Eduard 1/48 Ki-115 Tsurugi – Definitely a suicide airplane

A little History

Most people do not know much about the Pacific War aside from the highlights: Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, kamikazes and a couple fairly large bombs to wrap things up. I’ll admit, I’ve been keenly interested in this theater for decades and I am still learning new things about it all the time. For example, the kamikaze campaign is not as clear cut and ‘officially’ started far later in the war than I thought. As well, there were some genuinely stupid ideas about combining wood and galvanized steel to create high performance suicide airplanes and mating these deathtraps with with novice pilots. Yes, this was the idea that led to the Ki-115.

Desperation or not, no high performance anything should be touched by a novice pilot. In a way, the Ki-115 could have been the most efficient suicide airplane ever designed because a lot of people would have been killed trying to fly it. Someone must have figured this out because almost all of the 100+ airframes completed were never given engines.

I first saw this plane when I visited the Pima Air & Space museum in August 2018:

It is in pretty rough shape and I doubt there is much thought in restoring it. It is very roughly constructed, almost blocky. As I usually do when something catches my eye, I read up on this fighter and well, there really isn’t much to say. It was designed to be manufactured by people who have never made an airplane and flown by someone who has not spent a lot of time in one.

It was also designed to be used exactly one time: the landing gear would break off soon after take off, the bomb was bolted on the belly and the visibility was awful. Stubby wings and a powerful engine would mean high speed but a real handling problem. There are no guns aboard either. Then again, if this ‘fighter’ ran into some Hellcats or Corsairs, well, at least the pilot would never see it coming.

The Eduard Tsurugi

According to Scalemates, Eduard released their 1/48 Ki-115 in 2004. Early ‘Eduard’ kits, particularly in 1/48 were generally re-boxed models from other companies that were combined with Eduard photoetch, masks and some resin.

Starting in the late 1990s, Eduard started making a few kits on their own including this Tsurugi. I can’t speak for these earlier ones but now that I have built the Tsurugi, I can say that it is a generally good value in the box but will require a bit of work to build. The kit comes with a small photoetch fret, decals and paint masks. It reminds me of one of those ‘2 sprue’ kits from Hasegawa and Tamiya in the 1990s. As in, good detail and relatively few build issues.

But there are build issues. You will need to fill a couple gaps and the small round parts are sometimes not aligned and will require careful sanding. I only have 2 warnings with this kit. Firstly, removing the parts from the sprues is not easy. The attachment points are tight and I broke a couple small parts just trying to snip them off. The other warning is the landing gear. Eduard faithfully reproduced the thin, spindly main gear and these are incredibly delicate. Be very careful placing the completed airplane on these legs and once you do, leave it alone!

History and a Build Video

I build because I am very interested in the history associated with these machines. I do not think I am alone! I created a bit of a different build video compared to my usual. This was a bit of an experiment and I hope to get some feedback. The video features a bit of history relating to the Kamikaze campaign and the creation of purpose built Kamikaze aircraft. I then do a build feature. In the video I focus on a couple of techniques:

  • A quick and easy way to do wood grain floors; and
  • How I fix gaps while preserving detail

Here is a link to the Video or you can see it below:

One Last Thing

Let me know if you like the History and a Build idea. I think the only difficult part will be in finding free archival footage and pictures to include in these videos. If you have suggestions for improvement, please let me hear them! One thing I was struggling with was the length of the video and whether to show the entire build sequence or just show some techniques along the way. Maybe History and a Build should feature a full build but at a faster pace? I am not sure.

I have not been a good blogger these last couple months because I had been very busy with another aspect of my life. While I was as busy as ever putting out fires at work and helping the little one with online school at home, I was also doing multiple rounds of interviews at several places. All that hard work eventually paid off though and I am happy to report that I will be starting a new job in early June… D Day in fact!

Actually, ‘happy’ doesn’t even begin to describe it. I am truly lucky to have gotten this offer and I hope I can meet their expectations within a reasonable time.

6 thoughts on “Eduard 1/48 Ki-115 Tsurugi – Definitely a suicide airplane

Add yours

  1. I very much like the “history and build” idea, like you my passion for the hobby is wholly derived from my passion for the history. Although I’m not so big on the video idea, I much prefer reading and looking and looking at pictures. But of course this is about your hobby! Do it however brings you the most satisfaction, ultimately that will lead to more output and more content for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the video. As you’ve probably noticed from my website, I like mentioning the context or history of what I build because having that context helps understand why the decisions that made the machine what it was were made. I liked that about your video.

    I do request, though, that when you mention that you’ve moistened a cotton swab that you mention what you moistened it with.

    Overall, nice video. Thanks for taking the time to make it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there! The Flory wash dries pretty quick but its just a very thin mud. Extremely thin actually. If you have the patience and a glossy enough surface, you can just rub it off with a paper towel. Otherwise you want a slightly dampened (definitely not wet) qtip or paper towel. Use water!

      Like

  3. I like the history and build idea and I’m glad you decided to use this obscure aircraft. It’s weird they would design the landing gear to break away, given the poor state of maintenance and fuel quality it wasn’t uncommon for a kamikaze aircraft to return to base without conducting its mission due to engine or other mechanical failures en route to the target area. I imagine this wouldn’t be as much of an issue in homeland defense though, with a much shorter distance to fly than the hundreds of miles between Kyushu and Okinawa.

    Good luck with the new job!

    Liked by 1 person

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