|KIT:||Planet Models 1/72 Tachikawa Ki-77|
|PRICE:||$38.65 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin with vac clear bits|
The Ki-77 was developed to test out long range flights and to perform a special Tokyo-New York flight in 1940 to celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese Imperial Dynasty. Well, not only were things overtaken by events, but the construction of the two prototypes was severely delayed with the first flight not taking place until November 1942. The Japanese Army Air Force was interested in the type as its long range would enable it to fly non-stop from Singapore to Berlin.
The first scheduled flight in July 1943 resulted in the loss of the aircraft somewhere enroute. The fate of the aircraft and crew still remains a mystery today. The remaining aircraft attained an unofficial world distance record when flying a closed course in Manchuria during 1944. A total of 16,435 km was flown in 57 hours and 12 minutes. When the aircraft landed, there was still enough fuel on board for an additional 1800 km. Any other operational use of the aircraft is unknown.
This is one of Planet Models older kits. Packaged in the now familiar compartmentalized bag, the kit has many 'old school' resin kit features. This includes large resin pour stubs and smaller parts cast in resin 'wafers'. Thankfully, the props are cast as one piece so no need to fiddle with proper blade placement or angles. The general condition of the parts is quite good with few pinholes. The surface of the one piece wings is a bit pitted, but nothing major. Since the wings are butt joined, a wise modeler will drill holes in the roots and install some sort of metal pins to keep things connected. The landing gear have wire imbedded in them so they won't collapse under what will be a considerable weight.
The cockpit consists of a floor, rear bulkhead, two seats and two control columns along with an instrument panel. No cabin details are provided. The single vacuformed canopy is fairly well done and though the kit supplies cabin windows (not shown), most of us will use Krystal Kleer or some other method of reproducing the windows. Actually, this would be a good opportunity to try out using clear sprue shaped and glued into the windows. This can then be sanded flush, polished, and masked for a smooth surface.
Instructions are a single sheet with an exploded view on one side and a history/painting guide on the other. Though some sort of color numbers are used on the guide, there is no indication anywhere as to what these colors might be. A simple sheet of Hinomarus is provided (not shown)
This is a kit of an aircraft that you probably will not find anywhere else. Despite being an older Planet Model production, it is a very basic kit and once the parts are cleaned up, should build rather quickly. One thing for sure, you'll need a bit of space to fit those long wings!
You can find this and many other interesting kits at GreatModels
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