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Kyushu J7W1 Shinden By

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Featured In: February 2010 Newsletter

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

Kit Data:
Manufacturer: Zoukei Mura/Volks
Product Number: SWS-01
Materials: Styrene (grey, black, gunmetal and clear)
MSRP: 8,000 Yen
Available from: Zoukei Mura


Not in my wildest dreams have I ever considered a 1/32 scale J7W1 Shinden! I love the way this plane looks, futuristic and yet so 1946! The Zoukei Mura/Volks debut kit is a fantastic feat of design and execution.

But who is Zoukei Mura/Volks? Volks is a long established model/hobby shop in Japan known more for their sci-fi kits and figures than for scale models. Zoukei Mura has been around since 1992 specializing in original prototype models for TV, animation and movies. Now it seems the two entities have teamed up to create a Super Wing Series of scale models.

According to the website, this brand concept will be about brining interesting models to fruition at a reasonable scale at an affordable price. These models are designed in Japan, molded in China and distributed by Volks or sold through the Zoukei-Mura website.

Enough of the business gobbledy-gook, what about the KIT!

The Kit

The kit is packaged in a very sturdy box and wrapped in bubble wrap. The parts are molded in grey, gunmetal, black and clear plastic. The main airframe components are molded in grey, the engine and all interior parts in gunmetal, the landing gear, guns and propeller parts in black and of course the canopy and lights in clear.

The surface detail is excellently executed in the form of recessed panel lines and raised reinforcing strips, access panels (where appropriate of course) and open inlets as needed. Cool stuff! I know the latest trend is to add all the rivets on the surface of the model as slight divots. Tamiya’s new Spitfire has them and many of Trumpeter’s kits are infamous for them, I did not see them on this model

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale
Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale
Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

The interior detail included in the airframe for the open gun bay in the nose and the engine bay is impressive. Oddly enough, the main landing gear bays are rather sparse. There is no detail on the underside of the upper wing part. The wing spar used to impart strength to the wings boxes in the landing gear bays, but they still look oddly bare. Go figure?

The engine is a 65 part affair. Like the old cliché goes, this is a model unto itself. Assembly of the engine occupies several pages of the instructions, which are how intense the detail here is. Yikes! It includes the cylinder banks, rocker heads, pushrods, intake trunking, superchargers, exhausts manifolds, auxiliary accessories, driveshaft housing and engine mounts.

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale
Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale
Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

The gun bay and forward landing gear bay are built up as a unit and again is loaded with tons and tons of molded detail. The four 30mm cannons are complete with ammunition chutes and bins.

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

The optional seat with molded-in belts is nicely done and would look great with a little paint.

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

The cockpit is another area stuffed with detail. Zoukei- Mura (ZM) includes two seats, with and without molded on seatbelts. The instrument panel is molded in clear with raised detail. Alternatively, decals are also provided for the instrument panel to be applied over the raised detail.

The decals contain stenciling and basic national markings. I guess since the Shinden was never issued to front line squadrons, no other markings are possible. Of course, “what-if” marking are always OK in my book. Heck, I may be totally perverse and build it as a captured aircraft in US markings with over-painted Hinomarus!

A word needs to be said about the instruction book (yes book!). It is done in very nicely shaded CAD drawings and includes color photos of the completed sub assemblies. Most of the instructions are in Japanese with English thrown in as needed to make sure the assembler doesn’t make any mistakes.

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale
Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

The resin pilot figure is molded as a single piece, with a separate sword.

A resin cast pilot in a standing pose is included. The sculpting looks very good and he even has a samurai sword included! If I had bought 2 copies of the kit, I would have had a seated pilot and ground crewman included or if I had bought three copies, then I would have had all of the above and several of the engineers designing the plane included. There is a oft reproduced photo of the actual Shinden with some engineers standing in a group near the aircraft and I think the resin figures are patterned after this photo.

A single J7W1 Shinden was built, but flown only three times for a total of 45 minutes.

Also included in the box are canopy masks and a brass reinforcing rod for the front landing gear. Now this is a very complete kit!

ZM also have aftermarket metal versions of the landing gear, flattened and bulged tires, and ultimately the jet engine and cowling for the Shinden–Kai version. That is SICK! Now I want to buy another kit to build this version! Arghghghghgh.

This kit is a must have if you have ever wanted a 1/32 scale J7W1 Shinden in your collection. Heartily recommended!

(Editor’s note: The first batch of kits has sold out, but the manufacturer is planning a second production run. So remember, when you see it, buy it!)

Zoukei Mura/Volks Kyushu J7W1 in 1/32scale

Accessory parts from Zoukei Mura: From left to right: Ne-20 jet engine, prototype nose panel without gun apertures, ballast weights, white metal landing gear, and weighted tires. The item on the bottom is a paint set.

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