The Ki 55 was the trainer development of the diminuitive Tachikawa Ki 36 army co-operation aircraft. Although the opartional career of the Ki 36 was fairly short, its excellent handling characteristics and solid reliability made the Japanese Army realize that it was ideal for use as an advanced trainer. The army ordered this aircraft as the Army Type 99 Advanced Trainer; when production was terminated in December 1943 a total of 1,389 had been built by Tachikawa and Kawasaki.
I picked this Fujimi kit up some years ago when I was in Tokyo. Like many 1930's Japanese single engine planes, the Ki 55 has very clean and quite elegant lines, and I have always thought it was a very pretty little plane. The kit is very straight forward with quite basic interior detail, and offers markings for three options of a an orange military trainer, a camouflaged version on operations in China, or the scheme I chose to use. No contest really as I feel the simple grey scheme and civil registrations suited it very well. There was also a choice of undercarriage with spatted or un-spatted wheels, and I seem to recall two canopies were included as well. All in all, this was a nice simple kit to build with good options.
© Mark J Davies, 2006