Back with yet another 1970s vintage kit. For its time, this 1/48th Otaki Ki-44 Shoki was quite a decent, although very basic, kit with recessed panel lines and rivets (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 kit at a model show vendor selling it for $5. At that price I had to pick it up for a fun or experimental build. I find these basic kits come in handy to kick-start you back into model making or as a good wind-down kit after a complex build. I chose to do this model up in the markings of Yoshio Yoshida's Ki-44 Shoki, based at Kashiwa AF in June 1945. Among pilots in his air group (3rd Chutai 70th Sentai), Yoshida downed the second-highest number of B-29s with six confirmed and one probable. He was awarded the Bukosho, the highest award given by the Imperial Japanese Army to soldiers who demonstrated (and survived) exceptionally valorous action in combat.
Instructions in Japanese only (On my version :)
Thick single piece canopy
Recessed rivets overdone (really they weren't close to this noticeable at a distance)
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
The base silver paint was sprayed on using a aluminum lacquer paint. I also painted the leading edge wing stripes in yellow as well as the black anti-glare panel on the nose. My standard gloss coat of "Klear" floor finish was applied to prepare for decal application and any weathering. After that stage, came the final top coat of semi-gloss and matte (depending on the desired surface effect) to seal in the decals. I should have added a panel wash and darkened down the exhaust ports, but I was anxious to move along to another project. Apparently I didn't overcoat the decals quite enough, as they started to flake off years later (although this does add an interesting effect).
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 for use when you want to try out a technique without courting disaster on an expensive kit. For a better 1/48th scale Ki-44 Shoki, Hasegawa produced a model of this aircraft as well, which is an improvement over this kit. The Hasegawa molds date back to the mid-90s and have been released quite a number of times over the years.
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