Weather Satellite Himawari
Quick and easy. This kit can be described in those two words. This kit was assembled over a period of 3 days, spending no more than 30 minutes during each of the 3 modeling sessions. And when one considers that most of the time was consumed in painting the parts, that tells you that the actual construction process was….quick and easy.
The kit consists of 33 parts, 6 of which make up the display base. There are two versions of the Himawari that can be built. An earlier version will use the 8 antennas (parts 15) while the more recent Himawari does not need those parts.
The quality of the parts is high and the fit is very good. In fact, no seam filler was used to complete this kit. The parts that make up the band of solar cells that circumnavigate the main body are a critical component of the model. These parts are molded very well and the fit is almost perfect. One of the nice features about this kit is the inclusion of a mirror contained within the “shoe,” consisting of parts 6 and 7.
I was disappointed with the antennas, parts 18, 21, 17, and 16, and the second antenna, part 19. These parts are molded in clear plastic. The builder is instructed to paint the ribs on the antennas and that would serve to simulate the openings between the ribs on the actual items. I would have preferred some PE antennas, but that would have increased the cost of the model, as well as the difficulty factor. As it is, the kit is appropriate for younger or less experienced modelers and the use of PE would not be consistent with that characteristic. Can one achieve a decent set of antennas by painting the ribs as instructed in the kit plans? That depends on the patience and skill level of the builder. The difficulty involved in painting the ribs on the antenna would be about the same as working on a canopy for a B-29 in 72nd scale, or adding color to individual deck planks on a 350th scale ship. I chose to not paint the ribs and that will be seen in the images included in this review. My plan is to replace the antennas with scratchbuilt parts using bits from carrier sheets for PE parts from other models.
A potential pitfall in assembly can be avoided by heeding the caution within the instructions in Step 2. The printed admonition in Step 2 reads, “Take care not to miss the fixing position for each solar panels.” In colloquial English that means, “Pay attention to the locating pins on the solar panels.” In short, each of the solar panels has a unique combination of pin design and placement that makes it improbable that the builder will get it wrong.
The instructions provide a coding system to indicate the colors that the parts are to be painted, and this system is clear and easy to use. The painting codes refer to Aqueous Hobby Color and these colors are readily available in most hobby shops.
There are no decals in the kit and none are needed.
Displaying the Finished Model
The display base is stable and easy to assemble. The satellite is fastened to the display stand with a swivel feature which allows the model to be rolled right or left, but the pitch is set and is not adjustable. Yaw is also adjustable, but for the safety of the finished model I chose to glue the satellite in place, eliminating the ability to adjust yaw.
This kit is a great project. It’s quick, easy, and produces a nice model when completed. This product is highly recommended. Thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing this kit to IPMS, and to IPMS for allowing me to review it.