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.
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.
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.