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Hasegawa 1/32 Kawasaki Ki-61I Type 3 Fighter Hien (TONY)

The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (飛燕, “flying swallow”) is a Japanese World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service. The Japanese Army designation was “Army Type 3 Fighter” (三式戦闘機).  Allied pilots initially believed Ki-61s were Messerschmitt Bf 109s and later an Italian aircraft, which led to the Allied reporting name of “Tony”, assigned by the United States War Department. It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled inline V engine. Over 3,000 Ki-61s were produced. Initial prototypes saw action over Yokohama during the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942, and continued to fly combat missions throughout the war.

The Ki-61 was designed by Takeo Doi and his deputy Shin Owada in response to a late 1939 tender by the Koku Hombu for two fighters, each to be built around the Daimler-Benz DB 601Aa. Production aircraft would use a Kawasaki licensed DB 601, known as the Ha-40, which was to be manufactured at its Akashi plant. The Ki-60 was to be a heavily armed specialised interceptor, with a high wing loading; the Ki-61 was to be a more lightly loaded and armed general-purpose fighter, intended to be used mainly in an offensive, air superiority role at low to medium altitudes.
[Source: Wikipedia]

1/32 Scale “Shidenkai no Maki” Kawasaki Ki-61 Type 3 “Tony” Plastic Model Kit.

KIT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Highly detailed plastic pieces molded in gray, cream and clear
  • Limited edition
  • Standing and Seated Figures included
  • Detailed cockpit with instrument panel
  • High Quality Waterslide decals
  • Illustrated instructions
  • Scale: 1/32
  • Length: 10.78″ (274mm)
  • Wingspan: 14.76″ (375mm)
  • Skill level: 3
  • Parts: 151
  • Kit Number: 64746
  • MSRP: $94.99
  • Street Price $79.99 USD

MARKING OPTIONS:
One decal sheet with markings for 1 version:
1) Pilot student, Kei Kogarashi

Welcome to the newest entry on our website. This time we are proud to present the Hasegawa 1/32 Kawasaki Ki-61I Type 3 Fighter Hien (TONY) plastic model. Though this is not a new model of the famous fighter, it is new from Hasegawa under their Creative Works Series.  The model is featuring popular manga [Shidenkai no Maki]. There are no signs of tooling aging on this model kit considering how many copies it has printed. No flash or nasty mold lines are present and the detail is well engraved all over the fuselage. Having said that, the clear parts on this kit at least for *my personal* taste, have very shallow detail on the frame representation. Be ready to either get aftermarket masks or Bare-Metal foil to mask the clear parts. All my attempts with Tamiya masking tape and humble toothpicks were futile. A model builder sometimes need to know when to stop, and I did because I knew I was going to loose my clear canopies. Luckily I had Bare-Metal Chrome foil hanging on a wall and it made the masking job a whole lot easier. Granted, bare metal leaves a gummy glue residue but this was easily addressed with odorless mineral spirit on a cotton swab.

There are aftermarket cockpit options for this kit available. In my humble opinion, the stock cockpit is very good itself and can be made to look even better with some basic scratch building skills. Other than a wash and some aluminum dry brushing on the seat, I left it pretty much stock because I wanted to feature Kei at the knobs and dials.

The figures are a resin cast but not the resin we are used to on figures. This is the kind of resin you would find on figurines at the Dollar Store. It is a non-porous resin and I had a hard time to get the paint stick to it. Wash and sand with #1500 grit sandpaper or pads to create something for the paint to bite on. Your choice, you can paint the eyes or use the supplied eyes via decals. There are also decals for the eyeglasses frame but I decided to paint them and not fiddle with tiny decals. Speaking of decals, they are of the greatest quality I have worked with. They sink almost complete on the fuselage rivets without any decals solvent.

Painting the Hasegawa 1/32 Kawasaki Ki61-I Type 3 Tony.

As most of you know, the secret to a nice NMF is a good foundation. The fit of the wings to the wingspar and fuselage is like a glove. So I worked with my model wingless until it was time to add the landing gear. First, after sanding the minor joint lines, I sprayed the model with Rust-Oleum 2X Black Primer (this stuff is good but cannot say the same about the white version). Corrections were addressed and followed by area touch-ups of more R/O primer. A coat of Vallejo Gloss Black 77.660 primer was added. Since the model already had a coat of flat black primer, this make the Vallejo primer go a long way. Once the G/B Vallejo primer had dried, I sprayed fine misted coats of Vallejo Metal Color Aluminum 77.701 using my Aztek A-470 Airbrush with a Turquoise Nozzle. On top of the aluminum metal color from Vallejo, I added the ‘camo’ look using Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green. The yellow stripes are Tamiya XF-03 Flat Yellow.

Notice one of the pictures below. I made a photocopy of the design from the instructions which is almost 1:1 and cut with my fresh #11 x-acto blade. Since the fuselage has no wings, it made this step easier. I then used the same stencil reversed on the other side of the aircraft. For the wings I used the same template at random followed by a thick coat of Gloss-Cote from Testors and over that gloss coat decals went on and sealed again with another coat of Gloss-Cote. This was finalized with a pin wash of Wash for DAK Vehicles from Ammo by Mig A.MIG 1000. Everything was then sealed with a fine mist of Gloss Cote and the aircraft got its wing and landing gear.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This kit is going to the soon to be reorganized exhibit in our office entrance. I can not recommend it enough!

My sincere thanks to:

Hasegawa USA

Hobbico for sending in this sample.

Ammo by Mig for kindly providing us with their awesome weathering supplies.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.

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