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DML 1/72 Aichi Type 99 (Val) Dive Bomber Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Aichi Type 99 (Val) Dive Bomber Scale 1/72
Kit Number 5045 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build, nice detailing Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $40.95

First Look


The Aichi D3A Type 99 dive bomber was the Imperial Japanese Navy's primary carrier-based dive-bomber during the early and mid years of World War 2. Code-named VAL by allied intelligence, the aircraft was developed from a 1936 requirement and entered service in 1940. The Val used a similar dive-brake system as their German counterpart, the JJu 87 Stuka, and a trapeze-based centerline bomb release to safely release the bomb clear of the propeller during a dive attack similar to most dive-bombers of the era including the Ju 87 and the SBD Dauntless.

The Val took part in most major naval air actions from Pearl Harbor through the end of the war. This one aircraft type was responsible for the destruction of more allied ships than any other axis aircraft even after it was replaced on carrier decks by the D4Y (Judy), the Val continued its attacks from shore stations right through the final stages as kamikazes.

DML has produced this very nice kit of the D3A in 1/72 scale. While certainly not the first kit of this subject in this scale (Airfix, Fujimi, Skymax, and others have released their own toolings of this aircraft), this it certainly one of the nicest I've seen to date. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options of this kit:

  • Slide-molded cockpit tub
  • One-piece lower wing makes dihedral easy
  • Nice engine details
  • Positionable outer wing panels (flight or folded)
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable elevators
  • Choice of closed or open canopy arrangement
  • Centerline bomb on trapeze

The kit has nice engraved surface detailing and easy assembly (the whole model is built in five steps) yet it has some nice options to work with in this scale including the positionable outer wing panels and two complete sets of canopies, one single piece for all-closed and a second in sections so you can position the canopies (front and rear) as you'd like them.

This kit has markings for eight examples, all participants in the Pearl Harbor attack:

  • D3A, AI-256, No.2 acft, 22nd section, 1st Sqn, Akagi, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, BI-259, No.3 acft, 25th section, 2nd Sqn, Soryu, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, BI-214, No.2 acft, 26th section, 1st Sqn, Hiryu, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, EI-238, No.1 acft, 20th section, Command Sqn, Shokaku, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, EII-206, unidentified unit, Zuikaku, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, AI-201, No.1 acft, 25th section, 2nd Sqn, Akagi, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, AII-250, No.1 acft, 27th section, 3rd Sqn, Kaga, Pearl Harbor, 1941
  • D3A, AI-251, No.1 acft, 21st section, 1st Sqn, Akagi, Pearl Harbor, 1941

The sheet provides the proper identification bands and markings for this attack group.

This looks to be one of the nicest releases of the D3A in this scale and while it will be an easy build straight out of the box, the AMS modeler can really have some fun with this kit.

My sincere thanks to DML for this review sample!