Aichi D3A1 Type 99 ‘Val’ Japanese Dive bomber. 1:48 Hasegawa kit

This is an old model from my ‘archive’ that I recently restored. I had made it many years ago when I resumed modelling in my middle-age (was it really all those years ago!?). At the time I wasn’t so adept with the airbrush but somehow I did manage to airbrush all those yellow and blue stripes towards the tail and the red tail fin itself. No mean feat with a single-action airbrush and Humbrol enamels, which was like spraying treacle! This time round I accented the panel lines and gave it a bit more of a weather beaten appearance, but not too beaten up as the aircraft depicted by this model probably wouldn’t have seen much action. I am presuming this particular aircraft took part in the Pearl Harbour attack where it distinguished itself along with the Mitsubishi Zeros and Nakajima Kates.

The long tube in front of the cockpit was an aiming device for the pilot. I had to scratch build it from scrap plastic rod as I had lost the original. Probably show up on the carpet one day!

I have always regarded the Aichi D3A, known as ‘Val’ by the Allies as one of the most beautiful looking aircraft of all time, along with the Spitfire and P-51 Mustang.

I still smile when I look at those stripes!
Showing the dive brakes deployed under the wings. The Val was the primary dive bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy and it was the equivalent of the German ‘Stuka’ at Pearl Harbour

Influenced by German designs on dive-bombers, the Aichi D3A1 was a low-wing monoplane which could carry a single 550-lb bomb. The fixed spatted undercarriage betrayed the influence of the Heinkel organisation, which was secretly advising the Imperial Navy in aviation design in 1936. It was slower than many of the other aircraft at Pearl Harbour, but it was manoeuvrable, powered by a single 1,0875 h.p. Mitsubishi Kinsei 44 radial engine.

Aftermarket Hinomarus

The Val first flew in August 1936 but by August 1942 only 478 had been built, proving the lack of Japanese resources. Still the Val is credited with sinking more Allied ships than any other Axis aircraft of the Second World War.

The original box top

2 thoughts on “Aichi D3A1 Type 99 ‘Val’ Japanese Dive bomber. 1:48 Hasegawa kit”

  1. Thank you it was nice to finally be able to try out a few weathering techniques with my new airbrush. I just accented the panel lines free hand and faded a few sections to give it more interest. Unfortunately, had a bit of a disaster with my Grumman Hellcat-a load of kits fell on top while I was rummaging and smashed it to bits!! Oh well, maybe I might make a crash diorama from it. Have ordered another Hellcat this time from Eduard

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