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 https://www.armahobby.com/. 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 https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/15/arma-hobby-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/ and here https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/07/22/arma-hobby-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-ii/.

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.

Zoukei-Mura

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.

Zoukei-Mura

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.

Zoukei-Mura

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.”

Zoukei-Mura

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.

Mark L. Rossmann’s 1/48 Nichimo Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu Kai Type Tei

Happy New Year! It is my prayer that you all have a prosperous and joyful 2022.

Mark Rossmann is back with his 1/48 Nichimo Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu “Dragon Slayer” (Allied code name “Nick). Even though this kit was initially released in 1975, as you can see from the pictures provided by Mark, the kit is a very nice representation of the Ki-45. The kit’s cockpit detail is sparse, but it has very nice recessed panel lines and slightly over done rivet detail. Nice kit considering its age.

Mark L. Rossmann

The aircraft depicted in Mark’s build is a Ki-45 Kai type Tei of the 3rd Hikotai, 53rd Sentai. This variant of the Ki-45 was equipped with a 37 mm Ho-203 cannon in the nose, and two 20 mm Ho-5 cannons installed between the front and rear cockpit crew positions, fitted to fire upwards at a fixed angle of 32 degrees. This configuration allowed the Ki-45 night fighters to come from behind and below B-29 formations when making their attacks.

Mark L. Rossmann

Originally designed as a long range two seat heavy fighter, the Japanese learned, just like the Germans did with the Messerschmitt Bf 110, that heavier twin engine fighters did not fare well in aerial combat against the faster and more nimble single engine fighters. Like the Bf 110, the Ki-45 was adapted into the night fighter role to defend the Home Islands against the night time fire bombing raids being carried out by B-29s under the command of General Curtis LeMay. As part of the desperate defense of the Home Islands in the last few months of the Pacific War, the Ki-45 was also used in one-way ramming missions in an attempt to turn back the ever increasing B-29 bombing missions.

Below is a photo of the actual plane while the 53rd Sentai was stationed at Matsudo Air Base in 1945. Even more interesting is the plane in the foreground showing the installation of the two upward firing 20mm Ho-5 cannons.

53rd Sentai Ki-45s (WW2 Photo Archives)

Mark used Aeromaster’s Empire Defenders Pt. II decal sheet (48-171) for the decals. This sheet was originally released in 1994 and is no longer in production, but it pops up on eBay every so often. As of the date of this post, Ultracast has one left in stock at an inflated price.

AeroMaster Decals

Tamiya AS-17 IJA Dark Green from a rattle can was used to paint the model along with Testor’s flat white for the home defense bands.

Mark L. Rossmann

Unfortunately, I was not able to determine who the pilot or pilots were that flew this plane in combat from my limited reference materials. If you follow this blog, and know the answer to this question, please share that information with us.

Mark L. Rossmann

The only aftermarket products for this kit are masks. Both Dead Design Models (VM48031 & VM48065) and Montex (MM48141) currently manufacture masks that can be used for this model. Dead Design Models can be found here: http://www.deaddesignmodels.com/en/. Montex can be found here: http://www.montex-mask.com/en/home. Check these companies out if you have this model.

Mark L. Rossmann

Thanks again to Mark Rossmann for sharing this build with us!

References:

1. “B-29 Hunter: Ki-45 Dragon Slayer”; Mark L. Rossmann.

2. B-29 Hunters of the JAAF; Komi Tataki & Henry Sakaida; Osprey Aviation Elite 5; Osprey Publishing Limited 2001.

3. Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1931-1945; Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa & Christopher Shores; Grub Street 2002.