Fine Molds 1/48 Ki-10 'Perry'

KIT #: FB 13
PRICE: $24.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Paul Mahoney
NOTES: Separate Fine Molds photo etch set used



The Ki-10 was developed in 1934 in response to a request from the Army for a fighter that would be equal or superior to contemporary foreign aircraft (notably the Hawker Fury and Boeing P-26).  Both Kawasaki (with the Ki-10 biplane) and Nakajima (with the Ki-11 low-wing monoplane) entered a contest for the development of this fighter.  The Kawasaki product was substantially more maneuverable than Nakajima’s, but the Ki-11 was much faster.  Kawasaki engineers created several modifications to their design, including using flush-headed rivets and a metal, 3-bladed propeller (replacing a wooden, 2-bladed one).  This modified model was closer in speed (although still slower) to the Ki-11, and combined with its superior maneuverability, it became the design chosen for the Army.


This winning aircraft (designed by Takeo Doi, who later created the Ki-61 Hien) was a biplane of unequal span wings, comprised of an all-metal structure with light alloy and fabric covering.  It was controlled from an open cockpit and armed with two 7.7mm Type 89 machine guns mounted in the upper decking of the cowling.  Powered by a liquid-cooled 12-cylinder, 850 h.p. Kawasaki Ha-9-IIa engine, the Ki-10-I had a maximum speed of 249 mph.  Range was 684 miles and service ceiling was 32,800 feet.  300 of the Ki-10-1 models were built between December 1935 and October 1937.


In April of 1936, modifications were made to the original model to improve the aircraft’s stability, resulting in the Ki-10-II model.  Drag-reducing wheel fairings were added, and wing span and area were both increased.  The fuselage was also lengthened.  This new model showed much more stable flying characteristics, but had the same speed and range (although the service ceiling had now increased to 37,730 feet).  The Ki-10-II, Army Type 95 Fighter Model 2 was the definitive version of this fighter, and 280 units of this model were produced starting in June 1937.


Both the Ki-10-I and Ki-10-II were flown by Japan, Formosa, Korea and Manchukuo, and served in combat in China and Mongolia.  The Ki-10 served on the front lines in China from 1937 to 1939, fighting successfully against the large variety of aircraft the Chinese Air Force fielded.  In 1939, the Ki-10 went up against the Soviet Air Force in the battle of Khalkhin Gol.  This proved less of a success for Japan, and probably hastened the removal of the Ki-10 from front-line service.  Interestingly, the Polikarpov fighters that successfully beat the Japanese Air Force during this conflict were some of the same types encountered (with a different result) in China.  Ki-10s were withdrawn from combat duty by 1941, serving in training and other ancillary duties.  Thus, very few (if any) were involved in combat with US or Commonwealth aircraft during World War II.



Although I have several Fine Molds unbuilt kits in the stash, this is the first one I have completed a build of (I did start a 1/48 Claude many years ago).  Looking at it in the box, one could easily think you are looking at one of the Hasegawa products of the late 1990s.  Not as crisp as Hasegawa’s very latest releases, but certainly very close.  The parts are cleanly molded, have very fine engraved details, and just the tiniest bit of flash was present.  The only drawback I saw was the sprue gates are rather thick, making it a little difficult to cleanly remove some of the smaller pieces. 


Cockpit details look good, and resemble drawings and photos from my references fairly well.  Speaking of references, the kit matches up quite nicely to 1/48 plans in my main source, Kawasaki Ki-10 “Perry” published by Tenzan in Poland (see references below). 


Instructions are all in Japanese, but the illustrations are clear enough (and the parts clearly labeled), that the language barrier shouldn’t be any problem.  Decals for two schemes are provided, both from Air Regiments operating in China 1938/39.  The decals also look similar to what one finds in a Hasegawa kit, namely they are quite thick.  But the whites ARE white, unlike some of the earlier Hasegawa decals.


Finally, a number of diorama accessories are included – some crewmen, barrels, ladders, and a pair of bottles on the clear sprue.  Decals are even included for the crew uniforms.


The photoetch set, produced by Fine Molds and available separately, consists of a few bits to detail the gun breeches, seatbelts, rudder control cables (with control horns), and all the necessary rigging.  Also included on this set are a group of tools and a toolbox, furthering the ‘diorama theme.’  Instructions with this set are quite clear as to where to drill holes and place the various bits.  The p/e seems a bit stiffer than the stuff Eduard uses.  The p/e rigging looks a little on the thick side to be in scale, but it is flat and so gives a decent representation of the airfoil ‘flying wires.’



I build this pretty much out of the box, just augmenting things with the photoetch set.


The first part of the build is the radiator assembly, which consists of a front, back, and a connecting pipe.  I painted this with Alclad II ‘Aluminum,’ then gave it a wash of dark grey to highlight the details.  Next was the cockpit.  This builds up quite nicely, and as I mentioned, matches the photos and drawings I have quite well.  I couldn’t find any definitive comments (or photos) on the proper color, so I went with a light tan/brown as suggested in the instruction sheet.  The instructions only reference Gunze paints, but I used a light brown from Vallejo.  I like to paint my cockpits by hand, and Vallejo seems to make the best water-based paints for this type of painting.  A little bit of detail painting, along with some washes and drybrushing, and the cockpit looks good.  A decal is provided for the instrument panel that lines up perfectly with the inscribed dials on the plastic panel.  This assembly and the radiator were then installed in one fuselage half, and the fuselage buttoned up quite easily.


Fine Molds provides two separate panels to span the top of the fuselage from the cockpit to the nose, including the gun troughs, and this nicely eliminates having to deal with a seam running down the middle of this area.  There are two rigging holes marked on the inside of one of these panels that should be drilled out before attaching it.  Also, there is a piece that contains the two aileron control rods that must be installed in one of these panels.  These run from the fuselage up into the upper wing.  This piece is inserted through two holes in one of the cowl panels, allowing it to be glued from the inside.  This properly allows the rods to come up through holes of a larger diameter than the rods themselves.  Both panels fit quite well, although I did run a little Mr Surfacer into the areas where they join the fuselage to eliminate a small gap.


Construction then continued quickly.  There are several holes marked on the inside of the upper halves of the lower wing, and the lower halves of the upper wing that will need to be drilled out.  The fairings for the rigging are to be mounted into these holes.  Each of the fairings has holes (dimples, really) that should be drilled out to accommodate the rigging.  This works well, as you can drill out the rigging holes while the fairings are still on the sprue and are much easier to work with.  After drilling out these holes, the fairings can then be easily mounted in their various locations.  Each of these fitted into its pre-drilled hole neatly.  It was a small challenge to remove the fairings from the sprue without damaging them, as the sprue gates are fairly thick.  I recommend nipping them off the sprue while leaving a bit of the runner on the piece, then slowly removing the remaining nub from the fairing with a knife.  The trailing edge of the upper wing needed a little bit of Mr. Surfacer to blend in the two halves, but other than that the fit was close to perfect.


The landing gear assembly is designed in a way that makes alignment pretty much fool proof.  One main piece encompasses both sides of the gear, and then the wheels and fairings are added to complete the assembly.  This results in a strong, and properly aligned, landing gear.  One issue I did have is the way the wheels/fairings are molded.  The outer half of each fairing is a separate piece, as is the outer half of the wheel/tire.  However, the inner half of the fairing and wheel/tire is molded as one piece.  As a result, there is no space between the tire and the fairing on the inner half of each assembly – it’s just one continuous piece of plastic.  I’m not sure why these pieces were molded in this fashion.  My solution was to trim a bit of the fairing away where it touches the wheel in the front and back of the fairing, and then run a scriber around the remaining piece for some definition.  Careful painting took care of the rest.


I added the gear assembly, tailplanes, and lower wing to the fuselage before painting.  Small areas needed a little Mr Sufacer to fill gaps, but overall the fit was very good.  I also added the wing struts to the upper wing.  These have very solid mounting holes that ensure the proper angle of alignment.  I stopped construction at this point as this would make the camouflage scheme I planned on doing easier to paint.  Were I doing an overall grey-green scheme, I probably would have attached the upper wing prior to painting.  Fine Molds cast the oil cooler fins in the very front of the nose as a separate piece, and as this was usually left in unpainted metal, it was left off until painting was complete.  I also left off the cabane struts, as they would be painted in the underside color and I wanted to save myself some masking hassle.  I would attach these to the fuselage prior to mounting the upper wing.  One word of warning if you do this: you must be careful not to bump those two aileron control rods that are sticking out.



I chose to paint my Ki-10 in one of the camouflaged schemes offered in the kit.  These machines were camouflaged in the field, having originally been delivered in the standard IJAAF overall grey-green.  These particular markings are for an aircraft from the 77th Sentai, based in China, 1938-39. 


I used Tamiya IJA Grey for the underside color.  The topside colors were eyeballed from some color profiles in my main reference.  I did refer to the Gunze notations in the instructions, but not having any of that paint meant looking elsewhere.  Since I use primarily acrylics, the best out of the bottle matches I came up with were Lifecolor Italian colors for the yellow and red-brown, and Tamiya for the IJA green.  All the camouflage was airbrushed free-hand using my H+S Infinity.  I also masked and painted the white fuselage band using Tamiya white.


After hand-brushing two coats of Future, I started in on the decals.  Since these seemed very Hasegawa-like, I tried using hot water to soak the decals.  I found some time ago that dipping Hasegawa decals in  hot water, followed by pressing down on them with a cloth after application, tends to work quite well.  Prior to that, I generally avoided their decals as I thought them impossibly thick.


The tail markings come in two pieces – and underlying white band, and a slightly narrower blue band.  The glyphs on the blue band are clear, so the white shows through.  Having the blue band narrower also provides for the narrow white trim on the top and bottom.  I started with these markings, on the assumption that if I messed them up I could either paint them on or use a different scheme as a backup.  The white bands (one per side) went down very nicely, so I left those alone and proceeded to the hinomarus.  They also went on, but didn’t seem to settle down.  So, unfortunately, I took too aggressive of a method and applied some Solvaset.  You would think I would know better, but I had in the back of my mind that the milder stuff like Micro Sol is useless on Japanese decals.  All of the hinomarus proceeded to wrinkle up a bit (so far this is normal), but then refused to unwrinkle and tighten down as they should have.  After a few attempts to apply hot water, press down more, and a few select curses, I waited until they were completely dry.  Then, very gently, I sanded them down.  I sanded until all the bumps and wrinkles were gone and the surface was smooth.  I was fortunate enough to not damage any of the paintjob in the process.  Then out came a sheet of Aeromaster hinomarus, and the proper sizes were applied over the sanded down areas.  After that little debacle, I tried to (gently) apply the blue portion of the tail bands.  Hot water, and later a little Micro Sol, and it all worked out.  If only I had done that with the hinomarus…  Actually, in retrospect, I should have painted them on.  This is clearly one of those cases where taking the shortcut ended up taking me longer to accomplish.  Lastly, I applied the various stencil markings.  I think here is a reasonable chance these were not repainted over the field-applied camouflage, but I like the extra life stencils bring to an aircraft, so I went with them.  I let this all dry for a day or so, then applied a sealing coat of Future (again by hand), followed by a coat of Gunze Mr. Clear Flat from a rattle can.  I think both Gunze and Tamiya paints spray beautifully out of a rattle can, and am happy to use them rather than an airbrush when it makes sense to me.  So most of my clear coats and primers are applied this way


The last step was to apply a little weathering.   The few photos I have seen of the Ki-10 don’t show them being heavily weathered, but I want to show a little wear.  I used a combination of Windsor Newton oils (thinned heavily) and some of the washes sold by AK Interactive.  I applied heavily thinned “Grime”  from  AK and “Payne’s Dark Grey” from Windsor around the engine area using a wide brush.  I guess you might consider this like a filter technique, but whatever the term, I like the effect.  I used a heavier wash around the little vents on the top of the cowling.  AK “Earth Effects” was used around the wheels, spats, and underside where dirt might have been thrown up during take offs and landings.  “Dust” was thinned down heavily and streaked in the direction of airflow (again with a wide brush) on all surfaces.  I very sparingly also applied a little bit of “Engine Grime” and “Fuel Stains” around appropriate spots.



After the weathering was finished, it was time to attach the top wing.  I glued the cabane struts to the fuselage – they have a large tab that inserts directly into the fuselage, ensuring positive alignment and a strong brace.  Then, after several test runs, I applied small amounts of glue to the top of the cabane struts, and to the bottom of the wing struts (earlier they had been attached to the upper wing).  The top wing was pressed down onto the cabanes first, and then the wing struts popped right into place.  Fine Molds did a fantastic job of the mounting locations on these struts – they are deep and very solid.  I would think it is next to impossible to mess up the alignment.  Surely this is a confidence-builder for all those biplane-phobic builders out there!


Once everything had dried, the p/e rigging was the next step.  The instructions accompanying the p/e set are very clear in showing where each line goes.  I would suggest drilling those holes in the fairings extra-deep if you use the p/e rigging.  I had to trim down the mounting pins on each p/e piece as they were too long.  The rigging run itself was the perfect length, but the pins needed to be shorter (or the holes deeper).  After realizing I had to trim each pin on the ends of the p/e rigging, it went fairly quickly.  Again, Fine Molds did a great job here as each piece was exactly the right length.  The p/e set includes rudder cables and the control horns, which are meant to replace the plastic control horns molded onto the rudder.  I didn’t like the flat cross section of these, so left the plastic control horns in place and cut short lengths of steel wire for the cables.


After the p/e was fully attached, I finished up little detail painting areas like the tires and tail skid.  I masked the radiator core (under the nose) and sprayed it and the oil cooler fin piece with Alclad II Dark Aluminum.  The propeller was painted black, the backsides masked, and then Alclad II Aluminum was sprayed on the front of the blades.  These were all then attached to the fuselage, and a wash of the Payne’s Dark Grey applied to the fin blades for some definition.  The exhausts were painted with Alclad Burnt Metal and inserted into the appropriate slots in the fuselage (these are keyed, so they can only fit one way – another nice touch).


The windscreen (earlier masked and painted) was a drop fit over the gunsight.  The very last thing added was the antenna wire made from stretched sprue.



Well, in case it wasn’t obvious from this article, I thought this was a great kit.  It succeeds in my mind on many levels.  First, it’s quality is right up there with Hasegawa – fit, details, ease of assembly (heck, easier than some Hasegawa stuff).  Second, it’s an interesting subject.  Third, it’s a VERY good choice for a first biplane build.  Anyone thinking about attempting a biplane for the first time would do well to give this one a shot.  I do think you could skip the cost of the p/e fret, use some aftermarket seatbelts, and just use wire in place of the p/e rigging.  The rigging holes are all there, and popping lengths of wire into them is a reasonable alternative.  About the only downside (apart from the wheel/spat issue) is the decals, and that might well have been mostly operator error.  I would highly recommend this one!



Kawasaki Ki 10 Perry , by Januszewski, Tadeusz and Szerementa, Zygmunt, , Tenzan Publishing, Poland 2007.  ISBN 978-83-906259-1-1.


Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Francillon, Rene J., Putnam & Company, London 1970 & 1979.  ISBN 0 370 30251 6. 

Paul Mahoney

February 2012

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

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page