With special thanks to Dan Salamone and Chad Akins for their kind heads up about the forthcoming Wingsy 1/48 scale Mitsubishi Ki-51 Sonia, announced for January 2019 release. Sample sprue shots are shown below and pre-production CAD renders can be viewed here.
Splendid box art by Sergey Zoshchenko depicts a 1st Chutai Ki-51 of Hiko Dai 27 Sentai with a very small pilot and an unusually complex camouflage scheme coming under fire from an AVG P-40. This light bomber unit gradually converted to the Ki-51 from the Ki-32 in March 1941 and was active in the assault on Malaya, the Dutch East Indies and Burma. The unit insignia on the fin and rudder combined the Japanese 'ni' (二) for '2' in black with '7', the diagonal bar being painted in the Chutai colour. In addition to the tail insignia the 1st Chutai applied the representation of a swallow to the fuselage side, whilst the 2nd Chutai applied a stylised representation of the 'matoi' (纏), a battle standard or fireman's standard from the Edo period (as shown below), consisting of variously shaped heads, often with characters painted on them, and hanging strips.
The price is not revealed but Hannants have the Wingsy A5M kits at £36.99 (about US$47) so start saving or be prepared to wait for your Christmas present. The new Wingsy kit should eclipse the veteran and long-cherished Nichimo kit of currently uncertain availability. Japanese birds with spats seem to be the currently favoured flavour so let's hope someone, somewhere, is planning a 1/48 Ki-36/55 (but please let it not be a well known purveyor of limited run vinyl).