AZ MODELS


AZ Models 1/48 Kawasaki Ki-48-I Type 99 'Lily' "Sokei"


by David Harvey

 

Review Type
First Look
Scale:
1/48
Price:
$90.00 AUD from Red Roo
Contents and Media:
3 x light gray sprues, 1 x clear sprue and 1 x small sheet of decals
Advantages:
Only kit available, relatively easy to make
Disadvantages:
Some profile errors, limited interior and high cost
Recommendation:
Recommended

 

Introduction

Whilst the One GO was drying on my 1/48 Canberra PR9 and Chinook H.C.1, I decided to start the AZ 1/48 Ki-48 Lily that I received to do a review on for Red Roo Models (now the importer of AZ stuff).

The kit

The model itself will build up to be smaller than the A-20 Boston and has about as many parts as the AMT kit. What you get for your money:

The kit has copped a flogging in some areas of the internet, for the most part deservedly. The things I have found so far are:

  • The instructions are not the greatest as they don’t give good views of the position of items. An example is the cockpit floor, this is a five piece construction with no marks on the plastic nor any location lugs. This in itself is no problem as an exploded view would solve the problem. Unfortunately the instructions are very vague on the exact locations of the plastic which is a bad thing due to them also not giving a good position of the floor in the fuselage.
  • Lack of interior detailing. Looking at the reference material I was loaned, the cockpit is a very busy place which is not reflected in the model itself. AZ has provided very minimal interior parts and no sidewall details. You are provided some resin and plastic to represent the radios etc but a great deal is missing. Some of this is provided in the PE set released by AZ but nowhere near enough. It does not take much effort, or skill for that matter, to scratch build enough detail to make it look a bit more busy.
  • The nose angle and shape is incorrect. The nose looks too steep to me when comparing the images of a completed kit on the Aviation of Japan web site to images of the real aircraft. On doing a bit more study into it I believe that the nose is incorrect from in front of the cockpit forward. This would require either extensive rebuilding or a replacement nose if one ever gets made.
  • Panel lines. Some have said these are too deep etc but they look fine to me in width and depth but in some areas they are a bit rough and may need cleaning out.
  • The plastic has rough spots on flat surfaces in a number of areas that need to be cleaned up. This is no real problem as it takes a moment to fix.
  • The bottom gunner’s position hatch is molded into the two fuselage halves rather than a separate hatch. You are provided with some detail for the gunners position but it is hidden down the bottom of the fuselage Once again this is not a killer but having the hatch separate would be a good thing.
  • The paint guide is poor. Whilst the kit would probably be made by those with a good interest in Japanese aircraft, the lack of any real paint guide hampers those that don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese colours. I have been referring to a number of sites for colour info.
  • The canopies are very ‘milky’. This cleans up when the transparency is polished and dipped in ‘One Go’. I also cut them up and filed/sanded them down to a slightly more realistic thickness and appearance.
  • The sprue gates are good in that they are small enough not to cause a problem when removing. If anything they are a touch too small as the parts were coming off when I was washing the bits in soapy water. The clear sprue is well done as the parts are done in a way that leaves only minimal clear up when the parts are removed and don’t really cause them damage as some kits do.
  • Minimal flash on the parts. Whilst there is clean up to be done it is not that bad. The biggest annoyance is the number of vent plugs(?) that infest the kit. For the most part these will need to be removed as the project out too far or can be seen. Whilst easily removed they are a pain.
  • The trailing edges require considerable cleaning up to give a more correct look on the completed kit.
  • The wing to fuselage is butt joined but this is not really requiring extra support as it is strong enough to support the model.
  • The tail planes are also butt joined, these also don't require extra support as the joint is strong enough.

The start of the kit is promising as the main parts have gone together well as can be seen in the attached images. The wings and tail planes need a bit of sanding on the joining area to flatten out the surface but one this is done they join up well. The trailing edges need a great deal of thinning to make a more realistic appearance. Somewhat surprising is that the panel lines general line up between the top and bottom of the wings.

 

The decals

The decals for the kit come on a small sheet that contains only the main markings with very minimal stencil data. I am unsure of the quantity of stencil data required for this aircraft as the reference images are not clear enough to see any. You also receive some decal seat belts that don't really look that good or even convincing. The seat belts would need replacing by PE or manufactured.

 

In progress

Here are a few images of the model during the build process, a full build article will be on the site in the future. In the images below you can see the white plastic card of the areas I have scratch built, the copper wire used and the rear canopy after I had cut it up, thinned it, sanded/polished then dipped it in One Go.

 

The completed model

 

Recommendation

For the most part this kit is easily made and can be put together quickly if made straight from the box. But for $90 I feel it should have a bit more detail without having to purchase the AZ Photo Etch Set as the parts on the PE set are obviously missing from the kit. Given the type of kit and it being aimed more at the specialist modeller the lack of interior and incorrect nose profile can, and I believe are, deal breakers for some modellers. But then given the topic of the kit I doubt that another kit will be produced by the major manufacturers for a long time.

Most of the problems I have found with the kit are able to be fixed with a bit of modelling skill but the nose would take a great deal of work to which I am not prepared to do. To that end I recommend the kit for those amongst us that like the Japanese aircraft and have a few multimedia kits under their belts.

Review sample courtesy of Red Roo Models.

 

References

This review was done with the following references: