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Autore: Alessandro
Sd. Kfz.182 Tiger ll Italeri Review

Arma Hobby Model Kits Nakajima KI-84 Hayate Expert Set Review

The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate is a single-seat fighter piloted by the Japanese Imperial Army Air Service in the last two years of World War II. The Allied codename was “Frank. The Japanese Army designation was Army Type 4 Fighter.” The Ki-84 is generally considered to be the best Japanese fighter to operate in large numbers during the conflict. The aircraft boasted high speeds and excellent maneuverability with armament (up to two 30mm and two 20mm guns) giving it formidable firepower. The Ki-84’s performance matched that of any single-engine Allied fighter it faced, and its operational roof allowed it to intercept B-29 Superfortress bombers at high altitude. Pilots and crews in the field have learned to care for the plane’s high-maintenance Nakajima Homare engine and a warp-prone landing gear. The difficult situation in Japan at the end of the war put a strain on the aircraft’s field performance as manufacturing defects multiplied, quality fuel proved difficult to source, and experienced pilots became scarce. However, a well-maintained Ki-84 was Japan’s fastest fighter.
The KIT
The Expert Set series includes photoengraved parts and masks and, in this case, six marking options. Arma Hobby’s 1/72 scale Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate includes 66 gray plastic parts, four clear plastic parts, seven photo-etched parts on a single key, and decals for six aircraft options. Sprues are labeled “pre-production”, but the quality does not seem compromised in any way. Gray plastic parts are supplied on one large and one small sprue. The molding quality is excellent with no visible molding defects or imperfections on my sample. The plastic parts boast a luxurious satin texture. Arma’s website recommends using long-term metal molds for kit manufacturing, and it really shows. Being a long lasting kit, the parts are molded with all the alignment aids you would expect, including locating pins, holes and tabs. The surface textures are just gorgeous. The recessed panel lines, circular fastening heads and other structural details are very fine. The fuselage comes as left and right halves with some elements that allow for some important options. Most obvious is the separate cockpit coaming and mid-high fuselage insert. Two inserts are included. An insert is designed to mark option 1 and must have the roof closed. The second insert is for marking options 2 to 6 and is designed for an open roof. You can, however, cut a tab from the inside of Part 21 if you want a closed canopy to mark options 2 through 6. It looks a bit confusing here, but the instructions are clear enough. Some cockpit sidewall detail is moulded directly to the inside of the fuselage halves. Additional separate parts include a plastic cockpit floor, throttle quadrant; instrument panel, a moulded pair of rudder pedals, control column, radios and more. A few photo-etched parts also enhance the front office. The instrument panel and switch panel feature raised detail that will respond well to careful dry brushing, with a decal overlay option also included. The seat is moulded with six raised circles and arow of raised rivets on the backrest. The real seat was actually perforated, so you may wish to drill out the circles in the seat backrest. Photo-etched harness straps are included. The engine is suitably busy with two rows of cylinders featuring fine cooling fins, upper and lower pushrod halves, exhaust manifolds, crankcase cover and a photo-etched ignition harness. Alternative lower fuselage intake fairings are offered. Two styles of mesh intake are also included. The wing parts are full span, top and bottom. They are thin at the trailing edges. I particularly like the very fine and busy recessed rivets and fastener circles on the centre section of the lower wing. The main wheels are moulded as one piece each and are nicely detailed. Tyre tread is smooth. The wheels are subtly bulged and flattened. Self-adhesive die-cut masks are supplied for the canopy and wheels. This is a thoughtful and time saving touch.Instructions are supplied as a 12 page stapled A5-sized booklet.
Marking Options
The kit decal sheet offers markings for six IJAAF options with some colourful markings and in varied camouflage:
  • Ki-84 Otsu (armed with 4 cannons 20 mm), 104 Sentai, Ota airbase, Japan, August 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko serial no. 1446, 2 Chutai 11 Sentai, Philippines, 1944/45
  • Ki-84 Ko, 10 Rensei Hikotai (Operational Training Unit), Lt. Takata, Japan, spring 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko, 3 Chutai 47 Sentai commander’s Cpt. Hatano airplane Japanese Home Defence Forces (Hondo Boei Butai), Narimasu, Japan, February 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko, 57 Shimbu-tai, Mijokonojo airbase, Kiusiu, Japan, Battle of Okinawa, May 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko, 2 Yuso Hikotai (ferry formation), Lt. Shuho Yamana ferried this airplane from Nakajima factory airfield in Ota to the base in Saigon, summer 1944