Zoukei-Mura’s latest release in 1/32 scale is the wonderful Ki-45 Toryu (Nick). This twin engine 2-seat, heavy fighter was used by the Japanese Army in WWII. In Part 2, I will get the cockpit and gunner position built and the fuselage assembled.
The cockpit on this kit (like all ZM kits) is a jewel. There are 60 well molded parts with several options depending on which option you are building. The two major changes for Option B (my choice) are that there is no upward firing guns between the pilot and gunner and also, there is no back seat for the rear gunner position. Another note- much of this will not be visible when the build is done unless you use the clear parts.
Construction begins by adding the floorboard and fuel tank to the main wing strut. The front and back cockpit bulkheads are added. This is a phenomenal piece going full width for support of the wings and also includes the landing gear wells also. More on that later.
Each of the various levers is a separate add - flaps, landing gear, seat adjustment and tail wheel lock for the right side and side panel, oil pump lever and hydraulic pressure lever to the right. As you progress, there is a picture of each completed step. The other side gets specific levers for all the engine controls separately. The seat armor is added and has the oxygen, oil and pressure tanks added.
The seat is built and added. The seat belts are not molded in but actually a separate part and look great. The control stick is added, and you have a choice in instrument panels. There is a solid gray one you can add decals too and dress us or a clear one. I chose clear and masked the dials with Elmer’s. Once dry, ZM added decals to add to the back. The entire panels was sprayed flat black and the highlights picked out with a silver pencil and then a flat coat. The Elmer’s was removed and the panel added to the cockpit.
For the rear gunner’s station, I built the seat support, radio and gun truck support and added them to the floor. On my version, the seat is left out, but it does include a nice set of injected seat belts. Next to add are both rear side walls and here, I would do something different. I would glue these into the rest of the assembly before I painted. The reason is the connection is small and with the paint, it wants to separate. The last part added is the rear bulkhead. Makes sure everything is square as it will ease fitting things together later.
Top finish off this part, we will skin the cockpit and get the fuselage ready for wings. To start, Option A has a complete assembly of the upward firing cannons which I skipped due to selecting option B. However, the gun compartment is finished with multiple bulkheads and parts. On the bottom of the cockpit, the connecting cables between the stick and tail are added. Each sidewall has multiple parts for radios, bread bags and other parts (all of which have a name associated with it in case you wonder). The right side of the fuselage is added. Glue it securely making sure all the bulkheads align within spots. Glue it well and let it dry completely.
While that is drying, assemble the spent cartridge ejection box, the remainder of the rudder and elevator linkage and the bulk heads for the tail wheel. The left side of the fuselage was added. I tacked everything in place and added the upper fuselage side plate. This slides into place so don’t try to place it in- slide from aft forward and it will lock in place.
The from bulkhead is then added and the bottom plate. This took some fussing, clamps and tape but it wrangles into place. I do see several places where putty will be needed. While all this was final glued and then drying, I added the tail and horizontal stabs.
The interior is wonderful and having the clear parts, I can see why people would want to use them just to show off the inner workings and detail.
In part 3, we’ll tackle the wings and finish the build.
My sincere appreciation to everyone at Zoukei-Mura for selecting such a great subject, executing it perfectly and engineering it so well. More soon!