Kit #2: Spy Set (1680 yen). This is probably the weakest kit in the series, but has the most hard-science filled mook that I’ve seen so far. Technically, this is really a forensics kit, containing a polarized LED (the battery that comes with it is dead, though), fingerprint powder, and a couple small bottles of chemicals for identifying blood and other simple substances. The mook starts out with a murder mystery using the products in the kit to help solve the case. The bottles are small, and there’s not a lot of reason to go around fingerprinting random stuff (I also don’t have a big need for trying to find blood in the living room). Even if I did use the kit, the chemicals would run out quickly. So, in this sense, the kit has little more than a minor collector’s value. Even so, there is a small amount of building to be done, in order to assemble the holder case (about 15 seconds worth).
The mook is the more impressive part. While it starts out with the murder mystery, it then goes into the actual science behind forensics, and how luminal works to make blood fluoresce under black light. There’s also a section on low-cost DIY projects, such as how to make an arc lamp using a pencil lead, a Stirling engine with a piece of paper and two glasses of water, and how to use a rubber eraser to make copies of photos. There’s a good section on how to collect various Japanese insects, an article on a man that makes musical instruments from straws, and a pair of 3-D glasses for looking at 3-D photos in the mook.
If you like the CSI TV shows, you’ll like this kit. If you like building inexpensive science projects, you’ll love this mook. It helps being able to read Japanese, but there’s so many pictures and illustrations that the text almost becomes unnecessary. But, if you want to buy this kit to have something to assemble and play with afterward, you’ll be disappointed.