RS Models 1/72 Kawasaki Ki-60
|REVIEWER:||Carmel J. Attard|
|NOTES:||Injection molded with photo etch fret|
The Kawasaki Ki-60 was a Japanese WWII fighter aircraft that used a license-built DB-601 liquid-cooled engine. The majority of Japanese aircraft at that time used air-cooled radial engines. The Ki-60 was designed by Takeo Doi and his deputy Shin Owada of Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K. (Kawasaki Heavy Industries) in response to a 1939 Koku Hombu (Army Air Headquarters) requirement for a heavily armed specialized interceptor fighter to be powered by the liquid cooled DB 601 inverted V12 engine which had been selected for license production by Kawasaki as the HA-40. The emphasis in the requirements was for a high speed and a good rate of climb, along with a cannon armament. This was a complete change from the usual IJAAF penchant for lightly armed, highly manoeuvrable fighters with lightweight structures, epitomized by the Ki-27 and the later Ki-43. A requirement was issued at the same time for a lighter, less heavily armed, general-purpose fighter which was to be designed almost in parallel with the Ki-60; this became the Ki-61 Priority was to be given to the Ki-60, design of which started in February 1940.
The first prototype of the Ki-60 emerged in March 1941 as a compact, all metal, stressed skin monoplane with a relatively deep fuselage (1.46 m (4 feet 9.5 in)) and tapered wings with rounded tips built around a system of three spars; a Warren Truss main spar and two auxiliary spars. The rear spar carried the split flaps and long, narrow chord ailerons, while the front spar incorporated the undercarriage pivot points. The undercarriage track was 3 metres (9 ft 10 in). The pilot's seat was mounted high over the rear spar, giving the fuselage a distinctive "humped" profile; the hood featured a framed, rear sliding canopy and an elongated rear transparent section. The main coolant radiator was housed in a long ventral bath under the wing centre-section and central fuselage, while the oil cooler was mounted under the engine with a long air intake. The prototype was powered by an imported DB 601A as production of the Ha-40 had not yet started. A total fuel capacity of 410 l (90.2 Imperial gallons)) was carried.
The armament carried was two fuselage mounted 12.7 mm caliber Ho-103 machine guns which were set in a "staggered" configuration (the port weapon slightly further forward than that to starboard) in a bay just above and behind the engine. One German made Mauser MG151/20, 20 mm cannon was housed in a weapons bay in each wing. With a normal loaded weight of 2,890 kg (6,371 lb) and a gross wing area of 15.9 m² (171.15 ft²) the wing loading was 181.76 kg/m² (37.23 lb/ft²), which was extremely high by Japanese standards (the standard IJAAF fighter, the Ki-27, had a wing loading of 70 kg/m² (14.33 lb/ft²).
From the start of flight testing it became apparent that the design was seriously flawed in several key areas. The take-off run was unacceptably long, while in flight the aircraft displayed some lateral instability, excessively heavy controls and poor control response. The spinning characteristics were described as "dangerous" and the stalling speed was extremely high. Although a top speed of 600 km/h (373 mph) had been projected the Ki-60 was only able to achieve 548 km/h (340 mph).
As a result the second and third prototypes, which were still being built, were hurriedly modified in an attempt to mitigate some of the more undesirable traits. Some 100 kg (220 lb) was removed, primarily by replacing the MG151 cannon with Ho-103 machine guns, reducing the normal loaded weight to 2,750 kg (6,063 lb). Coupled with a slight increase in wing area to 16.20 m² (174.376 ft²) this resulted in a slightly lower wing loading of 169.7nbsp;kg/m² (34.76 lb/ft²). Detail changes were made to airframe sealing and to the contours of the air intakes and radiator bath. Flight tests were still disappointing, with both of the modified prototypes displaying most of the shortcomings of the first. A top speed of only 560 km/h (348 mph) was reached, with a climb rate still well below specifications. By this time the Nakajima Ki-44, which had also been designed as a dedicated interceptor, was beginning to show some promise and the Koku Hombu selected this in fulfillment of its requirements. From early 1941 the full attention of Takeo Doi and Shin Owada was focused on the Ki-61; the Ki-60 became important in that the Ki-61 design was able to be improved using the lessons learned from the poor characteristics of the Ki-60.
Construction starts with detailing the cockpit which consists of a floor, a two part seat, control column, seat straps, rudder pedals, instrument panel, two tiny aiming sights, and instruments to fit to sides of cockpit walls. More detail parts are fitted at stage 5. You need a set of tweezers to go about stage 3 which deals with the assembly of the main undercarriage each of which consists of 6 items. The front air intake and another one to port side of nose are carefully represented and parts fit together so well that it is worthy of praise with no need for any filler anywhere and all that is needed is a little rubbing down on the fuselage joint lines.
The exhaust outlets on both sides of nose are separate items. These fit into elongated apertures and one should fit on the inside blank pieces so that the exhaust items will not fall inside or pressed too far in when being fitted in place. There is a semi-circular headrest support. This has a nicely moulded central plate containing three round holes in it. This detail is clearly visible from the clearly moulded canopy that comes with the kit. Incidentally the canopy has a front extension so that when this is painted it leaves two rectangular spy holes which is a feature that is quite unusual on fighters. A three bladed prop and spinner are finely reproduced.
The kit has a belly air intake and an interesting aspect added to it is that there are detail etch items to fit at the intake and another filter inside aft. I preferred to replace the wing and the fuselage aerial with steel ones. The last items to go on the kit were the control links at the aileron, elevators and rudder areas indicated on the instructions. This is another delicate step which when accomplished look very effective.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
detail is indicated on the kit box cover. There are plan views for either an all
silver prototype or silver under surface and green mottle upper surface Ki-60
that was based in
Carmel J. Attard
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