By Allan Wanta
This was perhaps one of the best attempts at an interceptor that the Japanese developed near the end of the war. It was intended to meet a requirement for an advanced two-seat long-range escort fighter. The Ki-83 possessed an armament of two 20mm and two 30mm cannon and was capable of 438 mph. One was evaluated by the U.S. Army at the end of hostilities and was found to have remarkable maneuverability. Chris Banyai-Riepl previously reviewed this kit in an earlier issue so we need not go into a more detailed historical review. Thank goodness, as I just love to build these things!
The box is a typical MPM double open end with a colorful representation of a Ki-83 in flight. The contents are a bit better than earlier kits from this company in that there is very little in the way of flash, and the parts seem to have been molded in polished molds. The surface finish and fine parts are getting more akin to a major manufacturer. Alas, with the good we have the not-so-good. There are no added details such as resin bits or even the customary photo etched fret, these would have enhanced the model immensely. Decals are by Propagteam and are well printed; the canopy is also an improved injected version and is very clear.
First off, all mating surfaces are given a light flat sanding to insure proper contact points, one area in particular that needs more sanding are the wing trailing edges. This has always been the Achilles heel of low-pressure injection kits, so if you want thin edges, it's best to sand them.
The interior lacks a lot of detail the original three full scale planes had, and interior photos are a bit hard to find so I just placed what was given to me in place and hope no one looks too hard.
The engine nacelles have no engines, but then none can be seen through the opening, perhaps the most detailed part of the kit is the numerous air intakes and vents on the nacelles themselves. Well done propellers and spinners require no clean up and are painted reddish brown as found on most Japanese airscrews.
The wheel wells have details not found on earlier products and gear legs are also better in that when painted they look the part. There are no unusual problems with any part of the assemblies thus very little filler was used, in fact, the kit fell together.
More time was spent on finishing the kit than on the actual assembly, paint used was a combination of Mr. Color and Aeromaster.
The decals have two options, one a Japanese prototype and the other a captured model evaluated by the U.S. Army. Looking closely at the red hinomuras I could see a white disk printed under the red ink, but not covering the entire surface. This would probably create a dark red ring when placed on the dark green upper surface, not a good thing. I opted for the US markings, which had a bit of a registration shift, but otherwise looked good.
The canopy was dipped in Future, masked and painted to match, the aerial was then added and affixed to the cockpit opening with little fanfare.
This MPM version of the Ki-83 is a great representation; the only other available kit is the Wings72 vacuform. Between the two the MpM kit has a great deal more detail and well defined panel lines but the lack of resin or photo etched makes it a bit empty inside. Highly recommended for everyone with a hankering for the odd ball meatball aircraft.