A+V Resin 1/72 Ki-57 'Topsy'






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Resin with metal and vac canopy


If you look at the plane, your first impression is that this is a Ki-21 Sally. You'd be mostly correct. The Ki-21 was an excellent bomber for its time and it was natural that a transport version of the aircraft be developed. Basically it differs in having a modified fuselage to allow for seating and in having lower powered engines. The Ki-57 initially came about as Japan Air Lines was looking for a commercial transport. The army got interested and so the Ki-57 was born. Those that were operated as civil airliners were called MC-20s.

The aircraft carried 11 passengers in two rows of single seats and had the wings mounted lower on the fuselage to allow room for the seats. The prototype flew in mid-1940 and 101 of the initial production order were built. These were Ki-57-Is and were also operated by the Navy as L4M1s. These planes were used for dropping paratroops in Palembang in Borneo in early 1942 to take over the refineries there. An improved version, the Ki-57-II was developed in 1942 and 406 of these were eventually built, seeing use in all areas of Japanese influence during the Pacific War.


The A+V resin kit is quite typical of Czech medium grade resin kits. The parts are segregated into several bagged sections, however, on my copy all of the small parts had managed to escape from the bag and were floating around loose in the box. As a result, several of the more delicate parts have been broken, but all seem to be there. The quality if the casting is good, but not great. Panel lines are nicely done on all the parts. Where the work will come is that there are a number of resin lumps and some pinholes on the smaller pieces that won't be fun repairing. The edges of parts are either rough or flashy, but that is common on almost all resin kits and to be expected.

There are three metal castings; for the two main gear and the pitot tube. This is a good move by A+V as resin gear would never hold the weight of this model. The metal castings are fair and will need some clean up prior to use. Two vacuformed canopies are offered. Both are basically just shapes and not very clear. Like the old Contrail kits, you are on your own in terms of determining where the framing is located as they are not shown on the canopy at all. The Ki-57's canopy is just as pane intensive as the Ki-21 so this won't be fun.  Fuselage windows are solid so you either cut them out or paint them black. A section of blue plastic is given for a cabin floor. You get a rather full cockpit, but for the cabin, only two fore and aft bench seats are provided. Most of us will undoubtedly dispense with the cabin section!

Instructions consist of a large three-view on one side with some generic color info and a photo of an MC-20. The other side has an exploded view with generic color info given as well as a cockpit photo and another MC-20 photo. Decals are very nicely done and are for a plane of the 9th Air Division HQ flight. The box art depicts this particular plane.

Overall, I'd say the model will make into a nice representation of the Ki-57. With sufficient photo reference and a steady hand, an MC-20 could also be done. I'd recommend this kit only to those who have had a few resin kits under their belt!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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