Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-61 `Tony'
Kit Number: JT 12
Media: Injected Plastic
Decals : Three versions, all JAAF
Overall: see review
Date of review: January 1995
Comments: Well folks, another Hasegawa 1/48 kit. One expects it to be superb and this reviewer must admit that it is. I had almost no trouble with the kit and used very little filler. One must remember that I always have some trouble and use some filler somewhere, no matter how perfect the kit. Anyway, the only spot I had trouble with was with the wing/fuselage joint where I needed a bit of filler.
The interior is very good and I used (you guessed it) Reheat instrument decals to add that little bit of extra. This brings up my one disappointment with the kit. There is no opening canopy with the kit to display the work you put into the interior. Sure, you can get a vacuformed version, but I think that for the price, one should be included. The interior color is listed as a medium brown so I used yellow zinc chromate mixed with some USAF Vietnam tan and got an interesting color to use for this undercoat.
The rest of the kit just falls together beautifully. A positionable radiator exhaust door is a nice touch and lets one see the nicely molded radiator that is prominent under the belly of the Tony. The only bit I added are True Details wheels although they are not really necessary.
Now on to the best part of the kit, the painting. I basically build models to be a canvas for a camouflage scheme and Japanese Army planes are superb for that. As with most Tonys, this one is in bare metal with fabric control surfaces. I first painted the aircraft in overall gloss white as an undercoat for the Metallizer finishes. Then the yellow of the wing leading edges was painted. There is still some debate as to whether these should be a bright yellow or a yellow orange. I have painted both colors and some in between. Frankly, I imagine they were hand painted with whatever was available. One thing I gather from reading about Japanese camouflage during WWII, it that the colors were not as strictly controlled as in other countries so close is good enough.
After the yellow was painted on the wings and masked, the fabric control surfaces were painted a light grey and masked off. Then several shades of Metalizer were applied to various parts of the aircraft. The scheme I had chosen had a 'mirror-wave' (whatever that means) camouflage applied to the top of the aircraft. I like these snaky camo schemes, but this one required me to apply the paint after the decals had been applied. I used kit decals and followed the scheme that was given therein. I then thinned down a Japanese Army green (Tamiya acrylic so I could clean up the mistakes with water) and carefully applied the camouflage. Much to my surprise, I made no goofs and managed to do a credible job of the scheme. The last thing I did was paint the anti-glare panel a blue-black and then dig out the pastels for engine/gun exhaust and general filth.
The completed kit looks just great! Beause of the superior detail, it is a major improvement over the Otaki Ki-61 I did that now sits in the San Diego Aerospace Museum. This jewel is highly recommended to those who have graduated from snap-tights.
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