In-Box Review
J.M.S.D.F. MH-53E
J.M.S.D.F. MH-53E Decals and Etched Details
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Platz have released an impressive pair of aftermarket sets to add new life to Italeri's MH-53E Sea Dragon, offering new decals and etched details.

JD-36 JMSDF MH-53E Sea Dragon decals
Price: 2,520JPY

Custom printed by Cartograph, this sheet provides markings for a pair JMSDF Sea Dragons - s/n 8629 and 8631. The overall scheme for both is the same, with White topsides and Lt Gull Gray undersides.

The printing is superb, as we've come to expect from Cartograph, with precise registration on the thin, glossy items. The design follows Platz's distinctive style so, rather than present the modeller with masses of individual stencils, they are grouped together where possible onto patches of crystal clear carrier film. Due to the nature of the MH-53 though, there are still plenty of separate stencil markings to place, so you can look forward to some satisfying decalling sessions.

Highlight of the sheet has to be the distinctive traditional artwork for a/c #31, and the sheet also includes window surrounds, instrument panels and a grills. An interesting feature is that the non-slip surfaces are depicted in a slightly speckled dark grey - something I haven't seen before, and which could look very effective.

A 2-sided bi-lingual Japanese/English instruction card is provided. Gunze Sangyo and ModelMaster paint matches are given, and FS references are included for each colour.

M-72 MH-53E Etched details
Price: 1,470JPY

As with all the Platz etched sets I've seen, this is produced by Eduard, so the quality is assured. The small fret contains 75 new items to superdetail the interior of the Sea Dragon.

Many of the parts are pre-painted and the detail of this is quite exceptional. It shows just how fine the resolution of Eduard's printing is, that the instrument panels here are far superior to even Cartograph's work on the decals described above. Interestingly, Eduard have opted for a very dark grey for the panels to allow the instrument faces themselves to stand out in black.

The detail throughout is extensive: in the cockpit the seats get pre-painted harnesses, plus side armour, there are new consoles and throttles with individual levers, replacement rudder pedals. Meanwhile, in the rear compartment, there are more consoles and data plates. The fret includes a few small boxes to fold to shape, but this isn't an overly complicated etched set, so anyone with a little experience should have few problems.

The instructions are classic Eduard, with clear illustrations, and self-explanatory despite the Japanese-only general guide. Platz continue to use full colour-shaded versions of Eduard's sheets, which I think is worthwhile as it does make absolutely clear where new parts fit and old ones must be modified or removed.


If you're looking to build a JMSDF Sea Dragon, Platz gave everything you need to pack it with interior detail and finish it in a choice of attractive colour schemes. Recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Beautifully printed decals and highly detailed etched parts.
Verdict: Platz's decals and etched details will combine to produce a detailed and attractive JMSDF Sea Dragon.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: See Text
  Suggested Retail: See Text
  PUBLISHED: Oct 25, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Platz!
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 Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. 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.


It looks an absolutely stunning set, but alas if you have my kind of skill-set, using the Italeri kit is like trying to make a silk-purse out of a sows ear I started the Italeri kit earlier this year, but gave up when I realised how much work building it involved, let alone the corrections necessary. Now, if they'd released this in 1/48 so we could use it on the Academy kit......
OCT 25, 2009 - 05:08 AM
Hi Neil I'll suggest that to our contact at Platz. So, you never know... All the best Rowan
OCT 25, 2009 - 08:06 PM
Hi again Neil It looks like your wish could come true! Our friends at Platz send their regards and thanks for your suggestion and say they hope to release 1:48 J.M.S.D.F. Sea Dragon accessories soon. All the best Rowan
OCT 27, 2009 - 09:27 PM
WOOHOO!! Thanks for that Rowan, you're a little
OCT 30, 2009 - 04:31 AM
That is great to hear a set in 1/48th, lets hope the also do the PE in the scale. I have a good sized handful of the 1/48th SeaKings including the Japanese boxing. Joe
OCT 30, 2009 - 06:34 AM

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