ICM 1/48 Ki-21-1b 'Sally'

KIT #: 48195
PRICE: $75.00 delivered.
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2023 tooling


Losses were high during early combat operations with the Ki-21-1a, with weaknesses including a lack of armament and self-sealing fuel tanks, while the aircraft's oxygen system also proved unreliable. The Ki-21-Ib was an improved version designed to address the armament issue by increasing the number of 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 89 machine guns to five, and incorporating improvements to the horizontal tail surfaces and trailing edge flaps. In addition, the bomb bay was enlarged. The tail gun was a 'stinger' installation and was remotely controlled. Also, the fuel tanks were partially protected with laminated rubber sheets. By the time of Pearl Harbor, the early -1 variants were already obsolescent and so most extant airframes were relegated to secondary and training roles.


Many of us were quite jazzed by the release of the 1/72 kit and now we have the 1/48 kit. This isn't an inexpensive kit, but you get a lot of plastic. This one comes in a large box that is 'lunch box' style with a thin full color cover.

The first 40 of 93 construction steps cover the assembling of the interior. In addition to a well appointed cockpit along with a ton of smaller pieces that are attached to the side of the fuselage, one has the opportunity to build up a full bomb bay complete with bombs. For those who don't like open bomb bays, there is a piece to cover the opening.

Once the fuselage halves are closed, the clear bits are added along with the empennage and their separate control surfaces. Wings are next and these have short spars in order to have a really positive fit on the fuselage. Wings have separate ailerons but not flaps. Once attached, the landing gear were built up and installed. It wasn't until then that the nacelles were built up and attached. Now you really cannot install the gear after the nacelles as the forward part of the gear assembly attaches to the front of the wings. The last items to be added are the engines and the cowlings. Cowlings are right and left half with a front part so no worries on ugly front seams.

Instructions are superb with ICM color references. I like that they include a paper masking template, but I'll wait for someone like Eduard's offerings. This kit cries for aftermarket masks as all those small panes will be time consuming. There are four markings options. All of them at least start with overall IJAAF green-grey. Two are from 60 Sentai in Chine, one is with the Hammamatsu training unit and the fourth, with heavy upper surface mottling and yellow wing leading edges, is with the 25th Air Brigade HQ flight. Decals are nicely done and should react well to setting solutions.


It is not surprising that sales of this kit are fairly brisk. The superb detailing and the fact it is the only mainstream injected kit of this aircraft makes this one well worth picking up.



November 2023

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