1/48 Hasegawa Ki.84 Frank

Gallery Article by David Walker on June 17 2011

 

Ki.84-I Type 4 Haseagwa Kit ~ JT87 Nakajima Type 4 Hayate (Strong Gale) Allied Code Name ~ FRANK.  After approval of the prototype in March 1944, Allied forces began to engage a new potent Japanese fighter in the skies over the Pacific.

While reports did state that this new aircraft, coded "Frank", was an improvement over the older Ki-43 and Ki-44,the Allies did not know just how potent a weapon the Ki-84 was until trials were performed after the war where a well maintained Ki-84, fuelled with high quality aviation gas, outperformed both a P-51K and P-47N.

Even though the average Hayate suffered from some poor materials used during construction, and shoddy workmanship due to the deteriorating war situation in Japan, in the hands of a competent pilot this was a fighter capable of doing more than holding it's own.

The Ki-84 must be considered one of the best fighter aircraft used by any of the Axis Air Forces during WWII.

There were 3,500 "Franks" built but sadly, there is only one example of the Hayate today and it is displayed at the Japanese Peace Museum located at Chiran, Kyushu.

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This model portrays an aircraft of the Headquarters flight from the 47th Sentai based at Narimasu Air Base near northwest Tokyo in 1945. (The Superscale decal instructions stated that it was Narumatsu, but it was actually Narimasu - check your sources always!)  The 47th Sentai was (along with the 244th Sentai flying the Ki-61) tasked with the main Air Defence of Tokyo and the surrounding areas.

This is easily modelled using the basic Hasegawa kit (JT 67) of which there are numerous articles all about the new Hasegawa kit of the Ki.84, so I will concentrate on the build itself.

I wanted an aircraft with an attractive camouflage scheme which took some searching online to find the aftermarket decals from SuperScale number 48-526.

I found the Hasegawa Model kit details to be very good, improved with the addition of 2 colour etch and flap sets from Eduard (48-503 and 49-297) and the Fukuya Brass Pitot tube which is hollow at the tip and much more refined.

As is usual with my Japanese Fighters, I added the Vector Resin ĎHomareĎ Ha 45 engine to the Model replacing single Kit Part B1.  The resin engine was not a perfect fit, but with some minor alterations to the cowling I was able to make it work .

This made a huge difference to the model I think, despite the engine cowling making it hard to easily see, but I know its there.

I also gave up on finding a brass replacement for the kit part N8 guns as there was nothing suitable, so just drilled the barrels open, and this made a big difference to the look.

I highly recommend fitting the Eduard etch Pilots seat, it folds easily into place - it is a huge improvement to the kit seat part K5.

The decals for this model are from a Superscale set of which I'm not usually a big fan.  I used the defining decals from this set, and then employed the Hasegawa decals elsewhere because they were of better quality, to get the best ultimate result.  Hasegawa decals are excellent nowadays - The only other modifications I added were drilling out the kit stub exhausts (there are no Frank resin 1/48 exhausts yet for sale).  I finally opened up both air scoops for the Upper Cowling ( Part B6 ) so the resin engine was more visible and I didnít fit drop tanks as the 48th Sentai Ki.84ís had no need for them, being based near Tokyo.

I painted the propeller spinner Medium Blue with the undersurfaces Medium Grey. The upper surfaces were painted with a mix of FS 34432 Dark-Green and FS 34082 Gray-Green (which produced a brownish colour) with Dark Green blotches over sprayed - I added light wear using a silver pencil.

This Hasegawa Model is highly recommended to anyone .

David Walker

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Photos and text © by David Walker