Kit Review: AFV Club 1/350 scale Kit No. SE 73508; Japanese Navy Submarine I-58 Late Variant; 100 parts (84 in grey styrene,14 etched brass, 1 dull red styrene, 1 vinyl cap); estimated retail price US $29.95
Advantages: late-war version of this boat joins the early war variant; nicely done details and brass finishings, option of six Kaiten permits a lot of variations
Disadvantages: none noted
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII and IJN fans
AFV Club has now released the late war version of one of the most famous of Japanese submarines, I-58. As noted with the first version of this kit, it holds an infamous place in US eyes due to the fact that it was this submarine which sank the cruiser USS Indianapolis in July 1945, eventually resulting in the deaths of all but about 300 of her crew and the court-martial and conviction of her captain. At that time I-58 had been modified to become a =93Kaiten=94 midget submarine carrier and according to Japanese sources even had two Kaiten embarked when she sank the Indianapolis (misidentified as =93an Idaho class battleship=94). The sub was impounded at the end of the war and scuttled in 1946.
AFV Club has now released this kit of I-58, which shares some sprues with the earlier I-19 kit (No. 73506) and most of the sprues with the Early War I-58 (No. 73507). The kit has been modified to permit adding up to six =93Kaiten=94 suicide torpedoes to the boat (four forward, two aft) but in the case of I-58's attack on the Indianapolis does not say where the two =93Kaiten=94 were stored (my own guess would be the two on the after deck). A small sheet in what appears to be Japanese by the researcher Shin Ueda also notes where the =93Kaiten=94 were stored on the earlier I-19 class boats for anyone wishing to =93cross kit=94 them.
As before the kit permits building the sub as either full hull (with a stand and nameplate in English and Japanese) or waterline. The full hull version also provides a pressure hull for the ship and six =93Long Lance=94 torpedoes. Most of the small details are provided for in styrene but others are only available in etched brass. These include the aircraft handling crane, catapult rails, handrails, and other small details.
The hull is beautifully done with flood holes and the various ports and details on the bottom as well as a working rudder.
The =93Kaiten=94 are single piece moldings and come with their mounting racks integral with the torpedo.
A small sheet of late war markings is included with sail numbers and =93hinomaru=94 flags.
Overall this is another great sub kit from AFV Club and answers the question of the July 1945 configuration - now to find a 1/350 kit of the USS Indianapolis to tell the story.
Thanks to Minn Herng Tsueng for the review sample.