By Jim James - images & text © 2014
"The Wind Rises" is a 2013 anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and its famous successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Miyazaki announced that this was to be his final film before retiring as a feature director.
Although (at the time of this writing) the film has not yet had a theatrical release in the US, it is available for viewing online and there are trailers and many images to be found for reference.
^ Completed model
Image: Home-made decals replicate the pattern on Jiro's shirt.
Image: The clunky kit-provided stand
The paint references in the kit seem to be fairly accurate although online images show the colors to be lighter that the recommended colors. I stuck with the recommended colors, although, for some inexplicable reason, my LHS was all out of Susie Blue.
Building & Painting
The kit is a joy to assemble and is almost a snap kit. Part fit is excellent and only minor seam filling is required. The kit is molded in for colors - white, red, blue (Susie Blue?) and tan - but still needs painting. The wing tips are easily masked for painting blue and all other detail can be painted pretty much on the sprue.
The wheels are very flat and it's difficult to paint the tires cleanly. Masking the wheel hubs is recommended.
The pilot is a little strange (and doesn't really resemble Jiro in movie stills or the box art). The upper torso is definitely 1/48 but the lower body is 1/72. This isn't a real problem since the pilot sits nicely in the cockpit opening and hides the legs and anything else in the cockpit tub. Painting instructions for the pilot are very detailed and straightforward until you get to the pattern on the shirt (small gray plus signs on white). You can either ignore the pattern (who's to know except anyone who reads this), make a freehand attempt or make a clear decal with tiny plus signs (that's what I did).
The stand makes up a lot of the plastic (9 parts). FineMolds is cornering the market on clunky stands (have you seen the stand for the TIE X?) The grace of this plane calls out for a simple stand. I filled the two stand holes in the fuselage and replaced them with a piece of small brass tube. A curved piece of wire and a wood base provide the support. The image on the base is clouds from another piece of anime.
This is a nice kit to build. Painting is quite simple and it's easy to achieve a good looking model - even if you use the clunky base and can't find Susie Blue paint.
A companion Finemolds 1/48 Mitsubishi Ka-14 (from the same movie) is also available.