The Mitsubishi J8M Shusui (literally "Autumn Water,” used as a poetic term meaning "Sharp Sword") was Japan’s licenses-built German Me 163 Komet. The components and plans were shipped to Japan via submarine I-29, which USS Sawfish sunk on 26 July 1944 near the Philippines. The Japanese then reverse-engineered the aircraft from its basic instruction manual! It was armed with two Type 5 30 mm cannons, superior to Germany’s Mk-108.
The J8M took to the air for its first powered flight on 7 July 1945, with Lt. Cdr. Toyohiko Inuzuka at the controls; Inuzuka successfully jettisoned the dolly upon becoming airborne and began to gain speed, climbing skywards at a 45 degree angle. At an altitude of 1,300 feet (400 m), the engine stopped abruptly and the J8M1 stalled. Inuzuka managed to glide the aircraft back, but clipped a small building at the edge of the airfield while trying to land, causing the aircraft to burst into flames. Inuzuka died the next day. *
Seven were built; two were taken to the United States; one is now exhibited in the Planes of Fame Museum, but the Navy scrapped theirs in 1946. Another was discovered in a cave near Yokosuka in the 1960s. Though in bad shape, it was displayed out-of-doors at Kakamigahara Airforce base outside Nagoya. In 1999 it was moved into Mitsubishi’s Komaki Plant Museum and restored.
Twenty-three styrene parts on one sprue, six brass photo-etch pieces and a film instrument negative (by Eduard), decal sheet and a vacuform canopy make this model. These are sealed in their own plastic bags, contained in a light end-flap box, and sealed with heavy tape.
The parts are molded with shallow engraved panel lines and details. Subtle fabric detail is on the elevons. Parts are attached to the sprue with thick runners. This is a limited-run model and will require preparing the parts. MPM informs us in their instruction papers that these kits are, “‘Short Run’ limited series,” and offers nine tips for building these models (see scan below.)The top & bottom airframe halves are predominately free of flash, but the smaller parts will require cleanup. The control column is almost fused with the sprue, and the two Type 5 30 mm cannon barrels are not really useable. I found no mold or ejection marks, nor sink holes. Typical of craftsman kits, there are no alignment pins and slots for aligning the parts. Overall shape and profile appear accurate.
Fourteen of the thirty-one total parts build the cockpit. No gunsight is provided. No internal structure was molded. More P/E, or resin aftermarket sets, or good ol’ scratchbuilding can improve the cockpit. Provided below is a URL to photographs of the cockpit of a preserved Shusui.
The vacuform canopy is distorted, with rough raised framing.
A takeoff dolly is provided.
The model dimensions are wingspan 31 ft 3 in, length 20 ft. The prototype span was 31 ft 2 in (9.50 m ) and 19 ft 10 in (6.05 m ) long.
instructions, decals and paint
The well-illustrated instructions present assembly in eight steps. Humbrol is the only paint referenced. The two paint schemes are the orange (FS 12300) training “‘tou-ou-shoku’ (literally orange yellow but practically orange or mandarin orange...)” ** over natural metal, or the operational ‘dark green’ over natural metal.
The decals are thin with virtually no carrier film outside of the printed markings. Six Hinomarus and the data plate stencil are the only markings.
MPM informs us this will not be a ‘shake the box’ kit. However, it ought not require any more work than many mainstream models from the 1960's - 70's era. The modeler may have to replace thin parts like the cannon and pitot. The photo-etch and film instruments are welcome and embellish the otherwise featureless cockpit; seeing it through the canopy is questionable. It is inexpensive. With work and patience a nice model can be made.
**Yoshihito Kurosu, OUT OF AMEIRO CLOUD INTO HAI-RYOKUSHOKU SKY, www.j-aircraft.com/research
Highs: Photo-etch fret. Overall shape and profile appear accurate.Lows: Typical of craftsman kits, there are no alignment pins and slots for aligning the parts, and too much flash. No cockpit side wall detail.Verdict: MPM informs us this will not be a ‘shake the box’ kit. However, it ought not require any more work than many mainstream models from the 1960's - 70's era.
About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR) FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES
I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art.
My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling!
My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...