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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

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

  • Basic construction

  • engraved panel lines

  • Single piece canopy

  • Decent separate engine (although you won't see much of it post-build)

Build Inspiration:

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.

Heads-Up Report:

  • Instructions in Japanese only (On my version :)

  • Spartan cockpit

  • 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)

End Result:

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

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