As part of their wartime alliance, Nazi Germany supplied the Japanese with the plans and data for the Messerschmitt Me262. Nakajima was given the task to develop a single-seat, twin-engined jet fighter with folding wings that could be stored in a tunnel or cave, that was capable of carrying a 500 kg or 800 kg bomb, and that could carry out suicide attacks against approaching enemy ships.
The resulting aircraft bears a strong resemblance to the Me262, though embraces a simpler approach to construction given that it was being developed under duress in 1945. The prototype was completed on July 5, 1945 and first flown on August 7 - one week before the Japanese surrender.
This kit is molded in light grey plastic and consists of 54 parts (along with a one-piece clear canopy). The detailing is finely engraved, with relief detail for maintenance access panels. There are no ejector pin marks on any visible surfaces. I was a little surprised to see a little flash on many of the parts, so a little sanding/trimming will be required to clean this up during assembly.
The cockpit is rather detailed, and reflects the simplicity of a prototype. With only 55 parts, building will be rather quick and easy. The fuselage and wing halves fit nicely, and the wing-to-fuselage joint appears to be tight.
One very interesting part of this kit is the ballast. Given the proportions of this kit, without additional weight in the nose, this model would be a dedicated tail-sitter. I've admired the innovative way that Tamiya has produced special ballast for their 1/48 He219 and MiG-15 kits. In the spirit of simplicity, Fine Molds also provides ballast to keep your aircraft firmly planted. In this case, a bolt and nut. There is even a fixture on the top of the nosegear onto which the bolt mounted. It is indeed elegant in its simplicity.
The unfortunate part of the kit is the one-piece canopy. With a little care, you might be able to separate the windscreen from the canopy and show off the interior.
The markings provided are very simple, as would be expected on a late-war prototype. Likewise, the paint scheme was also very simple - IJN Green over IJA Grey, with orange-yellow wing leading edges for identification.
Fine Molds continues to turn out some unusual aircraft subjects in nice injected-mold plastic. This variation of the Me262 is no exception, and would look great parked next to a Trimaster/DML Me262A. I'd recommend this kit to any builder, though given the $60 USD suggested retail price, it will likely remain among the collectors of aviation rarities and fans of World War 2 Japanese aviation.
My sincere thanks to Kitlink for this review sample! By the way, they are currently offering this kit on their site at $35.97 USD.