by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The Kikka was all about simplicity; the airframe was mostly metal with a fixed undercarriage, which was jettisoned after take-off. It carried a bomb in a recess under the fuselage and later aircraft were to be fitted with rocket boosters, to increase the speed of their final dive.
In kit form...Eduard's Ki-115 is moulded in their distinctive tan-coloured plastic and it's obvious they have left their short-run past behind them - this is a high-pressure injection moulded kit, with detail and finish on a par with any of the major manufacturers.
The parts are very crisply moulded, with fine engraved panel lines, neatly done recessed rivets and some slightly raised panels. The cockpit detail is good and internal structure is moulded inside the fuselage halves, with ejector-pin marks well out of harm's way.
The engine is nicely detailed - the cylinders are admitedly a little heavy but, with separate push rods, it should look quite "busy" when assembled. The jettisonable undercarriage is well depicted and the recess for the bomb looks very neat, with a choice of 500 and 800kg bombs provided.
Pictures of a built model on the Eduard website showed a rather bad wing/fuselage joint. Test-fitting confirms the problem; as supplied, the wing sits too far forward and the panel detail at the trailing edge doesn't line up at all. Sanding soon sorts that out, but there is also a nasty gap under the nose.
Apart from this, the fit of other parts seems excellent. Wing trailing edges are a bit thick, but it will only take a minute to sand them down.
Detail PartsThe canopy is well moulded and a set of Express Masks is supplied.
A small set of very good etched pre-painted harnesses is provided, with two pairs of lap-belts so, presumably, one set is spare.
Painting & DecalsThe instructions are clearly drawn and easy to follow. Gunze paints are recommended, but equivalents are given (where possible) for Tamiya, Humbrol, Revell and Testors paints.
A separate sheet shows the paint schemes in colour, and decals are included for 3 aircraft; 2 in natural metal and 1 camouflaged. The decals are very thin, with almost no carrier film, but some of the printing is slightly off-register and dust has been trapped under the ink. The red used for the Hinomarus looks very bright compared with most references and slightly ragged in places. This might be something Eduard are aware of, because kits bought directly from their website include a "bonus" set of Express Masks for the Hinomarus.
ConclusionOverall, this is a neat kit and Eduard have provided a comprehensive package, only marred by the poor wing/fuselage fit. A Profi-Pack version is also available with a second etched-sheet, which includes engine wiring, a new instrument panel and a number of other items.
The Ki-115 is not exactly a mainstream subject, so it's slightly surprising that Eduard have chosen to produce it, rather than leaving it for short-run manufacturers. I hope healthy sales justify their decision.