|KIT:||RS Models 1/72 Ki-27b|
|PRICE:||2800 yen at www.hlj.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Injected plastic with vac canopy and etched brass details|
The Ki-27 was the army's main fighter until the start of World War II. In the 1939 Battle of Halhin Gol against USSR in Mongolia, Ki-27 faced I-15 biplanes and I-16 monoplanes, and dominated them with its maneuverability, downing a total of 1,252 enemy aircraft. The Ki-27's high turn performance caused the Army to focus almost exclusively on maneuverability, a decision which came back to haunt them later as it handicapped the development of more heavily armed and faster fighters. The Ki-27 served until the beginning of World War II in the Pacific, escorting bombers attacking Singapore. After it was replaced by the Ki-43, Ki-27 continuing to serve as a trainer, was used in 'back water' areas and for home defense. It was also exported for use with Manchukuo and Thai armed forces, seeing combat with both. In Thai service, the Ki-27 reportedly damaged a P-51 Mustang and shot down one P-38 Lightning. Near the end of World War II, a few Ki-27 were equipped with up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of explosives for Kamikaze duty.
In spite of its excellent turning performance, in combat Ki-27 suffered from lack of armor protection for the pilot and absence of self-sealing or fire suppression in the fuel tanks. In addition, the airframe could not handle the stress of high speeds and Soviet pilots routinely escaped Ki-27 attacks in a dive. The armament of two rifle-caliber machine guns was weak. Many of these planes were shot down by the P-40s of the AVG. The main difference between the Ki-27a and Ki-27b was the latter's addition of bomb racks and the provision for under wing fuel tanks.
Thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org for most of the background info.
I have to say that this looks an awful lot like a modern Eduard kit. The same green-grey plastic, the same nicely done engraved detailing and the included etched set is even done by Eduard (though that is not surprising as many Czech produced kits include Eduard photo-etch).
You may wonder why a whole family of Ki-27/Ki-79 aircraft are being done. Hasegawa's kit is still quite nice as are the Fujimi Ki-79 family. But all of those are a minimum of 20 years old and I can only guess that RS wanted to start off their injection molded kits with something that had some legs. By that, I mean the you can take the same basic sprue (the big one) and then add those bits that are necessary for the different Ki-27 and Ki-79 variants. You see that there are two different engines and two seats on the wing sprue along with 'bare' landing gear legs and wheels. These are not all needed for the Ki-27.
In fact, if you get right down to it, this kit does not have all that many parts to it. Most of the construction will be in the details. The interior side walls have nicely molded detailing and atop that will go a ton of photo etch. There are the usual instrument panels, seat, control sticks, various dials and little boxes along with rudder pedal bars and a rear framework piece. There are even bomb racks in p.e. though the kit does not include any bombs (probably for a different version). The kit does include dual 'bosom' fuel tanks if you wish and also you'll have to make the twin pipes that extend from under the left wing. I really don't know what those are, though they may be fuel dump pipes. I also note that the spatted wheels are butt joined to the upper section, which is in turn, butt joined to an area under the wing. Unlike some kits of this nature, there are no 'plastic or photo etch' options so you have to do with what is given, even if you don't like the flat p.e. pitot tubes and control columns. A single very nicely done vacuform canopy tops things off. I do with they'd have included two.
Two sheets are provided for instructions. One is for the actual building of the kit and the other for the markings options. The instructions are well printed and the construction sequences are unambiguous and include color information. When parts have to be made (stretched sprue), the dimensions are shown. Color reference is generic and Humbrol/Agama. Markings are for four aircraft. One is the box art plane from the 246 Sentai in 1943 on home defense duties. The red cowling and white 'bandages' will have to be painted. Next, in dark green over light grey is a 9 Sentai plane from Manchuria in mid 1943. In a variegated pattern of grey, green and brown is a 24 Sentai aircraft in the Philippines during December 1941. The final aircraft is from the 77 Sentai in Thailand during 1942. It is in an overall light grey color. I don't think the Army had the same brownish grey of Navy A6Ms. The decals are superbly printed and while the reds seem a little intense, this may well be accurate for Army aircraft.
I have to say that I'm rather impressed by this kit. The level of detailing is quite good and with the photo etch included, it obviates the need for any aftermarket accessories. I'm quite looking forward to building this and comparing it against my ancient Hasegawa/Mania version.
My thanks to for the review kit. Get yours direct. Save money, buy lots!!
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