Hasegawa has reissued an old friend in the form of a 1/48th scale J7W2 (Jet Version) Interceptor Fighter. The J7W2 was a natural follow-on to the prop-driven J7W1 kit which was released quite some time ago. While the J7W1 prototypes actually flew short test flights for a total time of just under an hour, the J7W2 never got off the drawing board. The Info-Paragraph on the Hasegawa website states that, “It took its first flight on August 3rd, 1945”, but that comment refers to the J7W1 prop-driven aircraft. The only J7W1 left in existence is in the Smithsonian collection, and the J7W2 was never actualized. Within the kit instructions, the issue of whether the jet version ever flew is correctly put forward with a statement that reads, “The IJN, encouraged by the previous success of its propeller-driven Shinden prototype, had plans to build a jet-powered Shinden Kai, but historians have been able to ascertain exactly how far along this project was at war’s end.”
The fact that the J7W2 is a hypothetical design may put off some modelers, but they are missing out on a well-done “classic” kit. Hasegawa’s J7W1 kit has been around since dirt was young, or about 30 years, and is still considered to be a good kit. And this derivative of the J7W1, the J7W2 kit, provides 3 resin parts to convert it into the “jet” version.
In fact, there is an existing kit review of an earlier release of the J7W2 in the IPMS Review Archive. Tim Hortman’s review does an excellent job in describing and illustrating the quality of the earlier release of this aircraft.
Let’s look at the Pro’s and Con’s of this kit:
- The kit instructions are easy to read and use the same basic “international” method of identifying paints to be used, part identification by number, and sub-assembly illustrations.
- Parts that are not used to complete the J7W2 are clearly identified as such. (Those parts could be used to model the J7W1 rather than the J7W2). One can, if one wishes, build the J7W1by using those extra parts.
- The parts snap-fit together nicely on those that were used as test-fit examples.
- The decals allow for one to build the J7W2 with Japanese markings, and there are German markings available if one wishes to go a little further down the hypothetical trail. The Luftwaffe markings are noted as “Fictitious, 1947”. The Japanese markings are for a fictitious group identified as the “Japanese Navy 302nd Naval Flying Group, 1947”. The decals are a little thick but have no other faults. The alignment of colors is precise and demarcation lines are sharp.
- As was the case with the preceding release of the J7W2, two sprues from a Zero kit, are included which provide underwing armament and a fuel tank. The lower wing half of the J7W2 has small depressions on the interior surface of the part marking the locations of the holes to be drilled if one wishes to add these stores and weapons.
- There is very little flash on any of the parts and for a kit of this age the molding is holding up rather well.
- The canopy parts are attached to their sprue with very thin attachment points. That will translate into just a few strokes with a sanding stick to clean up the attachment nibs. The canopy framing is sharp, with the engraving being very slightly raised, thus providing a guide for masking without being unsightly once painted.
- There are some mold release marks that will need to be removed. Some appear in some most-inopportune locations such as on the main tires, inside the nose wheel well, and on the inside of the nose gear wheel well doors. They are not “deal-breakers” but one will want to spend a little time removing them.
- The exterior surface is detailed with raised panel lines. These lines are very subtle, but one must be aware of them and protect them during “seam sanding.
- The only part that seems to have an “issue” is the resin “exhaust” cone. The cone is not simply a circle, there being two ridges along the bottom edge, at the 5 o’clock, and the 7 o’clock position, and a third small bulge at the 3 o’clock position. And these shapes can be found on the J7W1 cowling as well, so their presence isn’t in question. However, the “taper” on the resin part, at the 7 o’clock position is just a shade off. It does not match the “taper” of the ridge at the 5 o’clock position. This is certainly not a major issue, and once the resin exhaust cone has been attached to the fuselage, and the seam closed up, the issue will becomes far less visible.
This kit is recommended due to its ease of assembly, quality of molding, thorough instruction sheet, decals of good quality, and “coverage” of a unique subject. Thanks to Hobbico-Hasegawa for providing this item for review by IPMS.