Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-100-I koh '5th Flight Regiment'
|PRICE:||2520 yen (about $21.25 at the current exchange rate.|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2015 limited boxing|
The Ki-61 on which this aircraft is based, was the IJAAF's only liquid cooled front line fighter of WWII. It was designed with rather long wings to lessen the wing loading and provide a reasonable amount of maneuverability. When it was at 100%, it was quite a potent aircraft and could have been a lot more successful. However, success was not to be in the portions hoped for. There were two main reasons for this. One is that the aircraft's reverse engineered DB.601 was unlike anything most maintenance men had dealt with. These were mechanics who has spent their whole military career working on radial engines and this was something quite different. Another was the nearly non-existent parts supply chain that often grounded perfectly good planes for want of a gasket or spark plugs.
When the plane was fully functional, it was very good, but so bad was the engine production situation, that by mid 1944 there were scores of completed airframes awaiting power plants. Then, someone got the idea of using a bomber engine. These were 14 cylinder twin row radials that required a major redesign of the nose to properly fit. However, necessity is the mother of invention and in a remarkably short time, the Ki-100 came into being.
Imagine the surprise when it was discovered that this 1500 hp radial completely transformed the plane into an agile and fast aircraft. They couldn't be converted or built fast enough. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the plane only first flew in Feb of 1945, not enough time to get all that many of them into unit service before the war ended 6 months later.
It will come as a surprise to no one that half of this kit's sprues are for the Ki-61. Just like the real plane, Hasegawa has added those pieces that will make it into a Ki-100. This is basically new fuselage halves and the engine section. The wings, landing gear, interior, canopy, and tailplanes are all standard Ki-61. This is good as the Hasegawa 1/48 Ki-61 is a beauty of an aircraft. Were I not such a lethargic builder, I'd have done a ton of these.
So, let me take another look a things. Seven sprues of which two are clear and offers both canopy types. The detailing is finely engraved and crisply executed. There are the usual ejector pin marks on the gear legs, wheels, inside of gear doors and so on. None impossible to fix, but we wish they weren't there to start. Nicely done cockpit with raised detailing on the instrument panel and a decal if you wish to go that route. Nicely done is the sidewall and the rest of the cockpit parts, needing only a shoulder harness to make for a perfectly acceptable cockpit. One of these days, kit makers will start including this item in all their kits.
Probably the area that will cause any difficulty will be the lower fuselage section that fits over the lower wing. I have heard that care needs to be taken to get a good fit. Nothing fancy under the wings, just a pair of pylons and drop tanks. These could easily be left off and would make for a much cleaner looking aircraft.
Instructions are par for Hasegawa and have the usual Gunze paint references. Decals are well printed and the colors look right. The sheet includes the yellow wing ID bands, but I'd recommend painting this area instead. Wing walk markings are also included along with the usual insignia and unique markings. There are three options, all in an olive drab with the undersides in unpainted metal. The two planes with the 5th Flying Regiment differ only by tail number. The third is one of the few Ki-100s with the 244th Sentai. This one has the outer gear doors in the upper fuselage color. The instructions show the underside of the control surfaces in flat aluminum, but I think they may have been in green-grey primer. Your choice. Decals are well printed and matte. They work very well with a bit of help from Mr. Mark Softer.
I had forgotten that I'd built this 'razorback' version several years ago, but it is a pretty nice kit that has not yet been eclipsed. While markings options for this plane are not exactly plentiful, the kit decals will work as well as any aftermarket. To show how far research has come over the years, I built the ancient and very horrible Aoshima kit (not to be confused with the newer and much nicer one) many years ago and painted the upper surface blue. Well worth picking up.
Thanks to me for this one
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