First, I want to say that expanding the set to three separate parts, so that more sculpts can be accommodated, is an excellent choice in my opinion. Japan is my favorite nation to play, and I have always had a great interest in the Imperial Japanese Navy - the variety of naval sculpts is therefore quite important to me.
I do wish to make the following subjective comments regarding my personal preferences in the current line up:
CVL/CVE - I think replacing the Taiyo class CVE (Chuyo) with the Zuiho class CVL (Shoho) was the best choice in the circumstances.
AK/AP (Transport) - I guess that you haven’t decided on an auxiliary sculpt yet; may I suggest that it differ visually from the two Japanese auxiliary sculpts which we already have? (i.e. the poorly-sculpted older Hakusan Maru and the new, well-sculpted Nagara Maru from AAA41) I would like to suggest a troop transport, such as the Gokoku Maru or Argentina Maru, or at least a visually distinct freighter such as the Aki Maru. If you are willing to consider a tanker instead, Nippon Maru would be my first tanker choice.
CV - If I had to choose two, I would choose either Soryu or the Shokaku class, and the Taiho, but certainly not Kaga or the Unryu class (will all due respect to those who prefer these latter two sculpts). I will explain why in detail:
(1) I would personally prefer to see distinct sculpts for early war and late war CV’s, but I would like the late war CV to represent more advanced, heavily armoured construction. For the US, this would be the Essex class, and for Japan, the Taiho class. For the early war Japanese CV, this could be a variety of sculpts, but I think the Shokaku or Soryu design would look best. Kaga (while being my personal favorite IJN CV) would look too much like the new Akagi sculpt (at least more so than either the Shokaku class or Soryu).
(2) The Unryu class, although being commissioned from 1944, represent an early war design (largely based on Hiryu’s internal layout), adopted to replace the planned Taiho sisters solely because of Japan’s industrial limitations in meeting early war CV losses. In Axis & Allies, if a Japanese player chose Japan’s historical path to produce weaker CV’s (i.e. early war designs) instead of investing in more expensive (and stronger) later war designs, he/she would simply build more ‘Shokaku/Soryu’ sculpts. If the same Japanese player instead chooses the path that Japan cancelled in real life, and spends more IPC’s on stronger later war CV designs, these could be represented by the Taiho’s that Japan initially intended to invest in (until Midway forced a change of plans). It is also worth noting that choosing a Soryu sculpt would provide a sculpt which appears largely similar to the Unryu class at this scale anyway.
(3) Taiho would be visually distinct from either the Shokaku class or Soryu, having a much larger island. The sculpt would also be visually distinct from the new Akagi sculpt for the same reasons (in addition to the starboard island, of course). Taiho was also originally planned to be the first of a program of at least five ships, before the remainder were cancelled in favour of the simpler and lower-cost Unryu design. For this reason, Taiho would be preferable to me over Shinano (the latter being a one-off conversion, which likely would not have even been converted to a CV at all in the absence of the Midway CV losses).
Anyway, that’s just my opinion - I realize that Coach cannot please everyone, and most other community members would probably disagree with me. Either way, I’m looking forward to this set and I’m quite glad that it’s being produced.
Also, on a side note, is FMG proceeding with any more of its sets after Germany (or after the US)? If so, it might be a good idea to include FMG in the planning process, although there are certainly enough sculpts left to do another desirable complete set, even after the newest set in this thread.