Mansyu Ki-98 by Meng

1/72 scale
Kit No. DS-002
Cost: $26.50
Decals: Three versions, all 1945: Imperial Japanese Army; Macnchukuo Air Force; and Royal Thai Air Force
Comments: Detailed exterior with engraved panel lines and recessed rivet detail; raised detail on cockpit instrument panels; one-piece canopy

History

In 1943 Mansyu (short for (Manshukoku Hikoki K.K., or Manchurian Aeroplane Manufacturing Company Ltd.) undertook the design of the Ki-98 single-seat ground attack aircraft. A twin boom design, it was to be powered by a 2,200 hp turbosupercharged Mitsubishi Ha-211 Ru radial engine mounted in the central nacelle behind the pilot’s seat, and driving a four-bladed propeller. Nose-mounted armament consisted of one 37mm and two 20mm cannon. The Ki-98 had a tricycle landing gear and the pilot boarded via a door in the nose landing gear bay.

In the Spring of 1944, in response to increasing American B-29 raids on the Japanese home islands, the Imperial Japanese Navy directed Mansyu to adapt the design as a high altitude fighter. This required a change in powerplant from the Mitsubishi Ha-211 Ru to the larger Mitsubishi Ha-211 Ill. The increased bulk of the new engine required the fuselage to be enlarged, and for the booms to be moved outward to accomodate the larger diameter propeller. Due to Allied bombing raids, construction of the new type was delayed until January 1945. When the Soviet Union invaded Manchuria in early August 1945, the one and only prototype was still under construction. The Japanese destroyed it along with all documentation and other materials to prevent its capture by Soviet forces.

Specifications

Wingspan: 36 ft. 11 5/16 in. (11.26 meters)
Length: 37 ft. 4 13/16 in. (11.4 meters)
Loaded weight: 9,921 lbs. (4500 kg)
Maximum speed: 454 mph @ 32, 810 ft. or 730 km/h at 10,000 meters
Service ceiling: 32,810 ft.
Range: 776 miles or 1249 kilometers

The Kit

The Ki-98 is molded in grey and consists of 48 injection molded parts. There are two main sprues, with a smaller clear plastic sprue for the canopy. The kit not only has engraved panel lines, but impressive recessed rivet detail, as well as nicely detailed air intake and exhaust vents for the radial engine in the central nacelle. There is a finely tapered four-bladed propeller and a separate spinner. The landing gear is pretty well detailed, good but not great, and the cockpit, particularly the main and side instrument panels, feature above average raised detail that can be accentuated with careful dry brushing. The wings feature good aileron and flap detail. Finally, there are separate parts for the 37mm and 20mm gun barrels which protrude from the nose of the aircraft.

Markings

The Ki-98 has markings for three aircraft: an Imperial Japanese Army aircraft in a scheme of Nakajima dark green over natural metal, which prominently features the red Hinomaru national insignia at the standard six points on the airframe; second is an aircraft of the Manchukuo Air Force, featuring the insignia of Manchukuo, the Japanese puppet state formed in the wake of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria (this consisted of a roundel consisting of a yellow half circle, with the other half divided between black, white, blue and red stripes); and third is an aircraft of the Royal Thai Air Force featuring a paint scheme of dark yellow with Nakajima dark green tiger stripes over Imperial Japanese Army grey-green (which in the colour plates looks a lot like neutral grey). The Thai aircraft features wing and tail insignia consisting of a charging white elephant, its trunk upraised, against a red flag. All versions feature orange-yellow de-icing boots on the leading edges of the wings, an orange-yellow spinner with brown propeller blades.

Conclusion

A reasonably well detailed but simply constructed kit of a secret Japanese pusher fighter of late WWII. Highly recommended.

References

  • Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by R. J. Francillon; Putnam & Company, Ltd. London; Copyright 1970
  • Japanese Secret Projects: Experimental Aircraft of the IJA and IJN 1939-1945 by Edwin M. Dyer; Ian Allen Publishing, Copyright 2009
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