Revell's Pearl Harbor
(1/426 Arizona & 1/72 Kate)
Coming up in December is the 60th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, and Revell has released this special issue double kit containing a Japanese Kate and the USS Arizona. The final addition is a 48-page book on the participants of the attack.
The USS Arizona Kit
Many of us are familiar with Revell's USS Arizona kit. This 1/426 scale model has been around for quite a few years and the molds are getting a bit tired. There's a bit of flash on many of the parts, but some scraping with a knife and a couple swipes with some sandpaper will take care of that. Aside from that, the kit looks pretty decent for its age. Of course the kit has built-in details that are unacceptable to today's modelers (like the railings being represented by solid plastic with some raised details), but was considered to be decent detail when the kit first hit the market. You'll have to decide early on just how much detailing you want to do to this kit so you can make the appropriate changes.
The main hull of the ship is split into right and left halves and this will probably be the area that will need the most care as everything will end up resting on it. There's going to be some filler work here, with the mating surfaces having rounded edges, resulting in an uneven match. There's no bulkheads for the inside and I'd recommend supporting the upper sections with pieces of sprue cut to fit. The only other bits to fit to the underside of the hull are the propeller shafts and the rudder. The rudder is designed to be movable, but the flash on the parts makes this a bit difficult and it's probably best to just glue it in place.
The upper decks of the ship are split into a fore and an aft piece. The fore deck has a lower and an upper section, with the lower section incorporating all the anchor chains and the #1 turret, as well as all of the 5" guns. The main gun turrets all have separate guns fitting into turrets, and the kit is designed for the completed turrets to be movable. The upper section of the foredeck has the #2 turret and 10 of the 5" anti-aircraft guns. The superstructure continues to go up, with a four-level flag bridge fitting on top of the upper section and a nine-piece foremast. The final details for the front of the ship are the separate anchors and jackstaff. While the anchors are decent enough, the jackstaff would probably look better replaced with either plastic or brass rod.
The aft deck has the #3 and #4 turrets, with the #3 having a catapult and aircraft on it. The two remaining 5" anti-aircraft guns also fit on to the forward part of the aft deck, while a second catapult and aircraft crane fit onto the aft end. With the fore and aft deck sections mounted on the hull, all that's left is the small details such as the boat cranes, the boats, stack, and mainmast. Painting and decalling instructions are presented throughout the construction diagrams, so you'll have to pay attention during construction to get everything colored the way it's supposed to be.
The B5N Kate Kit
If you're wondering where Revell got a 1/72 Kate from, the answer is Hasegawa (who, in turn, got the kit from Mania). This kit, like the Arizona above, is an old kit, but it has held up much better than the Arizona. It was one of the first kits to have all recessed panel lines, and these are still crisp. One addition to this kit that wasn't in the Hasegawa or Mania releases is a couple resin pieces and a small fret of PE providing parts for the bomb to hang underneath.
Considering that this kit came out some time in the 1970s it has some surprising detailing. The engine has both front and rear cylinder banks included, and the cowl flaps are provided as a separate ring to fit between the cowling and engine back. This will make thinning those flaps down to a realistic thickness much easier. The interior is very busy, with a front instrument panel, a middle instrument panel for the co-pilot, and a bulkhead with radio equipment on the back. The cockpit floor has plenty of detailing on it as well, including rudder pedals & seat posts. The seats themselves are somewhat basic shapes, and you get two for the pilot and copilot, while the radio operator has a round seat. A pair of extinguishers are a separate piece for the rear bulkhead, while a pair of control sticks round out the innards. All of this is will be quite visible underneath the canopy, which is quite clear and crisp.
The wings are split into three parts, with the lower wing being one piece that also incorporates part of the fuselage. There's a small window to place in the bottom of the wing, but the cockpit floor covers it up on the inside, so you'll have to remember to paint the bottom of the cockpit floor an appropriate color. The tailplanes are molded solid in right and left pieces. The landing gear is somewhat simple, but looks decent enough. The resin additions in this kit also find their way onto the underside of this kit, with a two-piece bomb. Photoetch makes up the bomb fins and the end result is a very nice-looking piece of armament.
The decals for this kit provide markings for a single Kate, flown by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida who directed the attack on Pearl Harbor. The instructions state that the undersides should be painted Cement Gray (FS 26424) and the upper surfaces Dark Green (FS 34092), with the cowling black. The markings for Fuchida's Kate have three yellow bands on a red tail, along with the plane number, and a red band outlined in white around the rear fuselage. A black '1' is on the underside of the left wing. The decals are well printed and in excellent register.
The final item in this rather large box is the 48-page book entitled 'Pearl Harbor Awakening the Sleeping Giant', by Bert Kinzey. This book is worth the price of this combo kit alone for all the information in provides. Starting with the Japanese, the six carriers are covered with some photos and a short overview of each, with the aircraft receiving similar treatment. The midget submarines receive a bit more coverage, but the majority of the book covers the American side and the losses entailed. After an overview of the attack in both photos and text, the book provides a list of all the US ships present on December 7, 1941, with a map opposite showing the position of all those ships at the moment of the attack. A complete list of the damages and losses follow that, and then the book takes a photographic look at each of the damaged & lost US ships, starting with the battleships and moving on through the list. A list of Japanese losses is also included, and it is interesting to note how few of the Japanese participants survived through to the end of the war. In fact, only a single destroyer survived, although it (the Ushio) was heavily damaged in Manila Bay in 1944. The last three pages of the book provide a short overview of the two kits in the box, rounding out this title.
If you're interested in the Pearl Harbor attack, this is a box you'll want to pick up right away. It probably won't be on the shelves for long, and the book is worth the price even if you don't want the models. While the Arizona kit will need some work to turn it into a decent model, the Kate will build up nicely out of the box. Toss everything together and you get one great deal.
Our thanks to Revell-Monogram for the review sample.