MPM/CMK 1/72 M6A1-K 'Nanzan'

KIT #: CZ004
PRICE: I paid $7.50 for it a few weeks back.
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with vacuformed canopy



I think that most of us know about this Japanese submarine launched attack float plane. It was intended to be used with the I-400, a 4,082 tonne (4,500 ton) submarine aircraft carrier. Two or three of the craft would be stowed aboard in disassembled form, and launched by catapult. The twin floats could be jettisoned, and the aircraft was essentially meant to be ditched at sea upon completion of its mission.

An alternate version, and subject of this kit, had landing gear instead of floats and was designated M6A1-K  Nanzan ("Southern Mountain"). While generally described as a land-based trainer, some sources indicate that it was designed for the attack role, to be launched from the submarine and then landed. Besides the difference in landing gear, the vertical stabilizer's top portion, which was foldable on the Seiran, was removed, making for a somewhat odd appearance.


While browsing the shelves at the LHS for cheap kit, I came across the MPM section that has a plethora of older MPM/Special Hobby kits. There were easily a handful of M6A1-K kits and each was priced differently. Naturally, I selected the least expensive and was pleased to find that all the contents were still sealed. This is, of course, one of MPM's earliest injection molded kits. It is pretty much the M6A1 float plane minus the float bits and fuselage and with a new lower wing and fuselage halves. Apparently the wheels were included in the float plane kit.

The older sprue is in their brittle brown plastic and while the new sprue is grey, I'm sure the plastic is still brittle. MPM chose only to offer one vacuformed canopy with its early kits so the builder will still need to take care in cutting it free. No sink marks on this one, just the usual ejector towers on wings and fuselage interior. The cockpit on this is your standard seat, stick and instrument panel with rudder pedals. Molding is fairly good though a bit soft aside from the engraving which is quite fine. No boxed in wheel wells on this one and the majority of parts are butt joined with no locating holes.

instructions devote half a page of the four to construction with the other three to a three view diagram, parts location, history and camouflage and markings. You can tell this is an early kit by the newspaper quality instruction sheet and the poor English syntax ("You make use the second glue"). Both aircraft options are dark green uppers with orange undersides. Color information is generic, but it also seems that perhaps Methuan color references are provided as well. Decals look to still be quite useable and should be if printed by Propagteam.  


OK, I know most of you will not be rushing out to find this kit. It is short run, it is an old short run, and it probably doesn't fit particularly well. But it is an interesting subject and is was inexpensive. I'm sure you can still find them out there for under $10, no problem.


June 2009

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