I instead don't go for the Judy-III. I prefer to have a small production of Judy-I and then I go directly for the Judy-IV, which is by far the best.
Judy-Is are then mainly used on land based groups due to their good range.
Judy-Is are good enough to do the job for a while and I don't delay the arrival of the guys with the big bomb. I am really in love with the 800Kg bomb carried by Judy-IVs.
Note that I generlly invest quite a lot in R&D for dive bombers (5-6 factories) in order to have a quick arrival of the Judy-IV and a massive initial production.
Also, Ha-33 is an engine I push very quickly to high numbers due to the joint R&D needs of both the Judy-IV and the A6M8.
What's essential is to get Vals out of your carriers ASAP, since they're awful planes. The 250Kg bomb is their main problem, since it's of doubtful use at best. The short range is the second most relevant problem: with 6 hexes in normal range, they are terrible.
Speed, durability and other statistics complete the picture of a s@tty plane, differently from Kates which are very good (both the Kate-I and the Kate-II) even when Jills are available.
I believe that, all considered, if you go for a decent amount of R&D on dive bombers and you aim at Judy-IV, Judy-IIs and Judy-IIIs are not necessary and it's arguably better to have the Judy-I (since you have to R&D it anyway) as a stop-gap measure and then the Judy-IV directly.
You can bypass the Judy model and go straight to the Judy that you prefer. It sort of sounds like picking the wife that you finally settle on, first. All that you have to do is to finish the research factory, then immediately go to the next model, and so on until you get to the one that you want. By not building the first two Judys, then I don''t have to research the engine, nor build the engine. That frees up that factory to research something else.
Plus, the Judy IV was more of a suicide dive bomber. The 500 kg bomb dropped on a ship does a decent job.
Yes but by the time you have the factories repaired for the Judy-I, you have very little wait before it comes online. On the other side, if you go straight for the Judy-III, you have to wait until it kicks online and it might take a while.
Therefore, I prefer to have a first little bunch of Judy-Is, which basically don't require any wait after factories are repaired, and then I go straight for the JUdy-IV.
It looks like a small difference, but the additional months you would have to spend on Judy-III research can be quite devastating. Having the Judy-IV early in '43 means being able do deal a very big punch in a carrier battle still somehow balanced.
Regarding Lokasenna's advice. I disagree with some of them, especially the Tony. I don't like Tony models at all and I generally don't produce them.
Also, I either produce Jack or George, depending on the game I am doing. I find too complex to have two different fighter lines (plus the embarked ones) for IJNAF. Generally, George is the better one for me.
I don't like the idea of producing Sallies, but that's mainly because I usually produce a massive amount of Helen-IIs. They have 1 more hex in "normal" and it suits perfectly to a bombing campaing of Chungkin from Hankow, which I usually upgrade to AF lvl 9 immediately in the game.
Also, MAD comes online very, very late and I don't bother with it at all. When finally it becomes available, I do see what to do depending on the general situation.
Last, but not least, I disagree with the hate toward Oscars. I really love them. They are definitely bad planes when compared to other models such as Tony or Tojo, but they do their dirty job in multi-layered low-level CAPs. Their 2x20mm cannons are quite a good asset, also. Nothing special, but they're pretty accurate and with a respectable punch.
My main problem, a part from altitude and speed of allied aircraft, is to actually shot them down: 20mm cannons do the trick quite well.
The flexibility of the Oscar is its main asset. It can be redeployed fairly easily around the map and it can be a decent CAP when placed in the lowest layer of it.
Of course, each of the suggestions given by players is something that goes a lot into personal preferences and the general strategic and industrial posture. Something that is quite straightforward and legit from my perspective, can be disastrous in someone else's game.