#634 Nakajima B5N2
Building the Airfix 1:72 Nakajima B5N2 Kate - an exercise in weathering, no electronics.
In 2020 Airfix released a special Airfix Club Limited Edition of their Nakajima B5N2 Kate No. A73012, 1:72 and it has been sitting in my stash ever since.
The kit is a relatively new tool (2015) and builds beautifully. The main distinction of the special edition is the inclusion of two unusual end/post-war schemes. I’ve never built a Kate before, so didn’t do anything unusual here. I even went for a convention marking scheme over one of the special.
About the Nakajima B5N2
The Nakajima B5N (中島 B5N, Allied name “Kate”) was the standard carrier-based torpedo bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) for much of World War II.
At the outset of the Pacific War, the B5N was more capable than contemporary Allied counterparts such as the Douglas TBD Devastator, Fairey Swordfish and Fairey Albacore torpedo biplanes. The delayed development of its successor, the B6N, lead to the B5N being operated throughout the whole war despite the fact that it was nearing obsolescence by 1941.
The B5N was designed by a team led by Katsuji Nakamura in response to a 1935 specification by the Navy for a torpedo bomber to replace the Yokosuka B4Y. The first prototype flew in January 1937. It was ordered into production with the full designation Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber 九七式艦上攻撃機.
Marking Options and Paint Details
There are four schemes offered in the kit:
- Nakajima B5N2 Kate IJN Carrier Shokaku, Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941
- Nakajima B5N2 Kate 553rd Kokutai, April-October 1944
- Nakajima B5N2 Kate Surrender markings, 1945
- Nakajima B5N2 Kate Technical Air Intelligence Centre, 1945
While the Surrender markings and Technical Air Intelligence Centre schemes are very unusual, I went straight for a traditional scheme for 553rd Kokutai, April-October 1944. Main paints used:
|tires||Black||Humbrol 33||Vallejo Model Color 70.950 Black|
|n/a (other payloads)||Pale Grey||Humbrol 40||Vallejo Model Color 70.991 Dark Sea Grey|
|torpedo body, under-carriage struts||Aluminium||Humbrol 56||Vallejo Model Color 70.864 Natural Steel|
|machine gun, cowling||Coal Black||Humbrol 85||Vallejo Model Color 70.855 Black Glaze|
|propeller, forward cowling||Chocolate||Humbrol 98||Vallejo Model Color 70.872 Chocolate Brown + 70.870 Medium Sea Grey ~6:1|
|torpedo tip||Radome Tan||Humbrol 148||Vallejo Model Color 70.917 Beige|
|lower body||Hemp||Humbrol 168||Humbrol 168|
|upper body||Satin Dark Green||Humbrol 195||Vallejo Model Color 70.975 Military Green|
|Cockpit gas bottles||White||Humbrol 34|
|Cockpit equipment||Dark Green||Humbrol 149|
|Cockpit floor||Forest Green||Humbrol 150||Humbrol 78|
Initial clipping of the sprues..
The cockpit has a moderate level of detail. Perhaps good enough for this scale especially if built with canopy closed.
All primed in black..
Basic body color:
Pristine paint job:
Dirtying up the underside:
Some initial chipping, hand-painted…
Some more heavy weathering of the upper surface, and with HF antenna attached:
Not particular happy with this build - uninspired and I think the weathering doesn’t quite fit the scale very well. An interesting subject and well engineered kit. Very well detailed by Airfix standards.