Kawasaki KI45KAI Nick Limited Edition
Hasegawa has re-released its well-known Ki-45 “Nick” or “Toryu” (Dragon Slayer) as a limited edition with markings for attack units based out of Philippines or the Home Islands.
Like most airplane models you start with the cockpit, which includes separate side panels for better detail. Note in the images that some ejection mark pins need to be filled out in the interior of the fuselage sides, as they won’t be covered by the separate side panels. At the same time those panels have knock-off marks that need to be removed too.
The cockpit floor includes molded-in wings spars that will facilitate wing alignment. In order to get the fuselage sides to close (during dry-fitting) I realized I needed to enlarge the slots in the fuselage sides for the wing spars. That improved the fit of the fuselage sides by a lot.
After painting the interior and before closing the fuselage sides I will strongly recommend plenty of dry-fitting. If you get everything to line up without having to force parts, things will line up nicely. I had to do some sanding of the interior side panels and the cockpit bottom for a better fit.
When closing the fuselage, there are multiple parts that need to be aligned. The most difficult one was the radio shelf. I just wish the engineering would have been different. I had to add a mini-shelf (out of stock styrene) to help line up the parts. Once painted nobody can notice it and it blends in.
Despite all my efforts, still I had a step between the left and the right side of the fuselages behind the cockpit. I choose to match the top and fill the bottom, as it is easier to “hide”.
From this point on, the model moved forward very quickly. The wings and tail planes presented no issues. But the wing root join to the fuselage needed some filling and sanding to eliminate another step. The nose to fuselage seam needed a bit of sanding –but not filling- just enough to blend in the seam.
The engines are two little gems that with careful painting come to life. Sadly most of that detail is hidden by the propeller spinner, but I know all that detail is there!
I was quickly moving to paint stage. After gluing the clear parts in place and masking (I purchased an Eduard mask set to save time and sanity) I choose to paint the overall airplane in RLM 02. The Hasegawa instructions call for “Gray Green”. Not being an expert in IJA colors, I just went for a color I had at hand.
After masking the undersides I used a simple technique to create the “splotches”. I got liquid mask inside a syringe and with a blunt fine tip –to avoid scratching the paint- I applied the liquid mask in an irregular pattern, trying to follow the drawings the best I could. While applying the liquid mask, think that you are “drawing” the light color and the unmasked areas will be the splotches.
This masking technique is very easy to apply and very forgiving. If you don’t like the pattern just wait for the liquid mask to dry out, remove and reapply. After waiting 48 hrs to completely ensure the liquid mask was dry, I finished the painting using Dark Green.
Decals were typical of Hasegawa; they applied fine over a clear gloss coat but they are a bit thick and needed to be cut with a sharp blade and some setting solution was added to help the decal to conform to panel lines. A sludge wash (made with acrylic paint) was applied to the overall airframe to bring out detail.
After a flat coat, the model was ready for the display case. I might still do a bit more of weathering with pastels, but this airplane was based in the Home Islands so it was likely kept in a good clean condition.
In summary, this model only need a bit of care in the alignment of the cockpit parts to the fuselage to ensure a good and solid basis for the rest of the assembly. Be aware that depending on which finishing option you choose you have optional parts and assembly steps. The instructions are very clear as to which part(s) to use based on the finishing option.
It took me about 20 hrs to complete the model and about 2/3 of the time was spent in the painting and masking stages. You can finish it in an overall Olive Drab (as per Hasegawa instructions) and have it in your collection in 12 to 15 hrs if you like.
This kit is recommended to modelers with average experience due to some minor fit issues. If you build it I can assure you that you will have fun. Lots of it!
I would like to thank Hasegawa USA and IPMS/USA for the review sample.