Japan long realized the need for a long-range fighter, with its forces spread out all over the Eastern Pacific and Asia. The Mitsubishi Ki-83 was designed for this very role, with the first prototype being completed in October of 1944. While the plane was somewhat large, it exceeded all expectations when it came to performance. Powered by two 22oohp turbo-supercharged engines, the Ki-83 boasted a top speed of over 435mph, with a range of over 2100 miles and a service ceiling of over 41,000 ft. While the performance of the Ki-83 was very impressive, its armament was what made it a fighter, and fight it could. With two 30mm cannons and two 20mm cannons in the nose, the Ki-83 could easily knock both fighters and bombers out of the air with ease.
Fortunately for the Allied forces, bombing raids hampered flight tests, and engine vibration and tail flutter slowed development. The Second World War came to an end before the Ki-83 entered service, saving Allied pilots from having to fight against such a potent fighter.
The Mitsubishi Ki-83 isn't the most popular Japanese fighter of the Second World War, and as a result there aren't many kits of it out there. Before this kit hit the shelves there was no other injection-molded kit of the Ki-83. MPM's attempt to fill this void is a welcome one indeed, even more so by the quality of the kit.
The parts are molded in a light gray plastic with finely recessed panel lines throughout. There is some flash present, and some cleanup will be required, but if you've built short-run injection kits there won't be any surprises.
One surprise, though, was the complete lack of resin or etched brass in this kit. This kit is 100% injection-molded, including the canopy. This means the detailing in the cockpit isn't quite as good as it could be with a resin piece, but it is still quite adequate. The Ki-83 has a crew of two, the pilot up front and the radio crewman behind the wing. Both sections are included in the kit, although the rear section is only visible through two small side windows.
The engine nacelles are very close-fitting and streamlined, resulting in none of the engine being visible. The wheel wells are detailed, with stringers and bulkheads, while the landing gear could use a bit of sprucing up with extra bits such as brake lines. The wings and tailplanes have no locating tabs or holes of any sort, so it'll be up to you to make a strong join and keep the proper alignment of all the surfaces. Thankfully the tailplanes and wings are flat with no dihedral, so getting things lined up shouldn't be too hard.
The decals are nicely printed and give you a couple of choices. The first one is in Japanese markings and carries a white "1" on the tail, most likely signifying the first prototype. Finish is standard IJAAF colors of dark green uppers and light gray lowers, with yellow leading edges and red-brown spinners. The second choice is finished the same as the first, only instead of Japanese markings it carries US markings, after being captured by US forces.
This looks to be a fairly quick build, as there isn't much to the kit. Granted, not much will be seen in that small cockpit and there isn't much in the way of variety in color schemes. But if you put on your "what-if" glasses, this kit has lots of potential. Both the IJN and IJAAF were interested in the plane and had placed orders for production Ki-83s, so potential markings abound. Either way, this kit will be a pleasure to build.