Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Frank) of Lieutenant Mitsuo Tomiya in 1/72 Scale

104th Sentai operated over Manchuria during the last year of the war.  The tail marking is a stylized “104”.  They fought against B-29 Superfortresses defending industrial targets, and in the last days of the war against the Soviets.

Special Hobby Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of Sou Okabe in 1/72 Scale

Last is the final production variant Ki-43-III pictured after the surrender in August 1945 at Nanking, China.  The assigned pilot was Sou Okabe of the 1 Chutai / 48 Sentai.  JAAF unit insignia were often stylized representations of the Sentai numbers, as seen here.  This is an example of a solid factory-applied scheme.  I painted the model using the colors called out in Aero Detail 29.  Special Hobby kit & decals.

Special Hobby Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of Hideo Miyabe in 1/72 Scale

This is the Ki-43-II of Hideo Miyabe, 2 Chutai / 64 Sentai, operating from Palembang Sumatra during the Summer of 1943.  The diagonal stripe indicates the Chutai Commander’s aircraft.  Miyabe eventually rose to command the 64th Sentai, and was credited with 12 victories.  Special Hobby kit and decals, the fuselage Hinomaru decals were doubled up to prevent the command stripe showing through.

Special Hobby Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of Major Toshio Sakagawa in 1/72 Scale

This is the aircraft of Major Toshio Sakagawa, CO of the 25th Sentai, Hankow China, late 1943.  Sakagawa was credited with 15 victories, including three P-51s in a single combat.  He was also credited with being the first JAAF pilot to down a B-24 over China.  He was transferred to the Pacific for the defense of the Philippines, but was killed on 19DEC44 when the transport he was riding in was shot down.

Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of the 1st Sentai in 1/72 Scale

This is the “FrankenOscar”, an AML kit salvaged with LS fuselage and cowling components.  The model is painted based upon a profile in Thorpe.  I built a 1/32 Revell Oscar in this scheme many, many years ago during my miss-spent youth and have always found it attractive.  Hope you do too!  The aircraft is of 1 Chutai / 1 Sentai on home defense duties at Shimodate, Japan in 1943.  All markings are painted on.

Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of Capt Masao Miyamaru in 1/72 Scale

This is a a Ki-43-II flown by Capt Masao Miyamaru of the 50 Sentai, an ace who was credited with 8 victories. The yellow lightning bolt indicates the 2nd Chutai, location is Toungoo, Burma, May 1943.  This aircraft is illustrated on the cover of Osprey’s Ki-43 ‘Oscar’ Aces of WW2 and profiled inside.  The Kanji says “Outstanding Skill”.  Mayamaru’s best day was on 31MAR43, when he was credited with downing three RAF Hurricanes over Buthidaung, Burma.  He was rotated back to Japan where he served as an instructor at the Akeno Army Flying school.  He was deployed for the defense of the Philippines with the 200th Sentai, where he was killed in October 1944.

Fujimi Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of the 47th Independent Chutai in 1/72 Scale

Pictures of both sides of the same aircraft are uncommon, and especially so for operational JAAF aircraft.  Here is an exception, a Ki-43-I of the 47th Independent Chutai operating from Chofu in the Summer of 1943.  The white bands under the Hinomaru are home defense markings.  Except for the Kagero decals on the tail, the rest of the markings are painted on.  No chipping visible on the markings, but the whole model was dirtied up with a touch of light tan mixed in with the flat final coat.

I have included two original photographs for comparison.

Fujimi Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa 隼 “Oscar” of Corporal Satoshi Anabuki in 1/72 Scale

This is the Ki-43-I Hayabusa of Cpl Satoshi Anabuki, 3 Chutai / 50 Sentai, Burma January 1943.  Fujimi kit, Aeromaster decals.  Anabuki was the leading JAAF ace of the Pacific War, being credited with 39 victories.  The aircraft is named Fubuki, meaning snowstorm.  Kill markings painted on this aircraft represent victories scored by Anabuki and another pilot, Shigeru Nakazaki.

Anabuki was 19 years old at the start of the Pacific War.  He claimed his first victory, a P-40 over Lingayen in the Philippines on 21DEC41 flying the Ki-27 “Nate”.  He claimed two more P-40s before the 50th Sentai was rotated home to Japan and re-equipped with the Ki-43.  The 50th Sentai then deployed to Burma, where Anabuki continued to score steadily.  On 24DEC42 he was credited with three RAF Hurricanes which were attacking his airfield.  The next month he shot down a B-24, considered to be quite a feat in the lightly-armed Hayabusa.

On 08OCT43 he engaged an American formation single-handedly, and was recognized for destroying two B-24 Liberators and two P-38 Lightnings before deliberately ramming a third B-24.  He survived the impact and was able to return to his unit three days later.  He was promoted to Sergeant Major and returned to Japan as an instructor at the Akeno Army Flying school.  Although officially prohibited from combat flying, he added six additional victories while flying the Ki-84 Hayate.  Satoshi Anabuki survived the war and eventually flew helicopters with the Japanese Self Defense Force.

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: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/10/14/nakajima-ki-43-hayabusa-%e9%9a%bc-oscar-comparison-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

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

This is one of the three Special Hobby kits ready for paint. Some small details have been added, such as the antenna terminal and holes for the gear indicators. All the vents are opened up and partitioned. The main gear legs were installed to ensure a good bond and to keep it off the bench while drying. All seams were checked with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and refilled as needed, then the whole model was primed with Alclad grey primer.
Painting is underway. My preference for finishing Japanese aircraft is to show some chipping, but most modelers rely on photos taken of derelict aircraft for inspiration and therefore tend to overdo the damage to the paint. Having said that, one of my subjects was photographed (from both sides!) during maintenance wearing a very distressed layer of camo. Cool! A nice challenge, I had to give it a shot. First the model was primed in Alclad gray primer, then given a coat of Alclad Aluminum. Alclad is a lacquer, and if you’ve worked with it you know it bonds well and dries very hard. Both qualities are very important for this process to work. Next small amounts of Micro Mask were applied to areas where chipping was desired.
The model then received the topside color, in this case Model Master Russian Armor Green. I generally use lacquer thinner when airbrushing, but here I used regular enamel thinner as I wanted a weaker bond. The paint was applied in thin layers and built up slowly.
One way to replicate chipping is to actually produce chipping. This was done using regular household masking tape. Seat the tape firmly in a small area and the Micro Mask will help separate the top layer. Once started, the chipped areas can be expanded with repeated pressings of the tape. This is somewhat imprecise. The exact location and size of the chips can be influenced but not completely controlled.
Afterwards the model can be masked as normal to paint on the markings. Most of this masking is done with Yellow Frog Tape. This has a much lower tack than most other masking tapes so the chipped areas won’t be expanded. At least not much.
This is the AML / LS “FrankenOscar” masked off awaiting the markings. I decided to paint everything on this one, no decals were used. Many Japanese aircraft utilized geometric Sentai markings and stripes to identify formation leaders, so they lend themselves to this approach.
The yellow wing identifications are on, as are the Home Defense “bandages”. The Hinomaru are masked off with Maketar masks. These are made from Kabuki tape and several nationalities are represented in their catalog. I have had good luck with them and can recommend them.
Here’s the heavily-chipped model with the markings painted. The chipping has been modified to better represent what can be seen in the photographs. Additional fine chips can be applied using silver paint or pencil. Some of the larger Aluminum areas were “de-chipped” using the topside green and a sharpened sprue to better match what can be seen in the photographs.
I have tried to match the overall impression of the chipped areas from the photographs, but it would be impractical to match each and every individual chip. I’ll post the actual photographs for comparison with the finished model but this shot gives a good impression of the effect.

Part IV here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/11/04/nakajima-ki-43-hayabusa-%e9%9a%bc-oscar-comparison-build-in-1-72-scale-part-iv/