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Hasegawa 1/32 scale Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft

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RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki “Tojo” aircraft
Kit: No. ST30
Scale: 1/32
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322, www.dragonmodelsusa.com
Price: $59.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 175 parts (4 vinyl), decals
Pros: First of its type in this scale; high-quality engineering and molding
Cons: None
Issue Published: December 2009
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II Shoki "Tojo" aircraft
Designed as an interceptor, the Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Devil Queller, Allied reporting name "Tojo") was a radical departure from previous aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Army. It saw service from the start of the war in the Pacific and was the fastest-climbing fighter defending Japan against the B-29.

Hasegawa's new kit is the first time this aircraft has been offered in 1/32 scale. The parts and engineering are up to Hasegawa's high standards, with no flash or ejector marks that would show. The kit features comprehensive cockpit detail, a pilot figure with optional heads, open or closed cowl flaps, drop tanks, and underwing ordnance racks. Unused parts indicate several more versions to come.

In the cockpit, I was impressed with how the separate control levers and boxes were presented. The assembled cockpit module fit neatly into the fuselage, where fully detailed Ho-103 12.7mm machine guns are mounted.

Moving on to the engine, this five-piece assembly built up nicely and looked convincing. I found that the cowling can be attached without gluing and, as the propeller is held by a vinyl grommet, it would be possible to display the model with or without the cowling.

The wing assembly is quick and easy. As usual for newer Hasegawa 1/32 scale kits, there is a wing-spar box to ensure the dihedral and fit. The tailplanes have neat interlocking tabs that also produce a good fit and proper alignment.

The wing-to-fuselage fit was almost perfect, needing only a small amount of sanding at the leading edge of the wing near the root. The only filler I needed was for the underside seam where the fuselage meets the wing. Both the fuselage and wings have separate parts for certain panels, all of which fit very well.

I painted my Ki-44 with Hawkeye's Hobbies Talon acrylic natural metal and Gunze Hobby Color aqueous paints.

Decals are provided for three aircraft. These applied very well with decal solution. I did not use the fuselage anti-glare black decals or the yellow wing identification decals - painting these areas seemed quicker and easier.

My primary reference was Model Art Profile 5: Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki; I also made use of Profile Publications' Aircraft in Profile No. 255. The completed model's outline compares well with references.

I completed my Ki-44 in a quick 18 hours - at which point I concluded that this is a magnificent kit! The execution in plastic, the engineering, and the ease of assembly are fantastic. I'd gladly recommend it to anyone interested in 1/32 scale and Japanese aircraft.

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