Fine Molds Q1W1 "Lorna"

by Michael Quan

FineMolds' (AKA "Joy Kits Laboratory") latest kit release is a welcome return to their stable of 'esoteric' Japanese World War Two aircraft. This latest release is of the Tokai (translated as "Eastern Sea"), an obscure late-war design for an anti-submarine patrol airplane. Resembling a scaled-down Junkers Ju-88, the "Lorna" was apparently successful in its intended role. However, the original design specification endowed it with a low top speed, making it easy prey for the numerous Navy fighters encountered in home waters during the late stages of the war.

This new kit from FineMolds is a welcome replacement for last year's "Lorna" release by Pavla, for not only is the retail price halved, but the 'standard' high-pressure injection molding gives much finer detail. The box art features a dramatic pull-up by a Lorna from a diving attack on a surfaced Gato-class submarine. Unusually for a FineMolds kit, there is no parts-breakdown illustration in the instructions, although there is quite a potted history (in Japanese, unfortunately), describing the Magnetic Anomaly Detection gear and surface search radar employed on operations.

In terms of kit molding expectations, this kit carries on from FineMolds' previous released kit of the Me-410A-simply beautiful! Detail is exquisite with just a hint of flash in one or two spots. The trailing-edge dive-brake detail on the wings is especially nice. A total of 92 gray and clear plastic pieces are detailed in the manner > that is the expected standard from current Hasegawa and FineMolds kits.

Sink marks are limited to the cockpit seats. Clear parts are provided for either an opened or closed cockpit canopy, and another kit option is for a radar-equipped version, complete with different radio boxes in the cockpit. In a curious departure from current state-of-the-art, the main wheels are not flattened or bulged. Construction breakdown is similar to the Me-410A, with sixteen pieces comprising the cockpit interior. Highly detailed radial engines are provided, and separate nacelle wheel-well detail is given. Ordnance consists of two drop tanks and two 250-kg bombs.

The least desirable feature introduced in FineMold's previous Me-410A kit was the note in the instructions to purchase a separate photo-etched fret for the seat belts. This trait has persisted to this kit, and sadly, has also included the lack of the Lewis defensive machine gun, which is to be purchased as a separate (and believed to be unavailable stateside), white-metal kit. I suppose that the lack of these parts has helped lower the retail price of recent FineMold kits to more affordable levels, but nonetheless, "tsk-tsk" on you, FineMolds, for issuing an 'incomplete' kit! (Aero-club issues a suitable Lewis machine gun as item #G002, by the way.) I was fortunate to be able to procure the two FineMold accessory white metal & etched parts called for in the instructions, and the price for both was another 2100 yen! Two markings for identically camouflaged Lornas are featured, one each for the Saiki and 901st Kokutai. This is a very nice kit of a little-known Japanese Naval Aircraft that should appeal to fans of obscure Japanese aircraft!

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