Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” Comparison Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

The Oscars are complete, seven examples from four different manufacturers. I’ve always liked the look of the Ki-43, and there is no lack of colorful schemes. Arma Hobby has stated that more Japanese subjects are in their pipeline, here’s hoping that a new-tool state-of-the-art Oscar is next from them!
Here are the two Fujimi Ki-43-I. These are excellent kits and a real pleasure to build. No fit problems of any consequence. I added some Evergreen detail to the cockpits, wire brake lines, and pitot tubes from Albion stock and Nitenol (all seven kits got these). The erroneous landing light on the wing leading edge was filled. The gun gas vents on the upper nose are scribed too low, I drilled them out a bit higher. One commonly overlooked detail is the two rear canopy braces are inside the glazing, not external. These were made from 0.015″ Evergreen, painted RLM 66 gray, and fixed in place with LiquiTape. Gear down indicators were added from 0.01″ wire and painted red. Fine Molds has released a Ki-43-I which is said to be spectacular, but I have only ever seen one in person as it is ridiculously hard to find.
This is the Hasegawa Ki-43-II kit. This kit has raised panel lines, but otherwise stands up very well. Fit is excellent, no worries getting this one together. I beefed up the engine with another row of cylinders and wired it, plus added detail to the cockpit. The spinner shape is suspect, but I did not replace it on this build. Canopy is a Rob Taurus vacuform. Hasegawa gives you a choice of both styles of the single collected style exhaust types, which allows you to model all but the very last production run of the Ki-43-IIs. Painless kits to build.
Next are the Special Hobby kits, I built two -IIs and one -III. These got all the mods listed for the kits above. These are limited run kits, with all that goes along with that. Normally that means no locating pins, but the major components have pins here. Wish they didn’t though as they don’t line up well and must be removed if you want anything to fit. I had a lot of trouble getting the cowlings on these. There is a separate panel on each side and no positive location to the fuselage. I needed filler on the cowls on all three kits. Special Hobby omitted the cooling slots for the engine accessory section, and the gun gas vents are engraved one panel aft of their actual location. If you correct all this they can be built into nice models, but they are not straight forward builds. These were difficult to finish, but not the worst of the batch.
Last is the AML kit. This one is kitted as the last of the Ki-43-II production run which had individual exhaust stacks, but in a different pattern than seen on the Ki-43-III. Another limited run kit but even more crudely done than the SH offering, and with resin to fill in the gaps. I rarely give up on a model, but this one almost went into the dumpster. The aft fuselage proved to be beyond redemption, and the resin cowling has a different cross-section than the rest of the kit and wasn’t going to go on in any case. In desperation I turned it into a “FrankenOscar” and finished it as a -II, mating the after fuselage and nose from an old LS kit in the spares bin. I paid $5 for this kit at a show, which was about $30 too much. No kits are truly unbuildable but some are just not worth the trouble!

Part I here: