Fine Molds 1/48 'Hikōki' (Fly-go-machine)
KIT #: FG 6
PRICE: 2200 yen SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ Kaze Tachinu?) is a 2013 Japanese animated historical fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and adapted from his own manga of the same name which was loosely based on the short story The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori, a writer, poet and translator from mid-20th century (Showa period) Japan. Kaze Tachinu is a fictionalised biography of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Mitsubishi A5M (featured in the movie) and its famous successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Both aircraft were used by the Empire of Japan during World War II.

Miyazaki announced that this was to be his final film before retiring as a feature director. The film was released by Toho on July 20, 2013 in Japan, and will be released by Touchstone Pictures in North America on February 21, 2014.


When one opens the box, one is presented with four sprues, each one of them a different color of plastic. It is pretty obvious that this is a snap kit, thanks to the large pins and sockets used to attach the very nicely molded parts. The parts are also pretty much the color of the completed model, which will be great for the youngsters who are building this. Only a few bits actually need any paint, assuming the builder does not care about seams.

There is a cockpit of such that is made up of a seat, floor and control stick. A figure is provided that can be fitted once the model is complete. The wings consist of an upper and lower section with the bird feathers on the upper part. Once piece tailplanes and the wings are trapped in the fuselage halves and there is a separate upper engine cowling. On the back of this cowling piece fits the instrument panel and onto that attaches the instrument panel decal.

Wheels are a single molding as are the main gear struts. Engine cylinders with molded in exhaust fit into the top of the engine cowling. The fin/rudder slots into the upper rear fuselage. A large trim wheel is attached to the fuselage side. Up front a three piece prop/spinner assembly fits into a poly cap. The rest of the kit is a display stand which is rather beefy and includes two pins that fit into holes in the bottom of the fuselage. The other decal is for the name of the aircraft and goes onto the completed stand.

Instructions are very much for the home market with the majority of information in Japanese, but with some English for the painting information. This is rather standard Fine Molds stuff as they do not make their kits for the overseas market.  


Now you would think that a snap kit would not require a lot of construction. Indeed, Fine Molds has done a superb job of engineering this kit to fit well. However, few, if any kits are so well engineered that they do not have seams in places and that is mostly what one has to deal with regarding this kit. Such are things that it took me a few weeks to complete, but not because of fit issues, but more due to painting.

The first thing I did was to paint the interior bits with a dark wood color. There are many browns that can be used for this so pick your favorites. I also attached the upper and lower wings. There is a huge seam that runs a few millimeters from the edge of the wing. Your choice is to leave it or fill it. Since it is on the underside, I picked the first option. This was then cemented to the lower fuselage. I also glued in all the interior pieces. For one thing, the fit is quite tight and the glue acts as a sort of 'grease' to help these parts fit better.

I then painted the fin and horizontal stabs. I know they are already molded in color, but nothing looks more like bare plastic than bare plastic. I also assembled and installed the engine block. This has a poly-cap to trap the prop so don't forget to install it. I then masked the horizontal stabs and attached them, followed by the trim wheel stub. Then the fuselage halves were mated. There is a considerable seam running down each side and that was filled and sanded smooth.

The interior was filled with tissue and the landing gear installed. I then primed the airframe with Tamiya super fine white primer, followed by a nice coat or two of Tamiya gloss white. During this time the propeller hub, backing plate and wheels were also painted white. The last three items eventually were painted gloss yellow so the white background was a bit of a requirement.

Meanwhile the engine cylinders and the block were painted neutral grey. I then masked off much of the wing tips and painted the wing tip 'feathers' and the upper cowling with Testors french blue. The fin was painted a sand color after the rudder was masked off. I used a reddish brown color for the prop. A small amount of detail work was done on the engine cylinders and a cross-connecting pipe and they were then installed. The trip wheel and main wheels were next. A bit of detail painting and then the prop was pushed in place after it was assembled.

I left the bottom of the stand in blue but the stand itself required a lot of seam filling. It was painted sand after assembly and pushed into the base. I then painted the pilot best I could (I am truly horrible when it comes to painting small figures) and once the airplane was mounted on the stand (which was a real struggle), the pilot was installed that that was it.

I should point out that there are three decals. One is the cockpit instrument panel, one is an instrument for the back of the upper cowling and the other goes on the stand.

I very much enjoyed building this one. It is superbly engineered, fits well and requires a touch of modeling skill to properly finish. It is a fun kit for modelers of all ages and is one that I would not hesitate to recommend to you or anyone else who is interested in movie subjects.


January 2014

Thanks to Kevin Dolin for sending me the review kit.

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