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Mitsubishi Ki-21 'Sally'



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Kit No.72092
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 3 sprues in "limited run" injected plastic, 29 resin parts, 1 sheet of decals, 6 parts in clear injected plastic (Only 5 used) 
Price: USD$39.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Pleasing resin castings and engraved detail; high level of interior detail; welcome subject; can build two versions from this kit.
Disadvantages: Some small areas of flash. No locating pins on parts. A number of broken resin pieces.
Recommendation: Recommended to more experienced modellers due to the parts fitting requirements and the multi-media nature of the kit.


Reviewed by Dale Smith



The Mitsubishi Ki-21 'Sally' was developed in response to a Imperial Japanese Army specification in 1936 for a heavy bomber that had an endurance of 5 hours, a crew of four, speed of 400 km/h and be able to carry a bomb load of 750 kg. 

The first 2 prototypes were completed in December ,1936 and were powered by 2 Mitsubishi Ha-6 radials. The third prototype was powered by Nakajima Ha-5 radials that developed 850 hp each, and introduced a number of changes to the basic design including a hemispherical housing on the nose that accommodated a Type 89 7.7 mm machine gun, and a redesigned rear fuselage. This configuration set the design for an order of 143 airframes as the Army Type Heavy Bomber Mk 1a. Additional airframes in the Mk 1a, 1b and 1c configuration totalling 351 planes were also built by the Nakajima Hikoki KK company. 

During the aircraft's life, improvements were made in areas such as defensive firepower, speed and aircraft ceiling. The later model , designated the Ki-21-II, was ordered into production as the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model 2A. Total production of all models, including the prototypes amounted to 2064 aircraft, and the aircraft remained in service in all theatres till the Japanese surrender.



F i r s t  L o o k


As far as I can ascertain, the model in this review is the Ki-21-IIa. 

Some parts are supplied that are marked not for use, but more on this later. The kit is supplied in MPM's usual 'limited production' style of plastic, with a small amount of flash on some of the parts. The parts require careful removal from the sprues, as the molding gates are quite large, so carefully does it!  

Detail is of the engraved variety and is nicely done. No locating pins are provided on the parts, so careful dry fitting and finishing will be required before the application of the glue. The wings and tailplanes also butt joined to the fuselage, so careful fitting is also required in these important areas. 

The clear glazing parts are supplied in a separate bag to avoid any damage or scratching on the other kit parts. My sample's nose cone (part CP5) had a small molding blemish on the inner face, and being quite small, I'll just have to live with it as there is no way I could get in to the small area to polish or sand it out. All the other clear parts were nicely molded. 

The fitting of the resin machine gun defensive armaments will require careful drilling of a hole in the clear parts as no holes are supplied. The Ki-21-IIa model, has a large 'greenhouse' style perspex area on the aircrafts spine (see boxtop art), however parts are supplied in the kit ( fuselage spine blanking piece with hole plus turret perspex dome )that may enable the modeller to construct a Ki-21-IIb model, that had a gun turret mounted on the spine area. I could not ascertain from the sprues if all the parts are supplied, but I feel it would be possible. The only area of concern would be the mounting of the turret proper to the fuselage spine. A number of small pieces of styrene in the fuselage interior as supports would probably work. Worth a try for something different!

The aircraft's main wheels are supplied as standard round type, so if bulged mainwheels are your thing, you'll need to flatten them yourself. 

The amount of masking that would be required for painting of the canopies is amazing, with the rear fuselage perspex alone having 44 separate windows, and 26 on the main cockpit perspex, not counting the nose cone or lower rear fuselage gunners positions. I can feel my nervous twitch starting to come back just thinking about it.!! Perhaps careful use of thin strips of prepainted decal would help in this area. 

All paint colour instructions are called out during construction , with reference to the 'Humbrol' range of paints. 

I dry fitted the fuselage halves after cleaning up, and the fit was quite acceptable. Only a small amount of filler might be needed to tidy some areas up. The plastic of these 'limited run' kits is quite soft, so careful and judicious use of the sanding tools will pay dividends in the final fit and finish. The kits propeller backing plates have a small hole that the engines drive shaft fits into when fitted, but in my sample the holes were mishapen and not quite formed, so drilling with a small drill will be required. All the other kit parts were formed correctly.

29 cast pieces in a cream coloured resin are supplied in a separate bag. These parts cover the quite large (in 1/72 scale) cockpit tub with rear bulkhead, instrument panel, pilot and crew seats that include 'molded' seat straps and cushions, pilot and co-pilot control sticks, front gunner/bombadier position bulkhead, 2 engines, 2 engine exhaust tubes, undercarriage bay bulkheads, rear gunners position seat, floor panel and gun mount, 4 x 7.7mm machine guns, tail cone machine gun, and finally the radio direction antennae. A number of control panels for the cockpit sidewalls are also supplied. All of the parts are nicely cast, with no air bubbles evident in any of the pieces. Unfortunately a number of pieces in my review sample were broken, but I do not feel it was from the manufacturing process, but simply from being packed in the small separate plastic bag, and the fineness of the parts. I'll be needing to break out the magnifying glass to glue some of them back though! Some parts are very fine, so easy does it when removing them from the molding blocks.

Markings are provided for two aircraft. One has a dark green upper surface and a light grey-green lower surface, and the other in a silver/natural metal with dark green blotches scheme. The decals are printed by 'Propagteam' and appear very thin, so should settle down without any dramas.

Click the thumbnails below to view sprues, resin parts and decals:






MPM have come up with another nice addition for the WW2 1/72 Japanese aircraft modeller. 

The ability to model another mark of the plane is a nice feature, even if the instructions do not mention the option, but the multi-media nature of the kit makes it more appropriate for the experienced modeller.

Highly Recommended to experienced modellers.

Thanks to Squadron Mail Order for supplying the sample.

MPM's 1/72 scale Ki-21 Sally is available online from Squadron.com

Review Copyright 2001 by Dale Smith
Page Created 09 May, 2001
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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