Hasegawa 1/32 Ki-61-I 'Hein' "68th Fighter Regiment"

KIT #: 08190
PRICE: $71.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Limited Reissue. Can build either koh or hei versions



The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (飛燕, roughly "flying swallow") was a Japanese World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The Allied code name assigned by the United States War Department was "Tony". The Japanese Army designation was "Army Type 3 Fighter" (三式戦闘機). It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled inline "V" engine.
The first production version had a fully retractable tail wheel and two 2 x 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine guns in the wings and two synchronized 2 x 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Ho-103 machine guns in the fuselage forward decking. The wings had racks outboard of the wheel bays, which were capable of carrying one 40 gallon drop tank or a light bomb.
In the second production fighter variant, it was found the armament was too light against allied aircraft and the tail wheel retraction mechanism was unreliable, the plane was modified accordingly. Two 12.7 mm Ho-103 heavy machine guns replaced the wing 7.7 mm machine guns, with modifications to the upper-wing bulges, and the tail wheel well doors were removed and the tail wheel locked in the "down" position (although the mechanism was still intact).

This is one of Hasegawa's limited reissues of the short nosed Ki-61-I and includes bits and pieces to allow the modeler to build either the initial or second production aircraft. Markings for one of each type are provided on the large decal sheet.

As is the norm with Hasegawa, all the sprues save the clear ones are in one bag, making scratching and broken parts a problem. No broken bits on this one, though light scratches were commonplace. The kit includes a well detailed cockpit that for most, will be detailed enough. Frankly, the only thing Hasegawa really should add would be a seat harness. There are decals to put over the instrument panel if one wishes or one could paint and detail the individual parts. Throughout the instructions, there are notes as to holes and panel lines to fill depending on the version that is being built. There is also a note about using '..optional QG 14' for the gun barrels. No such sprue exists and I can only assume this is in reference to the original boxing that included these items in cast metal.

If one wants to use the optional drop tanks, then holes need to be opened in the lower wings prior to cementing them together. To me, anything hung on the Ki-61 takes away from its sleek lines, but these tanks were often carried. Optional upper wing bulges and barrels are provided for the cannon armed version. You also get optional tail wheel sections. The kit includes flattened wheels which is also a nice touch as they are not widely bulged out as are some resin replacements. Hasegawa also provides a pilot figure for the kit, which may well be why there is no harness included. The last options would be for  exposed steps and fuselage hand holds as well as a three piece or single piece canopy.

Markings are for two planes. One is the box art aircraft from the 68th Flight Regiment, the first unit to get the Ki-61. Both options are for planes in overall unpainted metal with red-brown props and spinners. The 68th aircrft has the upper surfaces covered in a random spray pattern of dark green. This was applied once the plane reached its unit and while unit markings would probably be put over the streaky camo, the national insignia, which were factory applied, would have been sprayed around. The second option is from the second variation and with the 18th Flight Regiment based in Japan during 1944. It is overall unpainted metal.  I'm sure someone who knows more about these planes than I could verify or correct me, but I had always thought the fabric control surfaces were painted in a green-grey color, but according to the instructions, they are the same aluminum color as the rest of the plane. Wing leading edge ID bands and the black anti-glare panel will need to be painted. The decals are very well done and provide all the tail markings and fuselage stripes as well as the insignia and data markings.


I don't think anyone can go wrong with a Ki-61 kit in any scale and this one in 1/32 is quite detailed. Those who have built it comment on how well it goes together and this just adds another fine set of markings to what has been done.





March 2009

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