From the Box Review: Hasegawa 1/48 Kawasaki Ki-100-1 Otsu Type 5 Tony Fighter
Kit No. JT38
By Michael Hays
The two major versions of the Japanese Army Air Force Ki-100 Type 5 radial-engine Tonys were created late in World War II as a happy consequence of the critical shortage of Ha-40 in-line engines needed for the Ki-61 Type 3 fighter airframes. Engineers hustled to redesign the Ki-61 fuselage to hold the fatter Ha-112 14-cylinder radial, and the result was a superior fighter capable of matching the challenge of American fighters then menacing mainland Japan. However, only about 118 teardrop-canopied Ki-100-1 Otsus and 272 of their Ki-100-1 Koh fastback cousins could be built before the end of hostilities.
This commonality of airframes among the Ki-61 and Ki-100 Tonys is represented in all the recent releases of Hasegawas 1/48 scale kits of these two important IJA fighters. All share the same wings, landing gear, cockpit interiors, and tail planes. And the only differences between the parts for the Ki-100-1 Otsu and Ki-100-1 Koh are the shapes of the canopies, rear decking, and fuselage spine behind them. Otherwise, everything reported here for the -1 Otsu applies to the -1 Koh kit, except of course for the different decals and painting guides.
This injection-molded kit contains 77 medium-gray parts attached to 6 trees. The parts are smooth and clean and feature excellent detail and engraved recessed panel lines of correct shape and locations. Twenty-two of the parts, however, are for the companion Ki-61 kits and will not be used for this model. In addition, four clear styrene pieces are provided, again one of these being a spare canopy for the Ki-61. Both canopies are thin and clear with engraved frames. Four rubber washers are included for the propeller shaft, but only one of these is needed.
The kits instruction sheet folds out into four panels printed on both sides in Japanese and English text. The instructions themselves are simply exploded-view drawings with no written directions; but the 12 steps are easy to follow. The instruction sheet includes a brief history of the aircraft, a parts tree map, color codes for Gunze-Sangyo and Mr. Color paints, and two black-and-white four-view drawings as color and decal guides for the two aircraft represented by the kits decals. Both of these aircraft represent IJA Green-over-duralumin fighters: one from the 5th Company of the 111th Flight Regiment at Akeno airfield in July, 1945; and the other from the 5th Flight Regiment based at Kiyosu airfield in 1945.
The decals provide the unique markings for both aircraft and include a host of generic information markings that were applied to the Tony Type 5. The hinomarus ("meatballs") are a deeper red and not as bright as those provided for the companion Ki-100-1 Koh kit. The decals are quite thin; all are on register, but the white ones appear to be a bit translucent.
The parts to this kit go together well with few problems. The beautiful cockpit interior is relatively complete, containing all the basic generic features found inside both Ki-61s and Ki-100s. Accurate raised details appear on two side panels and the floor board. The additional kit parts that need to be attached are likewise accurate and well detailed. So the cockpit will look fine if built straight-out-of-the-box. However, there is some room still for enhancement. No pilot figure or fuselage machine gun stocks come with the kit, and detail freaks may wish to add seat belts, wiring, and a few other boxes or gadgets to suit their tastes. Although a beautiful decal is included for the instrument panel, the kit part features finely raised detail and may look better painted and highlighted if so preferred. One of the clear parts is the gun sight, accurate in shape, but the glass panels are a bit thick.
The tail and wings for this kit are beautifully crafted with excellent detail. All flying surfaces have been molded integrally with their respective wings and tail parts, and the flaps are closed. The two upper halves of the wing fit perfectly with the single-piece bottom half leaving beautifully crisp and thin trailing edges. Hasegawa has also crafted nice actuator rods for the tail and rudder. Looking under the wing youll find well detailed recessed wheel wells. Although a tad too shallow, they still look fine and are matched by gear doors with accurate interior panels. Two nicely detailed drop tanks are included to go with the equally nice pylons found in this kit. The tires, however, are not bulged, and the detailer may wish to add brake lines to the main gear legs. A separate clear plastic lens cover is included for the landing light on the port wing leading edge. If you build this kit wheels down, you may wish to add wire or stretched sprue gear-down indicator rods to the top of the wings.
Hasegawa has provided two sets of exhaust stacks for either side of the fuselage. Each tiny stack has been drilled open, but the use of a tiny cutting bit would help to thin the stacks a little more. Meanwhile, the Ha 112 14-cylinder engine is perhaps the most disappointing feature of this otherwise excellent kit. The two banks of cylinders unfortunately were molded as one single piece, along with the push rods represented on the front half. Fortunately, the crankcase is well-detailed and makes up somewhat for the lack of engine detail. Purists who may wish to add a more detailed replacement will have trouble finding space in the nose section to mount a better engine.
The single-piece canopy is beautifully done, clean and clear with no distortions. Modelers who wish for an opened canopy can find vacuformed canopies for this aircraft from companies like Squadron Signal.
When completed, even as built straight out of the box, this model is a real beaut. It measures right on in scale, and demands very little in extra detail to enhance the excellent workmanship already put into the kit by Hasegawa. The kit goes together well for even the novice modeler and so can be recommended to anyone with rudimentary skills and an interest in building this superb Japanese fighter aircraft.
Fortunately for the Allies, not many of these aircraft were encountered in Japan before hostilities ended. But when flown by capable pilots, the Ki-100 Type 5 Tonys proved to be a serious threat to the B-29s and to the Hellcat and Mustang pilots who had the unenviable challenge to confront them.
Rene J. Francillon, JAPANESE AIRCRAFT OF THE PACIFIC WAR, Putnam & Co., 1979 ed.
Richard M. Bueschel, KAWASAKI Ki.61/Ki.100 HIEN IN JAPANESE ARMY AIR FORCE SERVICE, ARCO-AIRCAM AVIATION SERIES, NO. 27, Arco Publishing Co., 1971.
Edited, KAWASAKI Ki-61 (TONY), Paul Gaudette, Publisher, c. 1967. Edited, KAWASAKI TYPE 3 TIGHTER HIEN, FAMOUS AIRPLANES OF THE WORLD, No. 98, June, 1978, Bunrin-Do.
Edited, KAWASAKI TYPE 3 "HIEN" & TYPE 5 ARMY FIGHTER (Ki-61 & Ki-100), The Maru Mechanic # 37, November, 1982.
Additional Notes from Mike:
It turns out that I had major problems with the wing fits in both the Hasegawa Ki-61 and Ki-100 kits. The fit was so tight that it did not permit sufficient dihedral, for one thing; and for another, the dihedral for the left wing was higher than that for the right. Also, the join line at the wing fillet is weak, and in more than one case, the wing butted against the fuselage a little too low, leaving a raised ridge along the fillet. I had to do a lot of sanding, filing, and filling to get dihedrals and smooth wing joints, and even now I'm not too happy with the dihedrals. The wings appear too straight to me; the Otaki kits are much better in this regard. Unfortunately, all the work I did mating the top wing to the fuselage resulted in the excellent wing walk and fuel tank details being sanded off. I plan to reproduce them with decals or tape cut to the correct shapes, however, and hopefully this will restore the lost detail work. Still, the whole region is quite weak; I broke the contact a couple of times just handling the kits in preparation for painting and had to use extensive applications of liquid cement and superglue and sanding to get a stronger bond. I also noticed some small gaps where the bottom wing mates to the nose. These had to be filled and carefully sanded.