Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 57th Shimbu-tai in 1/72 Scale

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”.

Construction posts here:

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 102nd Sentai in 1/72 Scale

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.

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 47th Sentai in 1/72 Scale

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.

Construction posts here:

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 11th Sentai in 1/72 Scale

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.

Construction posts here:

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 104th Sentai in 1/72 Scale

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.

Construction posts here:

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

Japanese aircraft often sported multiple painted bands and panels, and many of their squadron markings are geometric shapes which are relatively simple to mask off. On the down side I have come to the realization that the Mr. Hobby thinner reacts to the adhesive in the generic masking tape I have been using, causing some colors to seep underneath. On this batch I’m using Tamiya Tape for the hard edges, which appears to have solved the seepage problem.
A few of the Hayate production run came from the factory uncamouflaged, some during the pre-production series and another run supposedly due to a shortage of paint. Photographs show a few of these received mottled camo in the field, but the field-applied mottling on a Hayate is rare compared to other JAAF types. One of the builds in this batch will be in an Alclad Aluminum NMF. On the NMF aircraft I paint the markings after laying down the Alclad, otherwise the textures and tones can show through the finish. All the builds got Mr. Color 58 Orange Yellow wing ID panels and Mr. Color 137 Tire Black anti-glare panels.
The initial factory applied camo was either Olive Drab over Gray Green or Dark Green over Gray Green. Good luck differentiating between the two in black and white photos, and you can find little agreement between profile artists. On this example I went with Arma’s color call outs using Mr. Color 304 over 128. The white bands were used by some units on home defense duties.
Late in 1944 paint shortages resulted in Nakajima switching to dark brown as an upper surface camo on some production runs. According to Ian Baker there were three browns used, and variations within those. The brown on this model is a mix of Mr. Color 42 Mahogany and 22 Dark Earth, with a few drops of Red added for good measure. Mixes with 131 Propeller Color or 520 Lederbraun would result in a similar tone. 128 Gray Green was used on the undersides, and Baker indicates that the browns lightened with white were also used on the undersides. The unit markings on the tail were masked off, and the chipping is a base coat of Alclad with stippling of a liquid mask, then the finish paint layer was pulled off with masking tape.
I used the kit decals for the Hinomarus and stencils, and some of the unit markings. There are ample stencils in both red and yellow options. All the decals performed flawlessly, but several are long and thin so they take some fiddling to get them straight.
The underwing stores were secured directly to the wing and steadied with a series of sway braces. The larger braces are provided in the kit and were used on the drop tanks. The smaller braces were used with bombs, and are missing from the kit. Mine are made from wire, and while not perfect they will look the part over the bombs and drop tanks.
The models were given an acrylic wash using Tamiya German Gray over Testors Glosscote, and sealed with Dullcote. I had issues with the Glosscoat pulling off the paint if I masked over it, the Glosscote didn’t bond well to the Mr. Color paint. I’ll likely shift to a different gloss next build.
The Hayate had an unusual radio antenna arrangement, which I replicated with my standard go to 0.005” Nitenol wire. Resistors are gray paint. Photos show this particular aircraft had lost all the paint off the upper fuselage. Chipping was done by stripping the camo off of an undercoat of Alclad, supplemented with sponge and brush chips.
Here are all six finished models together. IJAAF aircraft are one of my first modeling fixations, so this build had some strong nostalgic elements. If the aftermarket blesses us with some interesting decal sheets I could see myself building more!


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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. The Kabuki tape masks worked great, they definitely made construction easier.

Part I of the construction here:

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

With the cockpit and engine assemblies in place it is time to cut off the tabs behind the engine so the wing piece will seat properly. The tabs are not shown in the instructions and I don’t see why they were added as the engine limits the spread of the forward fuselage.
Even with the wings on there are still several components to add to the construction. There are two sizes of oil coolers to choose from, and both have the radiator inside represented with PE. In this case the PE will be visible on the completed model, although the radiator texture could have just as easily been represented in plastic.
I found the cowling pieces a bit fiddly and had to sand them in most cases to get them smooth. The cowl flaps and exhausts are separate pieces and really look the part when in place. I plan on leaving the horizontal stabilizers off for now on most of these to ease painting. Fit was excellent overall using MEK, the main component in most “thin” glues. I had several seams which did not need filling or sanding, but I have never had a build which didn’t need a seam or two addressed somewhere.
The kabuki tape masks went on without a hitch. The fit of the clear parts left something to be desired. The rear section is designed with a tab which is to fit into a slot in the fuselage, but the tab is bigger than the slot. I shaved mine off with a hobby knife, and used Perfect Plastic Putty to address any remaining seam. This particular build will be in an overall NMF so I attached the horizontal stabilizers.
The finish was checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000. Any seams which still remained were sanded back and panel lines and rivets were re-scribed, then primed again to be sure.
The fiddly bits were cut off the sprues at the same time as the cockpit components, allowing them to be worked on in parallel with the primary assembly path. The bronze rod “handles” on the drop tanks will be the main anchor points when it comes time to mount them to the model. The rods are placed so they can also represent the fuel lines from the tanks.
Wheels and props were also cut from the sprues and cleaned up on the first day of construction, allowing them to be painted and decaled while other assemblies were drying.
This is the nose after any needed cowling panels have been rescribed and rivets replaced with a needle. At this point I noticed that the splitter plate in the carburetor intake was missing. This is an easy fix with a piece of plastic card.

Part IV here:

Sleuthing With Books I Can’t Read

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.

SuperScale Decals 72-714

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.

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?

The page of interest

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:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic!

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:

57th Shinbu-tai, aircraft 20

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!

Arma Hobby Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

Construction starts with the cockpit! Or in my case, the cockpit, stores, engines, wheels, and props. Here are the cockpit tubs all built up and painted Mr. Color 126, cleverly named Cockpit Green. The cockpits were given a black wash and drybrushed with silver. The instrument panels are decals, and look convincing.
There is molded-on sidewall detail, dressed up with a throttle and some parts from the PE fret. The cockpit opening is narrow which will hide much of this, so I decided what Arma provided would be enough for these builds.
The engines were primed and then shot with Alclad Aluminum. The gearboxes are painted Blue Gray, and then the engines are washed with black and brown to bring out the details.
A little test fitting revealed that both the engine and cockpit assemblies could be inserted after the fuselage sides are joined. This allows better access to glue the fuselage from the inside and makes aligning everything easier.
At this point in construction you have to decide whether the canopy will be displayed in the open or closed position as the cockpit opening pieces are different. I’m going with open canopies on mine so that there is more opportunity to see the cockpit detail. I would recommend inserting the cockpit assembly at the same time as the fuselage opening piece. The top of the instrument panel should touch the underside of the fuselage when seated properly and it’s easy to mount it too low.

Part III here: