A Mid War Nakajima Ki-44-II “Shoki”
Hasegawa 1/48 Scale (JT37)
Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale Ki-44 is a simple and easy to build kit that was the ideal quick project to take on after finishing the VLR P-51D Mustang. It fits well; has simple, effective engineering and perfectly satisfies its purpose as a model kit.
Putting it Together
Construction didn’t take long at all… I started with the engine and actually put a bit of effort into making it look just so. Then I noticed that it practically disappears behind the cowling. Oh well, I know it’s there.
Construction was very easy and took practically no time at all. There wasn’t even time to take some pics of the cockpit, nor the stages leading up to and including closing the fuselage. I did pause long enough to note that I attached the upper wing halves to the fuselage before joining them both to the lower half. This ensured that the wing seam was clean and required no extra work.
This would be the only picture I have of the cockpit…
I really did not like the Vallejo Nakajima Interior Green; I replaced it with aoke created by painting the wheel well silver and then clear blue, both Tamiya.
Painting and Decals
Painting didn’t take much longer than the construction did…
I decided early on that I’d paint rather than foil the natural metal finish on this one, mostly because it was going to be subsequently painted on with the camouflage. To that end, after painting and masking the elevators, rudder and ailerons, I applied a coat of Tamiya gloss black as a base to take the Vallejo Metal Colour (Aluminium) which I planned to use for the NMF.
You’ll have to take my word for how the painting went because I didn’t take any in-progress pictures… It went well :). I applied an all-over coat of the Vallejo and set the model aside to dry off. Next, I applied the decals directly to the painted surface as it was very smooth and set them aside to dry completely. I did have trouble with the yellow markings on the wing leading edges and quickly decided to give up on the decals and paint them instead.
When I was ready to paint, I mixed up a relatively thin ratio of paint, this time using Tamiya acrylic, and free-handed the camo squiggles, being careful to stay away from the markings. I had a cotton bud dampened with water to clean up any errors but don’t recall using it very much. With the squiggles down, I thinned the paint mix further and gave the model an all-over light coat which blended it all together and also seemed to represent the actual finish very well, to my eye.
Finishing it all off…
I used some Bare Metal Foil to cover for all of the undercarriage covers as they are the most visible bare metal parts of the aircraft. The antenna was really the only remaining part that was a bit tricky, and I’m not completely convinced that it’s correct in being tight down to the fuselage as I have it. However, when it snapped tight using the smoke trick, I decided not to mess with it. Eagle eyed readers will also notice the port main wheel slightly off vertical; a ham-fisted attempt at alignment broke the axle and I was apparently unable to glue the wheel back on square.
This was a most enjoyable little kit and I my first foray into Japanese aircraft modelling. I must say that I quite enjoyed it and plan to do more.