1/48 Hasegawa Isamu Sasaki’s Ki-84  

by Christian Curec - aka Chris Cat


  Romania National Day 2005 



From the great number of truly heroic acts made by the pilots worldwide, during the Second World War, only few had the luck to be mediated as it should.

The error of fighting under a flag that lost this conflict caused many heroic acts to be forgotten. Together with them, courage, skills, determination and spirit of sacrifice of many pilots was also forgotten. In place of the gratitude deserved by any other hero many of them were blamed or even thrown in jail. In many cases they had to emigrate to places where their own name was not a handicap anymore or they had to change their names and live their entire life under another name.

Isamu Sasaki was one of those pilots.

A few pilots could tell "I have downed a dragon - a B-29 Superfortress" and lived to tell you that. In a single night action Sasaki shot down three Superforteress in a matter of minutes.

He achieved his first victory over Rangoon in 1942 and in two years he shot down a total of 32 planes, twelve large aircraft and 20 fighters.   

At the end of the war Sasaki had six B-29 destroyed and damaged another three. With a total of 38 kills he ranks as number eight in the TOP of JAAF aces. The last victories were achieved flying an unmarked Ki-84 belonging to Army Test Centre from Tokyo.

I made this model in honor of all the unknown heros - pilots from the second World War. 


Ki -84 was a “Too little too late” in Japanese version. In search for a better fighter the Japanese engineers manage to design a plane that could climb faster and could outturn all his opponents.

Plagued by low octane gasoline and poor quality of components, especially the engine, this plane never reached its maximum potential.

During the tests made after the war, this plane was able to reach 689 km/h at 20.000 ft. with 140 octane gasoline and not the usual 78 octane used by the Japanese army.

A true "Dragon hunter", the heavily armed version, designed to intercept bombers was armed with 2 pairs of cannon, 2x20mm in the fuselage and 2x30mm canons in the wings.

Unfortunately only one plane survived until today. It is preserved in a Japanese museum.  


The “Skeleton Edition” or Clear edition from Hasegawa has a lot of details. It comes with photoetch parts and decals for two different airplanes.

Inside the cockpit I used an Eduard zoom set (partially) only where I thought that photoetched parts are looking better than originals. I must say that Hasegawa has done a beautiful job in detailing this model.

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The skeleton is a pain in the … Gluing all the parts together is very difficult but the worst thing is when you discover that on one crossing a part is not in it’s place. After gluing (with a cianoacrylate glue) all the parts, I discovered that the structure was too big to fit inside the fuselage.

Sanding seemed the right way so I used a Dremel machine at low speed. It worked fine until the head got stocked on a rib and broke several elements. The same thing happened when I tried to sand the skeleton by hand. It was very difficult to make the skeleton fit in the fuselage.

I scratchbuild the oxygen tube from sprue and made a gauge from a decal. I have decided in the last moment to add the oxygen tube because it will add a colour spot in a place where nothing will draw the eye. I also scratchbuilt wires and pipelines and cables from copper wires.

The cockpit was painted, washed (with different colours) and dry brushed several times with different shades of colours, in order to add depth and that marvellous look of a “used thing”. Aotake colour from inside the cockpit was dry brushed with aluminium.   

The left side of the cockpit made only from a photoetched part was also transformed with the use of the Eduard set.

After painting all the parts I realised that the two tubes that are covering the machineguns are too small and the place between the engine and the cockpit is not accurately designed by Hasegawa so I had to scratchbuild the tubes and a floor that was enabling me to fix all the parts together (cockpit, oil tank, fire wall …). The tubes were painted in black and dry brushed with rust.

The engine was painted in iron, washed with blue (aquarela paints) then dry brushed with aluminium. Finally electrical cables were added with help of thin copper wire. I painted the wires in dark blue in order to give some colour to this area.


I had a serious issue regarding the transparency of the clear parts. Also on the fuselage I discovered injection points which were visible on the clear areas. Patience and sanding with a special substance (used for removing scratches on plastic lenses) solved this issue. Finally a coat of ‘Future’ restored the shine and transparency of the plastic. 

In order to break the strait lines and escape from the toy look I cut and repositioned the moving parts of the rudder, in a more "natural" position.

The model was pre-shaded with enamels and painted with acrylics after masking the surfaces that had to remain transparent. I also used slight post shading with a 10% lighter colour in order to obtain realistic surfaces.

I applied a coat of Future, before applying decals and washing. Decals were thick and reacted violently to “Solva Set” and ”Solva Sol”. To solve this unexpected issue I had to paint the Hiromaru’s and the yellow band from the wings. To obtain the right yellow colour I applied a light gray and only then airbrushed the yellow paint. For washing I used thinned oil paints, a combination between black and terra ombra bruciatta seemed to be the best solution.

I scratchbuilt cannon muzzles and the pitot tube from syringe needles.  The antenna was made from a thin fishing line.

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For a diorama I wanted a corner of the landing strip. I made it from 10cm pieces of cardboard, arranged at an angle from the margins of the frame. The landing strip was painted, washed and drybrushed.

This model was meant to be my entry in to the PACAIR Group build. Unfortunately the group build ended by the time I was able to finish only the cockpit.

It was a difficult build (I ended breaking the landing gear several times) and I will not start a new skeleton edition in the near future. 

Christian - Romania

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Photos and text © by Christian Curec - aka Chris Cat