Fine Molds 1/48 D4Y3 Suisei “Judy”
Fine Molds 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 D4Y 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 Judy 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.
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.