The world of modelling seems to have been treated to a mini-age of spats with a plethora of recent kits of spatted Japanese aircraft such as Claude, Babs and now Sonia. Correspondent Dan Salamone has very kindly provided this write-up and in-box images of the recently released and impressive looking Wingsy Kits 1/48 Ki-51 kit:-
'I received my copy of the new Wingsy 1/48 Ki-51 this week, bought directly from the Ukraine. This is the second release of their Sonia, main difference being that you can model the landing gear with either the full spats, or with the spats removed. There are also more weapons options included with this version of the type.
This kit is world class, there isn't an ejector pin mark to be found. I am assuming this means that Wingsy used slide mold technology. Fine riveting is found on the airframe parts, and in my opinion this will look very realistic once the model is painted.
The box contains the sprues shown here with the clear parts including options for an open or closed canopy. There are also three different prop spinners and markings options for four different aircraft (Ed: 44th Hiko Sentai, China 1942 per box art; 83rd Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai, Borneo 1945; 74th Shimbu-tai, Japan 1945 and 6th Sekicho-tai, Philippines 1945). There is a small yet comprehensive photo etched fret, vinyl canopy masks, full color paint and markings sheet (double sided) providing Gunze color call outs, together with well printed and laid out instructions.
Due to the size of the cockpit opening, and the option of an open canopy, the beautiful detail of the component parts will be very easy to view and appreciate once completed. Highly recommended!'
With special thanks to Dan for kindly sharing this write-up and the images with Aviation of Japan.
Image credit: All photos © 2019 Dan Salamone; kit box art and contents © 2019 Wingsy Kits
Thanks for sharing, Dan & Nick.
Many thanks for this review Dan.
Detail apart, I wonder how this kit compares to the vintage Nichimo offering in terms of dimension and shape accuracy. I still have the Nichimo in my stash and am a bit reluctant to sacrifice it.
I also have a Nichimo but clearly the interiors there have to be made practically from scratch, this one at least looks furnished.
Nice to see that the colour page resemble the old Mania one for the 1/72!!
I have not compared the 2 kits side by side, nor to any line drawings, but when I look at online images of both kits after assembly, the Wingsy kit passes the "eye test", especially with the cowling. The other thing that I have noticed as far as looking at parts in their respective boxes is the much finer detail of the new kit, especially with the weapons. I don't plan on getting rid of my Nichimo kit, at the same time, this new kit has sprung to the top of my "to build" list.
Hello Nick, I'm curious about the depiction of the 44th Sentai example used on the box top, is there any real evidence for the white painted outer wing panels, or is this a speculative rendering?? Thanks!
A photograph of those 44th Hiko Sentai aircraft in flight was published in the Maru Mechanic # 35 of July 1982 and does evidence that the outer wings appear to be a very much lighter colour than the rest of the airframe. The colour schematic in the book by Shigeru Nohara depicts and describes them as being white.
A similar photograph appeared in the Koku Fan Illustrated # 42 of 1988 ('Japanese Imperial Army & Navy Aircraft Color, Marking') but there appears to be less contrast between the outer wings and airframe in that shot. Again a colour schematic depicted the outer wings as white.
The 1995 re-issue of the Hasegawa (ex-Mania) 1/72 Ki-51 with Aeromaster decals also depicted this unusual scheme.
One difference in the two kits is that if you're indeed building one, the Wingsy kit is the clear choice in every area, with the exception of simplicity of the build. That said, the Nichimo kit always looked great finished, and examples are still fairly easy to find and cheap, and will always be worth building. From three feet who's to tell the difference? :>) well maybe my wallet...
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