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ICM 1/72 scale Ki-21-Ib “Sally” plastic model kit review

A few misplaced sprue gates complicate an otherwise beautiful kit
Kit:72203 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$69
Beautiful, clear parts; great fit overall; excellent subject
Edge sprue gates make cleanup difficult
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 185 parts; decals
Classed as a heavy bomber at the start of its career, the Mitsubishi Ki-21, known among the Allies as the “Sally,” certainly was a heavy lift in terms of effort for the Japanese Army Air Force during World War II. ICM has released a detailed 1/72 scale kit of the Ki-21-1b, an important early version that saw combat service in China early in the war.

Starting off, ICM suggests you attach the separate tail section to each fuselage half before assembling them together. This worked well, and the join required minimal cleanup.

The many small windows must be installed from inside the fuselage and include portions of the fuselage structure. The rear windows need careful cleanup for a tight fit. Some parts have sprue gates on the edges that can be difficult to clean up. I suggest a micro chisel to help with this task.

The interior is fully detailed, including numerous drum magazines to hang near the weapons stations. Crew seats, controls, radios, weapons, and other equipment aren’t all easily visible, but the superb, clear covers for the cockpit, nose, and rear gunner’s compartment certainly help.

Install the bomb sight through a hole in the lower nose section, and be careful when fitting the lower gunner’s hatch (Part E5). The latter fits well, but make sure you have it fully seated and aligned with the floor because it touches both fuselage halves. I installed mine just before mating the fuselage halves so I could give it a gentle nudge for a snug fit.

The kit provides masking templates to cut masks for the inside of the fuselage windows and lower nose section. I painted the interior Tamiya JN Grey (No. XF-12) because that color is not included in the ICM acrylic paint set I otherwise used for this build.

The interior parts fit inside the fuselage like a glove, and the resulting join did not require any filler. The wings, horizontal stabilizers, and separate control surfaces fit well. I wasn’t thrilled with my cutting of masks using the given templates, so I left the clear canopy, gunners’ canopy, and nose off the model.

Even though I assembled the landing gear as instructed, I trimmed the main wheel axles a bit shorter. I left the inboard side of the retraction struts (Part 51) unglued to allow me to “pop” the wheels in place after painting.

The nacelle assemblies fit perfectly in the recesses on the wings. I assembled the cowls but left them off the model until the final assembly — no glue was needed.

The nicely detailed engines were assembled and finished separately, too. Be careful removing the crankcase (Part D12) with its numerous attachment points and small, easily broken pushrods. There is a teeny lip around each spinner that makes the “edge gate” very difficult to remove.

Like Henry Ford’s Model A, you can have your Sally in any color, as long as it’s green-grey. ICM captures this elusive color well in ICM Green-Grey (No. 1063). I primed the exterior with Tamiya Sky (No. XF-21) and oversprayed with the ICM color.

The handful of decals settled nicely with no issues. A bit of shading and weathering preceded the addition of the detail parts, followed by a flat coat.

Lastly, I hand-painted the frames on the clear parts and cleaned up the jagged edges with my paint eraser — a sharp toothpick. Then, I attached the canopies and nose to the model.

At long last, the market has a modern tooling of the Sally with plenty of detail to satisfy. The fit and execution are outstanding, and a fine replica will result after a bit of work. I spent slightly over 22 hours on mine and enjoyed every minute — except for painting the frames on the clear parts!
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