Kit Reviews (2)
by James Bevis
This model was my first experience with Nichimo products; and I liked it.
When I opened the box, I was impressed by the multitude of recessed rivet heads along virtually every panel line. It's really amazing. The skin of the plane has a peculiar sandblasted appearance, panel lines are recessed. The control surfaces have a fabric texture. Interior detail is good with all of the basic shapes and detail. It includes five different control panels to glue to the fuselage sidewalls, oblique 20mm cannons, an intricate one-piece gun sight, pretty good instrument panel, control column, one other lever, reasonably good seats, and a rear swivel mount with no gun.
There isn't any frame detail on the cockpit walls, the rear position could use some. A pilotfigure was included. One of the few sink-holes in the kit is in the center of his chest. It's definitely the largest sinkhole!
I loved the engines! The crankcase forms a core that both cylinder banks slip onto. It has separate intake and exhaust manifolds. Five parts plus the propeller shaft. The molded-in exhaust ports on the nacelles are totally inaccurate. They should be on the bottom with two large tubes for the versions depicted by the decal sheet. Instead, they are on the top with multiple exhaust tubes. The main undercarriage is nice, too. five parts per side, plus the wheels. I liked the "knuckle" being separate from the leg. There isn't any detail in the landing gear wells. The gear doors have frame lightening holes cast in, they are a little rough.The tail gear is one piece.
The instructions were the weakest point of the kit. Printed in Japanese, a translation sheet is supplied. Painting instructions are totally inadequate.
Overall, the kit is definitely not a disappointment to me.
The crew compartments went together pretty well. I used a fuselage half as a jig to align the bulkheads and radio shelf. The small lever to the right of the pilot's seatwas a tight fit when the fuselage was closed around the cockpit. I left the rear swivel mountoff until I was ready to glue-up the fuselage halves, since it indexes into both fuselage sides. The gun sight ended up being too high when I installed the pilot's canopy, I had to pop it off and file the dashboard down a bit to make it fit.
The fuselage halves aligned well, with little discrepancy in the panel lines. The wings and tail planes demanded some serious flat-sanding, since the mating surfaces weren't anything like flat. They were kind of rounded and left bad gaps in every seam when I dry fitted them.
The only real mistake I made with this kit was to misalign one of the wing-half sets. I wiped out the alignment pins when I flat-sanded, this was a tricky spot. This misalignment caused extra work on that wing root. Both wing roots needed some filling.
The misaligned wing also aggravated setting the wing dihedral. This isn't a fool-proof step in any case, since the tabs on the wing roots have no positive index. I left the landing gear off to simplify painting. The canopies had to be filed some for good fit. I had to heat both canopies in hot water and spread them out at the base, they were about 3mm too narrow. I guess the gunsight would have cleared the canopy except for this necessary fitting. A small section of fuselage just behind the front canopy is separate to fit around the oblique cannon; it also took some work, especially in the slots for the cannon muzzles.
Painting and Decals
I used my own judgement on detail colors. The instructions were useless on this point The camo I chose was same as the box-top. Aluminum base (Testors metalizer) with irregular J.A. Green (Tamiya acrylic) blotches, it looks good. I didn't consider how hard the multiple stripes around the spinner would be to mask. This aircraft, depicted on the box top, was from the 3rd Chutai, 53rd Sentai. Another aircraft from the same unit is depicted is shown at the bottom of the instruction sheet. This second aircraft has solid colored spinners and is shown on the side of the box. The decal sheet has markings for an a/c from the Headquarters Chutai, 21st Sentai. My reference shows this a/c with the rear gunner's position completely faired-over with metal. The instructions don't diagram this paint scheme. The decals are translucent. Since the hinomarus are on wide white bands, this will be obvious if uncorrected.
My opinion of the kit
It was fun, reasonably priced, and challenging but not too difficult. I like it. A good reference I used ARCO's WW2 Aircraft Fact File, Japanese Army Fighters, Part One . It has photos of most of the original aircraft depicted by the decal sheet.
Second Review of this kit
by Dave Pluth
The Nichimo Ki-45 kai kit is a very nice kit for the time period it was designed in. The kit itself is from the late 70's early 80's with engraved panel lines and very nice details. (Sorry this one is brief more later)
Engine: The detail is very very nice, the engines come in 5 pieces including the mounting structures which double as exhaust ports if you choose to leave the cowls off. The cowls are another story, they fit funny at best and you'll definately have to do some work to do to get them to fit over the engine correctly. The external exhaust ports need a touch of work to make them look realistic, they are pretty rough, but being that they're on they're on the bottoms of the nacelles, you probably won't notice them much when the kit is complete. The props come in three pieces, a hub, the prop itself and a backing piece, all fit together well and well represent the originals.
Cockpit: Also very well detailed. Side wall detail is molded into the fuselage and is a bit hard to paint, but the amount of detail is great. It matches up quite nicely with the real thing and details out quite nicely.
Fuselage: The overall fuselage goes together quite well. Fit is very good, there are no locator pins in the entire kit, so you have to fudge a bit to assemble the wings. The wheel well detail is very poor, but nothing a little strip stock can't fix. Also, don't bother with the kit wheels, buy the resin ones listed on the front page.
Canopy: The overall canopy glass is pretty good, and at this writing, I don't know of any vacs to replace it. There isn't a real way of opening the canopy to show off any detail that you might have put in the cockpit.
Kit markings: 53rd Fighter Sentai, 3rd Chutai. Matsudo, Japan, 1945. Don't even think about using them, they are horrible!
Overall this kit is a B+, not quite up to a Tamiya or Hasagawa kit of today, but a very nice build.
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