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Nakajima's 97: 1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate

This 1970's era 1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate was pretty much the only game in town for this scale until Hasegawa jumped in with their kit in 2001. The basics for a decent build are all here, with a pretty good interior as well as nice surface details and overall shape, especially for a 50 year old kit.

1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate

Notable Kit Features:

  • Decently detailed cockpit with molded throttle and radio equipment

  • Separate forward and aft cylinder rows with additional engine details provided

  • Optional battery powered propeller setup included

  • Good raised and engraved detail over the kit surfaces

  • Three crew members provided

  • Wheel well detail

  • Bombs and torpedo load-outs included

  • Two-piece glass for cockpits with separate gunners glass

1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate

Build Inspiration:

The Japanese Nakajima B5N aircraft was the standard carrier-based torpedo / bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The type was operated throughout the whole war, despite it being obsolete, due to the delayed development of its successor the B6N. The B5N2 served in key roles such as the sinking the United States Navy aircraft carrier Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea and the aircraft carrier Hornet at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, as well as the disabling of the aircraft carrier Yorktown at the Battle of Midway.

Nakajima B5N2 Kate

Heads-Up Report:

  • Japanese instructions (in my example)

  • Flash present on my 1980's release

  • Gap in wing-root requires filling (I used plastic card to fill the gap and have strength)

1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate

Kit Additions / Modifications:

I built this kit Out-of-the-Box

1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate


My notes on this build are pretty limited with only a few references to paint colours used being close to FS34058 over FS36350 with Green/Brown mottling on the upper surfaces. I am not sure I came close to the real thing here however it was a foray into the debates on Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft colour research and you have to conclude somewhere. EII-308 was was from IJN carrier Zuikaku and participated in the second bombardment wave on Pearl Harbour carrying a 800kg bomb load.

1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate

The After-Build Report:

For its era, this 1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate would have been impressive, with its level of cockpit and engine detail combined with the surface finish. When the Hasegawa B5N2 Kate kit was released much later in 2001, it eclipsed this kit with its modern tooling and good fit. Unless you find this kit for a really good price and don't mind the additional work, opt for the Hasegawa 1/48th scale offering.

1/48th Nichimo B5N2 Kate

Completed build #150 - April 2012 using the 1/48th scale Nichimo #4813 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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1 Comment

Feb 10

Built that one in the 70s. Fond memories.

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