|1/32 Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo)|
|Kit Number: 08880|
|Reviewed by Ed Kinney, IPMS# 2989|
Eduard JX-095, MSRP: $9.95
Website: www.eduard.cz; Link to Item.
ModelArt Profiles #5 - Nakajimi Ki-44 Shoki, MSRP: $48.95
Alclad II- Various New Colors; MSRP ~ $8/bottle.
Every once in a blue moon there will come a kit that for some reason will cry out from the multitudes "Build Me NOW!!!" Well guys, this is the one. Don't misunderstand, I'm not a particular fan of Japanese Aircraft, but there is something about the design of this bird that I find most intriguing. Speaking from the standpoint of a pilot with almost 50 years experience, whenever I see an aircraft with that big an engine combined with that small a rudder, all I can say is "it is best to admire the design from a safe distance and most definitely while on the ground". Nonetheless, this unusual aircraft has something really slick about its' appearance, and when I begin to examine the kit itself, I was hooked.
This version is offered with 6 light grey plastic trees and one clear molded so flawlessly thin that care must be taken not to break them. It is apparent from some of the extra parts included on the trees that there will be several more versions in the works.
Work began in the cockpit area, and I can tell you that other than aftermarket seatbelts, it needs no other enhancements. Tamiya's Nakajima cockpit green acrylic was used as a base, with the trim picked out in a very dark grey for the boxes, and such. The side panel detail is molded onto the fuselage halves, with the floor, etc. attached prior to joining fuselage halves.
Should the builder desire to use it, there is an excellent pilot figure included in the kit. Throttle quadrants and other control boxes are molded separately, so they can be painted prior to installation. The final step in the cockpit was a brown/black acrylic wash to pick out the detail.
Decals are provided for the gauge faces and are absolute perfection. Once the fuselage halves were joined, the balance of the construction was a simple as it gets. (As a builders note, before joining the wing top and bottom surfaces, check the plans as to what holes will need to be opened up for long range tanks and the like.) This model was ready for paint in 3 days! Needless to say, this speaks to the absolutely perfect fit of each and every part. If you looked in the encyclopedia of modeling for the definition of "shake box kit", this will be the one you'd find. Other than the inside seams of the exhaust pipes and air filter intake, as shown in the construction images, no fillers or putties were used whatsoever! This is truly a magnificent job of engineering by Hasegawa's designers and they deserve a standing ovation for their efforts.
Paint and Decals
Most of you know that I have been a true fan of the Alclad II products as offered by Tony Hipp, the creator of Alclad paints. Never let it be said that Mr. Hipp rests on his laurels. He seems to be constantly striving to offer new design and improved products to the modeling fraternity. Such was the case with this effort. Hipp has offered a new batch of straight aluminum that he refers to as "The New Brew". While there isn't much difference in color, the new batch can be applied directly on to bare plastic without the use of a primer, thereby eliminating a step in not only preparation but drying time. The key to any natural metal finish is the preparation of the subject.
The plastic in this case was polished out using the Micro polishing pads and then followed by the base coat of "The New Brew". Once dry, (approximately 15 minutes) paneling was accomplished by masking and applying 5 more shades of Alclad II to the aircraft before painting any colors. As a note, Alclad II offers a new crystal clear product that replaces the honey colored clear base coat previously available. Alclad II also provided me with a sample of a new gun metal color that perfectly matches my 12 gauge shotgun. Ideal for use on all manner of guns. Alclad II was used over the aluminum base to simulate the blue/green tinted varnish the Japanese used as an anti-corrosive finish in some areas. This made use of Alclad II "hot metal" blue, green and transparent clear medium mixed together. This concoction was sprayed very lightly in the areas shown in the images, followed by further spraying around the edges and crevices which darkens the effect slightly. It's hard to see in the images, but the results are most gratifying. Alclad indicates that even more goodies are in stock for future releases, but won't tell me what. I'll look forward to it and many thanks Tony for the review samples (check out his website at www.alclad2.com for pricing and products.
After the model glistened in its' 6 shades of aluminum, I elected to use Model Masters' enamels for the colors rather than use the kit decals for the white and blue bands. (Tamiya Japanese grey/green was used for the control surfaces), which made the model ready for decaling.
Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by my use of the kit decals Absolutely outstanding, working well with the Micro system of solvents. A panel line wash was added in a medium grey brown to pop out the details, and very light exhaust staining followed with a slight pastel application. Alclad II "hot metal" blue was used, sprayed over the flat black anti glare section until I was happy with the degree of blue tint used on some Nakajima aircraft.
The kit decals offer the following markings as options:
A. 3rd Squadron, 70th Flight Regiment - W.O. Makoto Kashiwa - A.F. 1945
B. 3rd Squadron, 70th Flight Regiment - Capt Yoshio Kasihwa - A.F. 1945
C. 3rd squadron, 47th Flight Regiment - Capt Narimasu - A.F. 1944
These decals appear to be well researched and on the money as to color and register Excellent.
Model Art Profile #5 - Nakajima KI-44 SHOKI
This is an exceptionally nice treatise on the TOJO comprised of 128 pages with 11 printed in English as a translation appendix. The soft cover book offers numerous black and white photos, line drawings, and color line drawings of details and several pages of color photos of this magnificent kit built up in several schemes. Last but not least, 11 pages of color profiles. I found this publication to be most helpful in completing this outstanding kit. Many thanks to ModelArt for the review sample.
Eduard Masking Set
One of the latest offerings from Eduard is a flexible masking tape set beautifully die cut to fit the above kit. As images show, both windscreen versions are included, as well as a die cut mask for the landing light cover.
If you haven't used one of these handy little sets, you should. They are outstanding in quality and can save you copious amounts of time masking off difficult canopies. Check out their website at www.eduard.cz. Many thanks to Eduard for the review sample it truly made things much easier!
Within an eighth of a point of absolute perfection, enough kind words can't be said about this magnificent offering other than to say, it gets my vote for kit of the year! Many thanks and appreciation to Michel Hui of Dragon Models for the review sample. There is no choice but to award this the
Highest recommendation possible.