Monday 9 May 2016

New RS Models Ki-61-I Ko in 1/72

Following on from their 1/72 Hien Otsu, Hei and Tei kits, RS Models are showing a new Ki-61-I Ko with splendid box art at their website, release date TBC. This looks to include the retractable tailwheel and doors of this first operational Hien variant as extra resin parts and presuming they get the wing gun panel fairings correct it will be the first true Ko to be represented in this scale since the somewhat iffy Revell kit of 1963.

The decal sheet provides markings for three subjects:-
  • Ki-61-I Ko of Akeno Flying School, Japan, 1943 in plain natural metal finish  
  • Ki-61-I Ko of 2nd Chutai, 68th Hiko Sentai, New Guinea, 1944 in a dark green disruptive camouflage over natural metal
  • Ki-61-I Ko of Sgt Matsumi Nakano of the 244th Hiko Sentai air-to-air ramming unit in dark green with a red painted tail- see attached comment from Ronnie Olsthoorn re aerial mast and armament if planning to build this subject!

Hasegawa Tei vs RS Models Tei

I haven't built the RS Models Tei kit yet but I have compared it to the older Hasegawa Tei kit, noticing the following differences: 
  • The RS kit is better detailed and broken down into more parts, having approximately twice as many parts as the Hasegawa kit, for example the radiator and the distinctive fairing behind the pilot's sear are separate and more detailed, multi-part components in the RS kit
  • The RS cockpit is more detailed with the cowling guns represented and with fuselage halves having sidewall detail whereas the Hasegawa kit has no sidewall detail. The gunsight is not represented at all in the Hasegawa kit but is a separate part in the RS kit
  • The RS kit has more panel line detail with rivets represented on wing and tailplane fairings
  • The RS kit has a separate upper cowling panel with a finer representation of the gun troughs
  • The RS kit has deeper and more accurate wheel wells
  • The RS main wheel covers have correct details on the inner faces and the small inboard doors have separate retraction yokes whereas the Hasegawa parts are plain. However the undercarriage legs in the RS kit are chunkier and less well defined than in the Hasegawa kit.
  • The RS kit has separate drop tank racks on the wings whereas the Hasegawa kit has them moulded integrally to the wings - the RS drop tanks are also a better shape and more detailed
  • The RS spinner has a backplate whereas the apertures in the Hasegawa kit spinner for the propeller blades are open to the rear; prop blades in the Hasegawa kit are a bit on the weedy side
  • The Hasegawa canopy has better defined frames
  • Both kits have engraved surface detail and the same unrealistic "Hasegawa-type" representation of fabric surfaces with fine raised lines to represent ribs and rib tapes
  • Both kits require clean up and the RS kit has no locating pins
  • RS decals are ok with well chosen, nicely saturated colours
Generally the Hasegawa kit is a simpler proposition reflecting its age and FWIW I think the forward cowling "pinch-in" and spinner are slightly better shaped than on the RS kit which has a slightly more slender and pointed nose. However the RS kit is the correct length forward of the wings whereas the Hasegawa kit is slightly under length. The shortness in the Hasegawa kit is in the section between the wing leading edge and the rear panel line for the swing down lower cowling. The Hasegawa kit is missing the long, slim fairings just above the wing roots which are represented in the RS kit and distinctive on the Tei. The RS kit also has provision for the venturi sometimes seen on the left side of the cowling. 

Having compared the RS Models Tei to both the Hasegawa and Fine Molds kits I can confirm that it is not a copy of either. It is differently engineered, has different dimensions, different moulding and different surface detail.

Swings and roundabouts for the Hien builder. The Hasegawa kit is an easy, straightforward build and still results in a good looking model if you are not too bothered about all the small details. The RS kit has more detail but will probably be the more challenging build. Both have minor nose issues.

With Aoshima set to release a new Ki-61-I series and a future AZ Models Ki-61 family announced last year it looks like the Hien modeller is going to be spolit for choice!

Image credits: All images of RS Models Ki-61 series © 2015/16 RS Models; Hasegawa Ki-61 box art © circa 1982 Hasegawa Seisakusho Co., Ltd.


Nessus said...

Love the Ki-61, always have. Enjoy it from many manufacturers and scales but what do you all think about the DML/Dragon 1/72nd "Tony"? I've built two and found them to be pretty good and more accurate than the wonderful but so old Hasegawa mold.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Dragon kit was reviewed at the blog here:-

The arrival of the RS kits, the forthcoming Aoshima kits and possibly AZ Models kits means that further reviews will be necessary!

Nessus said...

Thank you Straggler...I'll read the two postings tonight during my "relaxing time"!

Ken Glass said...

Thanks for this notice, Nick.

Ken Glass

WD said...

Like Nessus, I too love the Hein. First Japanese a/c I ever built was the Revell kit in '70 or '71.

What about these versus the Fine Molds iterations?


Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

Looks like a nice kit!
Those building the Shinten Seikutai machine should not use the aerial mast as depicted in the colour schematics. Instead the aerial wire runs straight to the spine, directly behind the fuselage. Nose guns and gunsight should not be installed either. Best see profile 21 of "Ki-61 & Ki-100 Aces".