Here is the continuation and completion of Aleksei's description and photographs of his superlative Hasegawa Ki-44 build.
Landing gear doors, struts and wheels
"The insides of the landing gear doors supplied in the kit are more appropriate for the later marks of Ki-44-II since they lack the ribbing. The original parts were rather thick, so I scratchbuilt the new ones from sheet aluminum. The process was as follows:
- New doors cut from sheet aluminum using original parts as templates;
- Riveting added with a needle and lower parts were bent into the proper shape;
- Ribbing was imitated with thin stripes of plastic glued in place with epoxy glue;
- Original kit smaller doors were thinned, riveted and detailed with retraction rods from wire and plastic;
- Oleo rubber covers’ folds were deepened with a thin file, oleos detailed with photoetched parts and wiring (fixed by superglue and rings made of foil stripes);
- Tubes on main wheel disc covers were cut off and made from scratch using pieces of wire with flattened ends.
"After the fuselage halves and wings were glued together I slightly detailed the tail wheel well (anyway not much will be seen through the closely fit doors). Tail wheel doors were scratchbuilt similarly to the landing gear doors, i.e. cut from aluminum and detailed with plastic. Tail wheel fork details were deepened with a blade.
"After that additional detailing followed: scratchbuilt landing light, adding photoetched grills, rescribing some panel lines, deepening elevator, aileron and rudder hinge lines, adding some access panels from foil, deepening the exhaust outlet and thinning its walls; adding pitot from fine tubing, building antenna mast from a needle, adding wiring to the gun sight, using syringe needles in place of cowling machine guns, drilling out wing guns’ barrels, detailing headrest with photoetched parts and plastic, filling out 3 holes in the headrest and drilling out 4 new ones.
"Canopy fit to the fuselage is below average so a lot of trimming was required. It was sanded, front part was glued in and seams filled with superglue. Silicon molds were formed on the leading edge lights in order to make copies from transparent epoxy with some color paint added. Oil radiator housing was modified (plastic walls thinned to scale, grills added). Model was riveted on top of the primer coat.
Painting and weathering
"Except for stencilling on the control surfaces few of the kit decals were used. Himomaru, stripes and various fuselage elements as well as control surfaces were airbrushed with proper colors and masked off. The following paints were used:
- Hinomaru: GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr. Color 3 Red
- Wing and propeller warning stripes: GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr. Color 58 Orange Yellow
- Control surfaces: GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr.Color 128 Gray Green
- Propeller: GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr.Color 131 Propeller color
"Wheel wells were first painted aluminum; square masks were placed over some holes, followed by a coat of aotake - GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr. Color 57 Metallic Blue Green). Strictly speaking wheel wells could also be painted the cockpit color (blue-gray), but I really wanted to paint them in aotake. One more argument in favor of aotake is the fact that aforementioned Shoki wreck in China shows remnants of aotake inside the wheel wells.
"The model was given a coat of GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr.Color 8 Silver and several layers of Alclad. Before spraying the camouflage colors thin masks of scotch tape were added around hinomaru and anti-glare strip. I used GSI Creos (Gunze) Mr.Color 129 Dark green (Nakajima) for the green mottle and the brown blotches were mixed from Tamiya acrylics XF-78 Wooden Deck Tan, 64 Red Brown, and 68 NATO Brown).
"After painting smaller details with a brush, the model was given a flat coat of Akan (a well known Russian producer of authentic paints). The post shading and weathering effects were achieved with airbrushing, Mig pigments and oils. Alluminum scratches were painted with a thin brush using Tamiya enamel. Akan semi-flat was used for the finishing coat.
"After the final assembly (leading edge lights, antenna, etc.), minor corrections and toning surface with oil the construction was finished.
"Unfortunately I couldn’t avoid some mistakes. For instance the formation light on a rudder should be transparent. Air scoop above the engine is left blanked off because no reliable information regarding this part could be found."
Image credits: All images © Aleksei Kryukov via Iskender Mailibayev