Maly Modelarz B5N2 "Kate"

Discussion in 'Kit Reviews' started by sakrison, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    Kit Review:
    Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" in 1/33 scale
    Maly Modelarz kit # 3/2002
    by David Sakrison — 5 July 2005

    Artwork: Excellent
    Parts fit: Excellent
    Instructions (in Polish, w/drawings): good
    Level of detail: Good to Very Good
    Overall rating: Very good to excellent
    Level of difficulty: Intermediate

    Maly Modelarz' Nakajima "Kate" (3/2002) is an impressive model. The artwork is excellent; the fit of the parts is close to perfect, and there is plenty of detail. Engine and cockpit detail are good enough to create a good-looking scale model, without being intimidating.

    The construction drawings are adequate--not much guesswork required. A bit more detail would be helpful in a few places, but Maly Modelarz has come a long way in this respect and I have no real complaints.

    I don't read Polish but one of the photo captions in the kit identifies the markings as those of an aircraft from the Japanese carrier "Akagi," at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor (7 Dec 41). The carrier marking on the tail, "AI," confirms this as an Akagi aircraft. The red fuselage stripe and the aircraft number ("1") probably indicate a flight leader. Commander Mitsuo Fuchida led the first wave of attackers at Pearl Harbor, in a flight of Kates. Tail number A1-301 might be Fuchida's plane. Maybe someone who reads Polish better than I do, or who has access to better historic records, can sort that out. In all, 40 B5N2s armed with torpedoes and 103 B5N1s armed with bombs took part in that attack.

    The kit comes with a bomb and a torpedo. I mounted the torpedo, since this is a B5N2. That was the one step that gave me trouble--it was a painstaking cut-and-test-fit procedure. But the results look good.

    The landing gear mounts into holes in the gear wells. With no reinforcement, the gear is a bit flimsy. A liberal application of superglue after assembly stiffened things up. A better approach would be to back the gear well with heavy card or a small block of balsa or basswood. The tail wheel could use similar reinforcement.

    At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese added wooden extensions to the fins on their torpedoes, to keep them from diving into the bottom of the harbor. The kit does not include these. I made mine from HO-scale stripwood, stained with a brew of alcohol and leather dye. I based them on photos and highly sophisticated LAR ("Looks About Right") calculations.

    GPM's Kartonowka magazine for 2/2002 includes parts for a Kate diorama, including torpedo and bomb carts, a torpedo, 4 bombs, a pair of oil drums, wheel chocks, pilot, observer, and gunner figures, two ground crew figures, an 11-1/4" x 16" carrier-deck diorama base (in two parts—no crease), assembly drawings, and several color photos of the finished diorama. It also includes a wing spar template and wing ribs for building the kit with folded or folding wings. The bomb in the kit and one of the bombs in Kartonowka appear to be the special 1,653-lb Japanese bombs converted from naval armor-piercing shells and used at Pearl Harbor.

    I used the wing spars from the kit and built the wings extended. I would have built them folding but miscalculated and built the wings before I checked the magazine for parts. Some days are like that. On the other hand, this kit went together so nicely and looks so good that I wouldn't mind building it again, adding some more scratch-built details and folding wings, next time around.

    The wing-folding hinge is a narrow strip of cardstock applied to the top of the wing. It looks as though the model's hinge would need some reinforcement to allow folding and to support the wing properly when it's extended. Some Tyvek® (the indestructible stuff that Federal Express® envelopes are made of) and a couple of inconspicuous alignment pins should do the trick.

    I built the torpedo cart and the barrels from Kartonowka (a nice 2-evening project) and mounted the diorama base on foam core board. At a recent “Model Airplanes Day” at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this mini-diorama received a lot of praise from plastic modelers.

    Overall, this is an excellent model that goes together very well and scales out accurately. I'd recommend some modeling experience, if only because of the amount of detail. The finished model has an 18-1/2" wingspan and measures 15-1/2 from prop hub to tail cone.

    The Kate torpedo bomber, the "Val" dive bomber, and the "Zero" fighter were the three Japanese aircraft that made the attack on Pearl Harbor. Maly Modelarz offers a Mitsubishi Zero (12/2000) that looks comparable in quality to their Kate. Add a Val from Halinski, Fly Model, or Modelcard, and you'll have the whole trio in 1/33 scale.

    Now, how about a Japanese midget submarine in 1/33?

    Added 18 Sept 2006: I just found the model kit on sale at the CardModelShop

    Attached Files:

  2. Bluenoser

    Bluenoser Member

    Great looking model.
  3. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Nice Review & Model Build


    Thanks for the review and the build report. The additional items make for a better display of the model. On the subject of the midget sub go here:

    It's 1:48 but would most probably survive the trip to 1:33 scale.

    Best regards, -Gil
  4. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member

    Very nice job. The torpedo cart really adds to the model.
  5. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    This is Fuchida's plane from the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.
    Torpedo is included as a bonus since this plane was carrying a modified 18" AP shell during the attack.

    David - excellent work!
  6. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    Thank you David, for the well written report!
    I have already ordered this one and am awaiting it's arrival so your timing is perfect.
    You have done an excellent job building her as well. She sure is a beauty!
    Maly kits sure have come a long way since the introduction of computers and are now an even better bargain for the price.

    What have you planned on tackling next?

  7. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    Just my luck--I stuck a torpedo on it. Thanks for the confirmation.
  8. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    He could be getting ready for the Battle of the Coral Sea :grin:
  9. eatcrow2

    eatcrow2 Member

    Beautiful clean work, with a great set of photos showing her off...
  10. FredZ KSAC

    FredZ KSAC Member

  11. wyverns4

    wyverns4 Member

    Nice Models!
    Where can I get them in the US? I checked with both The Paper Model Store and Hobby Factory, and neither one listed the Kate.


    Working on Halinski P-40 and Modele Kartonowe I-16
  12. paperboy

    paperboy Member

    Re: looking for Kate from Maly Modelarz

    Did you ever find this model? I think that I have it somewhere.

  13. sakrison

    sakrison Member

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