Kit Review: Arma Hobby 1/72 Nakajima Ki-84 Ko/Otsu Hayate Expert Set (70051) and Basic Model Kit (70052)

In keeping with their initial business model of releasing 1/72 single engine fighters, the good folks at Arma Hobby have recently released a Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank).

Tamiya, Revell and Hasegawa have all released 1/72nd Ki-84s, but these kits are decades old. The Hasegawa kit is still being produced, and while it is a nice kit, it has raised panel lines, a very basic cockpit without a lot of detail, and a one piece canopy. Sword released a Ki-84 in 2008, and a pre-production version in 2010, but these are limited run kits that are no longer being produced. So it is nice to see a new tool Ki-84 in 1/72nd scale.

As of the date of this post, Arma Hobby has released two boxings of this kit; an Expert Set (with photo-etch parts and masks), and a basic model kit. It is customary for Arma Hobby to release at least two boxings of each kit, so it will be interesting to see if they release another boxing.

Arma Hobby

There are three sprues included in the basic model kit; one with the fuselage, wing, engine, cockpit, and undercarriage parts; one with the horizontal surfaces, drop tanks and bomb parts; and one with the clear parts.

The level of detail in the cockpit is exceptional, and the designers have done a great job keeping the cockpit components to scale. This makes for very delicate parts in which great care is needed when removing them from the sprues and cleaning the parts up. All of the great detail can be showcased since the canopy can be posed open.

The surface detail on the kit is also very nice.

The canopy parts are thin and crystal clear.

As indicated above, the Expert Set comes with a photo etched fret that includes the engine wiring harness, seat belts, and cockpit parts. The masks for the canopy and wheels are made of kabuki tape instead of vinyl.

Six decal options are included in the Expert Set, which allows the modeler to choose between Home Defense Hayates, a Philippine based Hayate, and CBI based Hayate, and a kamikaze (57th Shimbu-tai). The decals are printed by Techmod.

Arma Hobby
Arma Hobby
Arma Hobby
Arma Hobby
Arma Hobby
Arma Hobby
Decals in Expert Set (Arma Hobby)
Arma Hobby

The basic model kit provides two decal options; one Home Defense Hayate and a Philippine based Hayate

Arma Hobby
Arma Hobby
Decals in the basic Model Kit (Arma Hobby)

This looks to be another great kit from Arma Hobby. If you would like to see some built up models, please visit Arma Hobby’s website They have an excellent blog that not only shows built models, but also features articles focusing on the history of the planes included in their kits. Very cool.

If you would like to follow a build in progress, Jeff Groves over on Inch High Guy is doing a batch build of six kits. The first two installments of his batch build are here and here

Kits News: Zoukei-Mura 1/32 Kawasaki Ki-100-1 Otsu “Goshikisen”

At the end of March, Zoukei-Mura presented a mock-up of a 1/32 Kawasaki Ki-100-1 Otsu “Goshikisen” along with some CAD drawings. The news quickly appeared on both Brit Modeller and Large Scale Planes’ forums and was enthusiastically received.


Part of the enthusiasm is due to the fact that no mainstream model manufacturer has released either the Ki-100 Otsu (fastback) or the Ki-100 Ko (razorback) in 1/32 scale. While kits have been produced in 1/48th scale (Hasegawa and Otaki/Arii) and 1/72nd scale (Aoshima, Fine Molds and RS Models), there have been absolutely no injection molded kits in 1/32nd scale.


If you wanted to build either plane in 1/32 scale, you had to buy the 1/32 Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony) kit, and one of the Alley Cat resin conversion sets. Those conversion sets are no longer in production, but once the Zoukei-Mura kits are released, I am assuming we will see some of the Alley Cat conversion sets for sale on eBay.


The Ki-100 was a Ki-61-II airframe mated with the reliable Mitsubishi Ha-112-II Kinsei radial engine. The result was an very agile and maneuverable fighter with a good rate of climb and excellent handling characteristics. It was considered superior in all respects to its predecessor, the Ki-61 Hien. The Ki-100 was also considered by some Japanese pilots who flew both types to be superior to the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate. It was first flown in February 1945, and the IJAAF began equipping units with the Ki-100 in March 1945, albeit in very limited numbers.

Kawasaki Ki-100-1 Ko “Goshikisen”

Due to its late entry into the war, the Ki-100 was not given a code name by the Allies, and its performance characteristics were unknown to the United States Army Air Force and the United States Navy. Anecdotal accounts suggest that the Ki-100s may have been misidentified as Ki-84s due the the fact that both had radial engines. There was no Ki-100 captured during the war for evaluation, and there were no evaluations after the cessation of hostilities to determine how it compared with the Navy’s Corsairs and Hellcats and the Army Air Force’s Lightnings, Mustangs and Thunderbolts.

Kawasaki Ki-100-1 Otsu “Goshikisen”

While the Ki-100 did not have a significant impact in the air war over Japan due to is late entry into combat, it provided the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force with a very capable dogfighter in the hands of an experienced fighter pilot. One wonders what impact it would have had if it had been supplied in sufficient numbers and flown by experienced fighter pilots. Unfortunately, from an historical perspective, it falls into the category of “too little, too late.”


Radu Brinzan has confirmed that Zoukei-Mura intends to release both the Ko (razorback) and Otsu (fastback) versions of the Ki-100 as supported by the above CAD drawings. That is great news!

When these kits will be released is unknown. Zoukei-Mura has previously announced a line of five Fw-190 kits, an Ar-234 kit, and a P-51B/C kit. It may be a while, but definitely worth the wait.

Decal Review: DK Decals’ 1/32 P-51D/K Mustang over the Pacific and Australia (32022)

DK Decals

Our good friends in the Czech Republic at DK Decals have been busy producing new decal sheets, and one of the recent 1/32 releases focuses on P-51D/K Mustangs over the Pacific and Australia.

DK Decals

This decal sheet provides markings for a 458th Fighter Squadron, 506th Fighter Group P-51D-20-NA Mustang (44-72602) 575 “My Madge/Julia’ll Fool Yer” flown by Captain Goldie Marcott.

DK Decals

Below is a very nice color photo of Captain Marcott kneeling on the wing of “My Madge/Julia’ll Fool Yer”. The photo shows the twin wooden Uncle Dog antenna on the rear fuselage.

Captain Goldie Marcott (via Brian Walter)

The fact that there are 20 mission markings and another name (“Julia’ll Fool Yer”) on the right side of the nose, suggests that another pilot was assigned to fly 575, but there are no records that I can find to either confirm or dispel this thought.

DK Decals

Below is a wonderful photo of the left side of the nose of 575. It not only shows the beautiful and graceful lines of the Mustang, but shows the small pin-up art in front of the name “My Madge” which is very nicely reproduced on this decal sheet.

575 “My Madge/Julia’ll Fool Yer” (via Brian Walter)
DK Decals

Captain Marcott was the flight leader of “C” Flight of the 458th Fighter Squadron. His Crew Chief was Staff Sergeant Francis R. Sundbergh, and his Armourer was Master Sergeant Amil V. Wittenberger. He was not credited with any aerial victories or ground victories.

575 “My Madge/Julia’ll Fool Yer” (via Dr. John Benbow)

There is not a tremendous amount of information on Captain Marcott that can be gleaned from the internet. In looking through the 458th FS records, I was able to determine that Captain Marcott’s hometown was Crete, Nebraska, which is less than an hours drive from the author’s residence in Beatrice, Nebraska. The next step in my research will be to determine if there are any of Captain Marcott’s relatives in the Crete area.

DK Decals

I have also reached out to Master Sergeant Amil Wittenberger’s son, Robert, to gather additional information and photos on Captain Marcott, Staff Sergeant Sundbergh, and Master Sergeant Wittenberger. I really enjoy researching the pilots and their ground crew.

Captain Goldie Marcott with his Crew Chief, Staff Sergeant Francis R. Sundbergh (via Brian Walter)

This is an very nice decal sheet and kudos to DK Decals for including the markings for Captain Marcott’s 575 “My Madge/Julia’ll Fool Yer” on the sheet. If you are not interested in the markings for Captain Marcott’s Iwo Jima VLR Mustang, the sheet provides markings for several other Pacific Theater Mustangs such as Major William Shomo’s The Flying Undertaker/Snooks 6th”, and Lieutenant L. E. Curdes’ “Bad Angel”. This decal sheet is highly recommended for anyone interested in Pacific Theater Mustangs.

DK Decals

All of DK Decals’ sheets are very well researched, and they are quality decals that are easy to use. My hope is that they release a 1/32 decal sheet that is solely devoted to Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs, just as they did in 1/72nd and 1/48th scales.

Decal Review: AeroMaster Decals’ 1/48 Iwo Jima Mustangs (48-191)

This is AeroMaster’s first decal sheet dedicated solely to Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs. Four additional sheets on Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs would be subsequently issued by AeroMaster.

AeroMaster Decals

This sheet provides markings for the planes of the three top VLR aces: Major Robert W. Moore’s 67 “Stinger VII” (12 aerial victories), Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret – IV” (8 aerial victories), and Major Harry C. Crim, Jr.’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]” (6 aerial victories).

AeroMaster Decals

In addition, it provides markings for a 458th FS, 506th FG Mustang, 551 “Delta Queen”, flown by Captain J.B. Baker, Jr.

AeroMaster Decals

Originally issued in 1995, the decals are pretty accurate, but more accurate photo documentation has emerged to show there are omissions and errors on this sheet. Onto the planes, pilots and the decals.

AeroMaster Decals

Major Harry C. Crim, Jr. (531st FS/21st FG) – Major Crim was the 3rd highest scoring VLR ace with six confirmed victories, and the only fighter ace of the 21st FG. He joined the 21st FG in August, 1944, after serving with the 14th Fighter Group in Tunisia flying the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Unable to score any aerials victories with 14th FG, he scored his first two victories, a Kawasaki Ki-61 “Tony” and a Kawasaki Ki-45 “Nick” on April 7, 1945, the first VLR mission flown by the 7th Fighter Command Mustangs. His last victory, a Mitsubishi A6M Zero, came on July 6, 1945 during a strike mission against Atsugi airfield. Major Crim was also credited with six ground victories.

Assistant Crew Chief Sergeant Stanley McCarro in the cockpit of Major Crim’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]” (Harry Crim via Tom Ivie/Carl Molesworth)

44-73623 was a P-51D-25NA, and Major Crim’s second VLR Mustang. The kill markings, mission markings, and ground crews’ names appear to be very good on the decal sheet except for Asst. Crew Chief Stanley McCarro’s name being misspelled. The only other deficiency in these decals is the artwork for the donkey/ass.

Major Harry C. Crim, Jr.’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]”

The photo above shows a portion of the canvas wheel well covers which were a standard production feature that were discarded by European Theater Mustang groups, but were maintained in place by the Iwo Jima Mustang groups as a means of keeping sand and volcanic grit out of the wheel wells.

After Major Crim rotated home, “My Achin! [Ass]” was assigned to Flight Officer Theo Gruici, who had Major Crim’s kill and mission markings and the names of the ground crew removed, and had a reclining nude painted on the fuselage. Most decal manufacturers have a nude on the left landing gear cover for Major Crim’s markings, but I have yet to see a photo confirming this. The nude on the left landing gear cover is mostly obscured by the 110 gallon drop tank in the photo below, and it raises the question whether there was a nude also on the right landing gear cover. After inquiring of others who have more extensive photo collections than I do, there does not appear to be any photos of the right side of the plane. Some questions will never be answered.

Flight Officer Theo Gruici’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]” (7th Fighter Command Association/Mark W. Stevens)

Major James B. Tapp (78th FS/15th FG) – Major Tapp was the second highest scoring VLR Mustang ace with 8 aerial victories. All eight victories were scored in 101 “Margaret – IV” (44-63984), a P-51D-20NA. Major Tapp scored 4 aerial victories on the first VLR mission on April 7, 1945. He scored another victory on April 12, 1945, which represents the 5 victories on the decal sheet.

Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret -IV” (7th Fighter Command Association/Mark W. Stevens)

As can be seen from the photo above and the photo below, the name “Margaret – IV” and the Bushmaster squadron emblem are on both sides of the nose. The photo below shows that there are additional markings on the right side of the fuselage below the canopy.

Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret – IV” (7th Fighter Command Association/Mark W. Stevens)

This last photo shows the markings on the right side of the fuselage which includes kill and mission markings. In addition to the name of the Crew Chief Sergeant Blanco, there is the name of another ground crew member which is undiscernable from the photo. This photo also shows that the 0 in the fuselage number is broken rather than solid.

Crew Chief Sergeant Blanco standing on the wing of Major Tapp’s 101 “Margaret – IV” with unknown crew member in cockpit (via Brian Walter)

Unfortunately, the kill and mission markings on the right side of Major Tapp’s Mustang are not contained on this decal sheet.

Major Robert W. “Todd” Moore (45th FS/15th FG) – Major Moore was the highest scoring VLR ace with 11 VLR aerial victories. He had one aerial victory with the 15th FG prior to arriving on Iwo Jima. 44-63483, a P-51D-20NA, was first assigned to Major Gilmore L. “Buck” Snipes and was named “Tom Kat”.

The three photos below provide some different marking variations for 67 “Stinger VII” during the time it was assigned to Major Moore. From these photos it appears that Major Moore was assigned to 67 during the time the squadron was transitioning from their original markings to the more simplified markings.

Below is a Loomis Dean photograph which show 67 “Stinger VII” with an unpainted spinner and the diagonal wing bands still in place as evidenced by the bands wrapping over the leading edge of the wing. It also appears that rails for HVAR rockets have been installed under the wings which can be seen just above the drop tanks on the left wing. These were field modifications as rocket rails were not installed at the factory during Block 20 production.

Major Robert W. Moore with 67 “Stinger VII” (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

The photograph below, while not the best in quality, appears to show that the diagonal bands have been removed from the wings, but still are present on the tail surfaces. It does not appear that the spinner has been painted solid green yet. Please also note that the number 67 also appears on the main landing gear covers. This was common practice for 45th FS Mustangs. Unfortunately, the this decal sheet does not provide the decals for the landing gear covers.

Major Robert W. Moore’s 67 “Stinger VII”

The last photo shows 67 “Stinger VII” with the simplified markings of a solid green spinner, green wing tips, green horizontal stablizer/elevator tips, and (assuming) green tail tip.

Major Robert W. Moore’s 67 “Stinger VII” (Robert W. Moore via Tom Ivie/Carl Molesworth)

Captain J.B. Baker, Jr. (458th FS/506th FG) – Captain Baker was the Flight Leader of “A” Flight of the 458th FS, and was assigned to a P-51D-20NA (44-72579) which was numbered 551, and he named “Delta Queen”.

Captain J.B. Baker, Jr.’s 551 “Delta Queen” (via Dr. John Benbow)

Captain Baker was credited with one aerial victory, a Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki which he shot down on a June 23, 1945 escort mission to the Nagoya and Kobe areas. He was also credited with a probable, a Mitsubishi JM2 Raiden during an strike mission against airfields in the Tokyo area, and two ground victories.

“A” Flight of 458th FS (back row, left to right – Norman Dostal, Henry Seegers, Ed Mikes, James Coleman, Raymond Feld; front row, left to right – Vance Middaugh, Bennett Commer, J.B. Baker, Jr., Robert Tatro) (Ralph Coleman via Dr. John Benbow)

Missing from this decal sheet are the dive angle markings on the wings which were applied to all 506th Mustangs. This sheet also provides two markings for the plane name “Delta Queen”, one is red and one in yellow. While the general consensus is that the plane name is yellow, it is nice to have both options.

This decal sheet was designed and sized for the Tamiya kit. I am not aware if the decals for the dark blue stripes on the tail of “Delta Queen” will fit properly on the Airfix, Hasegawa, HobbyBoss, ICM, Meng, and Revell/Monogram kits.

This is a very nice decal sheet, but it is no longer in production and is difficult to find. It shows up on eBay every so often, and Ultracast has one in stock at an inflated price of $34.95. If you are wanting to build a 1/48 Iwo Jima VLR Mustang with one of these markings, I would recommend buying the Eduard’s Very Long Range: Tales of Iwo Jima Limited Edition Kit (#11142). The decals in this kit include accurate markings for all of these planes (plus markings for 8 other planes).

As a condition of the use of materials from the 7th Fighter Command Association website, the following disclaimer is included: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this Worldwide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided 1) That the use of the data will not be used for obtaining a profit of any kind, and 2) That the above disclaimer notice appear in all copies and that both that disclaimer notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved. The name of “7th Fighter Command Association” may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided “as is” without express or implied warranty. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association disclaim all warranties with regard to this information, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Mark Stevens or the 7th Fighter Command Association be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this information.

Book Review: “The Long Campaign: The History of the 15th Fighter Group in World War II” by John W. Lambert

Published in 2006 by Schiffer Publishing Ltd., John W. Lambert chronicles the 15th Fighter Group starting with its activation in December of 1940 as part of the Hawaiian Air Force, to its baptism of fire in the defense of Pearl Harbor during the Japanese surprise attack on December 7, 1941, and ending with its sun setting VLR missions against the Japanese Home Islands from Iwo Jima in the last months of the war.

James O. Beckwith

One hundred fifty two pages of text tells the story of the truly “Long Campaign” of the 15th Fighter Group, which was activated on December 1, 1940, in Hawaii, and ended the war on Iwo Jima in August, 1945. While the 15th FG got an early taste of aerial combat defending against the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the next 15 months would be spent on Hawaii defending against an anticipated second attack that never materialized.

USAAF/National Archives via Fold3

The 15th FG’s opportunity to engage the enemy came again in March of 1943 when the group moved to Canton Island, and Lambert does a very nice job of describing the 15th’s moves across the Central Pacific (Baker, Makin, Milli, Jaluit, Abemama and Nanumea Atolls) , and their sporadic engagements with Japanese Naval Air Forces.

World War Photos

The book goes on to detail the Group’s return to Hawaii to transition into the Republic P-47D Thunderbolts in April of 1944. At this point in time, many of the pilots who had been in the Central Pacific forward areas had not got the opportunity of fire a single shot in combat. Lambert does a very nice job of capturing the frustrations of the pilots in not seeing any combat, and their eagerness to finally get in the fight.

78th FS Republic P-47D Thunderbolts (James M. Vande Hey)

That opportunity would come soon when the Group transitioned into the North American P-51D Mustang in November of 1944, and began training for VLR missions. The book really picks up during the Group’s transition to Iwo Jima, and finally their opportunity to engage Japanese Army and Navy fighters over the Japanese Home Islands.

Colonel James O. Beckwith in 15 “Squirt” (James O. Beckwith)

This is a very well researched book, and Lambert does an excellent job in the early to mid chapters of the book setting forth the Group’s history when not a lot of combat is occurring. The appendices at the end of the book are very nice and helpful for those wanting to dig deeper into the individual members of the Group and their accomplishments. The only criticism I have of the book is that it does not have any aircraft profiles, color or otherwise. It would have been a nice touch to include color profiles of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, Bell P-39 Airacobras, Republic P-47D Thunderbolts, and North American P-51D Mustangs flown by the 15th FG, and their markings.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the 15th Fighter Group and the 7th Air Force/7th Fighter Command’s contributions in ending the war in the Pacific.