by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Mania (Now Hasegawa)Type 99 Light Bomber
Kits 03-600 and 06-800
ManiaI first discovered Mania kits when their first two models, Ki-15 Babs, were reviewed in the Squadron/Signal Publications' Summer 1973 the Squadron, Volume 3 No. 3 catalog. Squadron gushed praise upon the company borne of a group of modelers maniacally dedicated to state of the art plastic models of Imperial Japanese aircraft overlooked by the big model companies. The 1/72 models are:
• Mitsubishi C5M1 Ki-15 I Babs
• Mitsubishi Ki-15-1 Kamikaze
• Mitsubishi Type 99 Ki-53 Sonia
• Nakajima B5N1 Kate
• Nakajima B5N2 Kate
• Nakajima Ki-27 Type 97 Nate
• Kawasaki Ki-48 Lily
Those models, and the Mania 1/48 Nakajima Ki-27, are now marketed by Hasegawa. Please go to the link Click here for additional images for this review below to see the 1/48 Ki-27.
When released in 1973 Mania kits were superb. Their hallmarks were tight fit, highly detailed, fine recessed panel lines and surface detail, thin trailing edges, good--for then--clear parts, and a huge selection of decals. The 1/72 Nate had decals for 20 different aircraft! When Hasegawa bought the tooling the model giant found little to improve upon. Indeed, these kits have stood the test of time.
Kawasaki Ki-48 Type 99 Light BomberAs Imperial Japan ravaged China in the 1930’s, the Soviet Union came to China’s aid. Fast Soviet Tupolev SB bombers proved a nasty shock to the Japanese, whose fighter pilots were frequently unable to intercept the swift SB. In 1937 the Japanese Army issued specifications for their own modern fast light bomber. The result was the advanced Type 99, Kawasaki’s Ki-48. Resembling the Handley Page Hampden, the Kawasaki was an all-metal airframe—except for the control surfaces-- with stressed skin, and crewed by three: pilot, bombardier/nose gunner, and radioman/rear gunner. The latter defended the upper rear from an open greenhouse, and the bottom from an opening trapdoor. Defensive weapons were three 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine guns.
At 298mph the bomber was fast, maneuverable, carried a useful bomb load, and could operate anywhere the Japanese needed it. Soon Ki-48s bore the brunt of Japanese Army bombing missions, operating with near immunity against the ineffective Chinese air forces.
When Japan started warfare against America, the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, Ki-48s blasted the Allies almost everywhere. Christened Lily by Allied intelligence, Type 99’s made it as far south as New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Lilys were the offensive force of the only Imperial Japanese Army air raids against Guadalcanal and Tulagi. By then the guild was off the Lily. Though fast, Kawasaki’s bomber was not fast enough to avoid Allied fighters. Nor was her trio of rifle-caliber machine guns enough to keep them at bay. She could not survive American .50 caliber fire. If she did reach her target, her paltry 400kg of bombs could rarely inflict significant damage.
Despite adding more powerful engines, an extra gun, and some armor, the 314mph Ki-48-II was obsolescent. Lily was lengthened, modified to dive-bomb, and also carried a Kawasaki I-Goh air-to-surface guided missile. She finished the war in massed Kamikaze attacks. Less than 2,000 Lilys of eight variants were built. After the war China operated Ki-48s as long as they could maintain them.
The ModelI will describe the original model and compare it to Hasegawa’s re-release. Aeroscale member Siderius has the Hasegawa release and I compared the two. Yes, they are the exact same model. Yes, Hasegawa did modify the molds, only by adding locator pins and receptacles. Aside from other decals this is the only change that I found. Hasegawa did release a Lily with the I-Goh guided glide bomb but to what extent they modified the original model, I cannot say. Hopefully they engineered and provided the larger and more powerful engines of the Ki-48-II but I doubt they retooled the fuselage to the correct longer length.
Mania molded the model with 78 light gray styrene parts and 7 clear parts. Their molding is high quality. There is no flash, no ejector or mold marks in obvious areas, and minor seam lines. The exterior surface is very smooth. Very fine recessed panel lines details the exterior. The control surfaces mimic a fine fabric pattern. The clear parts are thick, not very clear, and have crisp raised detail for the frames. Lots of framing—lots of masking.
You can see in the photos just how well the wing halves and wing-to-fuselage fit, even without locator pins. Decades ago I built this model twice. I still have one of them; remarkably the fit was very good. Without locating pins, you’ll need finesse to align and mate the parts while bonding them.
DetailsMania put a lot inside for the time. While they did not bother molding ribs and stringers and longerons, the crew compartments feature some raised detail such as consoles and ammunition magazines. Mania went a step further and created separate consoles for the areas, seats, oxygen bottles, and what appears to be a fuel reservoir. All told there are 22 parts to the interior, including machine guns. The detail of the machine guns is basic. The belly position can be built open or closed.
There is no detail inside the landing gear wells. The gear legs are nicely detailed.
Your model Nakajima 950hp Ha-25 air-cooled radial engines are nicely detailed for their size. Separate air scoops for carburetors and oil coolers are provided.
Decals, Markings, InstructionsAs was popular with Japanese companies of the era, Mania included full color profiles of the aircraft. The illustrations are not of the quality found in Tamiya and Revell kits of the time but it was a nice touch. Mania printed decals for five Type 99’s:
1. 8th Sentai, 1942
2. 16th Sentai, China, 1943
3. 34th Sentai, New Guinea, 1944
4. 90th Sentai, Malaya, 1942
5. Hokota Flying School, 1941~45
The instructions are nicely illustrated. No paint brands were suggested.
I have a partial Mania decal sheet; they are dry and yellowed. The decals shown are by Hasegawa. They are not thin, are well registered, and have little surrounding film. Two aircraft choices are offered, the 34th Sentai and the Hokota Flying School.
Final ApproachMania produced a fine model of the Ki-48-I. It was superb at the time. Sharp exterior detail, exceptional interior detail, good fit, lots of decals, and color profiles, this model was a class act. Under Hasegawa’s banner it is still a fine model. If you buy an original the decals may not be usable but the kits can be found and acquired cheaply. I highly recommend the Mania/Hasegawa Ki-48-I Type 99 Light Bomber.
Please remember to tell manufacturers and vendors that you saw this model here—on Aeroscale!
Click here for additional images for this review.