Hasegawa 1/32 Ki-61-I 'Hein' "68th Fighter Regiment"
Scott Van Aken
Limited Reissue. Can build either koh or hei versions
Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien
(飛燕, roughly "flying swallow") was a Japanese
World War II
fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The Allied
code name assigned by the United States War Department was "Tony". The
Japanese Army designation was "Army Type 3 Fighter" (三式戦闘機).
It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled
The first production version had a fully retractable tail wheel and
two 2 x 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 89 machine guns in the wings and two synchronized
2 x 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Ho-103 machine guns in the fuselage forward decking. The
wings had racks outboard of the wheel bays, which were capable of carrying one
40 gallon drop tank or a light bomb.
In the second production fighter variant, it was found the armament
was too light against allied aircraft and the tail wheel retraction mechanism
was unreliable, the plane was modified accordingly. Two 12.7 mm Ho-103 heavy
machine guns replaced the wing 7.7 mm machine guns, with modifications to the
upper-wing bulges, and the tail wheel well doors were removed and the tail wheel
locked in the "down" position (although the mechanism was still intact).
is one of Hasegawa's limited reissues of the short nosed Ki-61-I and
includes bits and pieces to allow the modeler to build either the initial or
second production aircraft. Markings for one of each type are provided on
the large decal sheet.
As is the norm with Hasegawa, all the sprues save the clear ones are in one
bag, making scratching and broken parts a problem. No broken bits on this
one, though light scratches were commonplace.
The kit includes a well detailed cockpit that for most, will be detailed
enough. Frankly, the only thing Hasegawa really should add would be a seat
harness. There are decals to put over the instrument panel if one wishes or
one could paint and detail the individual parts. Throughout the
instructions, there are notes as to holes and panel lines to fill depending
on the version that is being built. There is also a note about using
'..optional QG 14' for the gun barrels. No such sprue exists and I can only
assume this is in reference to the original boxing that included these items
in cast metal.
If one wants to use the optional drop tanks, then holes need to be opened in
the lower wings prior to cementing them together. To me, anything hung on
the Ki-61 takes away from its sleek lines, but these tanks were often
carried. Optional upper wing bulges and barrels are provided for the cannon
armed version. You also get optional tail wheel sections. The kit includes
flattened wheels which is also a nice touch as they are not widely bulged
out as are some resin replacements. Hasegawa also provides a pilot figure
for the kit, which may well be why there is no harness included. The last
options would be for exposed steps and fuselage hand holds as well as
a three piece or single piece canopy.
are for two planes. One is the box art aircraft from the 68th Flight
Regiment, the first unit to get the Ki-61. Both options are for planes in
overall unpainted metal with red-brown props and spinners. The 68th aircrft
has the upper surfaces covered in a random spray pattern of dark green. This
was applied once the plane reached its unit and while unit markings would
probably be put over the streaky camo, the national insignia, which were
factory applied, would have been sprayed around. The second option is from
the second variation and with the 18th Flight Regiment based in Japan during
1944. It is overall unpainted metal. I'm sure someone who knows more
about these planes than I could verify or correct me, but I had always
thought the fabric control surfaces were painted in a green-grey color, but
according to the instructions, they are the same aluminum color as the rest
of the plane. Wing leading edge ID bands and the black anti-glare panel will
need to be painted. The decals are very well done and provide all the tail
markings and fuselage stripes as well as the insignia and data markings.
I don't think anyone can go wrong with a Ki-61 kit in any scale and this one
in 1/32 is quite detailed. Those who have built it comment on how well it
goes together and this just adds another fine set of markings to what has
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com
for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.
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