by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
BackgroundThe Mitsubishi T-2 served as a two-seat supersonic jet trainer with the JASDF from the mid 1970s through until 2005.
With introduction of the F-104J Starfighter F-4EJ Phantom II in the late 1960s, it was clear that Japan needed a new advanced trainer to support them. The Northrop T-38 Talon and SEPECAT Jaguar were evaluated, with the latter proving best suited to the JASDF’s requirement. However, negotiations to build the Jaguar under licence failed, so Japanese manufacturers submitted their own designs around the same basic configuration.
The winner was Mitsubishi’s T-2, which resembled a sleeker and refined 2-seat Jaguar, while the single-seat F-1 ground attack / anti-shipping fighter was developed around the same airframe. First flying in 1971, the T-2 was Japan’s first indigenously-designed aircraft to break the sound barrier. A total of 90 production aircraft were built in two forms - 28 unarmed “Early Type” machines, followed by a further 62 “Late Type” armed trainers which carried a single 20mm cannon, plus a centreline and underwing stores pylons and wingtip-mounted AIM-9 Sidewinders.
The T-2 served the JASDF solidly for 30 years, both as an advanced trainer and also as an “agressor” with Japan’s Tactical Fighter Training Group.
The KitPlatz’s T-2 “Late Type” arrives in an attractive conventional box, with the clear parts and decals bagged separately from the main sprues. The designers have allowed for both the single- and twin-seaters to be built from the same core set of parts, so you’ll find a few items destined for the spares box. The kit comprises:
106 x grey styrene parts (plus 22 not needed)
7 x clear styrene parts (plus 6 spare)
Decals for 11 x colour schemes
The kit is very well moulded with no trace of flash. I found just one tiny sink mark on the landing gear (which isn't there on another moulding I've checked). Detailing is beautifully crisp, with precisely engraved panel lines that should really make a subtle wash pop out in this scale.
Test FitA dry fit of the basic parts is hugely encouraging. The fuselage halves match precisely and the wing drops in to clip them together. The seams are so tight, they match the surrounding panel lines. The undersides of the wngs are drop-in panels, giving really sharp trailing edges, while the fuselage belly is a separate piece to allow the crisp panel lines to carry on around the contous of the airframe.
On the basis of what I've test fitted, Platz's T-2 is looking good to be a "no filler needed" build if you're careful/
A Few DetailsConstruction begins, logically enough, with the tandem cockpit. This is quite simple, but still features some nice detailing that should look the part in this scale. There are nearly 20 parts straight from the box and all many modellers may want to add are seat harnesses. Platz market a separate detail set (produced for them by Eduard) and this will take the “office” to the next level in terms of detailing with enough eye candy to satisfy the most demanding viewer.
The instructions don’t mention any nose-weight being needed to avoid the kit being a tail-sitter, but there’s enough room to add some if required.
The jet intakes are designed to avoid a see-through look into the empty fuselage interior, while the exhausts can be slotted in after painting, which makes life a lot easier, and they’re suitably deep with some afterburner detail at the end of the "pots".
The undercarriage is quite intricate and very well done for this small scale, with crisply moulded gear legs and excellent detail on the wheel hubs. The wheel wells are similarly nicely done - but a fair amount of the detail will be hidden as the doors are partially closed once the undercarriage is lowered.
There’s a choice of ordnance included:
4 x AIM-9L AAMs for the outer underwing pylons and wingtips
3 x 220 litre drop tanks for the inner pylons and centreline pylon
1 x CBLS-200 light bomb carrier as an alternative for the fuselage pylon
Instructions & DecalsThe construction guide is bi-lingual Japanese/English and simple to follow. The illustrations are very clear, with excellent isometric diagrams and a few "info views". There are even a couple of small reference photos of the full-sized aircraft's canopy for good measure. Construction is broken down into a very manageable 9 stages and the sequence is all pretty logical (although I'd leave the canopy until last). Colour matches are provided throughout for Mr Color and Model Master paints.
No, you didn’t mis-read the contents list; the kit really does include markings for a phenomenal 11 aircraft! They all share the same basic Gull Grey paint job, so the difference lies in the individual aircraft numbers and tail crests:
1. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 69-5132, 22nd Squadron, 4th Air Wing
2. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 29-5102, 21st Squadron, 4th Air Wing
3. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 69-5127, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Air Wing
4. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 79-5136, 22nd Squadron, 4th Air Wing
5. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 99-5157, 21st Squadron, 4th Air Wing
6. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 99-5160, 22nd Squadron, 4th Air Wing
7. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 19-5164, 22nd Squadron, 4th Air Wing
8. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 39-5182, 6th Squadron, 8th Air Wing
9. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 49-5183, 21st Squadron, 4th Air Wing
10. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 79-5193, 21st Squadron, 4th Air Wing
11. Mitsubishi T-2 s/n 89-5195, 21st Squadron, 4th Air Wing
The decals are printed by Cartograf to their usual impeccable standard, with pin-sharp register and amazingly high resolution. As you’d expect with so many options, the sheet is absolutely packed with items, not least because Platz have included a very comprehensive set of servicing stencils - literally dozens and dozens of them. Applying this lot is likely to take several sessions and the result should be very impressive indeed.
ConclusionPlatz's T-2s are really neat kits that will undoubtedly do well with the Japanese home market. Their appeal is sadly probably going to be more limited abroad where the aircraft is less well known, but they deserve to be popular widely on account of their sheer quality alone - plus they make a refreshing change from more everyday subjects.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.