Although the Kikka bore an obvious similarity to the Messerschmitt Me 262, it was an entirely indigenous design. German plans to share technology with the Japanese were largely scuppered by the Allied blockade, so it was left to Japanese technicians to develop their own jet engine and airframe programme, vitually from scratch.
At the War's end, one Kikka had flown, two more were complete, and a production run of twenty-five was underway. Smaller and lighter than the Me 262 but, apparently, with a comparable performance, the Kikka would have proved an even greater shock to the Allies, had they met it in combat.
FineMolds market their Kikka in two versions; a standard all-plastic kit and, as reviewed here, supplemented with a resin and white metal detail set for an exposed jet engine.
The instructions are clearly illustrated, with colours and assembly notes in Japanese and English. There are three pages of historical notes, but there are in Japanese only.
The parts are moulded in quite hard, pale-grey polystyrene. The engraving is very fine and the fabric control surfaces are subtly done. A nice touch is the way some panels are moulded slightly raised; perhaps a little overdone, but they should look good when painted.
There is very little flash evident, but there are a few sink marks. The surface is highly polished, which highlights a couple of spots where the moulds seem to have been damaged slightly and have been re-finished.
A test-fit shows that the port tailplane will need trimming to fit but, apart from that and a gap on the underside wing/fuselage joint, everything looks good. The wing is moulded with a full-span lower half which is slightly warped - a rigid wire spar should help. On the plus side, the trailing edge is commendably thin.
Cockpit detail is quite comprehensive, and can be further enhanced with etched metal seat harness and gun-sight sets which are sold separately. Considering that this isn't a cheap kit, it's disappointing that these sets aren't included as standard. The one piece canopy is nice and clear, but probably too thick to slice up and pose open.
The kit is obviously a tail-sitter, because FineMolds supply a large nut and bolt as nose weight; simple, but effective.
Ne20 Jet Engine
The engine detail set is well cast with one resin and six white metal pieces. A separate sheet of instructions in included and, again colours are listed in English and Japanese. This time assembly notes are Japanese only, but construction should be simple.
Decals & Conclusion
Decals for two aircraft are included; the first prototype, and a set of imaginary operational markings for the 724th Air group. The decals are printed with separarate white backings for the Hinomarus, so registration isn't an issue. An instrument panel decal and basic stencils are also included.
Overall, FineMolds' Kikka is a nice kit. It's nice to see a mass-produced model of a subject that would normally be a short-run kit.
When Allied personnel reached the Nakajima factory at Ohta in 1945, they were in for a shock; amid the expected types they discovered a hitherto unknown advanced Japanese jet aircraft.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...