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T-4 “Blue Impulse”

Platz, 1/100 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

Platz Kit Number FF-2 - T-4 Blue Impulse

Scale:

1/100

Contents & Media:

42 x white airframe parts, 14 x clear canopy & instrument panel parts, 2 x black stand parts (all parts are styrene), and decals for any 1 of 6 Blue Impulse team aircraft.

Price:

Available online from: Platz Hobby for ¥945 and Hobby link Japan for ¥900

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Good quality kit with comprehensive decal sheet.

Disadvantages:

 

Conclusions:

A nice little kit.

 

Reviewed by Mark Davies


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Background

 

The Kawasaki T-4 is an indigenous design and replaced both the Fuji T-1 and Lockheed T-33 within the Japan Air Self Defence Force. Like many air forces, this intermediate jet trainer also serves with the mount for the national aerobatic team called Blue Impulse. The T-4 prototype first flew in July 1985, and began to enter service in 1988. A total of 220 aircraft have been built.

I’m a dedicated 1/72 builder, partly from being raised on this scale in the 1960’s, and partly because of the immense variety of subjects. AI aso like it because it is a good constant scale for a large collection encompassing the smallest to largest of airframes, although subjects like a B-36, B-52 or An-22 do start to eat up display space. Personally I find 1/144 to be a bit too small for prop fighters and sometimes a bit clunky for scale finesse (of course 1/144 die-hards will disagree - as they should!). However I have to admit that 1/100 scale is in many ways a very good compromise between these two scales, offering enough detail and large enough for scale finesse with injection moulding, yet just that bit smaller to suit a large model collection. However it seems that this rather logical metric scale has been limited to a few Japanese manufacturers, some East European countries in the days of communism, and I think some early Heller kits. As such the subject range and following is rather modest.

 

 

FirstLook

 

The kit comes in a good quality top-opening box. All parts and decals are sealed in various cellophane bags. Instruction diagrams are easy to follow, but all text is in Japanese characters other than some FS paint codes, which is quite handy for other nationalities. I understand that this kit was previously issued as a pre-painted, partially assembled 1/100 model of the T-4 in Blue Impulse markings (costing about 45% more than the kit reviewed here).

This kit is labelled as a limited re-issue.

 

  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Platz 1/100 T-4 Blue Impulse Review by Mark Davies: Image
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The kit follows a conventional breakdown for this type of aircraft and all parts are crisply moulded with delicate recessed panel line detail. The cockpit includes tubs and side-consoles, ejector seats, control sticks and clear instrument panels. There are two sets of instrument panels along with two canopies and navigation lights, although the instruction’s parts map indicates that half of the clear sprue is not required. Presumably Platz might offer a two-kit T-4 boxing. Detail levels for the cockpit and undercarriage are good for the scale, but large enough to be enhanced without the modeller needing to be a neurosurgeon in their day job. However the canopies whilst well moulded are sufficiently thick to distort the view of any very fine work, so belts and throttles would be the most I’d choose to add.

 

 

Being a Blue Impulse boxing the decals are limited to the team’s markings, and cater for all six aircraft serial numbers and pilot’s names. The decals look to be very well printed and comprehensive. In fact they provide most of the tricky to mask blue areas, with only the fuselage underside needing to be painted blue along an easily masked straight line (some careful colour matching may be required if you choose to use a decal and paint combo for the blue areas).

 

 

Wing-walks, anti-dazzle panel and various stencilling are also provided.

The package is rounded out by a black plastic display stand with a swivel attachment. 

 

 

I feel that some of the appeal of this scale could be for in-flight desktop models, and so the absence of pilot figures is perhaps a pity

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a very well executed kit presented in quality packaging.

Its subject matter will mainly appeal to Platz’s domestic market, and its scale will no doubt limit its popularity some more.

However if you feel like a change of scale, or already build in 1/100, I think that this would prove to be a very rewarding kit to build.

If its limited re-issue status is correct it may pay to get one sooner rather than later.

Recommended.

Thanks to Platz Hobby for the review sample.


Review Text Copyright 2010 by Mark Davies
Page Created 22 December, 2010
Last updated 22 December, 2010

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