Arma Hobby continues to release kits at a quick pace. This is their kit #70051 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Expert Set, which has already been followed up with a second boxing. This is another excellent choice of subject from Arma, and was designed with input from noted researcher and modeler Jumpei Temma. Arma has already hinted at additional Japanese subjects for future releases, my money is on the Ki-43!
This is another subject which I’m enthusiastic about. The kit contains six marking options, and there are a few more lingering in the decal stash which I’m also anxious to build. Imperial Japanese Army Air Force tail markings were often stylized geometric representations of the Sentai number, rendered in a different color for each Chutai. Many of these lend themselves to masking, so even more marking options are possible. My problem is always choosing – will six Hayate be enough?
Arma continues to impress with the quality of their molding and engineering. The main components feature a satin finish and finely recessed panel lines. In the upper right-hand corner is something unique in my experience – the cockpit combing piece is optional depending on whether the modeler prefers the canopy to be open or closed.
A smaller secondary sprue contains two of the three options for underwing stores, and also the tailplanes. What makes this boxing the “Expert Set” is the inclusion of a small photoetch fret and a mask set. The mask is made from Kabuki tape this time, not the problematic vinyl like in the Mustang kits.
Arma uses rather large sprue gates, and some of them are located in bad spots. When I built their Mustang kits removing these became a problem as often the plastic deformed and tore as the sprue gates were being cut. Long ago all-around good guy and friend of the blog David Knights recommended “God Hand” sprue cutters to me. These are not cheap, but I figured it was finally time to get a pair and try them out.
The double-row radial engines consist of seven parts including the photo-etch wiring harness. The etch is rendered with relief, the joining bars are raised from the wiring on one side. If you’re building this kit, note that orienting the wiring harness as shown in the instructions will result in the relief detail facing to the rear where it cannot be seen. I flipped mine around so it would be visible. The PE harness is trapped between the gearbox and the first row of cylinders.
The seat is rather simply rendered, I expect the aftermarket will soon provide a replacement. In the meantime, the appearance of the seat can be greatly improved by simply drilling a few holes. The PE fret provides the seatbelts.
Test fitting revealed a minor problem. There are tabs molded into the fuselage sides, seen here directly above the oil cooler. These prevent the wing piece from seating properly, and are not shown on the instructions. Easy enough to snip off, just be aware that they are there.
With the tab snipped, everything fits together with a satisfying click!
Part II here: