A review of the new Hasegawa 1/32nd kit of the Imperial Japanese Navy's interceptor fighter the Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden "Jack" can be found here at Scale Plastic and Rail. The first issue kit, a special edition, contains as a bonus a comic book 'Young Bloods on Lightning Bolt' by Seiho Takizawa.
Raiden is sometimes translated as 'Lightning Bolt' and sometimes as 'Thunderbolt'. Raijin is the god of thunder and lightning in Japanese mythology. The name Raijin comes from the Japanese words rai (雷, thunder) and shin (神, god). Raijin is sometimes depicted as a muscular man surrounded by drums, from which come the rumbling of thunder. Raijin also sometimes appears as an Oni (demon) as below. A Buddhist legend tells of Raijin as an evil demon who confronted Buddha. Buddha deployed a heavenly army to capture Raijin together with the demon who became the god of the wind (see Osprey's Ki-44 Aces!). Raijin is sometimes referred to as Raiden, from the words rai (雷, thunder) and den (電, lightning.) According to a Japanese legend, Raiden saved Japan from an invading Mongolian fleet in 1274 by sitting on a cloud and hurling bolts of lightning against the ships.
Model Art in Japan have also published a new profile on Raiden which is now available from Hobby Link Japan.
A previous 1/32nd scale kit of the J2M3 Raiden originated from Revell (possibly with Takara, Japan co-operation) in 1972. Always difficult to find it is now a rare and sought after kit but it will be interesting to see how many of these appear on the second hand market from the stashed hoards now that Hasegawa have released their new version!
The same kit was re-issued in Japan in 1976 in the usual distinctive Revell-Japan strong cardboard box. This edition, even rarer now than the original Revell, had new box art and a decal sheet with no less than five options.
No doubt many models of Hasegawa's new Raiden will appear with cockpit interiors resplendent in RAF grey-green and much forum waffle will be expended on the subject by those who worship at the temple of Tamiya paint. Here are some clues.
Image credits: Box art, comic & model images © Hasegawa 2011; Model Art # 11 cover © Model Art 2011; Box art © Revell 1972 & Revell-Japan 1976; rendered colour chips © 2011 'Straggler'
The Raiden was probably the first IJN fighter (other than a Zero!) I became aware of as a kid reading books and building models. I remember being about 10 years old, buying the Tamiya Lancaster, and seeing a picture of their 1/50 scale kit in a pamphlet. What a beautiful aircraft, and one that holds a special place in this aircraft fan's heart. Thanks for the wonderful explanation of name variations in this post....
This plane is still one of my favorites. The kit looks perfect. Although it is presented as the J2M3, to my surprise I saw that the cowling perfectly shows you may choose for the J2M2 as it shows the holes for "nose mounted" armament.
Thanks for placing!
Hi Nick, excellent article on one of my all-time favorites! Still have to chuckle on a comment you relate about the "It's boring old dark green over grey" we tend to come across for the Raiden. Is it me or do others wait for the same comments directed at boring overall paint, dare I say it not to offend the ETO legion of fans, will ever remark towards their Spitfire or BF109? Lest the "exciting" overall bare metal of the P-51D?
Anyway, keep up the great work!
I'd love to build this kit and I must say, I love the box art! The pilot figure in the photo above looks very nice indeed, too.
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