Silver Shoki: 1/48th Otaki Ki-44 "Tojo"
Here is another 1970s vintage kit. For its time this Ki-44 was a decent, although very basic, kit with recessed panel lines and definitely overdone rivets (very common for this company's releases). Note: These kits were re-released by ARII in the 80s.
Notable Kit Features:
Low parts count
engraved panel lines
Single piece canopy
Decent separate engine (although you won't see much of it post-build)
I came across this model kit at a ridiculously low price and ended up picking up a couple, just for fun or experimental builds. One of the markings provided was for Japanese Ace 2 Lt. Makoto Ogawa of the 3rd Chutai / 70th Sentai based out of the Kashiwa airfield in Japan, June 1945. Looking for a straight-forward build to get myself into build mode again, I selected this kit for its basic finish.
Instructions in Japanese only (On my version :)
Thick single piece canopy
Recessed rivets overdone (really they weren't close to this noticeable)
Poor pilot figure
Unknown accuracy (not many references for this type out there that I could find, as no examples survived post war)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Pilot seat belts added using painted masking tape
Drilled out the guns
Fuselage and wing bands painted on (the kit instructions didn't show this band however other references did)
Slight chipping applied to the markings (especially the pilot side #2 as refences seemed to indicate this)
This was a "kick-starter" project to get me back to the bench with a no-stress build, out of the box, no complex paint job - get 'er done kit. It served that purpose well and produced a decent looking model for the display shelf.
The After-Build Report:
I would only recommend these Otaki / ARII kits to a modeler who wanted an inexpensive kit for a simple build or possibly use when you want to try out a technique on a kit without courting disaster on an expensive kit.
Hasegawa produced a 1/48th model kit of this Ki-44 series as well, which is an improvement over this kit. Their molds date back to the mid-90s and have been released quite a number of times over the years.
Completed build #148 - March 2012 using the 1/48th scale Otaki #A328-600 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers