Fine Molds 1/48
Kawasaki Type 95, Ki-10-II

By Jim Schubert

History

In the early '30s the Koku Hombu (Air Ministry), realizing the Japanese Army’s fighters were not up to current world standards, asked both Kawasaki and Nakajima to design contemporary planes. Kawasaki was instructed to develop their KDA-5, Type 92 biplane to bring it up to, at least, match the performance of Hawker’s Fury. Nakajima were tasked to design a monoplane to replace their NC, Type 91 parasol-wing fighter (see http://internetmodeler.com/2007/may/first-looks/AZ_Nak.php for the history of this type.).

Kawasaki’s chief Engineer, Takeo Doi, led the work on the Type 95, Kitai-10 (Ki-10). The first Ki-10 prototype flew in March 1935; about a year after design work was started. The maneuverability of the new plane was outstanding but the speed was disappointing. After much tweaking of the design Doi and his team got the speed up to the point it was acceptable to the Army but still almost 50 MPH slower than Nakajima’s Ki-27 (Nate) monoplane. A total of 304 Ki-10-Is were built between spring 1935 and winter 1937. An improved Ki-10-II was introduced in mid 1937 and continued through the building of 284 planes until late in 1938. The Ki-10-I and –II saw active service with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in Japan, Formosa, Korea, Manchuko, Manchuria and China; none were exported. By late 1941 the Ki-10s had all been assigned to training, liaison and other lesser duties and were no longer in front line service. USAAF Intelligence assigned the identification code name “Perry” to the type on the assumption it was still in active service and might be encountered by Allied pilots.

The Kit

The kit is packed in a stout enough lidded box with a beautiful rendering of Captain Tateo Kato’s Ki-10-II in China in March 1938 engaging a Nationalist Chinese Polikarpov I-152. Two slightly different sets of markings for Kato’s Ki-10, one with and one without wheel pants are included in the kit on two small sheets.

Three sprue trees contain 88 parts finely injection molded in medium gray styrene. Another tree, in orange styrene, includes 32 parts for a mini-scene of a pilot with a camera watching a mechanic working on two machine guns laid out on a table. A clear sprue tree contains two bottles for the mini-scene and the plane’s windscreen. Two black poly vinyl propeller retainer collars are also included. I traded for this kit and it included Fine Molds’ optional PE set, which is sold separately. Considering its price and content, I would not buy this PE set.

Engineering of the kit is conventional but Fine Molds has provided largish sockets for all the struts to simplify installation of the landing gear and the top wing. This is a laudable step in the direction of making biplanes easier to assemble. There are slight, but noticeable, sink marks in the fuselage opposite the internal structure detail and in the top of the top wing opposite the seats for the interplane struts. The sink marks atop the wing will be quite easy to fill and file; those in the fuselage will not be so easy to deal with because of the scribed surface detail in the area.

The overall color of JAAF planes at this time was a pale grey-green. I use RLM-02 lightened with quite a bit of white. Capt. Kato’s markings are shown in yellow in the box top rendering but are provided in orange on the decal sheet. The color references cited below agree on them being yellow. I have no idea which is correct; take your pick. I’ll use the orange because I’m lazy.

Conclusion

This is a beautiful kit in the usual Fine Molds fashion of a very attractive classic biplane fighter. The kit is let down a bit by the sink marks. As noted I traded for my kit but Emil Minerich has it at his Skyway Model Shop in Seattle for $38.95 and the optional PE set for $14.95.

References

  • Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War: Rene J. Francillon, Putnam, UK, 1970, ISBN 370-00033-1.

  • Japanese Army Air Force Aircraft – Special Issue: Koku-Fan, December 1969, Tokyo.

  • Japanese Aircraft Colours & Markings in the Pacific War and Before: Ian K. Baker, self published, Australia, 1992, ISBN 0-646-10618-X.

  • Aviation History Colouring Books Nos. 38, 39, 40, 41and 42: Ian K. Baker, self published, Australia, 1999 & 2000, SSN 1322-0217.

  • Japanese Army Air Force Camouflage and Markings – World War II: Donald W. Thorpe, Aero Publishers, USA, 1968, Library of Congress # 68-54880.

  • Aireview 1/32 Scale Detail Drawings, No. 330, March 1974.

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