RS Models 1/72 Tachikawa Ki-106
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
On 8 September 1943, instructions were issued to redesign the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate all-metal single-seat fighter (which see) for wooden construction because of the increasingly critical light alloy supply situation. The task of redesigning the airframe was assigned to the Tachikawa Hikoki which was to collaborate with the Army Aerotechnical Research Institute at Tachikawa. Assigned the designation Ki-106, the wooden fighter was intended to utilise a high proportion of semi-skilled labour in its construction and to be broken down into components to be built by small wood-working shops grouped around designated assembly points. Prototype construction was sub-contracted to Ohjo Koku, but the first of three prototypes was not flown until July 1945. The external characteristics of the Ki-84 were faithfully retained by the Ki-106, apart from some minor revision of the vertical tail, the first prototype being powered by the 2,000 hp Nakajima Ha-45-21 engine and carrying an armament of four 20-mm cannon. Appreciably heavier than the standard Ki-84, the Ki-106 was subjected to various weight saving measures, one of these being a reduction in the armament to two 20-mm cannon, and the second prototype flew with this armament during the last week of the war. Max speed, 385mph (620km/h) at 21,325ft (6 500m). Time to 16,405ft (5 000m), 7.85min. Normal range, 497mis (800 km)plus 1.5 hrs. Empty weight, 6,499 lb (2 948 kg). Loaded weight, 8,5981b (3 900 kg). Dimensions as for Ki-84 apart from height of 11 ft 9VA in (3,59 m).
One might rightly ask why a kit of a plane that is basically already done by others? Well, the Ki-106 may well be a wooden Ki-84, but there are a few shape differences, the most noticeable to me being the wing tips which seem a bit more squared off. There is a very slight difference in the tail, but you'd need to set the two planes side by side to see them.
RS has done a very nice job of molding this one with nicely engraved surface detail and some cockpit detail as well on the fuselage interiors. Like all short run kits, the large bits have some ejector towers to deal with and that includes the inside of the engine cylinder pieces. These latter may not be an issue, but if they are, they will be difficult to remove.
A one piece canopy is part of the kit and this one is a bit different from many other RS kits in that there is no photo etch. The cockpit is pretty basic with a floor, stick, seat, rear bulkhead and instrument panel. A panel decal would have been nice as the detail there is simply a bunch of circles for the instruments. No p.e. means no harness either.
The engine is two rows which are a bit soft in detail, but since most will be hidden it is not an issue. There is a separate set of ejector exhaust to fit on the back of the engine and two cowl flap sections to attach once the cowling is in place. The lower oil cooler radiator has separate front and back grilles. Landing gear is nicely formed as are the wheels.
Instructions are a folded sheet with well drawn construction sequences. No color information is given for the interior or the wheel wells or the gear legs. For sure the wells and interior would not be aotake as that is a metal primer and this aircraft is mostly wood. Two whiffer markings are provided, both of which are actually Ki-84 unit markings. Both are basically green over grey with yellow wing leading edge ID bands. Since only two planes actually flew, if you wanted to duplicate one of those, it would be easy to do as all you need are the national insignia.
RS does three different boxings of this kit, each one differing only in the decals and box illustrations. You may wonder if this one has any benefit over the 30 year old Hasegawa Ki-84 kit. From what I have seen, this one has a more detailed interior and wheel wells. However, the interior situation can be cured by a great resin set by True Details for the Hasegawa kit. Considering that you can get the older Hasegawa kit for under $15 from many places, adding the small additional cost of the resin set will bring you pretty well under what this one sells for in many shops. The choice is yours.
Thanks to me for picking up the review kit.
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