Sheet #

Aeromaster 48-116 for Ki-61 'Tony'




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Review By:

Scott Van Aken




To many of us, the Ki-61 is probably the neatest looking Japanese aircraft of WWII. Perhaps it is because of the sleek, Italian-looking design of the aircraft. In fact, when first encountered, it was thought that it was a Japanese built Macchi 202, however the only thing in common with the two were the German origins of the engine. The Tony used a modified DB.601. Unfortunately, the engine was one of the biggest problems with the Ki-61. The Japanese just couldn't get the performance out of it that they would have liked. Quality control was a major problem and the engine was usually the major cause of a lack of serviceability of the Tony in the field.

Modelers have been blessed with a superior Ki-61 in the Hasegawa kit that was released about 10 years ago. Doesn't seem like that long, but it was. Before that, we only had the Otaki kit in 1/48, and while it was and is a nice kit, just doesn't stand up to the Hasegawa offering.

All Tonys were delivered in bare metal and were painted either in depots prior to unit delivery or by the units themselves in the field. The result is that many Ki-61s sport very interesting camouflage. The kind that I like to paint!

Aeromaster provided enough common markings to do one of the four subjects. You'll have to get their hinomaru sheet in order to do the others. Unfortunately, that sheet is out of print the last time I looked. If nothing else, the people who do decal sheets should make sure that these things stay in constant production for use by modelers. There is nothing more irritating than having something required and unavailable!

First on the sheet is a rather ratty looking Tony from the 149th Shinbu Company at Ashiya air base. It has a camo scheme that is very thickly applied in places.

Next is a very pretty Ki-61 of the 244th air combat regiment. This plane has the white 'bandages' around the hinomaru. Those white areas will have to be painted on. It is interesting to note that the gear doors are also camouflaged!

The third aircraft on the sheet is from the 56th air combat regiment at Itami air base in 1945. Undoubtedly used for attacking invading B-29s. This one is a bit unusual in having full camouflage on the upper surfaces.

Finally, another very nicely camouflaged Tony from the 68th Sentai HQ squadron with a nice blue band around the fuselage. 

All four schemes are quite nice and will really add to the looks of your Tony. 

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! 

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