During the push by nations to build aircraft carriers there was also a push by these some countries to build carrier based aircraft. Japan was in the same boat as was the US, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Germany. However Japan decided to use other to do their dirty work for them. They would buy one or two different aircraft and try them out. That is exactly how they built the two aircraft included in this kit.
The Type 90, also know as the Nakajima A2N, was developed from the Boeing 69 and the Boeing 100. The A2N was developed fro the Imperial Japanese Navy by the Nakajima corporation. The plane first flew in 1929 and was adopted by the Navy in April 1932. The A2N saw service with the IJN from 1936 until 1939. 100 units were produced and they saw service onboard the IJN Hosho, IJN Kaga and IJN Ryujo. There are no reports the A2N was deployed onboard the IJN Akagi.
However the A2N2 did see service onboard the two aircraft are different since the A2N2 had a 5 degree dihedral on the top wing. This was to allow it to produce great lift for take off.
The Type 13 Model 2, also know as the Mitsubishi B1M2, was developed out of the 2MT1 trainer. This plane was designed by the British designer Herbert Smith he was while working for Mitsubishi. The base model was fisrt flown in 1924 and introduced to the Navy in 1925. The long name for the type 13 is, Navy Type 13-2 Carrier Attack Aircraft. 115 of these aircraft were built for the IJN. They carried two fixed forward firing 7.7 mm machine guns and two pivoted 7.7 mm machine guns in rear cockpit. It also carried one 18 inch torpedo or two 240 kg (529 lb) bombs.
The planes come in a slim box containing 3 sprues of parts and one card of decals. There are parts for nine of each aircraft.
The A2N aircraft are assembled in 3 parts. Each aircraft also requires 6 decals. The deals are consistent with all of the references I have found.
The B1M2 aircraft are put together with 4 parts and one torpedo. These use 6 decals as well and these match available references.
The bodies and wings of both aircraft have recessed panel lines as do the separate wings. The shapes of both the bodies and wings match with available references for the standard variants of each aircraft.
Each aircraft has separate upper wings and landing gear. However they are missing propellers. The Type 90 uses a two blade prop and so does the Type 13 Mod 2. Also included are aerial torpedoes for your B1M2 aircraft.
The Great Debate…
As mentioned before there are sources that indicate the Nakajima A2N did not fly from the Akagi. Sources do show the B1M2 did fly from all Japanese carriers of the time so that is a mute point.
So did the A2N ever fly from the Akagi? I have seen mentioned it did not. However there is a color palette showing the plane with Akagi markings. It is dated 1935, the year Akagi entered overhaul. With no month it is hard to say if this is just a “what if” or an actual design. The decals included with the kit do match the graphic.
One source claims the A2N2 did fly from Akagi. This source says the A2N2 had a 5 degree dihedral on its upper wing. However other sources say the dihedral is on the lower wing. Another source says it was on both wings. Still a third says there was no dihedral on the plane until the A2N3. But by the time this last variant makes it to the fleet the Akagi is being overhauled.
The pictures I have seen do not match up with any of the color graphics as far as aircraft numbers. The sources are in the vast majority in favor of the Akagi not having had these aircraft fly from her decks. But, to say 100% either way is still impossible. As long as there is a sliver of doubt I would say it is unlikely, but possible the A2N flew from Akagi. Sorry for being as clear as mud on that, but I would love to say 100% either way, but just cannot.
Other than lacking propellers this are some very nice aircraft. With a little work they will really pop and give your early IJN carriers that little extra. Just throw in some gingerbread men and you will be launching aircraft in no time.
Type 90 A2N
“Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation” page 668
Type 13 Mod 2 B1m
“Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation” page 677