Friday, April 29, 2011

1/72 Aichi D3A1 type 99 Val by SkyMax Models

The D3A first flew in January 1938, and between December 1939 and August 1945, the Aichi company built a total of 1495 aircraft in two main variants. This dive-bomber, codenamed "Val" by the Allies, came to prominence on December 7, 1941, when a Japanese Naval Task force launched 183 aircraft, including 51 Aichi D3A-2s, from six aircraft carriers to attack Pearl Harbor's Battleship Row and other US Navy installations. One of the D3A-2's victims was the USS Pennsylvania.

The D3A1 featured a 1,000hp Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 and was equipped with two forward firing 7.7mm Type 52 MG and one flexible rear-firing 7.7 Type 92 MG. Typical bomb load was a single 250kg bomb under the fuselage or two additional 60kg bombs on each wing outboard. Like the German Stuka, the Val did not have a retractable undercarriage, so large streamlined fairings were used to make them more aerodynamic.

Takashige Egusa was a first line commander and one of the finest carrier dive-bomber pilots in WWII. Under his control, the 2nd wave of D3As seriously damaged the USS Nevada with 6 direct hits at Pearl Harbor. Eventually he led two attacks of 18 Vals each at Wake Island (destroying several gun batteries) and at the Port of Darwin (21 ships sunk).



Captain Takashige EgusaIn April 1942 during the Indian Ocean raid, Egusa's Vals reached their elite status, when they destroyed the Royal Navy carrier Hermes, two British heavy cruisers; the HMS Cornwall & HMS Dorchester, the flower class corvette HMS Hollyhock, the destroyer HMAS Vampire and two tankers. By that time, he was known among crews, as the "god of dive-bombing" for his ability in leading the attacks. Today's model represents Egusa's leader aircraft on that mission, sporting distinctive bright colours on the tail, for easy recognition and formation.



Sources:
Militaria 145 - "Aichi D3A Val,Nakajima B5N Kate"
Fist from the sky! – The Biography of Captain Takashige Egusa


After HobbyMaster's Kate torpedo bomber, Skymax's Val at least covers up a bit the lack of 1/72 WWII Japanese subjects in our diecast collection. It's a good model, which seriously would have been perfect if only they added the 7.7mm MG for the rear gunner and an open canopy configuration. The rest is just spot-on, details from the painting to the tiny stencils make this model a very unique addition, despite being produced in unlimited numbers.

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