Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-61-1 tei '244 Fighter Regiment #62'

KIT #: 09939
PRICE: $34.35 from GreatModels
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2011 limited reissue


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 first encounter reports claimed Ki-61s were Messerschmitt Bf 109s: further reports claimed that the new aircraft was an Italian design, which led to the Allied reporting name of "Tony", assigned by the United States War Department. 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. Over 2.500 Ki-61s were produced, first seeing action around New Guinea in 1943, and continuing to fly combat missions throughout the war.

The 244th Sentai was one of the most famous Japanese units of WWII. Within the unit, there were nine Bukosho recipients (Japan's equivalent of the Medal of Honor, frequently given posthumously). Major Teruhiko Kobayashi was JAAF's youngest Sentai commander. The 244th also had an air-to-air B-29 ramming unit. The Sentai claimed 73 B-29s shot down plus 92 damaged, making it the most famous of the Home Defence Sentais. Captain Nagao Shirai is considered the ranking ace of 244 Sentai and possibly leading B-29 "killer" of JAAF (11 B-29s plus two F6Fs destroyed, six other aircraft damaged using Ki-61 and Ki-100. Captain Chuichi Ichikawa is credited with nine B-29s plus one F6F destroyed, six B-29s damaged. Major Teruhiko Kobayashi, is confirmed with  three B-29s plus two F6Fs destroyed.


I'm not sure how old the molds are for this one, but I'll guess early 1990s. The molds have been taken care of well as this kit's sprues showed no signs of age in terms of flash or other nasty mold glitches. Yes, there are some ejector pin marks in areas I wish there weren't (inner gear doors for instance), but nothing really bad.

The kit is pretty basic as these things go. The interior is fairly well done and should be OK for most. Those wanting greater detail will need to go the after-market route. Instrument panels have nicely raised detail and Hasegawa provides a decal as well, which will fit properly over the dials if one takes care in application. The kit comes with a one-piece canopy that is nice and clear. The clear sprue has some flash around the landing light cover that will need removed. A nicely done one-piece lower wing helps with alignment. The only option is to have drop tanks and the accompanying racks installed. Most Ki-61 photos do not show these tanks so it is good that the holes are not already opened as one finds on some newer kits. A five piece prop and spinner are provided. I'm not a fan of separate prop blades, but Hasegawa has them keyed to the backing plate so alignment isn't an issue.

This particular boxing is for aircraft #62 of the 244th Sentai. Apparently we are offered a sort of mini-history of this one aircraft, which ended up being one of Major Kobayashi's mounts. This aircraft has two fuselage stripes and kill markings. The initial aircraft is on the box art with the intermediate option adds a white fuselage stripe to it. These two options are planes piloted by Lt. Yujiro Itakura. As it is the same plane, all have red tail sections which need painted; and that includes the undersides of the stabs. All are Kawasaki dark green over unpainted metal. Though not shown, I believe the underside control surfaces should be the standard grey-green primer used on fabric. Decals are quite nicely printed and include the leading edge ID band. Previous experience with these newer decals has been quite positive as they are as good as any aftermarket decals.


If you have had problems finding a Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-61, here is another opportunity for you. It really is a find kit and makes into a super model as you can see by the one I built many years ago.



April 2011

I got this at GreatModels where you can find this and many other fine kits and accessories.

Thanks to If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page