Mitsubishi Ka-14 - Fine Molds 1/48 – Empire of Japan
Here's my latest project: the Fine Molds 1/48 Mitsubishi Ka-14. As others have already noted, this is a jewel of a kit. I'm actually a bit stunned by how quickly this one went together for me. From arrival in the post to completion was just seventeen days! That's a record for me.
The Ka-14 was Mitsubishi's 1935 answer to the Imperial Navy's 9-Shi specification. It would eventually enter production as the A5M, the Navy's (and the world's) first all-metal monoplane carrier born fighter. This was the first of six prototypes.
I find that many aesthetically pleasing designs came out in this period, and this aircraft is one of the most beautiful, to my eye. I'm especially fond of the wing root fillets and elliptical wings, which look very similar to (and pre-date) the Spitfire. I also like the slender fuselage - the way it tapers to a point at the tail. This was quite an advanced design in 1935, using all-metal, stressed-skin construction, and even utilizing flush rivets. I've been thinking about why so many attractive designs were produced during this period, and I think I may have hit on something. New, state-of-the-art construction methods were allowing designers to produce just about any shape they could imagine. But at the same time, aerodynamics were still a bit of an occult art. I think this led to a lot of personal style being manifest in aircraft designs. And this is certainly a stylish aircraft.
If you're looking for an unusual subject from the mid '30s that comes in the form of a superbly engineered kit, I'd recommend considering this as a future project.
I built this one MOSTLY from the box. I added some Eduard seat belts and used some solder to add the second set of ignition wires that run to the rear spark plugs. Gun barrels were replaced with Master brass 7.7mm barrels. Paint is mostly Mr. Hobby thinned 50/50 with Mr. Leveling Thinner. The IJN gray green was lightened considerably with white. All marking were painted, even the caution stripes on the prop tips. A wash of black Tamiya Panel Line Accent and a final coat of Vallejo matte varnish completed it. It looks a bit darker than it actually is in these photos - I'm still experimenting with lighting for my pictures.