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Tamiya 1/48 scale Hyakushiki Shitei III recon plane (Ki-46 III "Dinah")

Kit: No. 61045
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Tamiya, distributed by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, phone 800-826-4922
Price: $33
Comments: Injection molded, 89 parts (2 vinyl), decals.

Mitsubishi's design for a high-speed, long-range reconnaissance plane produced what is arguably the most beautiful aircraft to see service in World War II. The Ki-46 (Allied code name Dinah) was untouchable early in the war, but by 1942, the Japanese realized they would have to increase the speed and range to prevent interception by P-38s and F4Us. In the Ki-46 III, the speed was brought up to 404 mph, and range was increased one hour with increased fuel capacity. Once caught, the Dinah was easy prey, lacking defensive armament and fire-protection equipment.

Tamiya's moldings have crisp recessed panel lines and most parts are cleanly molded. I was surprised to find the landing-gear struts and propellers suffering from slightly mismatched mold halves. It took about an hour to carefully clean up these delicate parts.

Two crew figures are provided to inhabit the detailed interior. The frame structure is molded on the insides of the fuselage halves. The inclusion of alternate propellers and spinners, and the breakdown of the forward fuselage, suggest different Dinahs may be released.

Assembly was straightforward following the 11-step instructions. The fit is excellent. The wing/fuselage joint was so tight I had to squeeze the fuselage at the wing roots to permit it to pass the edges of the wing. All 12 clear parts fit perfectly, but you may want to keep the rear cockpit assembly loose so the rearmost canopy section can accommodate the aft bulkhead.

If you are going to mount the auxiliary fuel tank, open the mounting holes in the fuselage and tank.

Building this model took 21 hours, mostly in masking and painting. For-tunately, the new Testor Model Master II line of paints appeared just in time to use on my Dinah. Tamiya's decals were slightly brittle, but when handled with care went on easily and snuggled down with Micro Sol.

The finished model is a beauty, and it measures perfectly with the data in René Francillon's Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. Will I build another one of these kits? You bet!

Al Jones

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