Something of a surprise was this recent Sword release of an injection-molded Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden Type 21 "Jack" as kit # 72053. Although I suppose in a way the choice is a natural companion to their Ki-44 Shoki kits. When I had briefly looked at 1/72 Raiden kits here and here there was no sign of this release - or if there was I had missed it! I haven't had a chance to examine this new kit so this is not an in-box review but just a heads-up for those few, like me, who might have slept through its appearance! The sprue pics look rather nice, although I note that the sidewall detail, seat and other cockpit details are resin. This always makes me nervous but please take that as an indictment of my modelling skills rather than any criticism of the kit. Three markings options are included, two 302nd Ku examples, one flown by ace Sadaaki Akamatsu and the famous lightning bolt adorned 352nd Ku Raiden.
Now there is another Raiden kit from Sword on the way too - kit # 72060 a J2M5/6 - and the box art by Jerry Boucher is inspiring - superb. This one has markings for a Shanghai-based interceptor, identified as from the "Cyushi" Ku (中支 - chuushi for Central China, sometimes identified as being the 256th Ku), a rather plain looking 332nd Ku example and another 302nd Ku aircraft.
The camouflage and markings of the Raiden mean that it is difficult to create a "different" looking model and I know that some modellers find the scheme boring with so few alternatives. The trick, I think, is to accept the challenge of getting the dark green to look really convincing in terms of both colour and lustre - much harder than it seems - and to avoid the colourful decals looking like . er . colourful decals! The release of these two new kits (and maybe more to come?) reminds me that Hasegawa's Raiden, although still an excellent model, is 34 years old!
We're not done with Raiden yet, with a couple more 1/72nd and the 1/48th-1/50th examples to consider, but in the meantime there is some more catching up to do . . .
Image credits: All © 2011/2012 Vision Sword s.r.o