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Steven Brandon
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Mitsubishi Ka-14 - Fine Molds 1/48Empire of Japan

November 23, 2021 · in Aviation · · 10 · 1.3K

Here's my latest project: the Mitsubishi . 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.

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. A wonderful result, Steven!
    I was really impressed by your inferential thinking of the reasons we saw all those interesting designs back then, fully endorsing your points.

  2. Beautiful Build! Those Fine Mold kits really do appear to be something special. Love the colors on this build.

  3. Lovely build! I have this one in my stash - I bought it after I saw the magnificent Hayao Miyazaki film "The wind rises" from Studio Ghibli. I think I will dig it out 🙂

  4. Great achievement, Brandon @mooplace
    A beautiful airplane and ditto modelling results.
    Weathering looks great.

  5. Steven, @mooplace
    You hit the nail right on the head with your comments about this kit. Fine Molds has done a magnificent job with it, just as you have done a magnificent job with the building and painting part. I was pleasantly surprised when I built mine.

    Now, after taking a good look at your Ka-14, I will likely end up going back and repainting mine in a darker Ame-Iro shade, much like yours is. Mine was boxed as "The Wind Rises", but it had the same plastic and decals inside as yours does.

    Well done, and I'll be sure to click the "like" button before I leave.

  6. Nice, this is a very sharp looking kit and build. Great job on the overall finish, it looks flawless.

  7. Very cool model plane Steve! Great modeling sir! ?

  8. Really nice build!

  9. A nice pristine build of a very elegant aircraft. Well done!

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