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Type 97 Fighters

Part 1


1/48 scale


Lifelike Decals


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Lifelike Decals 48-020 - Type 97 Fighters Part 1
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 1 x A5 sized decal sheet; 1 x smaller decal sheet; 1 x full colour double-sided A-4 instruction sheet
Price: USD$12.50 from model retailers worldwide
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Colourful and interesting subjects; well printed and in register; detailed stencil data supplied; excellent colour reference; very high quality presentation.
Recommendation: Recommended.


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Reviewed by Rodger Kelly


F i r s t   L o o k


It has been a while since we have seen anything from this Japanese decal maker now but the wait has been worth it for the fans of the World War Two Imperial Japanese Army Air Force.   

Hot off the presses are three new sheets covering the Nakajima Ki-27 (Army Type 97) or as it was known under the Allied code name system for Japanese aircraft, the Nate). 

Part 1 is a busy sheet indeed with markings for seven different machines - six of them in overall grey/green camouflage finish and one in dark green and brown disruptive camouflage over its wings and horizontal stabilisers.  The individual options are: 

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Otsu, as flown by Major Miyamoto, the commander of the 246th Sentai from Kakogawa Air Base in Hyogo Prefecture in the December of 1942.

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Otsu, flown by Lieutenant .Colonel Saburo Hayashi, the commander of the 4th Sentai from Kikuchi Air Base in Kumamoto Prefecture in the September of 1940.

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Otsu, flown by Corporal Susumu Kajinami of the 246th Sentaiís second Chutai from Kakogawa Air Base in January, 1943.

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Kou, of the 64th Sentai flown by Lieutenant Iwori Sakai from Ertaokou Air Base in central China in November, 1938.

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Otsu, of the 1st Chutai, 59th Sentai flown by Sergeant Katsutaro Takahashi from Hankou Air Base in China at the end of 1939.

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Otsu, assigned to the 1st Chutai of the 77th Sentai.  The information sheet does not provide a pilotís name but does advise that it was (probably) flown from the Lampang Air Base in Thailand at the beginning of 1942.  This is the only camouflaged option on the sheet.

  • Ki-27 Type 97 Otsu, belonging to the Manchurian Air Force and photographed at Takanosu Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture on
    17 September, 1942.

The decals have been printed by Microscale Industries and are well up to the high standard set by this pioneering decal producer.   48-020 comprises two sheets, a normal sized one that carries the vast majority of markings and a half sized one that carries some unit markings and all of the required hinomarus. 

The placement guide is an A-4 sized sheet in landscape format and it shows left hand side profiles and appropriate upper and lower surface views to illustrate both the placement of decals and the camouflage scheme on the sixth option. 

Full and comprehensive notes are also provided for each option with justifications provided for why Life Like chose to portray those options which have some controversy attached to them.  The information sheet is rounded out with the inclusion of a list of 12 different references. 

The only nit pick I have with this (and the other two sheets in the trilogy) is the fact that there is very little advice provided as to what the camouflage colours are.  If you are new to WWII Japanese aviation, a quick trip to the J-Aviation website at http://j-aircraft.com/index.htm will be off benefit to you. 

The placement guide, information sheet and the two decal sheets come packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

The recommended kit is the Hasegawa one.  This kit has been around for many, many years, being originally released by Mania.  It is a good kit but starting to show its age.  It still builds up into a nice little replica of the real machine but it can be greatly enhanced by using the True Details resin interior and a Falcon Vac-formed canopy. 


Thanks to Keishiro Nagao of Lifelike Decals for the review sample.

Lifelike Decals are available by email at lifelike@eos.ocn.ne.jp or from

2-8-7-202, Kameari, Katsushika, Tokyo 125-0061, Japan
fax: +81-3-5680-6733

Text Copyright © 2007 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 23 September, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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