A second model of my short “Japanese period” 🙃 is the Mitsubishi Ka-14, a prototype of the famous A5M Claude, a predecessor to the even more famous A6M Zero. In its first flight in February 1935, the Ka-14 was able to reach a speed of 450 km/h, exceeding the 1934 Imperial Navy specifications by a full hundred.
Its most distinctive visual feature is the “Stuka meets Spitfire” inverted gull wing with beautiful elliptical wingtips (however, the inverted gull shape was abandoned in the production version of the A5M), and in the case of this particular prototype version, the interesting modified engine cowling.
The same as the Ki-43 Oscar, I got this kit as a gift (thanks again, Rob!). It has a beautiful boxart, as you can see above. The parts are crisp and the build was relatively simple and straightforward. My only criticism is a bit fiddly and overcomplicated cockpit (FineMolds went from extreme to extreme here, as Oscar’s cockpit was very plain), and a poor fit of the cowling. There is a front ring with teardrop fairings and a rear ring with corresponding cutouts – and there is a slight step between the rings and gaps everywhere around the fairings. Filling and sanding them was tedious and took more time than the rest of the build combined.
Everything is out-of-the-box, except for the exhausts, which I replaced with Albion Alloys brass tubes (in the kit, there are just solid plastic sticks 😐).
The Wind Rises, a beautiful animated historical drama about Jiro Horikoshi, the chief designer of both the A5M and the A6M. By the way, in the movie, you can only see the first version of the prototype, with a simple, smooth cowling ring. As far as I know, FineMolds also makes this variant, therefore, you might choose it to avoid the filling and sanding mentioned above.
The movie is interspersed with surreal, dream sequences, where Horikoshi holds philosophical conversations with Italian designer Gianni Caproni, and some of Caproni’s creations are also shown.
Therefore the movie is surprisingly very interesting also for avid fans of Italian aircraft (like me :-)). The question is whether Caproni was such a source of inspiration for the real Horikoshi, or rather for the movie director, Hayao Miyazaki, who even named his movie studio after the Caproni Ghibli airplane.🙂
Enough rambling, back to the model.😊 As for the paintjob, I used Tamiya acrylics, except for Gunze SM01 for the silver propeller blades. All the insignia is sprayed through masks.
There is some discussion going on about whether the prototype was pale grey-green or silver. Based on the few available photos of the version with the modified cowling, I went for the first option, using Tamiya XF-76 heavily mixed with white.
In a hindsight, I probably should have replaced the position lights with translucent plastic instead of just painting them. I was lazy.
Well, anyway, here is the finished model, ready for your comments and criticism. Enjoy.