Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily" 1/144 by Algernon

The Ki-48 twin engine light bomber, codename "Lily", was a 1938 design by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and was requested by the Army (JAAF) as a counter measure to the Soviet Union's Tupolev SB-2 "high speed bomber". First flying in September 1939, the bomber featured an internal bomb bay with 800Kg bomb load; and a crew of four, with nose, dorsal and retractable ventral gun positions.

By December 1941, the Ki-48 was serving in every military zone occupied by the Army, but as the war became hot in New Guinea, Burma and Southern China, the Ki-48 was outclassed by allied fighters and suffered great losses. Despite improved models, the "Lily" was allready obsolete by 1943 and was only being used for night operations.

With the collapse of the Imperial Japan's wartime empire, the Ki-48 became one of the few Japanese aircraft types to see service in foreign air forces. Indonesians and Chinese Nationalists kept using the remaining aircraft, until the lack of spares put the Ki-48 out of service.

The model: Comes in a colourful box, including a booklet with artwork, instructions and info in Japanese. No decal sheet, just a basic assembly is required and maybe a few drops of glue if some parts don't stay in place.

Nice to see they added the dorsal gun and a little truck-engine-starter. For 8 Euros roughly, these plastic kits by Algernon might look toyish, but they're still ok and nice to display. As an alternative, Hasegawa also makes a fine Ki-48 kit in 1/144.

The markings represent a Ki-48II of the 34th Light Bomber Group. This unit was formed in French Indo-China (Cambodia) in October 1942 with Ki-48s as original equipment. It eventually moved to New Guinea by May 1943 and officialy dismanded in July 1944, after the regiment was decimated in combat.

Scans & information quoted from: Aircam Aviation Series No.32 - Kawasaki Ki-48

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