by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
IntroductionJapanese Submarine I-19 was an Aurora model reissued by Monogram. Scaled to 1/275, it was released by Monogram as kit 3103, and originally by Aurora as kit 728.
I-19 was a Type B1 fleet submarine equipped to carry a E14Y1 "Glen" scout floatplane. The Type B1 was a very good design. During the Guadalcanal campaign, I-19 shot perhaps the most incredible spread of torpedoes in history, significantly crippling USN power just before the Battle of Santa Cruz. In September 1942, she skillfully maneuvered through USN destroyers to launch a spread of six 21in Type 95 torpedoes, which first fatally damaged the carrier USS Wasp, while the rest ran approximately five miles to sink destroyer USS O'Brian and also knock the new fast battleship USS North Carolina out of the war for two crucial months. I-19's E14Y1 also successfully scouted Pearl Harbor before a second air raid by Japanese flyingboats in February 1942, and returned over the huge American base in late 1943.
Want to read a thorough history of I-19? See Click here for additional images for this review, below.
The KitIn the late 1960-early '70s, Aurora understood that their kits of the late 1950s-mid '60s were falling behind. They started cutting new molds and I-19 was one of them. Nope, you won't find slide molding technology in this kit. Back then not many models had recessed detailing of panels, planks, etc. Aurora was no exception although their raised detail was comparable - if not better - than their contemporaries. Their 1/48 A-7 Corsair II and F-111 became acclaimed Monogram models after Aurora's dissolution.
I count 60 pieces in this kit including the stand. Molding is medium-good. Surface detail is well defined if not sharp. Flash and seam lines are inconsequential. Faint ejector circles defile the viewing side of the dive planes, rudder, and stern planes. Very shallow sink holes might be noticeable on the top of the floatplane floats.
I built this model long ago and recall that fit is good. As a picture is worth a thousand words, the photographs can explain the quality of the molding quicker than I can type the description.
DetailAside from the surface detail of the deck and hull and conning tower, Aurora created separate parts for deck detailing. There are 16 parts are used to erect the masts, cranes, and guards.
Unfortunately, the anchors are molded on.
The deck gun is bulky and the twin Type 96 25mm battery is plain. I checked Shapeways for replacements but found none.
The "Glen" was a pretty plain plane but Aurora jazzed it up with raised defined framing for the canopy, a propeller, and separate floats.
Two ladders are provided to mount on the conning tower but they are not molded open. Surely by now there are some photo-etched parts that can replace them.
A modeler who wants to spend the time on improving the detail should have some fun with this old girl.
Instructions and DecalsA small sheet of decals were printed for the aircraft.
Assembly is guided by an excellent instruction sheet. It is clearly arranged and illustrated.
ConclusionWhether in an Aurora or Monogram box, Japanese Submarine I-19 is a fair model for today. It isn't to the quality of today's Tamiya or several other modern manufacturers, and it is an odd "box scale" and yet can make a nice model. It should assemble quickly - my geeky model history shows that I built mine in one day: March 18, 1977. And it only cost me $1.79!
Pros are better-than-average molding. Cons include some visible ejector circles, raised detail lines, and bulky deck gun.
I remember my I-19 fondly and look forward to doing a latter day remake of it. If you like classic kits or want an IJN sub without paying for modern model prices, I-19 is a worthwhile model. If you have one or find one at a reasonable price, build it. I think you will be glad you do.
Click here for additional images for this review.