Fine Molds 1/48 Mitsubishi Karigane Aircraft 'Kamikaze'
3600 yen SRP
Scott Van Aken
Despite the relatively weak engine and fixed undercarriage, the
Ki-15 was remarkably fast. During the initial flight testing, the Asahi
newspaper Asahi Shimbun obtained permission to purchase the second
prototype. The aircraft was given the designation Karigane (Wild Goose),
flying on 19 March 1937, being named Kamikaze and
registered as J-BAAI. It was the first Japanese-built airplane to fly
to Europe and caused a sensation in 1937 by making the flight
between Tokyo and London, for the coronation of King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth, between 6 April 1937 and 9 April 1937 in a flight time of 51
hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds, a world record at the time Following
the success of the Japan-England flight, a small number of Ki-15s were
sold to civil customers. One of the early production aircraft was named
"Asakaze" (J-BAAL) and was also used by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper;
others were used by various civilian operators as mail planes.
Molds has been producing some superb kits as of late. These are high quality
moldings with excellent engineering, making for a fairly hassle-free build and this
one portents to continue that trend. This kit was released along with the
standard Ki-15 military version and differs from the initial release in
having the various bits and pieces for this variant. In fact, only the A and
B sprues are the same with the rest providing bits for the differences that
include a different engine and smaller tail surfaces.
Since this is a two seat aircraft, there is a lot of interior detail as a
lot will be visible through the greenhouse. Things like the fuselage
fuel tank are part of the fit. You also get a complete
radio suite for the radio operator/observer. Full sidewall
framing is separate and will eventually encase the cockpit assembly.
Wings are a complete upper and lower half into which a wing spar is
inserted. Holes for the centerline external tank or bomb rack will have to
be opened if you wish to use these items. You are provided two bombs with
separate fins and frankly, all the little fiddly pieces you see on the sprue
diagram? Most of those are for the bombs. Most of us will not use this
Wheel legs accept slotted wheels so you can easily paint the plane prior to
attaching the main wheels. The engine is built up very much like their
Claude kits so it means that it not only fits well, but looks right when
done. Engine cowling is upper and lower sections, which means there may be a
lip seam to deal with. As expected, the kit has a separate motor mount to take care of the
different versions. The prop is a single piece with a large spinner.
All the clear bits are added from the outside. The one piece greenhouse will
require some major masking time, but will be well worth it. I expect Eduard
or someone else to offer a masking set for this for those who like these.
Instructions are well done with parts of it in English and Gunze paints
being the standard reference. The aircraft that is being boxed is basically
overall silver with blue areas on the upper fuselage, upper landing gear and
the entire engine cowling. This is listed as a rather dark blue, FS 15050.
This will have to be painted on as the thought of a decal to cover all that
airframe is daunting and would be a nightmare to get to snuggle down,
especially over the canopy. The decal sheet is nicely printed and my
experience with Fine Molds decals is quite positive.
Probably more folks will go for the military version
and I'm sure that Fine Molds will sell a lot of them. However, the Kamikaze was
a record breaking aircraft and looks cool as well. Either will be a great
addition to your collection.
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