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.
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.
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.
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.