KIT REVIEW: Tamiya 1/48 Scale Mitsubishi J2M3 interceptor Raiden (Jack)
OUT OF THE BOX
By Jason Aufderheide
This older Tamiya Jack kit can usually be found at hobby stores at prices much less than other Tamiya or Hasagawa WWII fighters. Despite its age, it does have recessed panel lines and its overall exterior detail stacks up well with nearly any kit on the market. The cockpit is another story. Instrumentation is only available in the form of a decal. The entire cockpit assembly consists of only seven parts. When you open the kit you may hear it whisper "feed me an aftermarket cockpit" in your ear.
This is a very easy kit to build. The instructions are written in six simple exploded view steps. Everything fits well and there are not any unpleasant surprises. The cockpit seems as though it would not only seat the pilot comfortably, but maybe his ground crew as well! It is very large for such a small interceptor. The canopy is nice but it is in one piece so this model can t be built with an open canopy without some cutting and modification.
Decals are provided to build one of three different Jacks used for home defense. Unlike modern kits representing WWII Japanese planes with multiple exhaust pipes, the Tamiya Jack has them molded into the fuselage rather than separate parts. They must be carefully painted by hand after the rest of the model has been painted.
I occasionally place my Jack next to my Monogram B29 and try to imagine what a J2M3 pilot must have thought as he was climbing to meet the Superforts. The diminutive Raiden seems as though it could land on the wings of a parked B29.
The lack of detail in the cockpit is certainly the downside of this kit. The large canopy and spacious interior tend to rub salt in this wound and make the lack of detail even more obvious. If this kit is built straight from the box, I strongly recommend using the included pilot to help cover the missing detail. The rest of the kit s exterior detail is fine and an aftermarket item here and there will pull this kit up to nearly anyone s standards. Its simplicity and price matched with its great fit makes this an excellent kit for a beginner or less experienced modeler. It makes a nice kit to have on hand for the experienced modeler as well - serving as a sort of "rainy day" item when you want to drop what your doing and produce something fast.
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