RS Models 1/72 Ki-60 IJA Heavy Fighter

By Warren Dickinson

Overview

Before and during WWII Japanese aircraft design was centered almost exclusively around radial-engine power plants. The one notable exception during the war was the well known Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Swallow). During the inter-war period the Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo K.K. was the exception to the rule of radial-engine aircraft in promoting the use of liquid-cooled engines. In 1940 Kawasaki was given the green light by the Koku Hombu to design two aircraft around the DB 601A engine: the Ki-60, a heavy interceptor, and the Ki-61, a lighter all-purpose fighter. Design emphasis was to be on the Ki-60.

The Ki-60 was a product of the design team of Takeo Doi and Shin Owada. The aircraft was powered by a DB 601A engine, and was armed with two fuselage mounted 12.7 mm Ho-103 MG’s and two wing-mounted 20 mm Mauser MG 151 cannon. The first prototype was completed and flown in early 1941, but the test pilots did not like the high wing loading, high landing speed, and the top speed, which came in at 550 kmh/352 mph, well below Kawasaki’s calculated top speed. The second prototype had an increased wing area, a redesigned cowling, and was lightened. Even with these improvements, the top speed was still short of expectations, coming in at only 560 kmh/348 mph. The third, and last, prototype retained the larger wing of the second aircraft, and saw further redesign of the cowling, and change in armament in the wings from the MG 151’s to Ho-103 MG’s. Even with these improvements, the Ki-60 was judged to be too slow, and was dropped in favor of the lighter and faster Ki-61. The rest, as they say, is history

The Kit

RS Models kit of the Ki-60 Heavy Fighter comes in the familiar end opening box, with box art depicting a Ki-60 maneuvering against a B-25. The back of the box is used a painting and decal placement guide with color call outs for Agama and Gunze Sangyo paints. Contained therein are thirty-one nicely molded, light tan pieces on one injection-molded sprue. The injection-molded pieces comprise the usual suspects of major parts (wings, fuselage, seat, wheels, etc.) and exhibit very nicely done recessed panel lines. The mold gates are reasonably small considering the limited run nature of this kit. (It would seem that many of the Eastern manufacturers have been noted for using smaller mold gates of late.) There is some flash, but nothing that a quick swipe with sandpaper won’t take care of. There is one noticeable “blob” of plastic in the leading edge of the port lower wing, but this can be easily taken care of with sandpaper and modeling skills. The horizontal tail surfaces have been molded with very petite tabs with corresponding slots in the fuselage halves. Care will have to be exercised in cutting these from the sprue in order not eliminate them. The plastic is rounded out by a nicely molded, although relatively thick, canopy. This will please those who like limited run kits, but do not like working with vac-formed canopies.

Correspondence with various scribes and sages has revealed that the plastic in the kit (the same plastic is in both releases) represents the first prototype, and that if one wishes to build the second or third prototypes, surgery will be involved. The prop, however, is the shorter one utilized in the second and third prototypes. Not many photos exist of the Ki-60, and the individual modeler will have to decided if it is worth his time to alter the wings or the prop depending on what aircraft one wishes to model.

There are two sheets of very nice pre-colored/painted photo-etch by Eduard. These parts provide the now familiar instrument panel sandwich, seatbelts, oleo scissors, landing-gear door actuators, etc. Cable controls for the ailerons are provided, but do not show up in the photos of the prototype. The modeler is not given a choice between p/e and plastic on some pieces, and for some this may be a down side as some modelers do not like working in p/e. If the latter is the case, some scratch-building in plastic will be in order.

The decals are very nicely printed, and appear in good register. The painting and decal placement guide is on the back of the kit box, with Agama and Gunze Sangyo paint call outs. The painting guide shows two fictional schemes for Ki-60’s stationed in Japan in 1944. The other boxing of this kit contains decals for the first prototype and another fictional scheme. As I am led to understand it, both boxings of this kit are virtually the same except for the decals. Unless the modeler enjoys fictional schemes, he is left with reproducing one of the three prototypes as the Ki-60 never saw combat.

Conclusion

RS Models is to be commended for providing WWII Japanese aircraft fans with an injection-molded kit that will fill a gap in any 1/72nd scale IJAAF collection. The kit is nicely molded, comes with great photo-etch, and beautifully printed decals. Thanks to RS Models for the review sample. This is one kit that will look great next to a Fine Molds Ki-61!

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