AZ Model 1/72 Ki-30 'Ann'
|PRICE:||1920 yen (about $25.00) from HLJ|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run kit with resin parts|
The Mitsubishi Ki-30 (九七式軽爆撃機 Kyunana-shiki keibakugekiki) was a Japanese light bomber of World War II. It was a single-engine, mid-wing, cantilever monoplane of stressed-skin construction with a fixed wheel undercarriage and a long transparent cockpit canopy. The type had significance in being the first Japanese aircraft to be powered by a modern two-row radial engine. During the war, it was known by the Allies by the name Ann.
The Ki-30s were first used in combat in Second Sino-Japanese War from spring 1938. It proved to be reliable in rough field operations, and highly effective while operating with fighter escort. This success continued in the early stages of the Pacific War, and the Ki-30s participated extensively in operations in the Philippines. However, once unescorted Ki-30s met Allied fighters, losses mounted rapidly and the type was soon withdrawn to second-line duties. By the end of 1942, most Ki-30s were relegated to a training role. Many aircraft were expended in kamikaze attacks towards the end of the war.
From late 1940, the Ki-30 was in service with the Royal Thai Air Force, and saw combat in January 1941 against the French in French Indochina in the French-Thai War. Additional Ki-30s were transferred from Japan in 1942. Post war the type was operated by Thailand, France and China, though for the latter it was less than a handful.
During the mid 1930s, single engine light bombers were quite popular with several countries developing them. Few were around long enough to be engaged in battle, but one that had a relatively long combat life was the Ki-30. While I am sure there have been several resin and vac kits of this aircraft, to my knowledge, only Pavla has previously issued this in short run plastic. That was a fairly nice kit as things go and is now long out of production. This one has been boxed at least three times by AZ Model and this is one of the more esoteric boxings.
Surface detailing is really very good with nicely done engraved panel lines and engraved rivet detail that is right up there with what company's think most modelers want. The interior of the kit is also fairly well appointed with internal fuselage detailing, yet leaving room for those who want to add more to do so. With fixed gear, there is no concern over wheel wells. The landing gear are well done and the wheels/tires are part of the resin suite. Also resin is the nicely done engine, much of which is hidden in a three piece cowling.
While my previous build of this aircraft had a vacuformed canopy, this one has a nicely molded greenhouse done with injected plastic. It is rather thick and so any detailing done in the cockpit will be distorted. The instructions show where to cut this piece if you wish to have it open, but the thickness of the plastic will prevent you from properly stacking the open parts over the fixed bits. A pair of nice resin bombs are provided along with their racks for just outboard of the landing gear. I appreciate the one-piece prop as I am not a fan of separate blades on most short run kit.
Instructions are well done with generic color information provided throughout the build. There is a nicely done five view drawing on the back to help with alignment and parts placement, though the bomb racks are not shown. The back of the box contains the exterior color and decal placement guide in full color as on most other AZ Models boxes. There are three options. The first two are from the Thailand Air Force. The box art plane from 1940 during the French-Thai war and the second in unpainted metal from 1945 with post war roundels. The third is a very worn French place from 1945 in Green over grey. Obviously one left behind by the Japanese after the surrender and when the French went back into Indochina to try to regain their dominance over the area. The decals are well printed with no obvious registration issues.
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