In-Box Review
Nakajima A2N3
Nakajima A2N3 Navy Type 90-III Carrier Based Fighter
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Nakajima A2N3 Navy Type 90-III Carrier Based Fighter is a new 1/48 aircraft kit from A.B.&K Models. Who is A.B.&K Models?
    A.B.&K Hobby Kits (A.B.&K Models) was created by three enthusiatic modellers for other modellers to share our passion together. We are trying to offer models that are beyond the viewing angle for large manufacturers.

    We have evolved from modeling, through the production of patterns, casting our models from resin until we have fulfilled the dream and released our first molded model.

    We have started in Ukraine very long time ago, but over time and at present we operate only in the Czech Republic in the city Most, where we provide all our production and distribution.

    We hope that our work will bring joy to modellers.*

The Kit
This biplane kit is held in a one-piece top-opening self-locking carton with a cosmetic box top set over it. A.B.&K states:
    the box will serve as an excellent organizer which will be handy during assembly process.
The box top is adorned with beautiful artwork and presents all the information about the kit. Inside the carton are five sprues individually packed in self-sealing crinkly baggies. The instruction sheets and decals are individually packed.

Immediately I noted the crisply molded parts and the fine diameter of many of them. No flash, visible ejector circles, sink marks, or noticeable mold seam lines mar the parts. Sprue connector points seem reasonably sized. There are 67 pieces on four gray sprues and one clear sprue (one part!). The plastic is darker than what many companies inject their molds with these days.

A.B.&K did not perpetuate the overdone tradition of simulating fabric texture on the fabric surfaces - thank you A.B.&K! In fact, the plastic is almost smooth. Their simulation of taut fabric over airframe structure is subtle and avoids the "starving cow" look. Nicely done, A.B.&K! However, demarcations of the control surfaces from the airfoils, while definitely there, are very small and shallow. Photos of the real aircraft show these gaps to be more obvious. The molded portion can be used as a scribing guide for those who want to open them up more.

Panel lines and edges of dissimilar materials are also subtly simulated. It seems as though A.B.&K's tool makers were trying to create as exquisite molds as possible; even the male-female alignment features are fine - not wispy or delicate, but small. Trailing edges are equally thin.

A.B.&K includes a rigging diagram but no rigging material. Again, the tool makers have created very small - almost imperceptible - dimples where the rigging is to be mounted. To me, this is the first flaw of the model. These dimples are perhaps a quarter of a millimeter deep and I do not see how they can securely mount rigging without being drilled out. Perhaps A.B.&K made these so tiny so as not to be noticeable should one not rig their A2N? I will rig my ragwing Nakajima but I plan to use fine wire.

Assembly is conventional. Perhaps the most involved assemble is attaching the dozen or so exhaust pipes to the engine.

In summary, this is a beautifully and exceptionally tooled model with fine detail and part sizing. The only noticeable flaw is that the rigging positioning holes are so small and shallow that they may not be usable without drilling out.

Two variants of the aircraft can be built, with choices of cowling and by mounting the arresting hook.

Exterior detail has been partially described above. Further surface detail includes delicately recessed rivet and fastener detail. So what about other bits and pieces? Starting with the first assembly, the cockpit, not many parts. Rudder pedals are molded onto the cockpit floor, and the rest of the cockpit consists of the rear bulkhead, instrument panel, seat, stick, and left and right cockpit side structures. Those side structures are tubing with a few boxes attached to them, but no switch/dial/lever detail is molded onto the boxes. The instrument panel is interesting with bezels molded around deep holes where the instruments are mounted. No dial detail is molded but decals are provided. The seat has reasonably thin sides but no other detail. A.B.&K does not provide photo-etch for belts or harnesses. While the cockpit opening is small, one can see the seat clearly.

A.B.&K's model of the 580 HP Nakajima Ha-1 Kotobuki (寿, "Longevity") 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine is crisply detailed although the pistons, cooling fins, push rods and rocker arms are all molded as a single piece. That fine sculpting and molding that is the glory of the airframe? You may not think it effectively represents this 9-cylinder chunk of metal. Separate pieces are the exhaust pipes. (A.B.&K also offers four different resin and metal kits of versions of the Nakajima Kotobuki Ha-1, kits RS 48003RS1-48004RS4.) The cowling is a three-part affair, with a fourth piece allowing the modeler to build one of two types of cowling.

Another example of the fine parts that make up this kit are the machine gun barrels, each being a separate piece to set into the gun troughs. The periscope gun sight is plain but thin.

Finally, the airframe sets on a pair of two-piece wheels, feasts for the eyes with stitching and rivet detail. The tail skid is detailed and delicate, so care should be exercised when handling the model.

Overall, A.B.&K has sculpted and tooled a great deal of beautiful detail into, and onto, this model.

Instructions and Decals
Painting is very simple, The airframe is silver with a black cowling and red unit markings. The cockpit and interior is wholly listed as "Metalik Blueegrin," which is Aotake. Research of pre-war Imperial Japanese Navay Air Force (IJNAF) biplanes indicated that the interior of IJNAF fighters were painted with Aotake on the metal panels, silver dope on the fabric surfaces, with the metal tube framing was painted black. It makes sense that the instrument panel was black, too. Otherwise, the paints require are an iron color for the Kotobuki Ha-1 and rust for its exhausts.

The instruction sheet is small, simple, clear and generally excellent. There are only six steps although there are some sub-steps. A separate sheet presents the rigging diagram, and a beautifully printed color section presents the painting and decal guide.

Two decal options are included:
    ホ-220, IJN Ryujo, 1936

    二-101, IJN Kaga, 1937

Though few in colors, bright red over silver with some yellow here and there creates an eye-catching Type 90.

Interwar biplanes are not a major interest of mine but Japanese Navy biplane fighters are. A.B.&K has created a beautiful model for this area of interest with their Nakajima A2N3. It features first-class molding with fine detail and part sizing. A.B.&K has sculpted and tooled a great deal of beautiful detail into, and onto, this model. I have tried the decals and they are excellent. Two variants can be built.

I am curious how the equally fine rigging positioning holes will work out. There are a few fit problems that I am showing in my build blog. You can find it via Click here for additional images for this review, below.

A.B.&K's Nakajima A2N3 is a beauty and overall I am enthusiastic about it. Please go to the build blog and I think you will see why. I happily recommend this model for modelers with finesse to handle small, fine parts and components.

Please remember to mention to A.B.&K and retailers that you saw this model here - on Aeroscale.

* A.B.&K Hobby Kits. About Us [Web.] n.d.

Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by René J. Francillon

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: First-class molding with fine detail and part sizing. Excellent decals. Two variants can be built.
Lows: Rigging positioning holes are so small and shallow that they may not be usable without drilling out. A few fit problems.
Verdict: A.B.&K's A2N3 is a beauty and overall I am enthusiastic about it. I happily recommend this model for modelers with finesse to handle small, fine parts and components.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 004003
  PUBLISHED: Sep 03, 2020
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to A.B&K Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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