Nakajima B5N2 TYPE 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (Kate) Model 3
Allied code-named “Kate,” the B5N2 was a highly maneuverable aircraft for its type, powered by one Nakajima Sakae 21, a twin-row 14-cylinder 1000 hp radial engine. With a top speed of 235 mph, it had a operational range of 610 miles. A three-man crew was standard. Its armament featured one 7.7mm machine gun for rearward defense and payload capacities of either one 800kg bomb, two 250kg bombs, six 60kg bombs, six 30kg bombs, or one 800kg torpedo. Officially adopted in December 1939 as a follow-up of the B5N1, the B5N2 Type 97 proved to be an accurate bombing and torpedo platform and easily found its way to all six IJN carriers in the Nagumo task force that attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet in the Pearl Harbor raid. The type 97 became the Navy’s mainstay in the early stages of the war wherever it saw extensive action, including combat campaigns in the Solomons, Southwest Pacific, and Indian Ocean.
My sample came packaged in a typical Hasegawa box displaying beautiful box top art with a Limited Edition badge. Upon inspection of the contents, I found ten gray colored sprue and one clear glazed sprue, plus one black vinyl poly cap sprue. I also found the standard B&W folded instruction sheet plus a very extensive and somewhat large decal sheet. The plastic parts were all well protected in clear poly bags, as well as the decals. The parts themselves were flash-free, well appointed, and highly detailed, totaling 114 pieces. This limited edition kit features new parts for two 550 pound (250 kg)bombs. The decals are jaw dropping and may cause drooling; there are two options and Hasegawa has included extra tail code numbers to complement almost any Pearl Harbor attacker.
- I.J.N. Carrier Zuikaku, Pearl Harbor second wave attack, Lt. Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki, Code: EII-311, Dec 8, 1941
- I.J.N. Carrier Shokaku, Pearl Harbor second wave attack, Code: EI-311, Dec 8, 1941
And, of course, this kit features two canopy options, a one-piece greenhouse, and a 7-piece segmented slider system to pose open cockpits. The flaps can be positioned in either an up or down configuration. Plus, Hasegawa supplied clear wingtip lights, if needed, depending on your preference. Lastly, Hasegawa supplied optional parts to show or stow the 7.7mm tail gun.
Beginning with the cockpit in steps one and two, I found the fit to be excellent and problem free. The instrument panels are highly detailed and include two decal options. My only complaint would be the exposed back side of the radio boxes that can easily be seen from the second cockpit opening. I simply added a plastic card covering to the backside of the offending part (see radio box photos) and I added photo etch seat belts to an otherwise decent cockpit. Moving along through steps three and four, I soon had the cockpit glued into the fuselage halves, and finished up by adding the wings and tailplane. The flaps were a bit unruly but I soon had them under control. The major problem I had was the lower belly/wing seam – it required filler and extra time. The last steps, five and six, covered the landing gear, bomb racks and bombs, prop and flyweights, engine and cowling, canopy, and do-dads. One more major gripe I have is with the crazy sprue inside the cowling; this thing is a monster and created nothing but problems (see the photos). I had to repair the cowling after fracturing it trying to remove the chunky cross sprue. The decals were the last item used from the box; I found them to be very nice – they are thin, they went down great, and they reacted well to Solvaset.
The Bottom Line
It’s a great kit of a great subject. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Thanks to Hobbico and IPMS for the opportunity to review such a fine model kit.