Amodel 1/72 Ki-32 'Mary'

KIT #: 72154
PRICE: ~$25.00
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with rubber tires.


The Kawasaki Ki-32 (九八式軽爆撃機, Kyuhachi-shiki keibakugekiki) was a Japanese light bomber aircraft of World War II. It was a single-engine, two-seat, mid-wing, cantilever monoplane with a fixed undercarriage. An internal bomb bay accommodated a 300 kg (660 lb) offensive load, supplemented by 150 kg (330 lb) of bombs on external racks. During the war, it was known by the Allies by the name Mary.

The first Kawasaki prototype flew in March 1937; seven more prototypes were produced. Being very similar in layout and performance, main difference between the Kawasaki Ki-32 and its Mitsubishi Ki-30 rival was in the choice of an engine. The Mitsubishi design used the Nakajima Ha-5 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, whereas Kawasaki opted for their own Kawasaki Ha-9-II inline V12 engine.

Problems were encountered with the Kawasaki design, particularly with engine cooling, and the Mitsubishi Ki-30 received the production order. In spite of this, the pressing need for more aircraft in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which had started at full scale in July 1937, resulted in the Ki-32's entry into production as well, 12 months behind its rival. Ironically, the number of Ki-32s built was much higher than that of the successful Ki-30.

The Ki-32 entered production in 1938, designated Army Type 98 Single-engine Light Bomber, Kawasaki manufactured 854 Ki-32s before production ceased in May 1940. 

The Ki-32 saw extensive war service in the Second Sino-Japanese War, equipping the 3rd, 6th, 10th, 35th, 45th, 65th and 75th Sentai. It also saw combat during the Battle of Nomonhan against the Soviet Union in 1938-1939. Its last combat action was bombing Commonwealth forces during the Japanese Invasion of Hong Kong.

Ki-32s during World War II were also supplied to the Manchukuo Air Force to replace their obsolescent Kawasaki Type 88/KDA-2 light bombers; they were the main bomber of that service through the conflict.

After their withdrawal from front-line service in 1942 the Ki-32s were used in a training role. 


Amodel kits are generally short run and this one is no exception. The surface detail is very good for a short run kit, though the lightness will cause some of this detail to disappear under sanding. The surface texture is not smooth, but not horrible and what roughness is there will disappear under a coat of paint. The kit does have a bit of flash and ejector towers to deal with, but this is the norm. The side windows will need to be opened up more and several parts are butt join.

There is framework detail on the inner fuselage halves and the cockpit is fairly well outfitted, though somewhat generic. I'm not sure if JAAF crew wore seat belts at this time, but those would really help. Pretty sure they did not wear a shoulder harness.

Exhaust is trapped between the upper cowling and lower fuselage so it is not really able to be added after painting unless you do some modifications. The very front of the cowling is separate so that you can have a spinning prop. Wings are a single piece lower surface with the ailerons molded into this piece with separate upper wing halves.

Main gear is two halves for the legs with rubber tires that are trapped between an inner and outer wheel halve. Personally I'd rather have had an all plastic wheel as these rubber things tend to split after time. There is no axle. The single canopy is nicely molded but thick so don't spend much time detailing the interior.

Instructions are well drawn with Humbrol paint numbers provided. I'm not sure the interior should be rust, but that is what it says. The lone marking option is for an overall grey aircraft from an unknown unit. Not sure if there are any aftermarket offerings in terms of decals, but it may be worth seeking just to do something different. The decals are nicely printed and should offer no issues.


Way back when, I built the Merlin Ki-32 with its banana shaped fuselage. It was a lump to say the least. This is a lot more refined and should provide a nice model when done.


January 2020

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