|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
.The Mitsubishi Ki-51 (Army designation "Type 99 Assault Plane". Allied nickname "Sonia") was a light bomber/dive bomber in service with the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It first flew in mid-1939. Initially deployed against Chinese forces, it proved to be too slow to hold up against the fighter aircraft of the other Allied powers. However, it performed a useful ground-attack role in the China-Burma-India theater, notably from airfields too rough for many other aircraft. As the war drew to a close, the Japanese began using them in kamikaze attacks. Total production was around 2,385 units.
On the day Hiroshima was destroyed by an atomic bomb, two Ki-51s were responsible for the last Japanese sinking of a US warship, sinking USS Bullhead (SS-332) with all hands.
Charles Lindbergh, flying a P-38 Lightning, shot down a Ki-51.
Wingsy is a company from Ukraine who so far, has concentrated on Japanese types in 1/48. Other than the Nichimo kit of the 1970s, this is the only other injection molded kit of this plane produced in this scale.
Molded in a very dark grey that is similar to what Eduard uses, the detail of the parts is everything that one comes to expect of a modern tooling, The kit includes canopy masks though there are no instructions on what goes where. This should not be a problem for the level of builder to which this kit is designed. There is also a fairly good size photo etch fret. The majority of the parts are for bomb fins and shackles. It also includes the frame of the bomb aiming window and seat belts along with a number of other interior pieces.
The interior is quite extensive and takes a full third of the construction steps. There is plenty of stuff for the sidewalls and since it will all be visible, this would be a good place to take time in building. The instrument panels have raised detail and decals for the instruments.
The engine is also nicely detailed and building this assembly is fairly complex as well. You are provided three different spinners, though only two are optional for this build. All the flight control surfaces are separate and designed for the neutral position.
Several different bomb loads are provided. Those include one large bomb per wing, two medium bombs per wing, or a streamlined carrier with six light bombs per wing. The kit provides two canopy options. One is a windscreen with the rest of the clear parts in one piece. The other has all separate clear bits to have the canopy and rear section open.
Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. There are four markings options. One is the box art plane with a very complex paint scheme a based in Burma during 1942 with the 27th Hikosentai, one from the 8th Hikosentai in China during 1942 with a very heavy overall mottling, a straight grey-green plane with the 28th Hikosentai in Manchuria during 1940-41 and finally a similarly camouflaged plane with the Ibaraki Flying School in 1942. The decal sheet looks to be very well done and should be quite thin as well.
Based on all the positive comments about their A5M series, I expect this one to make into an excellent model. It is not inexpensive, but appears to be worth the expense in terms of what you get.
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Thanks to me for picking this one up from a Facebook seller.
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