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Louis Gardner
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Fine Molds 1/48 Mitsubishi Ka-14, the A5M ”Gull wing” Prototype

This is my first completion for our ever growing . This is the Mitsubishi , which eventually because the "". Apparently there were six different prototypes built. Each one was slightly different from the rest. The changes involved different power plants, and armaments. This little plane was very nimble.

This kit was released by under the name “The Wind Rises”, which was a fictionalized / animated film about the life of Jiro Hirikoshi and his story of becoming an Aviation Engineer. If the name sounds familiar to you, it's because he was the designer of several Japanese aircraft that rose to fame, or infamy depending on who's side you were on back then. The most notable plane he designed was the A6M Zero.

I tried to capture the look by posing the model in the same manner as the actual aircraft was when the picture was taken.

Here's a photo I found online of the real thing.

The original plane was finished in a highly polished pale ash green color as described by the designer later in life. I tried to capture the look of this color so I mixed up my own using Tamiya paints. The model has a slight greenish tint.

Here's the same photo shown in black and white.

and another photo of the real thing.

I encourage you to go take a look over at our ever growing group build, the Empire of Japan, 1919-1946. Who knows, you might even be tempted to join us... There are some very nice models being built over here.

Here are the rest of the photos I took of the model. It builds up very well, and looks great once it's done. No filler was needed, and if I had a complete weekend dedicated for building, I could have finished this one up in that time. It's a fun little kit, and I wouldn't hesitate to build another one.

I did a complete build journal, and you can see what was involved if you follow this link.

The A5M was the Father of the A6M "Zero". Here you can see the Fine Molds Ka-14 and an earlier build I did of the "Koga Zero" or "Akutan Zero" sitting next to each other for a comparison. This Zero was discovered by a PBY Catalina crew on routine patrol. It was retrieved and brought back to flight worthy condition by the US Navy. Then it was evaluated against our current front line fighters, and it's weaknesses were exploited by our pilots after they were informed on what the Zero could and could not do effectively.

The kit supplied engine is a tiny little model in it's own. It is very nicely detailed, and is very visible once it is completed and installed.

It comes with a separate intake and exhaust pipe set, mimicking the real thing. The exhaust can easily be seen once it is installed.

The rest of these pictures show the details of this fine little kit. The company name is spot on with this one. A Fine Mold it is ! If you decide to get one of these, don't be put off by the animated box top. The contents inside the box are what counts. They hit a home run with this one. It's a fine little model and can be built by someone with a few kits under their belt, or by an "Experten" who has been building for years.

Enjoy the photos, and as always, comments are encouraged.
Thanks and stay safe.

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

23 additional images. Click to enlarge.

34 responses

  1. Wow! This is fantastic. I really like the gull wing on the Ka-14 prototype.

    Nice build!

  2. Looks really nice Louis, well done. I love the historical comparison

  3. Beautiful plane and "The Wind Rises" was a great anime as well.

  4. That's an excellent build of an important plane, rarely seen built, Louis. It's one of the highlights of the addicting Empire of Japan Group Build I'm lucky to participate in.
    Engine details, cockpit, scheme research are all top class, to name a few.
    Build journal was amazing and I gladly followed it.
    All the best!

    • Spiros, @fiveten
      I appreciate the kind words, and all of your assistance with this group. This is a very important aircraft, especially when you think about what other planes came along behind this one from the same aircraft engineer.

      Your builds have been a very welcomed addition to the EoJ. I have been following your D3A-1 Val, and now the Nakajima Ki-115 as well. Thanks again my friend.

  5. What a nifty little fighter that critter is. Very clean well done build on a rare relatively unknown aircraft. Fine Molds really do get into rare stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Chuck, @uscusn
      This is a neat little plane... and little it is ! You don't realize this until you place this model alongside a P-47.

      Fine Molds do produce some great kits of Japanese subjects you typically wouldn't see otherwise by another manufacturer. I have more kits from this company in store for future builds. But first I have to finish up a few more in progress builds before I start another one...

  6. Really good build. I have one of these on order for the group build but it is hibernating in Japan waiting for the world to change for the better. The Wind Rises is an excellent anime and well worth watching. I shall start checking the mail box in the near future in the hope that this kit shows up.

    • Hello Haslam, @Haslam55
      Thank you for the compliments. You will enjoy building this kit once yours arrives. Mine went together without the use of any filler. I added the upper wing panels directly to the fuselage first, before I glued on the lower wing section. This made sure the fit along the wing root was nice and tight. Everything fit perfectly. The cockpit is hard to see once it is all assembled. You don't see the ammunition containers but they are there. The engine is a little jewel. It looks as if you could start it up it's so realistic. You are the second person to say the movie was good. I will have to try and locate it and watch it.

      I hope that your kit arrives soon so you can start building it. It is a great little model.

  7. Great build @lgardner, as always featured of your background research! Very much liked!

    • Hello Michel, @michel-verschuere
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I have been watching your Syrian T-72 build, and that is a work of art. I try to incorporate a little bit of history into each one of my articles. I was fortunate to find several photos of this model, and tried to capture the pose of the original photo with my model.

      Thanks again my friend, and please stay safe. Tell the family that we said hello.

      Take care.

  8. Nice work, Louis. It looks a lot like the first He-112 prototype.

    • Hello John, @j-healy
      It does indeed look like the He-112 prototype. They were built around the same time, and I think that one was sent to Japan from Germany. Who knows ? Maybe one influenced the other ... Good call.
      Thanks for the compliments my friend.

  9. Great results, well done.

  10. wonderful work on both...actually a reverse or inverted gull wing...nice to see

    • Hey Bob, @p38j
      Thanks for the compliments, and you are correct ! This one actually has an inverted gull wing. The only planes I can think of off the top of my head that actually had a true gull wing was the Polish PZL-P11, and the Soviet I-153 biplane. Good catch !

  11. Nicely done Louis, nice information on an A/C I wasn't familiar with as well. This GB has certainly produced some interesting subjects with more to come. Obviously lots of iModeler folks had several Japanese subjects in their stash, just needed a reason to build them. Good job buddy.

    • Thanks Tom ! @tom-bebout

      I happened across this model merely by accident. I never knew the type existed until I started doing a little research on the A5M. It appears that the timing was perfect for this Empire of Japan group build. I think that because many of us had to stay home because of the virus pandemic, and most of us had a few Japanese subjects in the stash, is why it has taken off so well. The timing was right... Thanks again buddy for the kind words.

  12. Good one Louis! I’m yet to see that film, been chasing it online ever since it came out but no luck so far. I read that this grandpa of the Zero possessed the same qualities of flight, meaning superb handling. What I never realised until now is the flimsy look of the undercarriage, those wheels are tiny and thin. Now bring on that Tojo 😉

    • Hey Pedro ! @holzhamer
      I have yet to see the movie too. Yes from what I have read, this little fighter was as nimble as they came. It possessed all of the flight characteristics the Japanese preferred at the time, namely maneuverability. I don't know how it would have held up if taken under fire by some .050 caliber MG's, but I have seen a photo of an A5M "Claude" that returned to base with HALF of it's wing missing after combat over China.

      This little plane might have been tougher than we think it was...

      I need to get cracking on the Ki-44 Tojo. It's calling me now. Take care and stay safe my friend.

  13. Very cool Louis. I really like this!

  14. Brilliant work!

    Love the B/W photos in comparison.

    I saw the movie a couple of days ago on Netflix and I loved it!

    "The wind rises - we must try to live!"

    • Thank you Tommy, @killboxscalemodelling

      I try to include pictures of the actual ting if I am fortunate enough to find them. This time I lucked out. I have heard from several others that they also enjoyed the movie as well. I'll have to check it out. Thanks again !

  15. Very nice! Great build, great photos! Another nice one my friend.

    • Thanks Bob, @roofrat
      I appreciate the kind words, and I'm happy to hear that you liked the photos. I used the camera in my cell phone to take these. Nothing fancy here ! Take care buddy and stay safe.

  16. Looks great as usual Louis! Well done! (I need to get on my Empire build - but added gazillions of dry transfer stencils to my EJ Kai will take while...)

    • Hello Greg, @gkittinger

      It's great to hear from you. Thanks for the compliments on this little one. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and was surprised at how fast it went together. I finally finished adding the stencils to by "Brubaker" F9F Panther jet and thought I was going to be permanently cross eyed afterwards... stencils are not my friend, but a necessary evil to get that perfect look that we all strive for. I'll bet yours will look fantastic once you get them done. Take care and stay safe buddy.

  17. Hi Louis. Good looking plane. You have a great job with this and lots of fantastic information to. Spot on.

  18. Louis #lgardner
    Great little gullwing prototype, Buddy! I had to say something, even though I've only been on here hit-or-miss lately!

    Bravo, Brother DAT!

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