Fine Molds 1/48 C5M2 'Babs'
|KIT #:||FB 24|
|PRICE:||3240 yen plus shipping|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Mitsubishi Ki-15 (九七式司令部偵察機 Kyunana-shiki sireibu teisatsuki) was a Japanese reconnaissance aircraft and a light attack bomber of the Second Sino-Japanese War and Pacific War. It began as a fast civilian mail plane. It was a single-engine, low-wing, cantilever monoplane with a fixed tailwheel undercarriage; it carried a crew of two. It served with both the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy (as the C5M). During World War II it was nicknamed "Babs" by the Allies.
The Japanese Navy, impressed by the performance of this aircraft, ordered 20 examples of the Ki-15-II under the designation “Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Plane Model 1," or Mitsubishi designation C5M1, even before the Army. The Navy subsequently acquired 30 C5M2 aircraft which had an even more powerful 708 kW (949 hp) Nakajima Sakae 12 engine. They were used for reconnaissance duties.
First thing I did was to check over the parts to see what was where. I ran into two issues with the H sprue. One was that the roll bar piece had broken in half and only half of the bar was there. The other half was not in the kit bag. The other is that one of the two small caps for the landing gear was gone from the sprue. It was also not in the bag. It was good to find out this before opening the holes for the roll bar. For the other I eventually just cut a section of sprue the right diameter for the hole and installed that.
One starts with the cockpit. This is considerably more involved than that of the recent Claude build. I glued together as many of the pieces that would be the same color before painting those parts and the inside of the fuselage with AK Interactive Mitsubishi interior green. This paint is rather thin and so required a couple of coats. A pair of small holes for the camera mount need to be opened in the aft compartment floor. There are decals for the instrument panel, but none for the radio. I found that getting the side framework pieces properly aligned with the three bulkheads provided for the interior to be quite a chore. Even with clamping, things just did not want to line up. Fortunately this is flexible enough that attaching this assembly to the fuselage and then closing the halves was enough to force things to straighten out. Fine molds has quite large attachment areas for the interior and a few other parts, which really helped. Before closing the fuselage there are a few holes and slots that need opened.
I found the fuselage halves to fit fairly well, but not as well as with the Claude. A bit more work with filler was needed on the join. While that was being attended to in terms of sanding, I assembled the upper and lower wing halves after opening the holes for the drop tank. I did not build up the machine gun at this time, preferring to wait until just before attaching the canopy section. I did, however, attach the rudder and the nice interlocking tailplanes. When that was done, the wings were attached. Again, a good fit though the lower rear wing/fuselage join needed some filler; probably due to my excessive sanding on the fuselage.
The engine also did not quite go together as smoothly as before. In particular, the intake and exhaust assembly did not seem to fit into the depressions in the cylinders very well. It turns out that I royally hosed the assembly of the engine. Not sure what I screwed up, but in the end, I cut off all the little pipes that led to the engine and superglued the exhaust in place. Whatever I did also meant that the keyway didn't match the firewall so that was opened up and the engine glued in place at the proper angle.
I then started the somewhat laborious job of masking the greenhouse. With that done, I attached it to the fuselage (after painting the areas under it black and installing the rear machine gun) using a really fine clear cement that Kevin Dolin recommended. I can read nothing on the label, so cannot even recommend it! The lower and side observation windows were also masked and installed at this time. The main gear legs were attached and the front of the engine masked in preparation for painting.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
Well, this one did not go as smoothly as the Claude and I'm going to blame me for any fit issues. It is more complex and so requires some more attention to be paid. However, the end result, as pretty much every modeler would agree with the end of their project, is well worth the time spent reaching that goal. Fine Molds will undoubtedly be releasing the C5M1 as the only difference is the engine as well as later boxings of this kit. If these sorts of aircraft are things you like, I can recommend getting one.
17 August 2018
Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved.
Purchased by me.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page Back to the Review Index Page Back to the Previews Index Page