In-Box Review
C6N1 Saiun
1/50 Nakajima Saiun (Myrt) Carrier-Bone [sic] Reconnaissance
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

A blast from my past! I built this model decades ago and brush-painted her with I&R dark green. When I eventually disposed of my masterwork (No doubt with fireworks) I kept the interior detail pieces; years later I found and bought another--the kit you will meet in this review.

1/50 Japanese Aircraft Series
Tamiya, during my early modeling days of the early 1970's, had a substantial line of 1/50 Imperial Japanese aircraft, the 1/50 Japanese Aircraft Series. Introduced in 1963 by the growing model company Tamiya Plastic Kogyo Co., these 1/50 aircraft were quite impressive for the time. They featured predominately raised rivet and panel lines and fit as well as any other model makers' products. The scale is 4% smaller than 1/48 and contained as much detail as 1/48 offerings. The scale fit European die-cast models of the era. It converts easily in both metric and Imperial systems. It is interesting that concurrently Tamiya released a series of 1/48 armor models, mainly NATO AFVs, and a pair of World War Two Soviet favorites. As the standard for scales sorted itself out, 1/50 fell to the 1/48 onslaught which was taking a stranglehold on the hobby.

Models in the series were:

* Type 99 Japanese Navy Carrier Dive-Bomber (Val)
* Mitsubishi Type-0 Observation Seaplane (Pete)
* Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero
* Nakajime Ki-43 Hayubusha (Oscar)
* Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo)
* Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony)
* Kawasaki Ki-100
* Nakajima C6N1 Saiun (Myrt)

Nakajima C6N1 Saiun "Myrt"
The Nakajima C6N Saiun (彩雲, "Coloured Cloud") was a carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in World War II. Advanced for its time, it was the fastest carrier-based aircraft put into service by Japan during the war. The Allied reporting name was Myrt.[1]

Although designed for carrier use, by the time it entered service in September 1944, there were few carriers left for it to operate from, so most were used from land bases. Its speed was exemplified by a famous telegraph sent after a successful mission: "No Grummans can catch us." The top speed of the Grumman F6F Hellcat was indeed of the same level, so overtaking a Sauin was out of the question. [2]

A total of 463 aircraft were produced.[3]

1/50 Saiun "Myrt"
Featuring the raised detail and "action" features popular in the day, Myrt was a decent model. Certainly not in the class of today's 1/48 Hasegawa kit, nonetheless Tamiya's offering was packed with detail. Molded in black and silver, it also featured an extra fuselage and cowl of clear styrene to show off that detail! (I do not know if all of these kits featured these extra parts.) Although I will describe this model, I'll let a picture be worth a thousand words, with my photographs to provide most of the detail. Unfortunately, glossy black styrene makes and awful photographic subject.

Interior An extensive cockpit with over a dozen instrument panels and consoles is provided. Canisters of oxygen, and small reservoir tanks are also provided. Three crewmen are provided; they look thinner than other Japanese WW2 flight crew figures and to me, bear a strong resemblance to Monogram pilots of the day. However, the depth of the cockpit was not sufficient and you may have noticed their lack of feet.

A reasonably detailed Nakajima NK9B Homare 11 1,485 kW (1,990 hp) 18-cylinder radial engine is provided with engine mounts, firewall, and rear accessory assembly. Tamiya molded the cylinder tops (Those little black ax-looking thingies) separately!

Exterior / Airframe Except for the rudder, the control surfaces and flaps are separate. Even the leading edge slots.

The undetailed landing gear and tailhook retracts. Tamiya detailed the interior of the wheel doors but not the interior of the main gear covers.

The flaps are moveable and held by bronze clasps.

Colors and Markings
Saiun were either NMF (Natural Metal Finish) or had a coat of green topside. The belly may or may not have been painted light gray. It is interesting that the directions show the bottom fuselage color as light gray, but the bottom of the wing as light green!

The decal options are:

* 171th Kokutai
* 4th Hikotai, 343 Kokutai, Japan, December 1944 - August 1945
* 8th Hikotai, 762 Kokutai, Japan and Formosa, August 1944
* 1st Kokutai, August 1944

Someday you may find this model and wonder if you would like to drop your hard earned money on it. Compared to today's offerings it is more of a toy. Tamiya even included parts for motor and battery holder to twirl the propeller. I am confident that with a bit of sanding and scribing that I can build a good looking model with it. All that interior detail will save me the cost of some beautiful resin interior set.

This model holds a good memory for me and can make a fine model. And if you take advantage of the clear pieces, you can build a conversation piece. Enjoy!

[1],[2],[3] Wikipedia
Highs: A detailed interior. Positionable control surfaces.
Lows: Raised exterior detail. Simplified and somewhat toy-like parts.
Verdict: With a bit of sanding and scribing, you can build a good looking model with it; if you take advantage of the clear pieces, you can build a conversation piece.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: MA-109
  PUBLISHED: May 21, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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.


Has anyone ever seen one of these assembled with the clear fuselage half and cowling?
DEC 10, 2019 - 10:03 AM

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