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Kevin Thompson
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Fine Molds 1/48 D4Y3 Suisei “Judy”

January 8, 2013 · in Aviation · · 5 · 4K

was begun as a sideline in the late 80s by a few guys working at Hasegawa. Since that time, the small company has produced some interesting and rare subject matter, and reproduced them all quite faithfully. I have never heard anyone speak of a "bad" Fine Molds kit, though I have heard them referred to as expensive and sometimes hard to find.

The Yokosuka Suisei ("comet") was a mid-to-late war two-man Japanese Navy dive bomber and attack aircraft. It was originally designed around the Aichi Atsuda in-line liquid-cooled engine (a Japanese license-built version of the Daimler-Benz DB 601 inverted-vee 12 cylinder). It proved to be fast (faster than its Zero escorts) and quite nimble. These were designated D4Y1 and D4Y2.

The Atsuda engine did, however, have reliability and production/supply problems, so it was decided to adapt the airframe to the Mitsubishi Kasei 62 radial engine, which was more reliable and more plentiful. Radial-engined versions were designated D4Y3 and D4Y4, and were first seen attacking U.S. carriers in the Philippines in 1944, and were, like so many other Japanese planes, used for suicide attacks in the last year of the war.

Fine Molds released all four versions (the D4Y1/2 in-line, and D4Y3/4 radial) in various forms from the mid-90s on. The kits are the only examples of the in 1/48th and are quite good.

The one shown here is the D4Y3 (the D4Y4 has a larger bomb and different bomb bay configuration, but are otherwise similar). Great parts, great decals, but Japanese-only instructions! The assembly diagrams and color charts are sufficient to complete the task at hand.

Again, as a real enthusiast of Japanese WWII aircraft, I am very pleased that Fine Molds exists, to reproduce some of the rare, non-mainstream aircraft of that era. The kit is still available (lots of them on ebay), though at around 45.00 to 55.00 U.S., a bit pricey.

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5 responses

  1. and the Japanese have finally done it! You've hogged the whole front page of the site. Might as well stay up all night and get it outta your system now. Go for the record (which I'm pretty sure you've already done).
    Do you still HAVE all of these or are they at Chino? By the way, you DO do nice work.

  2. Thanks, Craig. I show them at Chino, but they LIVE at MY house! I build stuff for Chino, but its usually something really rare, like turning a Lockheed Vega into an Orion, or building an Me 264 out of wood, or making a Mikoyan E-166, etc. These days, most of my Chino modelling is relegated to fixing broken models that other people built and donated years ago. Tom Cleaver, on the other hand, is building up quite a sizeable display at Chino. Hundreds of his builds out there. Literally hundreds. Makes for more room in his house!

  3. It's been a very good roundup of Japanese aircraft types of the period. I've read them all and learned new things, thanks for interesting writing (and so much good modeling).

  4. Wow! Nice job you've done.
    I've build the nightfighter version, D4Y2 with the upward firing gun a long time ago. I always thought Fine Molds was as good as Hasegawa but building the Judy ( my first Fine Molds kit) I was a bit dissapointed. The lack of detail, flash, ill fitting parts, warped fuselage. It took ages to get it build right and descent.

    Best regards;

  5. kevin excellent work im looking forward to seeing your work in person I love the rare subject matter you choose keep up the good work

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