Hasegawa at their best. It was truly an enjoyable build. I highly recommend this one!
My great appreciation to Hasegawa and Hobbico for supplying the kit, and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to review this beautiful model.