Following on neatly from recent A5M Claude features Richard Tool has kindly shared these images of its Dad, the Mitsubishi Ka-14 prototype, in the form of his build of the 1/48 scale Fine Molds kit. This previously obscure prototype aircraft became more widely known as a result of the 2013 Studio Ghibli animated film 'The Wind Rises' by Hayao Miyazaki which dramatised the early life of the Mitsubishi designer Jiro Hirokoshi. Without this film it is unlikely we would have seen a mainstream kit of this prototype aircraft.
Richard built the model straight out of the box with the exception of thinning the trailing edges and adding Eduard IJN lap belts. The cockpit, cowl ring, engine, reduction gear housing, wing tips and tail were painted in custom mixes of Tamiya paints. The main landing gear fairings were painted with Vallejo MetalColor acrylics whilst the rest of the airframe was covered with Bare Metal Foil Matte Aluminum to produce a fine looking model in appropriately seasonal colours of red and silver. A full build report can be found at the Aeroscale website here.
Fine Molds also released a 1/72 scale version of the kit but available only as a special issue with the January 2014 edition of Model Graphix magazine. In 2013 Shingishenka published a modelling guide to the A5M series "Mitsubishi A5M/Mitsubishi Ka-14 Plastic Model to Begin from the Beginning" which included an article on the Ka-14 with a 1/32 scale conversion feature based on the Special Hobby kit. This book includes serviceable 1/72 scale drawings of all variants and although the text is in Japanese it is worth obtaining for anyone planning an A5M family build and still available. Some confusion has arisen over the colour of the Ka-14 as a result of Studio Ghibli's depiction of the aircraft - and as shown in the Fine Molds box art - which looks white, suggesting a light grey paint, whereas the original was plain aluminium.
Ka-14 was actually the Mitsubishi company designation for the experimental aircraft to be produced in response to the February 1934 Imperial Japanese Navy invitation to design a 9-Shi single-seat fighter to a specification drafted by Lt Cdr Hideo Sawai of the Naval Air Headquarters Department of Engineering. The aircraft was completed within a year and began tests at Kagamigahara in February 1935, proving the cantilever wing in a fighter aeroplane suitable for the Navy. The design impressed although development and four additional prototype builds incorporated a succession of power plants in attempts to overcome various engine issues whilst the cranked wing was modified to a straight centre section from the second prototype.
With special thanks to Richard for sharing these images of his splendid "Claude's Father" model and providing details of the build.
Image credit: Model and box photos © 2016 Richard Tool; Box design © 2015 Fine Molds & Studio Ghibli