Disclaimer: The images above were supplied by the manufacturer and painted by their artists.
This kit is one of Tamiya’s latest 1/16 figure releases. This is also their first release in this scale of a Japanese serving in World War II.
In the box
The box art shows a confident Imperial Japanese Navy pilot serving with a land based fighter squadron. His aircraft, the A6M2 Type 0 Fighter, awaits him in the background. This said he could easily have been posed on the flight deck of a Japanese aircraft carrier, since the flight suit was issued to all squadrons.
The back of the box shows a completed figure in the box art pose along with an optional pose with the pilot holding a samurai sword. The photos show assembly, painting and decal instructions.
After opening the box, the modeler will find two sprue trees: a one light gray sprue tree containing the figure; and a smaller clear sprue tree with a base plate and flight goggles. Decals for the gloves and life jacket, along with six rank insignia, are also included.
The figure, wearing the typical early war flight suit and life jacket, is nicely molded with little flash.
The folds the flight suit where it gathers under the life jacket are realistically sculpted and give modeler a sense of what it was like to wear this cumbersome arrangement. The seams in the flight suit, gloves, helmet and boots are well represented with just the right hint of stitching.
The samurai sword is also nicely molded in the scabbard. The fine detail of the scabbard’s attachment points, ornate elements and the braided handle of the sword are amazing.
The biggest drawback of this kit is the positioning of the hands in a pose holding the sword and gloves. In all three poses, work will required to show these items being correctly held.
In the case of the sword, the grip is far too loose. Gently heating the fingers and flexing them towards the palm can correct this.
The hands holding the gloves are another matter. If you were to try to hold gloves as they are sculpted, you wouldn’t hold them for long. The figure pose with the sword has the gloves glued in to basically an open palm.
The box art pose is the same way. Tamiya should have sculpted the gloves in the hands and given it the same level of detail as they did to the flight suit where it gathers under the life jacket.
Overall, this is another fine large-scale figure from Tamiya. The subject matter is welcomed in a German laden line of 1/16 figure kits. With the clear goggles and well-sculpted details in the flight gear and sword, this kit delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
As this kit is currently only available in Japanese markets, I purchased my copy for 10.99 USD from Lucky Hobby.