The second Hayabusa of José's quartet is a Ki-43-II built from the Special Hobby kit which was marketed as a Ki-43-II Ko but which is more correctly referred to as a mid-production or naka ki (中期) version. José wanted the model to represent what he refers to as an Otsu version but which is really a late production or nachi ki (後期) Ki-43-II, so he embarked on the necessary modifications.
The Special Hobby kit was a good starting point but presented the typical problems of a short run kit. The extra work to produce the version desired was to scratch build new exhaust outlets of the thrust type and to fashion a larger rollover pylon/headrest. Although the latter is already included in the kit José found it a poor representation, being too small and not sufficiently detailed.
The new exhaust pipes were fashioned from Contrail plastic aerofoil section and the larger headrest scratch-built to include details such as the fuel supply warning buzzer on the right hand side. José also replaced the kit's poor relief-moulded engine with a resin casting from his spares box, adding ignition wiring and other details. A suitable resin Nakajima Ha-115 replacement engine is also available from Engines & Things as item # 72152 for $8 (approx £5.28).
José also riveted the airframe surface on this model using a 'Rosie the Riveteer' tool. He chose not to install drop tanks on this model but whilst early in the production of this variant the position of the drop tank attachment points remained inboard of the undercarriage (as provided in the Hasegawa kit) they were later shifted to a position outboard of the undercarriage. The kit landing gear was improved by the addition of exquisitely scratch-built torque links and brake wires.
José also fashioned the part of the fuselage ribbing frame visible at the rear edge of the cockpit aperture. Meticulous work!
The enhanced cockpit interior was painted to represent the blue aotake finish although this was not typical for mid to late production Oscars which usually had the cockpit finished in yellowish green opaque paint.
The model was first painted aluminium (highly polished!), the wing Hinomaru were painted on and then the dark green mottle was added in stages.
New decals were chosen to represent the aircraft of the 77th Hiko Sentai's 2nd Chutai leader, Capt Yoshihide Matsuo, as flown in the New Guinea theatre in 1944. The 77th reportedly used a non standard sequence of white, blue and red for Chutai identification. The decals are from the Berna set BER72039.
The 77th Sentai lost all its pilots in New Guinea and only a few members of the unit survived to return to Japan. Capt Matsuo was probably not flying this aircraft when on 12 March 1944 he was shot down and wounded in air combat against B-24s 12 miles east of But. He managed to bail out but died in May 1944 on the overland trek to Sarmi with the other surviving pilots of the unit. Of the seven Hayabusa that engaged the B-24s, five were lost, with three pilots killed and two bailing out. One pilot returned with engine trouble and the last managed to emergency land at Wewak with his aircraft on fire.
The cowling carburettor intake differences were not addressed in this scale although the Special Hobby kit parts are closer to representing a late production Hayabusa to begin with.
With thanks to José for kindly contributing the images to Aviation of Japan, especially the in-progress shots.
Image credits: All © 2015 José A Granado