It is a very great pleasure to be able to share this description and photographs of Aleksei Kryukov's exacting build and beautiful model of Capt Yukiyoshi Wakamatsu's Ki-44-II Ko “Shoki” from the Hasegawa 1/48th scale kit in the first of a two part article courtesy of Iskender Mailibayev who also kindly provided the English translation.
"The Ki-44 kit produced by Hasegawa in 1/48th scale cannot be considered well detailed or very accurate by modern standards, but nevertheless can be built into a beautiful model. I should start by saying that the construction process in general was hampered by the lack of information, especially on such important (from a modeler’s point of view) areas as the engine, cockpit and wheel wells. A fellow modeler, Iskender Mailibayev, shared available information on a Shoki.
"The following aftermarket sets were used in the construction process:-
- Eduard FE163 (Ki-44 Tojo) photoetched set;
- True Details 48415 (Ki-44 Shoki Seat) resin;
- Vector 48019 Sakae – 11/12 / Ha-25 engine (needs some conversion, to be discussed later).
"I chose the paint scheme of Yukiyoshi Wakamatsu’s Ki-44-II Ko from 85th Sentai. It should be noted that the kit instructions suggest a single color for the upper surfaces, whereas surviving photos and color profiles in several publications show a two-color application. Also the hinomaru on the actual plane were slightly different in size from the kit supplied decals.
"Construction required certain modifications which can be generally grouped into cockpit, engine, wheel wells and landing gear.
"Photoetched details were used; various levers were detailed with “ball” handles made from superglue;
cables and rods imitated with thin wire; several parts were scratchbuilt; resin seat was used. Following recommendations the cockpit was painted dark blue-gray #3 (Hai-ai-iro). The color is a mix of Tamiya XF-18 (Medium Blue), 19 (Sky Grey) and 8 (Blue). After painting smaller details (black, metal, aotake), the surface was toned down with oil, followed by minor silver dry brushing, gloss coat, wash, flat coat and some Mig pigments on the floor surface.
"The kit’s engine is traditionally simplified and requires additional detailing or a replacement. As far as I know no aftermarket Ha-109 exists in 1/48, however in general it looks similar to Ha-25, which is produced by Vector. Crankcases are visibly different, the one on Ha-109 has a different shape and is larger in size compared to Ha-25. As a result I had to mate kit’s crankcase to Vector’s engine. The list of additional modifications to the engine is as follows:
- Ignition manifold perimeter was drilled for spark plug attachment points;
- Some surface details were carefully cut off from the resin crankcase and glued onto the kit’s plastic crankcase;
- Revs regulator was detailed with plastic
- Holes drilled in cylinders in place of pushrods and spark plug wires’ attachment points;
- Ignition manifold glued back and detailed with punched bolt heads;
- Cylinders interconnected with small plastic bars;
- Cowling interior painted grey;
- Pushrods and spark plug wiring made from thin wires;
- Starter dog on a spinner hub was correctly shaped with a blade;
"Wheel wells were modified in several stages. The list of modifications is as follows:
- A 90 degree angle between well’s rear wall and cupola was made round (convex) with putty
- Maintenance holes were drilled in places already marked on the kit and in additional areas. Holes also had to be drilled in the well side walls. The holes on the front walls didn’t turn out the way I wanted, so I covered them with round panels (similar to Ki-43). Plastic around the holes was thinned on the inside to look more to scale.
- Holes in cupola were blanked off with plastic from the inside;
- Pictures of a Ki-44 centresection wreck on display in China show that some holes inside wheel wells were covered by panels (rectangular natural metal color patches visible on the aotake coat around the holes). I decided not to cover all holes with panels, but to leave some of them open (randomly), painting natural metal rectangular patches in place of the “removed” panels.
- Rear walls were detailed with some plastic ribs and wiring.
"To be continued . . . "
Image credits: All images © Aleksei Kryukov via Iskender Mailibayev