by: Jim Adams [ ]
The H-IIB Launch Vehicle and Movable launcher is a 1/350 scale kit from Aoshima. It is one of the growing number of recent releases from the model companies covering current and past real-life space craft.
ABOUT THE H-IIB…
The H-IIB was first launched in September 2009. There have been three total launches for this series of rocket. The H-IIB launch vehicle is a two-stage rocket. The first stage uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for propellants. There are also four strap-on solid rocket boosters powered by polybutadiene. The first stage is powered by two LE-7A engines instead of one for the H-IIA. It has four SRB-As attached to the body while the standard version of H-IIA has two SRB-As. Also, the first-stage of the H-IIB is 5.2m in diameter. By comparison the H-IIA is 4m. The first stage is extended by 1m from that of H-IIA. Because of this, the first stage holds 1.7 times more propellant than that of the H-IIA. The second stage uses a single LE-5B engine.
So far the H-IIB is a perfect 3 for 3 in launches.
Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Country of origin: ￼Japan
Height: 56.6 m
Diameter: 5.2 m
Mass: 531,000 kg
Payload to LEO: 19,000 kg
GTO: 8,000 kg
The kit comes in a lidded box with a painting of the rocket on its movable launch gantry.
Inside the box are 3 bags of sprues, decals, instructions, and something special. The special item is a small piece if an actual section of a H-IIB rocket fairing that has actually flown in space.
Sprue A is molded in white and consists of entire rocket and boosters. The body of the rocket is nicely molded. There are also two different payloads included on this sprue as well. If you use the white pieces for the rocket, the payloads will not be seen. However, you can use them for display. Make sure when you glue the halves together to use care. The seams will need clean-up so be careful when doing so to keep the fine details safe.
Sprue B is a transparent sprue. Some of these sections are to replace solid sections on the rocket to show off the payload. There are also some pieces to resemble the rocket actually taking off. There is also a small clear display stand to show off your rocket in flight. The drawback of using the clear rocket sections is the seams will show up rather clearly.
Sprue C is molded in grey. This is a portion of the launcher base and gantry. The details are not all the great. Portions that are lattice work are molded solid on the back.
Sprue D is another one molded in grey. The other portions of the movable launcher are here. The trucks which are the movable part of the launch platform are here. The multi-wheel boogies are here. These are all pretty tiny and look pretty accurate.
The instructions are in a multi-fold out sheet form. Most of the instructions are in Japanese although there are English translations. The assembly follows a logical set of steps from start to finish. Along the way you are given choices on either using clear portions of the rocket. You are also given different methods to display your rocket.
Painting colors are given only in Mr. Color numbers and are listed in the upper portion of the first sheet in the instructions. If you do not have Mr. Color cross references, you should have no problem getting the colors close.
There is also a single sheet of decals included in the kit. These are marking for the rocket and launch tower. There should be no problem with these decals if you take proper precautions applying them.
This is a nice kit and would make a great weekend project. If you have some 1/350 ship railings laying around, you can really start to turn this into a great looking project.