So it has all come to this. The following is the 500th completed model in my extensive collection of world aircraft in 1:72 scale. The type is rather fitting, given that it fits into one of my pet sub-collections.
It is the Meng Manshu Ki-98. This is something of a Hikoki 1946 type, having never actually flown during WW2. But that, and the wider line of “what-if” models, is one of the things I enjoy doing on occasion. Never one to be doctrinaire when it comes to model subjects – as long as it is in 1:72 scale – I like giving 3D form to one of the many dead-end lines of aviation development. And the Ki-98 qualifies.
It was intended as a ground attack aircraft, as signified by those rather large cannons extending from the nose, though it ended its development as a high-altitude fighter. The prototype was not completed at the time of Japan’s surrender, though many of the pieces were together at one point.
Meng hasn’t done a huge amount of aircraft in 1:72, though they do seem to have a soft spot for types that were developed but never flew. The great news is that the kit itself is excellent, with good fit and buildability. Those landing gear are a bit fragile, but with care it can be assembled into a very nice model. All paints are Xtracolour, except for the NMF underside, which is Alclad.
Alas, I can’t say the same about the decals. It was as if they didn’t have sufficient adhesive; the roundels for the twin booms didn’t even conform to the curve and stood up from the painted surface. I’ve never had this problem with Meng decals, and this may have been a one-off problem. So, to the rescue, I pulled out an old Aeromaster packet of suicide aircraft that was produced a couple of decades ago. I was able to match the size of roundels, but had to put some different squadron markings onto the model. My rationale was that this is a speculative type in any case, and it would likely have been spread around to different squadrons had it reached operational service.
So I am glad that the 500th model turned out well enough. It is a major milestone in my little sector of the hobby. Not unlike when the blog turned over 100k page views recently. At 62, I doubt I have another 500 in me, but will continue to churn them out until I no longer can. It is pretty obvious that my building standards are relatively modest, so it’s not like my skills are going to deteriorate much further in the coming years! And it hasn't escaped my notice that the two best models in recent history were both from Meng (this Ki-98 and the F-102).
This is completed aircraft #500 (17 aircraft, 1 ordnance, 5 vehicles for the year 2018), finished in November of 2018.