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Steven Brandon
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Fine Molds 1/48 Kawasaki Ki-10

November 29, 2020 · in Aviation · · 10 · 2K

Doi Takeo was an engineering school classmate of Horikoshi Jiro, and Doi went on to have an impressive career of his own. He apprenticed at Kawasaki under German chief designer Richard Vogt. After Vogt returned to Germany and Dornier, Doi became Kawasaki's chief designer. He is known for several important aircraft designs for the Imperial Army, including the Ki-45, Ki-48, ki-56, Ki-61 and Ki-100. After the war he was chief designer of the YS-11 turboprop airliner. But the was his first project as chief designer.

The Ki-10 entered service in 1935, and was the IJA's last biplane fighter in service. Perhaps as a result of Vogt's influence, it was powered by a Kawasaki license-built version of the popular BMW VI V-12 engine. Doi, of course, also favored another license-built German V-12 engine for the Ki-60 and Ki-61 designs. The Ki-10 had fairly advanced construction for a biplane of its time, and its performance was considered quite good. It fared well against Chinese operated Polikarpovs over China during the Sino-Japanese wars. But it was hopelessly obsolete by the time Japan declared war on the U.S. and had been removed from front-line service. Some aircraft continued to serve into 1942, however.

This is the 1/48 kit, and it's a joy to build. Biplanes are often very fiddly to assemble because of the challenges of getting everything aligned properly. But this kit just falls together all by itself. Construction is simple and precise, and detail is impressive. One thing to note is that the box art, although lovely, gets the arrangement of the bracing wires wrong. So don't rely on the illustrations as a source for where to locate the rigging. Fine Molds sells a photoetch set with the rigging, but it's hard to find. I went with EZ Line for the rigging and I'm quite pleased with the result. If you're looking for an attractive biplane and an unusual subject from the period when fighters were transitioning from two wings to one, I highly recommend this little jewel of a kit.

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Nice work! That’s a really appealing subject.

  2. Well, when I build the one of these I have here, I will be able to use the reference photos I have just downloaded to the file to get the rigging right. Thanks much Steven. You're right about it being a very nice kit.

    Your model looks superb.

  3. That's a fantastic result of a lesser known plane, Steven.
    I loved reading Doi Takeo's short story.
    Good to hear that Fine Molds kit was your ally during this challenging build.
    All alignments are spot-on, and I noticed you have posted one heads on and one from the back pics: few models can stand this, looking perfectly aligned...
    Well done!

  4. Great result, Steven.
    I'm still looking for my first bi-plane and reading your comments this one seems to be a good candidate.

  5. Steven,
    This would have been a wonderful addition to our Empire of Japan group build that is currently underway. I have one of these kits in my stash and have been thinking about building it for a while. Now you have posted yours, I have a wonderful reference to go by for the rigging. Thank you.

    I also enjoyed reading the history of the type. For me learning about the plane and the men who worked on and flew them is just as important as the actual building process.

    I pressed the "liked" button too.

  6. Well done, good looking model.

    Agreed on your conclusions. Highly recommended kit. I've built it and Fine Molds lives up to their name. One of the easiest biplanes I've ever built.

  7. It's weird seeing a German V-12 that isn't upside down! Very nice job on the rigging! I used it on my Curtiss Goshawk and EZ Line is awesome to work with! The radiator grill looks pretty elegant and I like your smoking rivets on the underside. It looks like they may have been testing the waters because while the main wings were braced the tail is fully cantilevered. Nicely done Steven!

  8. You're right - that's a very nice bipe from the in-between era. And you model of it is fantastic! I may need to look for one in 1/72 for my collection...

  9. Great work, Stephen!

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