Mansyu Ki-98 Ground Attack Fighter
Meng Models has released yet another great kit. Having built four of their kits now, I cannot say enough good things about them. One of their latest offerings is this great Mansyu Ki-98 Ground Attack fighter. Similar to their first aircraft release, the Katsuodori, the Ki-98 is another Japanese WWII prototype. This one, however, never made it past the wood mock up.
The Ki-98 was a Japanese prototype high-altitude ground attack fighter. The design has been rumored to be based on a cross between the Shinden fighter and the American P-38 Lightning. The twin-boom, single-seat fighter used a rear-mounted pusher engine, allowing the nose to house two 20mm cannons and a 37mm cannon. The prototype was destroyed prior to Japan’s surrender to Allied forces.
Meng’s offering of the Ki-98 is a beautiful kit. To start with, as with their previous offering, the box art of this kit is nicely done and can be cut out for framing. Inside the box, the kit comes on two light grey sprues and one clear sprue. The moldings are very clean and crisp. The parts feature fine details, with few, if any, mold defects. It should be noted that some of the parts, such as the landing gear, are very delicate and should be left off until the very end. The instructions are very easy to follow, with clear diagrams and a very nice color paint guide. The kit offers three color schemes to choose from, and decals are well done.
The kit goes together quite well. The cockpit is rather sparse, but with almost no available references for the prototype, it can safely be assumed that it did not have a very advanced cockpit. The construction required very little filler. I ended up only using some Mr. Surfacer to fill a few areas here and there, including the nose panel. Meng has designed the nose to include a panel on the top for the gun bay. This serves two functions that I noticed. First, it eliminates the seam between the fuselage halves that would have run through the panel, which should be one piece, and it also allows the modeler to add nose weight to maintain all three wheels on the ground.
The kit has three schemes to choose from. The first is a standard Japanese aircraft scheme of Olive drab over metal. The second is an all-metal variant. The third, and possibly most complex, is a green and tan tiger-stripe version. Since only the prototype ever existed, I opted for the standard scheme. I started with the white stripes done in Gunze Sangyo Gloss White. Once dry and masked, I laid down the metal base using Floquil Old Silver. It was followed by a coat of Future to protect the shine. After it was dry and masked [and it was not an easy mask], the OD was sprayed on using Gunze’s RLM Violet Brown [which is actually a very nice WWII OD green]. Last were the yellow accents which were masked and sprayed with Gunze’s Insignia Yellow. Since the decals are only on the gloss white and silver areas, I was able to unmask the entire model and touch up any areas that needed it. The decals are very thin and went on well; however, I did note that they were not very responsive to Micro-Sol, and I ended up using some Solvaset. With the gear bays painted in Model Master Japanese Interior blue, the gear was added. When you put the nose strut in, I recommend putting the plane on its gear and then using braces on either side of the nose [a couple of pop cans worked fine] to allow the glue to set up with the model on its gear. I found this gave a slightly stronger setup, since the plane is still rather wobbly on the thin struts. The gun barrels were added and the prop was painted with some Tamiya red brown and added to the plane. I opted not to weather the model, since it was just a prototype. (That, and I am not 100% sure where the exhaust actually is).
Overall, I am very pleased with this kit. It was a joy to build, and it looks great in the case alongside the Katsuodori fighters. From what I’ve experienced with Meng’s first two aircraft kits, I highly recommend them both. My compliments and thanks to Meng for such a great kit and subject matter. My thanks also to Stevens International for the review sample and to IPMS for allowing me to review it.