Aoshima 1/144 Ki-45 'Nick'




¥ 1000


Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Includes revetment and starter truck


The Ki-45 was Japan's answer to the heavy fighter like Germany's Bf-110. However, it was not used as a bomber escort, but mainly for ground attack, a role in which it was relatively successful. It was also used as a bomber interceptor and was armed with Schräge Muzik or obliquely mounted cannon in the aft cockpit. 

The Ki-45 had an extremely long gestation period before it finally entered production. There were all sorts of problems much of them relating to tail flutter and lack of general stability. There was also a lack of power from the chosen engines. As this aircraft was also being developed concurrently with the Ki-48 and using many of the same components, similar problems cropped up with the Ki-48. Eventually the airframe was modified and more powerful engines used bring the aircraft up to specifications.

Most of the Ki-45s that entered service were the Ki-45KAI (KAI = modified) version. There were four subtypes of the Ki-45KAI; the a, b, c, and d versions. They are all differentiated by armament and nose shapes. The a has a relatively blunt nose with a landing light in it, The b  and c has a 20 or 37mm cannon in it, and the d has a sharper nose. Both the a and b have two machine guns in the nose and the some versions of the c had the obliquely mounted cannon. 

The subject of this kit, the Ki-45KAIb was  specifically developed as a ground attack aircraft, hence the 20mm nose cannon in addition to the 37mm ventral cannon. This relatively heavy forward firepower made it perfect for hunting PT boats or intercepting 5th AF Liberators.

As for some specs, the top speed was 340 mph, range about 1,400 miles and a little over 1,700 aircraft were built. One was experimentally fitted with a 75mm cannon, but it proved too much for the light airframe of the Ki-45.


Here's a kit that's new to me that was sent by a friend in Japan. It is molded in grey plastic with nicely engraved panel lines. There is only a touch of flash on the parts, no sink areas on the plane though the starter truck has a few, and no ejector pin marks that I could see on initial inspection. For some reason, building always seems to bring these things to light!

There is also no cockpit of any kind, only a rather large hole where one could be installed There are wheel wells of a sort and the transparencies (not shown) are thick but relatively clear. Guess I'll just have to paint the interior black and go from there. No engine detail is present, but these planes were closely cowled with large spinners so little would be seen anyway.

The version of this kit is the one with the nose mounted 20mm cannon (see image above) and not the one with the 37mm belly cannon. The starter truck is molded in dark brown and has a ton of ejector pin marks on the underside of all the larger pieces. The revetment is in grey plastic and well done. A nice touch to the kit.

I should mention that this came with two to a box, and my friend kept one for himself which is fair as I rarely build the second kit in these doubles sets. Instructions are all in Japanese, so are rather useless to me. Fortunately the construction diagrams are easy to follow, though are not really needed as the kit has so few parts.

Decals are provided for what seem to be three planes and  appear to be fairly well printed. They are typically Japanese in that they are a bit thick and the white is ivory. They also seem a bit on the transparent side. What is totally missing is a decal placement  and painting guide. I guess you are supposed to use the box art to help you or that info is hidden somewhere in the mass of ideograms that are there.   


I seriously doubt if you'll see this kit on shelves in the US as Aoshima isn't exactly that well received here in the US. However, it does look like it would make for a nice model, though I seriously doubt if anyone will be airbrushing the mottled camo on this one!

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