by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien ( roughly "flying swallow") was a Japanese World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The Allied code name assigned by the United States War Department was "Tony". The Japanese Army designation was "Army Type 3 Fighter". It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled inline "V" engine.
In the box
The packing of the kit is excellent as usual from MDC. The fuselage halves, wings and vac form canopies are packed in separate bubble-wrap bags. The rest of the kit is bagged in seven seal-able bags for each sub assembly. The decals and instructions make up the rest of the contents of the sturdy lidded box.
The fuselage halves have some very fine recessed panel lines. Some re-scribing may be needed as some of the panel lines seem to be a bit shallower then others and may disappear under a coat or two of paint. The fuselage halves have a little flash to remove and a few mould plugs, but should only take minutes to remove. Each fuselage half is surprisingly light and are quite flexible along the length but once the internal sub assemblies are in place it should stiffen up. The radiator scoop is a separate sub assembly and fits underneath the fuselage and makes up the bottom of the wing root/fuselage join. If there are any fit issues with the kit I believe this is where you will find them. Unfortunately unless I build half of this kit I can't tell if there are any problems.
The wings have fine recessed panel lines adorning them and some exceptional raised details where appropriate. The wings are each moulded as one piece and have the main wheel wells moulded into them. The wells have some excellent detail in the form of raised rivets and panels. The separate ailerons and flaps have some very subtle detail representing the fabric texture and look to be an easy fit to the wings, with the wings having recessed locating positions to help. The top of the wings have the armament panel as a separate piece. The kit also comes with some clear and tinted resin navigation lights for the wings and fuselage.
The cockpit is a work of art with the cockpit floor and side walls having some incredible detail cast on them. The instructions show where the cabling from the sidewall dials goes and should add more life to the interior. With a lot of levers and decals for the dials it should look stunning when complete. The seat is a two piece affair with the very nice padded backrest. A separate P.E harness is supplied with the kit. The instrument panel has recessed disks for the dials and with the inclusion of the Japanese dial decals should look rather nice.
Optional white metal or resin undercarriage legs are supplied with the kit. The resin legs look to be finer detailed but with some clean up to the white metal legs they should look just as good and will be a better option for supporting the weight of the model. The wheels are nicely cast with a choice of either spoked or not spoked wheels, so checking your references is required for the aircraft you are modelling. Both sets of wheels are unweighted.
The engine exhausts are separate pieces and beautifully cast with hollowed out ends.
The vac form canopy is quite thin and look to be nice and clear. The sheet for the canopy also has the landing light cover on it. The inclusion of canopy masks is a nice touch from MDC.
The instructions and markings
The instructions let the kit down a bit as they are printed on four pages of A4 sized paper and are black and white photos of the model in various stages of completion. The pics are unfortunately a bit blurry, but not as bad as the Typhoon kit, so at least its some improvement there. Internal colours are given along the way with some added text to help with construction.
Two sheets of A4 paper gives you the marking option for the five different aircraft that can be modelled with the supplied decals. Both sheets are colour drawings of the profiles with one sheet standard for the stencils and national markings. FS paint numbers are given for the colours that are needed for the aircraft. Three of the aircraft are natural metal finish with green mottling, one is in natural metal finish and the last is solid green uppers with natural metal finish undersides. The decals are printed by Fantasy Printshop and look to be in register with a little carrier film around them. Unfortunately I can't tell you how the unit markings look as MDC forgot to put them in the kit. From previous experience MDC are pretty good at replacing lost or broken parts. I probably won't bother getting the missing decal sheet as I will use Miracle Masks for a different unit then supplied.
The aircraft that can be modelled are,
"21" 2nd Chutai, 39th Sentai, 1944.
"15" flown by Cpl. Seiichi Suzuki, ikazuki-tai, 29 January 1945, Hamamatsu Airfield.
"88" flown by Capt. Fumisuke Shouno, Soyokaze-tai, Febuary 1945, Chofu Airfield
"43" flown by Cpl. Yukio Ishioka, Soyokaze-tai, 1945, Chofu Airfield
"295" flown by captian Teruhiko Kobayashi, CO of 644th Sentai, January 1945, Chofu Airfield