This Ki-84 was assigned to a special attack unit, the 57th Shinbu-tai. It was photographed at Shimodate on 17MAY45, with pilot 2Lt Tetsujiro Karasawa. The 57th participated in the attack on the U.S. fleet off Okinawa on 25MAY45 which hit several USN ships. The inscription on the sides can be translated as “must kill” or “sure to kill”.
Late in 1944 Nakajima began finishing their aircraft in a dark brown, as seen here. IJA aircraft were not generally primed, and photographs show the paint had totally sloughed off the upper fuselage on this aircraft. This aircraft was photographed at Miyakonojo Airfield in Miyazaki Perfecture on 12APR45, piloted by 2Lt Jiro Ito.
The 29th Sentai was based on Formosa. The Sentai arrow marking was rendered in different colors for the various Chutai, but blue was typically the color reserved for the Headquarters flight.
This aircraft is from the 3rd Chutai, 47th Sentai at Narimasu, Japan, February 1945. The white bands under the Hinomaru are Home Defense bands, applied to aircraft operating from the Home Islands during the last year of the war. The drop tanks were also associated with units based in Japan, they were painted yellow to allow for easier location and potential re-use.
This aircraft was captured intact at Clark Field in the Philippines and was subsequently the subject of several photographs. It has been attributed to the 2nd Chutai. The serial number is known, 1446. It was repaired and test flown by the Americans, who were impressed by its performance.
This Ki-84 belonged to the 104th Sentai which was based in Aoshau, Manchuria. It was one of four which was flown back to the Home Islands and photographed there at the end of the war at Ota. It has been attributed to the commander of the 2nd Chutai, Matsuo Tomiya. Mashiki (益城) is written on the starboard side.
This is another strong release from Arma, coming close on the heels of their P-51B/C Mustangs. The fit is excellent, and the surface details are finely engraved and look just right. Many of the parts go together with that satisfying “click” which I just love. The decals performed flawlessly, and there are enough stencils on each sheet to do two aircraft which supplies spares and insurance against mishaps. There are six marking options provided, all are attractive aircraft. The geometric nature of IJAAF unit markings makes masking certain tail markings an option – two of my builds feature painted unit markings. For those planning to build this kit, here are some construction notes:
- The cockpit tub and engine can be inserted after the fuselage halves are joined. Doing it this way will allow the fuselage to be glued from the inside and ensure the cockpit is seated properly.
- The forward fuselage has two tabs which must be removed for the wings to seat. Easy to fix, but this is not noted in the instructions. Also, the PE wiring harness will show its raised detail if it is installed opposite from the way shown.
- Missing are the carburetor splitter plate and bomb shackles. Making these are not difficult but they are unexpected omissions given the level of detail of the kit.
- The engine cowling is effectively four panels and a front ring. These are a little tricky to align so plan on taking your time here.
- The rearmost section of the canopy does not fit into the slots in the fuselage. Carefully cut the tabs off the bottom of the clear piece.
- The pilot’s seat needs some help. I drilled holes in mine which improved the looks substantially but it still has some shape issues. Eduard has already announced a 3D printed replacement which should be coming along soon.
- If I were recommending references my first choice would be Aero Detail 24 with Kagero Monograph 18 following close behind. There are also a number of Japanese language references which are useful, but you will soon begin seeing the same material again and again.
- The Kabuki tape masks worked great, they definitely made construction easier.
Part I of the construction here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=21008&action=edit&calypsoify=1
You can make the argument (and many have) that we are in the Golden Age of scale modeling. I believe this to be true, despite what the “death of the hobby” crowd might say. Furthermore, this is also the Golden Age of information. Inputting keywords into a search engine on a cell phone or computer instantly reveals information which could previously only be gained by experienced researchers with access to vast archives of information. This only gets easier and more powerful as new technologies are introduced. What follows is one small example.
The story starts with an old decal sheet, specifically SuperScale Decals No. 72-714. This was dug out of the decal stash for potential use on the new Arma Ki-84 Hayate build currently underway. I was initially attracted to another scheme on this sheet, but found an error in those markings and soon shifted my attentions to the bottom aircraft pictured here, a Kamikaze from the 58th Shinbu-tai.
I remembered seeing the kanji inscription somewhere. While searching for Ki-84 photographs on the internet I came across these two photos of the pilot posing with his aircraft, one of which associated him with the 57th Shinbu-tai, not the 58th. Who is the pilot, and which is his unit?
I read once that only 6% of the population regularly buys books. I have made it my personal mission to make up for the other 94%. In other words, I have a book-buying compulsion and have built up a large library over the years. If you are a fan of Japanese aircraft you will invariably wind up with several Japanese language references, full of photos and diagrams along with text that few Westerners can decipher. One of these is Famous Airplanes of the World 19.
Inside were the two photographs, along with a caption in Japanese which could potentially answer all my questions. The Japanese use Arabic numbers, and inside the text block both 57 and 58 can be seen, but which unit is it?
Enter the Google Translate app, and this is where the technology gets truly amazing. I first heard about this at a model show. The app allows you to translate any text you can take a picture of. I installed the app on my cell phone, and shot a photo of the Japanese caption from FAOW 19. Here is what came up:
So now we have lots of information to go on! The pilot is 2Lt Tetsujiro Karasawa, and the unit is confirmed as the 57th Shinbu-Tai. The 58th Shinbu-tai citation from the SuperScale sheet is debunked. We also have a date and location of the photograph, which has implications for the colors used for the camouflage scheme. There are some “clunky” areas in the translation, such as “Ensign” (a naval rank) instead of Second Lieutenant, but this is a treasure-trove of details.
Using the new information in a keyword search reveals a few profiles which take a stab at the camouflage, and even a few models which have been built in this scheme. Below is the profile I found most compelling:
So, using an old book and some new tech I was able to find an interesting scheme for the Arma Ki-84. The Arma decal sheet has the “Winged 57” tail marking, and the SuperScale sheet has the kanji inscription for the fuselage. As a bonus, the skull and crossbones markings for the 58th Shinbu-tai are useable, and accurate without the fuselage inscription. A fun little rabbit hole!