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Ki-61 (Rob)

MPM 1/72 Ki-61 (Rob) Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review May 2009 Manufacturer MPM
Subject Kawasaki Ki-61 (Rob) Scale 1/72
Kit Number 72119 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Neat Japanese prototypal aircraft Cons Some crude molding, typical of of “short run” kits of this type
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Ki-61 (Rob)
Ki-61 (Rob)

The Ki-64 experimental heavy fighter was one of the most advanced and unorthodox warplanes developed by the Japanese aircraft industry during the war years.

Takeo Doi, co-operating with his colleagues of the Akashi Engine Plant, decided to use the 2,350 hp Kawasaki Ha-201, which actually comprised two Ha-40 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engines mounted in tandem fore and aft of the cockpit and drove two contra-rotating three-bladed propellers.

The forward propeller, driven by the rear engine, was of the controllable-pitch type and the rear propeller, driven by the front engine, was of fixed pitch. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the powerplant was the steam vapor cooling system which utilized the wing and aileron surfaces for cooling area. The coolant used was water.

Starting in December 1941, only 5 test flights were made, as during the fifth flight a fire developed in the rear engine, necessitating an emergency landing.

The engine was sent to Akashi for repair and the airframe to Gifu. The engine repair was not completed and the airframe was captured at the end of the war and elements of the cooling system were sent to Wright Field for evaluation.

MPM is a model company based in Prague, Czech Republic.

This kit comes in an end-opening type box. The box art shows a Ki-64 sitting just outside of a hangar door with some ground crew around it. It is bare metal overall, with a yellow rudder and propeller spinner is dark brown. There is a red lightning flash painted down the sides of the fuselage. The Japanese red national insignia are in the six normal positions: rear fuselage sides, above and below the wings. There is a black anti-blare panel in front of the windscreen. The prop blades are bare metal on their fronts and and maroon behind. This marking is on the decal sheet.

On the side panels of the box are listings of vacuformed kits and short run injection molded kits that MPM manufactured.

Inside the box is a single light gray parts tree and the loose light gray lower wings part (which is full span). These are both in a sealed cello bag. A second sealed cello bag holds the decal sheet and a vacuformed canopy part.

The parts tree holds: the fuselage halves, upper wing halves, horizontal tail surfaces, propellers and their backing plates, landing gear parts, wheel well doors, exhaust pipes, air intakes, cockpit floor, pilot seat, joystick, dashboard etc. (30 parts)

The instructions complete the kits contents. These consist of a single sheet, folded in the center to create 4 pages in 8 ¼” x 11 ½” format.

Page 1 begins with a line drawing of the Ki-64 in profile. No markings appear on this illustration. It is followed by the history of the Ki-64 in Czech, English and German.

Page 2 has a 3-view illustration in 1/72nd scale as a line drawing, again with no markings shown.

Page 3 begins with parts tree illustrations and a illustration of the excess material being removed from the vacuformed canopy with a scissors. Below this is a exploded drawing to use for assembly of the model. It is very BUSY, so care should be taken to get things right using it.

Page 4 shows 2 schemes for the Ki-67 prototype. They are identical in all features except the fuselage lightning bolt is not on one of the 2-views. The cabin interior color is called out as being olive green. The propeller blades have a red stripe around them near their tips.

This kit is one of MPM’s early efforts and is a “Short Run” kit. Because of that it suffers some problems. The lightly engraved detailing will most likely disappear under sanding and putty and have to be re-engraved. It has rather thick sprue gates and flash appears on most of the parts, with some ejector rods on some parts too. The wheels and struts are poorly detailed and the cockpit interior is sparsely detailed. However the Propagteam decal sheet is good.

This is a kit that has not been done by anyone else and needs some love and extra care to make it into a neat prototypal aircraft. Recommended to modelers that care to do some extra work and detailing. The control surfaces are molded solid and will take surgery to re-position.