Nakajima built a total of 1,225
Ki-44 Shoki (meaning "Demon Queller" and codenamed "Tojo"
by the Allies) of all versions, including prototypes. Development of the
Ki-44 began in 1940 as a dedicated interceptor designed to a Japanese Army Air
Force specification for a high speed platform with a good rate-of-climb. When
introduced into service the high landing speeds and limited manoeuvrability of
the Shoki made it unpopular with most pilots. The Ki-44-II Otsu was introduced
with a much heavier armament, comprising four 20mm cannon or, alternatively, two
12.7mm machine-guns and two 40mm cannon. Most Ki-44 Shoki’s were deployed in
Japan for home defence against the Allied advance in the Pacific. Their heavy
calibre armament did, however, proved to be mightily effective against the
American Boeing B-29 Superfortresses bombers. A few were used to provide a force
of interceptors to protect vital targets in Sumatra.
This Limited Edition release
from Hasegawa of the Ki-44 II Otsu with 40mm Cannons is based on the Newly
Tooled 1/32 release of the Ki-44II Hei that was released during July 2009 by
Hasegawa. Moulded in 160 (9 are not used) grey plastic parts and 15 clear
plastic parts, this highly detailed kit will be a hit built straight from the
box with all modellers at any level.
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There is excellent detail
within the cockpit with 29 components making up the cockpit area. The only down
side to the cockpit area is the seat with its lighting holes moulded as dimples.
These are pretty easy to drill out to correct the seat. Hasegawa
also offers the modeller to paint the instrument dial faces with moulded detail
on the face or use decals supplied on the decal sheet. Also included is an
outstanding plastic injected Pilot figure in a seated pose. Offered are two
heads, one with and one without an oxygen mask. The detail of this figure is up
there with resin figure manufactures. If you are not planning to include the
figure, shoulder and seat harness would be required weather it was scratch built
or an aftermarket item it would give it that finishing touch to the cockpit
The kit also features a nicely
tooled Nakajima Ha.109 radial engine, which were also fitted to the Hi-49
(Helen) Bomber. The engine builds up from ten (including the
poly cap). The engine is only lacking some ignition wires to the cylinders; this
can be added very easily with some wire or Photo Etch from an aftermarket
Exterior detail has been done
very well with fine rows of fine rivets holes and exceptionally crisp engraved
panel lines. Control surfaces are moulded in place in the neutral position, but
the “Butterfly” Flaps are separate and you can position these dropped or the
Included are a pair of drop
tanks and pylons for bombs, but the bombs are not included in the kit.
Also included is an optional Fuel Cooler, These seem to be fitted during
the summer months on the airframe.
The new items included in this
boxing of the Shoki is, two parts for the Ho-301 40mm Cannon. These
cannons saw little use during the war and were only fitted to the Ki-44 Shoki
and the Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai. The Ho-301 cannon was light (only weighting 49kgs)
rapid-firing for its calibre (475 rounds per minute) and because of the low
muzzle velocity, the weapon was only suited for attacking bombers, and even
here, the extremely low muzzle velocity made aiming difficult.
Decals supplied for the
markings are for two aircraft of 1st and 2nd Chutai from the 47th Hikõ
Sentai based at Narimasu airfield. Decal call outs and assembly guide are very
easy to follow and the paint chart call outs are in Mr Hobby and CSI Creos
I would expect to see more
versions and boxing schemes released from Hasegawa from the Shoki tooling, as
there are few sprue gates that have been closed off.
I would recommend this kit to
anyone, I am currently building the first release of Ki-44 Hei boxing myself.
The fit of this kit is outstanding and has been a real joy to build. It
would have to be up there with the rest of the best fitting kits that have been
produced. Hasegawa should be very proud with their efforts and work that has
gone into the design and production of the Shoki. I am looking forward to their
next new tooled release.
I would like to thank the team
at Hobby Link
Japan for supplying the review sample.
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