This beautiful 1/72nd scale model of the Nakajima Ki-27 with unusual personal emblem was built from the ICM kit with a little extra work by Marian Holly. The model is painted with GSI Creos (Gunze Sangyo) Mr Color 128 JAAF Grey-green straight from the bottle with all markings masked and airbrushed except the "shouting head" personal emblem which is from the Empire City Decala set ECD7209 'Fighters Over China'.
Marian observes that the kit has beautiful surface detail such as rivets, control surface ribbing, overlapping panels, etc., but feels that the design and engineering is overly ambitious with much of this nice detail being lost in the inevitable filling and sanding process. The fit of the major components such as fuselage and wing is good but to model the aircraft in clean configuration gaps in multiple part assemblies such as the cowling panels have to be rectified.
The positive aspects of the kit are the detailed cockpit, a fairly thin three-piece canopy and the landing gear attachment fairings being moulded integrally to the wings - a useful feature as it is difficult to eliminate seams in this area on the older Mania/Hasegawa kit.
On the negative side, in addition to the over engineering issue, the highly detailed engine, intended to be displayed with open panels, unfortunately does not match the Gakken or Maru Mechanic drawings. The ailerons and rudder are also separate parts, a feature which Marian personally dislikes. The landing gear assembly and tail skid are also complicated by following the actual design of the real aircraft which is not builder-friendly in this small scale.
The kit decals with options for four different aircraft are matt finish and inflexible with incorrect colours, especially the Hinomaru red. This seems to be a problem with most ICM decal sheets. In general, unless this kit can be found for a bargain price, Marian still prefers the Mania/Hasegawa kit.
The scheme selected by Marian is for a presentation Ki-27 Otsu #292 of the 2nd Chutai of the 11th Sentai thought to have been flown by the Chutai commander Captain Koji Motomura during the Nomonhan incident on the Manchurian-Mongolian border. Captain Motomura claimed 14 victories in the Nomonhan fighting by the time of his death and was one of the 20 highest scoring Ki-27 aces (those with victories wholly claimed in this aircraft). The identification of this aircraft is based on Russian photographs of a crashed Ki-27 supposedly taken on 22nd August 1939 but there is some doubt about the date of the crash and therefore the identity of the pilot.
Image credits: All © 2013 Marian Holly