by: Darren Baker [ ]
The following introduction is supplied by ICM on this aircraft:
The first serial product of the firm Bücker Flugzeugbau GmbH was a two seat training aircraft Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann. The first serial version of the Bü 131A (1934 first flying) has proved to be a very successful machine. This aircraft had outstanding flight characteristics.
This type of aircraft was built not only for civilian flight schools in Germany, but also used intensively in the Luftwaffe. The improved version Bü 131D was standardized from 1939.
Nippon Kokisai Ki-86a Army Type 4 (Cypress by the Allied code system) was the Japanese production version of the German Bücker Bü 131 primary trainer for the Japanese Army Air Service. Powered by an Hitachi Ha-47 engine. Kyushu K9W1 Momiji Navy type 2 trainer Model 11 was the version of the Bü 131 for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
This offering from ICM is packaged in the usual way of a flip top cardboard tray and an additional card lid with all of the artwork on it; this approach means that the model has a very good chance of reaching you in the condition it was meant to regardless of how it is sent. Inside of the box you will find a re-sealable plastic bag containing two grey sprues and the clear parts. There is also an instruction booklet covering assembly of the product and a decal sheet.
An examination of the sprues for this model does not reveal any major issues beyond the expected flow marks on some of the larger pieces, but while these are present they do not appear to have caused any deformation to the moulded parts. I have noticed some minor deformations on the wing surfaces that look to be the result of the ejector pin marks on the inner faces. I have observed one on each wing side part and so there are eight deformations that will require careful sanding to remove.
I am sure that you will not be surprised that there are not many changes in this release from the two models that have been released previously. There is a single new sprue present that I will cover as needed. The cockpit area of the model is the same as in previous offerings and so the only think I will say is that the structure does take a good amount of care to get it put together and installed. From what I have seen it is a very good match for the visible structures seen in the area.
As is typical of ICM they have included a very nice engine for the model. It has some very pleasing detail that with the addition of wire to replicate fuel lines and the like can be made stunning, but there is an issue here that I am bothered by. The engine is that which has been included with the two earlier releases from ICM, and while I accept the engine will likely by similar it does state that the aircraft had an Hitachi engine in it; I find it difficult to believe it would look the same. Most of the new parts offered with this model are the engine cowlings and that leads me to believe the engine had significant changes to the engine.
The cloth covered fuselage has pleasing lines present as do the cloth covered wings. As I have already mentioned the ejector pin marks have caused a deformation in the wings that will need to be sanded out. Another plus with this model is that the flight control surfaces have been provided as separate parts and so with very little effort can be positioned as wished by the modeller. Another area that has changed on this model is the outer halves of the wheels which are considerably different from the previous offerings
Looking at the smaller elements that finish a model there are a couple of areas that really catch my eyes. Firstly I like how parts have been supplied for the flight controls; the parts that connect the stick and pedals to the actual flight control surface. This only applies to the tail as the wing areas are hidden, but regardless it is items that could have been easily over looked or simplified via moulded on details. The other big plus for me is that ICM has taken the time to guide the modeller with the rigging via two drawings concentrating on this aspect.
One of the beauties of this model being released as the Japanese aircraft is the very colourful paint finishes using green and orange for the first three aircraft finishes, the fourth is a stunning visual finish of an orange aircraft with two tones of green added as camouflage. The aircraft represented are:
Watanabe K9W1, 381st Kokutai, Malaya 1945
Kokusai Ki-86a, Koku Shikan Gakko, Manchukuo 1945
Kokusai Ki-86a, Tachiarai Rikugun Hiko Gakko, 1945
Kokusai Ki-86a, Koku Shikan Gakko, Manchukuo, June 1945
This is the third offering of the Bücker Bü 131 and this release representing the Ki-86a/K9W1 WW2 Japanese training aircraft is a stunning example if for no other reason than the glorious colour schemes. The dimples present on the finished surface of the wings due to the ejector pin marks is a disappointment. I would also have liked ICM to either change or do away with the engine unless it is a match for the Hitachi engine offering which I doubt due to the changed engine cowlings. With that said the wing dimples are the only issue that has to be tackled with everything else looking good and of course that great colourful finish option.