The Japanese Self-Defense Forces are the only military operators to have flown the MU-2 in front-line service. The four C-model aircraft built, in addition to 16 MU-2Ks, entered service with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force with the designation LR-1; they were used as liaison and photo reconnaissance aircraft. 29 MU-2Es were purchased by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force as search-and-rescue aircraft and designated MU-2S. Additional equipment consisted of a “thimble” nose radome, increased fuel capacity, bulged observation windows, and a sliding door for dropping rafts.
The top opening box contains 2 models in separate bags. There are 3 sprues for each kit, 2 in grey plastic and the other clear. There is also a stand for each kit. The clear sprue and the stand are in their own bag inside the main bag for each kit.
This is another collaboration between F-Toys and Platz, but this time in the more usual 1/144 scale. The instructions are a single piece of paper folded to give 4 pages. Page 1 is the usual safety warnings and a brief overview of the aircraft. Pages 2 and 3 are colour and decal instructions, colours being referenced in Mr Color and Testors/Model Master ranges. Page 4 is the assembly instructions and parts list. You have options for 4 different versions of the MU-2; MU-2B, LR-1, MU-2A and MU-2S. You can build 2 of the 4 options with the decals provided. The kit comprises 34 parts, some of which won’t be used depending on which version you build. The sprues are finely detailed and as good as anything else out there in 1/144. You can build the undercarriage retracted and place it on the supplied stand, or put it on it’s wheels, or indeed wheels extended and on the stand. The decals are by Cartograf and the sheet is both comprehensive and of high quality. One thing I do like is the fact that for the MU-2A and MU-2S versions the upper wing comes as one decal. If it were individual decals for the upper wings in 1/144 my old eyes would struggle, so this is a welcome surprise. Interestingly the decal sheet has “1/72 JASDF MU-2S” written on it, so maybe we will see a 1/72 version of this kit?
This is an interesting kit, high in detail, colour and options. It has a nice price and would be a couple of quick builds. Ideal for the younger modelers among us.
Thanks to Platz for the review sample.
Paul Tosney – Model Builder International – www.modelbuilderinternational.com