Aeromaster 48-133: Ki-61-I

Units: Various




Scott Van Aken

A real favorite Japanese plane for me is the Ki-61. It was the only mainstream Japanese WWII fighter that had a liquid cooled engine. The Japanese just couldn't make them with the kind of power that was needed so home-developed engines were air-cooled. The 'Tony', however, was powered by a Japanese-produced DB.601 engine that made for a fast, but rather unreliable aircraft.

This sheet has four of them, all different sub-sub variants that Japanese aircraft enthusiasts can tell apart, but I can't without some help! Ki-61s originally came from the factory in bare metal with grey-green painted control surfaces. They were then painted or not as required by the unit. However, not all were produced in bare metal as late in the war, they were given a upper dark green color to keep them camouflaged from attack. These planes also had a most unusual khaki colored primer used for the interiors and other surfaces such as wheel wells and inner gear doors.

The first aircraft is from the 23rd Sentai in mid-1945 and based on Okinawa. It has the overall green upper surfaces.

Second, is a mixed plane with what appears to be a repaired aft fuselage from various other planes. This plane has the home defense bands on the wings as well as a lot of red on the tailplane and lower gear doors.

#37 is from the 55th Sentai at Itami air base at the end of the war.

Finally, a nice 'palm frond' overspray paint job on this 68 Sentai Ki-61 as based in Hollandia, New Guinea in 1944. The trick to doing this kind of paint job is to have the model decaled and then do the painting of the green areas. A fun job that can look great when it is done. Here's a link to an earlier kit review that used this method.

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