Hot on the heels of Zoukei-Mura’s new Ki-45 Late comes the Ki-45 Early edition. Giving you two choices of the Early type of heavy fighter the Ki-45 Toryu Kai Ko or Kai Hei. As with all ZM kits this one has a full interior and you have your choice of clear fuselage (to show off all the interior details) or gray plastic fuselage. The box is jammed full of both gray and clear sprues and it comes with a 59-page instruction book.
First up for the build is choosing which variant you want to build. I chose to go with the Ko version, in the instructions this would be option A. I chose this version for two reasons. The alligator type paint scheme and the two machine guns in the nose as apposed to the one cannon.
Opening the instruction book you see that the paint chart is extensive and has call outs for Vallejo paints. I bought the paint set from ZM to try out and they work really well. Just make sure you thin them, especially the model color ones as those are not pre-made for airbrushing.
Unlike most kits that start in the cockpit. Zoukei-Mura is known for starting with the engines and this kit is no exception. Both radial engines start with the same few steps of assembling cylinder blocks (including the cylinders inside!), pushrods, radiator piping and prop shafts but starting with Step 3-1E you differentiate the two engines with left and right. This is because the exhaust rings are attached and they both face outboard. Most of these parts were painted with various metals shades from alclad which really brings the engines to life. After this came the engine mounts and their heatshield covers. These were painted with Vallejo acrylics in a khaki color that is the major color throughout the interior of the aircraft.
The next steps involve building and painting the equipment behind the engines themselves, like air intakes, accessory case, magnetos, etc. and then attaching them to rear of the engine block. One word of caution though the top of the air intake for the Carburetor seems to have an injector pin mark on it. Don’t worry about it as that’s actually part of the air intake and does not need to be removed. The directions have you building the right then the left and I highly recommend you follow them so as not to mix them up. Zoukei-Mura also includes engine stands in their sprues. I built both of them and used them to keep the engines separate. It’s a nice little touch that really helps separate ZM from other manufacturers.
Once each engine was done it was set on the stand and then labeled to make sure each engine would eventually be attached to the proper nacelle. These were set aside and work began on the second part of the build. The cockpit. This part of the build will be described in part 2 of my review.
It has been my pleasure to review this amazing kit by Zoukei-Mura I thank them and IPMS for the opportunity.