Francesco Borraccino has very kindly shared these images and details of his splendid build of the Arma Hobby Ki-84 Hayate in 1/72 scale, representing an aircraft of Hiko Dai 73 Sentai.
Saturday 26 November 2022
Francesco Borraccino's 1/72 Hayate - Yes, That One!
Francesco deems the new Arma Hobby kit as beautiful and a really enjoyable, carefree build, maybe not to a Tamiya standard but really amazing. A negative for him were the landing gear covers - too thick! He found the kit relatively easy to build except for a couple of passages, firstly in the placing of the photo-etch engine spark plugs (a problem was also that the instructions were a bit confusing) and secondly the rear portion of the canopy that require some filing to fit on the fuselage depression. I would add to that the rather disappointingly chunky pilot seat which lacks detail.
Francesco opted for a representative Depot finish of blue-green paint over natural metal. He tried the new # 27 by Mr Paint, but in his opinion it lacks the blueish hue and is too olive, so he chose to mix Gunze H-59 IJN Green with AK RC332 Blue Green.
Francesco interpreted the tail number as yellow on a yellow outlined red panel and hand painted it together with the sentai insignia, adding a red painted spinner and aerial mast. The hinomaru are the Techmod decals provided. The only detail he added to the model was the antenna wire which was tricky.
The 73rd (No. 18431) was formed at Kita-Ise airfield, a branch of the Akeno Flying Division, at Kamayama in Mie Prefecture in May 1944 and together with Hiko Dai 71 Sentai made up the 21st Air Brigade. The simple three line sentai insignia was designed by painter and unit member Tsuruoka Yamamoto. From September 1944 the unit was deployed briefly on Homeland Defence operations at Tokorozawa before being designated (with the rest of the Brigade) as the third phase reinforcement for Sho operation No.1 in the Philippines. The unit deployed to Mabalacat East Airfield, Luzon in December and together with other Hayate units was placed under command of the 30th Fighter Group which as losses mounted became the de facto Hayate unit in operations. The 73rd engaged in airfield and shipping attack operations as well as special attack escorts. The sentai commander Maj Teruo Misumi and the Hikotai leader Capt Hiromitsu Kajiwara were both killed in action during January 1945. In the same month a special attack unit was formed within the 30th Fighter Group and three 73rd Sentai flyers including the former Olympics swimmer Kiichi Yoshida volunteered and were subsequently lost in action. The surviving personnel, eventually without aircraft, joined the Japanese ground forces although 70 ground crew members of the 30th Fighter Group, considered essential, were evacuated. The unit was formally disbanded in Japan in March 1945.