1/32 Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44-II OTSU Shoki (Tojo) w/40mm Cannon

Limited Edition Series

Product Article Article by Dave Johnson on Feb 19 2010


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.

Click on images below to see larger images



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 area.

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 source.

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 raised position.

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 Aqueous range.

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.

Dave Johnson

Click on images below to see larger images




Photos and text © by Dave Johnson