Kit: No. 92013
Manufacturer: RS Models, from Joe's Models, 973-239-7682
Comments: Injection-molded, 73 parts (36 photoetched, 1 vacuum-formed plastic), decals
Pros: Good external detail, good decals
Cons: No support for engine, hard-tohandle photoetched parts, damaged vacuum-formed canopy, fit problems
The Nate entered service with the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force during the mid 1930s and it embodied the philosophy of maneuverability and agility above all. It proved very successful in the China air wars and thus influenced Japan's fighter design for several years.
RS has released a neat kit of this petite aircraft, complete with photoetched cockpit details, recessed panel lines, and a vacuum- formed canopy. Surface detail is nicely done. This kit comes with well-printed decals for Soviet, Chinese, and Thai markings.
It's a limited-run kit, so there are no locating pins. I started with detailing the cockpit with the tiny photoetched parts. The seat was narrower than the frames that support it, and the seat-back bulkhead is a bit too wide for the fuselage. Locate the throttle quadrant further aft than shown, or it will interfere with the instrument panel. Dry-fitting the cockpit assembly is a must. The two machine guns on the floor of the front of the cockpit are supposed to protrude between the engine cylinders, but mine wouldn't fit. I just cut the barrels off.
There's no mount for the engine, so I glued a styrene strip inside each cowl half to have something to glue to. The fuselage halves fit well with a little filler needed forward of the cockpit. The wing needed trimming to get it into the fuselage opening. The seams between the upper and lower surfaces of the wing trailing edges needed work. The locations of the maingear struts and slipper tanks are vague with no indicators molded on the wing. For additional support, I added wire pins between the upper and lower strut sections.
The vacuum-formed canopy is flimsy and was difficult to sand for a good fit. The top of my sample's canopy was dented. The instructions give interior colors in Humbrol paint numbers, but exterior colors are noted with WWII JAAF codes. I used Tamiya and Gunze Sangyo paints and referred to the box art for a color guide. My colors are probably not correct, but they look convincing.
Kit dimensions are close enough for this scale. I spent 22 hours on this model. Because of the small photoetched parts, and the thin vacuum-formed canopy, the kit is best suited for experienced modelers. The finished model is eye-catching with its clean lines and unusual markings.
- Phil Pignataro