Francesco Borraccino has very kindly shared these images of his 1/72 Ki-43-I model in 11th Sentai markings crafted from the Fujimi kit.
Although the Fujimi kit dates from 1994 (is it really 23 years?! Seems like yesterday!) Francesco feels that it captures the shape of the early Hayabusa quite well. But he says that he is not a "rivet counter" and has not compared the kit against plans! The level of detail is good but he enhanced the cockpit using plastic strip and copper/lead wire. Seat belts were added using Tamiya tape with buckles fashioned from copper wire.
The build was straightforward until the kit canopy came to be attached which Francesco described as a nightmare! He found no clear indication or marks for positioning it and a poor fit.
He finished the model to represent an aircraft of Hiko Dai 11 Sentai, replicating the scheme on the well known restored example. The green was matched to colour # 21 midori iro from the IJA KoKaku 39 standard, which he mixed using Tamiya XF-26 (Deep Green) and XF-65 (Field Grey). The unusual brown camouflage pattern was matched to # 33 kaki-iro (persimmon colour) with a mix of Tamiya XF-64 (Red Brown), XF-59 (Desert Yellow), XF-7 (Flat Red) and Gunze H-413 (RLM 04 Yellow). The undersurfaces were finished as natural metal. The wheel wells and inner faces of the undercarriage doors were also finished in aluminium at the time these photos were taken but Francesco subsequently re-painted them in the dark blue grey primer colour. The wing leading edge IFF strips were painted with a mix of Tamiya XF-3 (Flat Yellow) and XF-7 (Flat Red).
The spinner appears dark in tone in photos so Francesco interpreted it as the airframe dark green, following a profile in the FAOTW monograph*, with the prop blades in aluminium and their rear faces painted brown. Early production Ki-43-I had an aluminium painted spinner with polished metal prop blades and red warning stripes but later production aircraft had spinners and prop blades in overall dark brown with yellow warning stropes. The anti-glare panel was painted black. The drop tanks were painted blue-grey with a mix of Tamiya XF-23 (Light Blue) and XF-19 (Sky Grey).
Francesco felt that the kit's hinomaru decals were too bright so he replaced them with some Techmod decals from a Kagero publication. These proved to be very fragile and not opaque so he discarded them and resorted to the decals from an old Hasegawa Ki-43 kit which he found to be satisfactory (a set of generic Army hinomaru with good opaque red is still needed). The Sentai insignia and senchi hiyoshiki fuselage band were painted on using a custom made mask.
With special thanks to Francesco for sharing these images of his excellent model with Aviation of Japan.
* Famous Airplanes of the World # 65 Army Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa (Bunrindo Co., Ltd. July 1997). Gakken # 52 (2005) has a profile of the same aircraft with dark brown spinner and prop blades - yer pays yer money . . . !