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C5M2 (Babs)

Fine Molds 1/48 C5M2 (Babs) Kit First Look

By Mark Nickelson

Date of Review July 2019 Manufacturer Fine Molds
Subject C5M2 (Babs) Scale 1/48
Kit Number FB24 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Special subject, exhaustive detail Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) About $30.00

First Look

C5M2 (Babs)
C5M2 (Babs)
C5M2 (Babs)

Here’s another noticeably prewar subject that saw action in WWII, available for the first time in 1/48. Babs is another of the many examples of the Japanese gift for line. Notwithstanding the spatted fixed gear, it conveys a sense of dash, shaped to flow through the atmosphere the way a fish goes through water.

If you’re like me, not an avid student of Japanese aviation, you learned of this airplane from the UPC 1/50 kit, long OOP and rare beyond hope. We also learned that a Babs made a record flight from Tokyo to London, and the UPC kit came with the spectacular decals for that airplane. It was named the Divine Wind (Kamikaze), not to be confused with the later suicide bombers. The Kamikaze finished that trip in 51 hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds, crossing time zones up where they’re comparatively thin.

My Fine Molds kit came only with unlined meatballs for solid gray airplanes operating on New Guinea in 1943. Fine Molds has issued this kit in three other versions, the Kamikaze, a wartime camouflaged airplane, and a prewar bomber used in China. The one I got would have been my last choice, but I was in a hurry.

Acquired for reconnaissance, my Babs is a second-generation of the type, with a 14-cylinder radial engine and a cowling continuous to the fuselage diameter. The earlier version had the distinctive pointy spinner and cowling bigger than the fuselage profile.

The box art shows a Babs harassing a formation of B-17Es. My money’s on the Forts. There are 120 parts on five gray sprues and a clear one, the decals, vinyl prop retainers, no PE, no resin, no crew figures. The engine is wonderfully detailed, and the cockpit parts would fill two scale hogsheads, lots more than will ever be seen, once the fuselage halves are mated.

There’s lots of interesting information in the instructions, for anybody who can read Nihon-go.

As a Fine Molds kit, this Babs augurs to be a trouble-free build yielding sophisticated results, in a class with the best anybody ever had.

And if the thought of the Japanese gift for line is new to you, I invite you to look at all the Japanese planes on your flightline. In contrast, Hellcats and Corsairs project impressive American brawn. Most of all, set your Kate opposite its counterpart, the Devastator, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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