In-Box Review
Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi
Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi
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by: Andy Brazier

The Nakajima Ki-115 Tsurugi (剣?, "Sabre") was a one-man kamikaze aircraft developed by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in the closing stages of World War II in 1945. The Imperial Japanese Navy called this aircraft Tōka (藤花, "Wisteria Blossom").

The aircraft's intended purpose was to be used in kamikaze attacks on Allied shipping and the invasion fleet expected to be involved in the invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall, which in the end did not take place.

Because the Japanese High Command thought that Japan did not have enough obsolete aircraft to use for kamikaze attacks, it was decided that huge numbers of cheap, simple suicide planes should be constructed quickly in anticipation of the invasion of Japan.
The aircraft was very simple, being made from "non-strategic" materials (mainly wood and steel). To save weight, it was to use a jettison-able undercarriage (there was to be no landing), so a simple welded steel tube undercarriage was attached to the aircraft. This, however, was found to give unmanageable ground-handling characteristics, so a simple shock absorber was then incorporated. The cross section of the fuselage was circular and not elliptical as were most planes of this size and type; such a fuselage was easier to make.
Tsurugi had an instrument panel with some flight instruments; rudder pedals in addition to joystick type control column, and also a place for a radio. Flight controls included both ailerons and elevators and (in production versions) flaps.

The Ki-115 was designed to be able to use any engine that was in storage for ease of construction and supply, and to absorb Japan's stocks of obsolete engines from the 1920s and 1930s. The initial aircraft (Ki-115a) were powered by 858-kilowatt (1,151†hp) Nakajima Ha-35 radial engines. It is not known if any other engine was ever actually fitted.
After testing the first production aircraft were fitted with the improved undercarriage and two rocket units. These may have assisted with take-off or may have been designed for the final acceleration towards the target.

Info from Wikipedia

In the box
Packed in a smallish, end opening box, the kit contains, one plastic light grey sprue, one small clear sprue, one photo etch fret, 16 resin parts, one clear film part, set of decals, and a colour instruction booklet.
All the parts come in separate bags sealed in the main sprue bag, so damage should be kept to a minimum.
Pretty much all the parts are contained on one sprue, with the parts separation normal for an aircraft. The lower wing is one piece and also forms the floor of the fuselage.

Exterior detail is fairly good with engraved panel lines and details in the fuselage and wings.
Control surfaces are moulded onto the main parts and are in the neutral position. Separate non-positional flaps are supplied for the underside of the wings.
The main undercarriage is made up of four parts each, with the wheels in two halves.
The cowling is made up of two halves, and like the rest of the parts, no locating tabs are moulded onto the parts.

Interior detail is quite good for this small scale, with the seat having a unpainted P.E lap belt to attach.
The instrument panel is a film insert for the dial's sandwiched between the plastic part and a P.E face.
P.E rudder pedals are also supplied along with P.E throttle levers.
A full resin engine is supplied, which has some very fine detail, but as the cowlings are modeled in the closed position, only the front of the engine will be visible. The smaller resin parts are for the exhausts and cowling flaps.
A one piece resin bomb is supplied to fit in the underside recess in the fuselage.

The two clear parts for the windscreen and canopy are thin, clear and opaque. A small hole will need to be drilled into the windscreen portion for the inclusion of the aiming tube.

Instructions and decals
The instruction booklet is made up of a folded 12 page A4 size paper and is glossy and in colour.
The first page gives a little history on the Ki-115, followed by a parts tree guide.
One slightly annoying thing is the sprues donít have any numbers on the trees, so you have to go back and forth in the instructions to make sure you have the right part.
The build takes place over four pages, and is easy to follow with internal colours for the Gunze Color range of paints along the way.
Three pages for the marking and painting guide, with all four angles depicted finish the booklet.
The last three pages are advertisements for other Special Hobby kits that are available.

The decal sheet is not very big, and is printed by AviPrint, so issues shouldn't be a problem.
The sheet carries the national insignia for the three marking options.
The marking options are -
Camo A -Ki-115, Nakajima factory hanger at Ota, September 1945. First stage of camouflage application. Hinomaru and black anti-glare panel
Camo B -Ki-115, Nakajima factory hanger at Ota, September 1945. Second stage of camouflage application. White outlines added to fuselage and wing upper surfaces insignia as well as small portions of green camouflage around the insignia.
Camo C -Ki-115, Nakajima factory hanger at Ota, September 1945. Plane with complete markings and camouflage.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE
Highs: Good moulding quality, AviPrint decals and resin and P.E parts included.
Lows: Not really a beginner friendly kit as no locating tabs and some small resin parts to attach.
Verdict: A very nice kit of the Ki-115, which will add to your collection of 1/72nd Japanese aircraft.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: SH72198
  Suggested Retail: £14.80 (Hannants)
  PUBLISHED: Jun 01, 2017
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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Copyright ©2021 text by Andy Brazier. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Ki-115 can be a neat model to make for those who like weathering. I have color photos of one c. Sept-Oct 1945 which shows the steel fuselage rusting. Modelers depicting an "operational" one can paint a steel color without need to fret about shiny NMF of aluminum, and perhaps experiment with "what-if" camo. However, these machines would probably been expended almost as soon as they rolled out of the factories, and many would have been sheltered in caves for the short time to before use. I look forward to a 1/48 Ki-115.
JUN 01, 2017 - 08:00 PM
Hi Fred Check out Eduard's kit (reviewed HERE). It's not in production at the moment, but you can still probably pick it up if you hunt around. All the best Rowan
JUN 02, 2017 - 12:40 AM

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