The Nakajima Kikka was to be Japan's first jet fighter, and while it did enter production, only one was finished before the war ended (although several, including the surviving example at NASM, were close to being completed). The one completed airframe made its first flight on August 7, 1945 and the initial impressions were favorable. A second flight was scheduled, this time with RATO bottles under the fuselage. Scheduled for August 10, it was postponed a day due to USN fighter activity in the area. The second flight proved to be a disaster, though, with the RATO bottles lifting the nose up and causing the tail to drag on the ground. When they cut out, the nose slammed down to the ground and the aircraft decelerated, causing the pilot to abort the takeoff. The lightweight brakes couldn't stop the plane quick enough, though, and it slid off the end of the runway, with the landing gear breaking off in a drainage ditch at the end. Since the Japanese surrendered the day before, this was to be the last "flight" of the Kikka, and since Allied jet technology was much more advanced, interest by the Occupational Forces was minimal.
MPM's Kikka was a decent kit when it first came out, although it wasn't a weekend build. This new upgraded release adds a very nice resin cockpit and other details including engine pieces and a nose wheel well. I'm not sure if the original release had an injection canopy or not, but in this release it's injection-molded and is thin and clear. The rest of the kit is molded in typical MPM gray plastic, and since this is an earlier kit there is more cleanup required than some of their current releases. The most noticable area is around the cockpit opening, but for the most part the kit is flash-free.
The cockpit is the main area of upgrade in this kit and the resin tub is very nicely done. You get separate sidewalls, a one-piece tub and a seat. The original kit provides the etched metal instrument panel and rudder pedals, as well as the control stick. The cockpit opening is somewhat tight so not much will be seen when it's all done, but it will really look sharp. With the wing opening in the bottom of the fuselage, you could glue the fuselage together and fit the finished cockpit tub in after you're finished sanding the seams, protecting your hard work on the interior.
The wing is molded as one piece, so you don't have to worry about dihedral or aligning upper and lower halves. You'll probably want to run some sandpaper along the trailing edge, though, to thin it down some. The engine nacelles are provided in right and left halves, with new resin inserts for the intake and tailpipe. The resin parts are much better than the kit parts and will do a great job of sprucing up this area. You'llbe able to fit the rear piece in after the nacelle is together, but you'll have to fit the front piece in beforehand.
The rest of the kit is no different than the first release, which means you might want to think about replacing the gear doors with some thinner card stock, and possibly the landing gear with brass tubing. Still, out of the box you should end up with a decent model. The decals are pretty basic, providing hinomarus in a couple different styles and a pair of numbers for the tail.
If you want to put a Kikka on your shelf, this will be the kit to get. While it may take a bit of work to clean up, the added resin details really give this kit some extra punch and you'll end up with a nice example of Japan's first jet fighter.