Tuesday, November 1, 2011


SMN report:
The Japanese Shinkai 6500 is the world’s deepest-diving crewed submersible. It’s capable of going down 6500 metres (4.03 miles), carrying two crew and a researcher inside the titanium pressure hull.

And now there are two upcoming kits of this interesting DSV (deep-submergence vessel), one at 1:48 scale from Bandai, and a 1:72 scale kit from Hasegawa. Both should be available soon.

Bandai kit features
Of the two, the Bandai kit is interesting for the wealth of detail that has been incorporated into the model. Among the features included are manipulator arms, detachable ballast, LED floodlights, removable maintenance panels, detailed interior. Several figures are included, and give an excellent sense of scale to the model.

Figures a useful plus point.

Manipulator arms used for grasping underwater objects.

Submersible in space?
The exotic looks of this DSV may give sci-fi modelmakers pause for thought, as it’s not unlike the space pods from the classic movie 2001 A Space Odyssey, and could easily be pressed into service in a fantasy diorama - for submariners read astronauts, for deep-sea fish read weird-looking aliens!

Bandai stern thruster looks good.

Hasegawa kit
The new-tool Hasegawa kit will be to 1:72 scale, and have 55 components. A clear plastic stand will be part of the package, too. More on this when details are available.

Other Shinkai models
The Shinkai 6500 has been modelled elsewhere too - there’s a rare Takara model (above) to 1:144 scale, and a much bigger Lego item. This looks pretty convincing as Lego kits go, though the restrictions of the popular block-builder system mean that it can be only an approximation of the real thing.

Lego kit includes a strange underwater rock formation.

More on the Bandai sub at the excellent Japanese Hobby Search site here.

Various submarine kits here.

Two views of the real thing, an impressive research tool.