1/48 Tamiya Aichi M6A1 Seiran

Gallery Article by Richard Nicoletti (rich2031) on Apr 19 2021



The model depicts a Japanese Aichi M6A1 Seiran aircraft in the spring of 1945. The Seiran was a surprise to the Allies as it was an unknown aircraft type built to be launched from a I-400 class aircraft carrier submarine. Originally intended to attack the locks of the Panama Canal, the Serian never actually saw combat.

On the only deployment of the war in August 1945, the I-400 was sent to launch its three Seiran aircraft to attack American aircraft carriers gathering in the Caroline's Ulithi atoll for the invasion of Japan. The I-400's planes were painted silver and had American national markings. Before being able to launch its planes, the submarine received notice of Japan's surrender and was ordered to return.

Rather than being caught with its aircraft in American markings, the sub launched the three aircraft without their floats allowing them to quickly sink in the sea. After US Naval evaluation, the I-400 was eventually sunk off Hawaii.

Click on images below to see larger images

The kit is another example to Tamiya engineering, and went together well. I used the EZ Mask Set #44 to mask the canopy, and the Eduard 48219 PE set to enhance the cockpit detail. Unfortunately, some of the kit's decals broke apart and could not be used. I obtained a replacement set from Tamiya only to have some of the decals shatter once again. I bought a Techmod 48037 Japanese Hinomaru set to complete the decal application.

The model was airbrushed with Tamiya acrylic paints.

Happy modeling!

Richard Nicoletti

Photos and text by Richard Nicoletti