Review: Tamiya 1/72 Aichi M6A1 Seiran

The Japanese Aichi M6A1 Seiran was a floatplane used by the Imperial Japanese Navy serving on the large I-400 class submarines. Yes, Submarines. Now if you’re imagining a submarine crew sharing bunk beds with aircraft parts you would be wrong. The I-400 class submarines were designed and built with a dedicated hangar in front of the conning tower that held up to three Seirans.

The Kit

It’s always a bit boring to write Tamiya kit reviews. I have yet to see a Tamiya kit that doesn’t hold up to the Tamiya Standard. They are always high quality kits, even the cheapest kits. Every time someone asks me ‘What kit should I buy as a beginner’ I say ‘Any Tamiya kit’. They are that good.

But lets look at this kit. After opening the box we’re faced with two bags containing three sprues -2 normal sprues and a clear one- and a little baggie of nylon hubs for the propeller. The two big sprues look excellently molded. Almost no flash anywhere, and lots of clear details. Panellines and other details look excellent and not out of scale whatsoever. Even the cockpit looks decently detailed, althoug a bit more detail could have gone into it, with the large ‘birdcage’-style canopy making it possible to see a lot of the interior. But you can make a really decent looking cockpit Out-of-the-Box anyway. 

Construction looks fairly simple, with the standard Tamiya manual at your side it looks like everything will fit just right. And if it doesn’t fit chances are the problem is not with the kit.

Clear parts

This may be my biggest problem with the kit. The clear parts look the part, but due to the shape of the canopy there is a lot of distortion going on, making it hard to showcase your hard work on the cockpit. But besides that there isn’t a big problem. The other clear parts are equally as good, with the gun sight and a number of other small parts looking great.

Decals and color options

In terms of color options you have just a single style: IJN Green on top and  IJN Grey below. With the only difference being the numbers and unit the aircraft belonged to. Only a small number of Seirans were built anyway, and the IJN seems to favor this color scheme for most of their aircraft anyway.

The decals are also of the usual Tamiya quality, a bit thick but nicely printed, and they come with two seatbelt decals, but they look a bit cartoony to me, and they are closed, so they’ll look good on a set of pilots, but not in a empty canopy.

Conclusion

It’s a Tamiya kit. You can’t go wrong buying this one. Its perfect for beginners and people returning to the hobby. The Birdcage canopy might be a bit of a challenge when using an airbrush, as you’ll have to mask every tiny window. My biggest problem with this kit? It doesn’t come with figures.

Score

9/10

Info

VehicleAichi M6A1 Seiran
Manufacturer
Tamiya
Scale1/72
Kit#60737
Number of sprues3
Dimensions (mm)172 x 155

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