Fine Molds 1/48 Ki-10 “Perry”

KIT #: FB 13
PRICE: 2800 Yen from www.hlj.com
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Dan Lee
NOTES: Kit includes figures and diorama accessories

HISTORY

 

The Kawasaki Ki-10 Type 95, Allied Code name Perry, was the last biplane fighter of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force.  It was an extremely maneuverable fighter with a very light armament of two 7.7mm machine guns firing through the propeller (would have been a wonderful fighter in WW1!)  The plane served with the IJAAF on the front line in China during the early days of the Sino-Japanese War till about 1939 by which time it was very obsolete.

 

Designed by Takeo Doi, who later designed the much more impressive Ki-61 Hien, this plane won a mid 30s fighter selection by the ultra conservative IJAAF who prized maneuverability about all else and an apparent disgust/fear of monoplanes.  The plane it beat eventually became the Ki-27 “Nate” when the IJAAF generals finally shed their disgust/fear of the monoplane.  One can see how this WW1 maneuverability fetish carried through in the early IJAAF WW2 fighter planes which were extremely maneuverable, underpowered, under protected and under armed compared to other nations WW2 fighters with more armor, heavier caliber weapons and much more powerful engines.

 

By 1942, most if not all Ki-10s were relegated to training duties and/or 2nd line roles.

 

THE KIT

 

Fine Molds 1/48 airplane kits tend to focus on Japanese subjects which are not very popular outside of Japan and helps explain why their instructions and histories are written in Japanese.  However, not being able to read Kanji characters is not a problem as I find the Fine Molds instruction diagrams to be excellent plus all the colors are mentioned in english.

 

The kit comes with  5 gray green injection molded sprues for a total of 78 parts including one seated pilot figure, one clear sprue of 3 parts and also comes with a separate sandy brown plastic sprue of 24 parts that includes two maintenance figures plus various fueling accessories for diorama purposes if one so chooses.  The parts are free of flash and molding defects and the panel lines are crisp and finely done.  It also has two small decal sheets with extensive stencils and markings for two aircraft.  One thing they have provided is white background decals for the tail markings and fuselage bands.  Both markings for the 77th Air Regiment based in China.

 

Two small complaints about the kit.  One is that the box art does not match up with the either of two marking options supplied with the kit which may confuse some folks.  The other is that there is no wiring diagram supplied so you will have to base it on the box art.

CONSTRUCTION

 

Best guide is to follow the instructions especially on the installation order of the struts, otherwise there could be trouble (fortunately, I followed the instructions, but noticed the difficulty doing things out of order during test fitting.)  I begin by painting all the cockpit bits the instruction colors.  The cockpit base color is Kawasaki tan (closest available equivalent is RLM66 Sandy Brown) while the other interior colors are black (instrument panel) and IJAAF grey green (Tamiya XF-14.)  The instrument panel is a bit fiddly because of the placement and needs to be adjusted so that it fits in the cockpit without falling apart.  Fine Molds supplies instrument decals which were easy to deal with using micro set and Solvaset to let them really snuggle to the detail.

 

I tried to make this a “fast” build so I opted to glue the visible fuselage seams using CA glue and the hidden seams with Tamiya extra thin glue so as to prevent any phantom seams.  My usual technique is to let the model sit for a week or two to allow for outgassing before filing/sanding.  Once the seams were done to my satisfaction, I glued on the wings and stabilizers.  One area that needs some attention is the seam between the main landing gear.  Instead of doing the difficult job of filing and sanding a tiny area, I measured and cut a piece of 10 thou plastic card to cover it up.

 

The wing detail isn’t over done (at I think it isn’t) and some care is needed when filling and sanding both sets of wings.  I glued the outside interplane struts to the upper wing as they had the  same IJAAF Grey Green color while I left the inside interplane struts that connect the upper wing to fuselage off.

 

Of all the assemblies, the landing gear was the fiddliest.  The spat parts required a lot of patience to do.  I test fitted the landing gear and noticed that the right side was a bit higher than the left.  I’m not surprised as I’ve always been cursed (by stupidity?) when it comes to getting the correct alignment on biplane landing gear.  Fortunately, all I needed to do was add a shim of 10 thou plastic card to the left strut to get it to line up properly.

 

COLORS AND MARKINGS

 

Painting

The Fine Molds comes with two options for the 77th Air Regiment.  I almost opted for super easy and bland IJAAF Grey Green all over marking, but I happen to like the more complex dark yellow, IJAAF green and red brown version.

 

I first sprayed on IJAAF Green (Tamiya XF-14) on the interplane struts, landing gear and underside of the fuselage.  Once it was dry, I took green painter’s tape and masked off the underside of the stabs and tail skid before spraying on dark yellow (Tamiya XF-60) and then I let the plane dry overnight.  Next I cut out paper masks (soft edge) for the Red Brown (Tamiya XF-64) portions of the camo pattern, sprayed then added pre cut paper masks for the IJAAF Green (Tamiya XF-13) and sprayed that on.  Thanks to the complexity of the camo pattern, I need to do some touch up which took a bit.

 

The only areas where I need to do some more sanding was the landing gear when I noticed that I didn’t sand that area down as well as I could.  The tires were hand painted dark grey/flat black.

 

I sprayed the prop flat black and silver which was done with Tamiya X-11 Chrome silver base coat,Talon Acrylic Aluminum for the top coat and polished with Hawkeye Polishing powder.  Next I masked off the forward area of the engine and sprayed a thin base of Chrome Silver with Talon Acrylic Top Coat as per instructions.

 

Once the paint was dry, I sprayed on a couple of really thin coats of Future to provide a glossy surface for the decals.

 

Decals

Fine Molds decals are well done and includes a lot of stencils.  It took a while to do, but there were no issues when I used Microset for the first application and Solvaset for the really stubborn ones.  I ended up trimming the excess film of several of the decals (tail flash and strut stencils) after they were dry.  One little problem I had was with the fuselage band as it was a touch short so I had to hand paint the white.

 

Weathering and Final Coat

I used a watercolor wash to highlight some of the panel lines while I used charcoal applied with a micro brush for the exhaust and cordite stains.  Once it was dry, I removed the excess with Q-Tips and sprayed on a couple of thin coats of Vallejo Flat Coat to seal everything in.

FINAL BITS

 

The plane itself almost fell together as I glued the upper wing on and the landing gear.  There was none of the usual fighting to jam the struts to the wings.

 

The gunsight and canopy were painted then glued on (white glue for the canopy.)

 

I think that a biplane that is missing it is odd to look at so I bit the bullet and worked on the rigging using fine brass wire.  I used draftsman dividers to measure the gap between each wire and then glue them in with white glue.  This requires a lot of patience as the white glue takes a little bit of time to stick.  I gave the glue 24 hours to dry and then I carefully painted each wire flat black.  Unfortunately, I had a couple of miscues so next time I’d like to find pre painted brass wire or steel wire or leave it in brass.

 

Finally, I found the thinnest toothpicks I could find, cut them to length and glued onto the interplane wires as supports as per the box cover art.

CONCLUSIONS

 

If you like doing 1920-1930 interwar aircraft, obscure Japanese subjects and/or a modeler who wants to build a biplane with simple rigging then this is one kit that will be an interesting and rewarding build.  I think this kit is almost as good as the Accurate Miniatures F3F series of planes in terms of ease of build for biplanes, but I would say that the Fine Molds kit is slightly easier only because the Ki-10 does not have have NMF which can make things more difficult than the rigging.

Dan Lee

March 2010

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page