Nakajima Ki 43-I Hayabusa (OSCAR)

This entry details the build of the Hasegawa 1:48 scale Nakajima Ki43-I HAYABUSA (OSCAR) of the Japanese Army in World War 2 donning the colours of the 64th Sentai, 1st Chutai plane piloted by Major Tateo Kato in the early days of the Malaya invasion campaign.

The Hasegawa kit no 51944 is a special motorised version of the Hasegawa kit of the Ki43-I (kit JT80 and kit 09589) which shares a common sprue B and T with the Ki43-II kit.

The 80 part kit (8 pieces more than the static kit due to the inclusion of the PE fret and motor) builds to complete a 184mm x 238mm wide model and the marking options are for the 64th Sentai plane in Burma 1942 or that of the 1st Flight Regiment in Oct 1942. As this was to be an addition to the Merdeka09 collection, the 64th Sentai option was the obvious choice.

The build was rather straight forward except that with the inclusion of the Eduard detailing photoetched parts, a bit of finesse was possible at the cockpit walls, seat, landing gears, butterfly flaps and radial engine sections.

The construction sequence and build quality was only delayed by the minor sanding and putty required at the fuselage halves and the drop tanks plus the odd ejector pin mark on the landing gears which I absolutely hated cleaning up. Some part by part joining of the wing halves are also advised as they will not join to a razor sharp edge due to so irregular fittings at the back of the wings near the flaps. Nothing that a bit of patience cannot overcome. The only overengineered part of the kit is at the landing gears which were designed in sections requiring a very fiddly connection and one which is quite fragile. A bit of care there is neccessary

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The cockpit was finished off with detailed painting using Vallejo acrylics and a turpentine oil paint raw umber/lamp black mix.

It was a shame that the details are a bit hard to see after fitting the tub into the fuselage halves.

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The overall painting was done with a mixtue of Tamiya acrylics and Gunze Mr Color over a layer of metallic Aluminium/Silver base with a layer of hair gel in between. The gel was neccessary to simulate the chipped paint effect of the inferior field camo of brown and green. The only areas spared of this patchy look was the Hinomaru red and the antiglare black areas. As there were no marking drawings available from the net resource, a hint of the scheme can be seen in the KAJERO book titled 64 Sentai.

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After the chipping was done and decals were applied in the traditional and compulsory gloss coat underlay, the entire plane was reapplied with an additional coat of Futures and panelled with the oil wash again. Some streaking of the wash was done with dry cotton buds and a fine brush before the entire model was protected with a coat of Gunze UV flat coat.

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This project was entirely enjoyable and I am now looking forward to opening up the Betty kit!

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By CK Loo