Hasegawa 1/48 Shidenkai no Maki Ki-61-I Hien

KIT #: 64718
PRICE: 2400 yen (about $20.00) at www.hlj.com (3000 yen) SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Edition

HISTORY

"Shidenkai no Maki, is a tale about high school girls meddling with World War era fighter planes, much to the same legitimacy as other popular manga story lines.

Very much like Girls und Panzer, reading this book, one will find that while it contains cute teenage females, itís truly all about the planes and the ensuing action. Of course one canít help but notice the physical qualities of the ladies as theyíre all so delightful, though the book doesnít force any of that upon us.

Now to branch off the Girls und Panzer bit, beyond the high school girls obsessed with war machines, itís highly different. Because the events within, in this case, donít transpire as part of a tournament, theyíre all real, real in the sense of their world anyway. The girls are engaged in real dogfights, with elaborate, exquisite gunplay, for sake of their lives and othersí. The group we follow is the local student council, who already have a small army of planes.

Interestingly, they come upon one relic of a fighter which they determine is worth the effort of restoration (similar to an early Girls und Panzer occurrence, but inevitably an occurrence to be expected in these kind of series regardless). In the midst of that, we see many battles, with enemies introduced in the previous volume, as well as new contenders, all of whom are high school girls, sprout up. Itís pretty much turf wars between cute girls, fought through the most unlikely of ways.

The mangaís beauty emerges in witnessing the deeply intricate choreography in the skies of the combat fighter planes, and the relationships which control the assorted pilotsí actions, as well as the general relations, reasoning, and emotions of the girls as a whole. Thereís a lot of pride at stake, bounds of friendship, and intensity in the techniques and actions that ensue as the girls clash in the skies.

Itís a great read, and it would make such a splendid anime series if ever put into the proper hands."

THE KIT

Kits like this are quite popular in Japan, where one is pretty much bombarded by anime on television, movies, advertising and even on public transportation. Westerners will think it very odd, but those who live there do not. Hasegawa is not beyond making some money on this particular manga series, much as Fine Molds cashed in on Girls und Panzer using Dragon kits. While I have not read the manga, from the gist of things, the subject aircraft are all WWII types and it very much seems like all of them are in the Hasegawa catalogue in one form or another. So far, I've seen three aircraft produced for the series; an A6M, N1K2-J Shidenkai, and this one, the Ki-61-I Hein.

The kit is very much like every other Ki-61 that you may have seen by Hasegawa. The years have been kind to the molding and from what I can see, there is no flash or other molding glitches typical of worn molds.

This is one of Hasegawa's best in that there is reasonably good cockpit detail, complete with seat, stick, rudder pedals, sidewall detail, additional interior bits and a nice raised detail instrument panel over which a decal is also available. External detail is good as well with crisply done engraved panel lines. The kit has limited options. One is whether or not to install the wing fuel tanks while the other is the ability to cut out the molded on wing tip lights and use the clear ones supplied. It would have been nice to have had a separate windscreen and canopy, but the kit supplied one-piece version is very clear and will let you see all the work you have put into the interior.

Of course, what makes this kit special is the tie-in with Shidenkai no Maki. To that extent, the instruction sheet has been modified with anime images to provide suggestions during construction. You can see an example of that on the scan of the sprues trees. The other is in a very large decal sheet. This sheet includes the white 'bandages' that go behind the wing and fuselage insignia. Other than the altered insignia, the rest of the markings are standard Ki-61. The scheme chosen is bare metal with dark green mottling over all the upper surfaces. The yellow wing ID bands will need to be painted. Interestingly, the instructions point out the name of many of the parts and subassemblies, something I do not recall seeing before. The very large decal sheet is nicely printed and provides different poses of the pilot of this plane in three different sizes. These are just extras as none of them are required for the model itself.

CONCLUSIONS

Those who know me know why I am attracted to things like this. Though it took me 50 years to catch on, I've become quite a fan of anime or manga related kits. I fully realize that not everyone is into this sort of thing, but kits like this offer another plus. Frequently popular kits such as Hasegawa's Ki-61 sell out very quickly. While the subject of the markings may not be to one's preference, it is still a Hein kit and at a very good price. Nothing that aftermarket decals won't take care of for the fan.

I do realize that not everyone is into ordering kits from Japan, but places like Hobby Link not only offer great prices, but even after shipping charges are included, they are frequently less expensive than even the discount folks in your own country. As an example, standard shipping, which takes about two weeks, is less than $8 making your total outlay about $28 dollars for this kit. Express adds about $5 to that. So if you thought you could not afford that Japanese kit, think again.

REFERENCES

http://seventhstyle.com/2014/08/25/shidenkai-no-maki-bishoujos-at-war/

March 2015

Thanks to www.hlj.com for the preview kit. You can find this kit at this link.

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

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