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Louis Gardner
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1/48 Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien “Tony” flown by Major Kobayashi, Commander 244th Sentai

January 25, 2017 · in Aviation · · 16 Comments

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new scale Tamiya . To me, the Ki-61 Hien "Tony" is one of the most graceful looking Japanese WW2 planes.

I purchased the new Tamiya kit from a hobby shop in Japan and hopefully it should arrive in a few days. When it does I'll post some photos of it and possibly do a kit review here on Imodeler. It's supposed to have and additional half of one side of the fuselage molded in clear styrene. This will give you the option of building the model as a "see through" plane or a typical build as seen here.

Meanwhile, this is a plane that I built way back when the kit was first released. It builds into a really nice plane. I don't remember any problems during the build. Unfortunately I didn't really take the time back then to pay special attention to the seams. If you look close you can see this in some photos.

Much has been written about the exploits of the 244th Sentai. Their mission was the Homeland Defense of Japan, and their goal was to intercept high flying B-29's. Once they reached the altitude (normally above 30,000 feet) where the B-29's flew, they were to destroy them using any means available, since not many Japanese aircraft available during this time were capable of intercepting the B-29's at this height. For some this meant a ramming attack.

I built this kit strictly out of the box. When I built this model I wasn't aware of the differences between the "Hei" and the "Tei" versions. I was drawn to the Shamrock clover leaf on the side of the fuselage. I mixed this shade of greenish brown using Model Master enamels. The finished model photograph on the side of the box was used as a guide for color. The underside was finished in Bare metal foil. I sprayed on the leading edge yellow IDFF (Identification Friend / Foe) markings.

I recently picked up several books on the Ki-61, and will be using them as a reference for the new Tamiya kit.

I'm going to post up another article on the Ki-61 in a few...

As usual, comments are encouraged.

Thanks for looking.

20 additional images. Click to enlarge.

16 responses

  1. Another fine looking build and photo sequence, Louis...a type not often seen done.

  2. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Nice looking TONY, very sharp and clean work Louis.

  3. Love this kit, and like you became aware that there are a couple of different versions. I did the bare metal with the mottling scheme. Really a nice build, fits like a Tamiya, not to fiddly and your right it is a beautiful plane. The Japanese had some fine aircraft. Thanks for sharing

    • Hey Chuck, I just went over and looked at your two part build / posting. You built a very nice model !

      Unfortunately I wasn't aware of the different versions of the Tony until a few years ago. Apparently part of the difference was the length of the forward fuselage ahead of the wing. There were other things too like different armaments, etc. Now I will be a little more selective when deciding on markings for the next builds.

      I really liked how this kit fit together. I have about 4 more to build. I want to do one markings for the 68th Sentai, and another in the Akeno Flying School.

      Thanks again my friend.

  4. One of the best looking aircrafts of that time as a double post.
    Well done !

  5. Louis, always a good day when you see a Tony, much less two. Inlines uusually look good, this being no exception.
    I'm looking forward to the Tamiya, though I have a couple of these to build, already.
    Really looks good. Wonder where the Shamrock came from? Saburo O'Shea, no doubt? (one of the real obscure Japanese pilots) Faith and Banzai!

    • I agree with you about the Ki-61 looking good. It's got a sleek almost shark like nose on it. My Tamiya kit still has not arrived yet. I'm really looking forward to it. I still have around 4 of the Hasegawa Tony kits left to build. They build into nice planes.

      The Shamrock was actually done by a really obscure Japanese pilot named Hiroshi O'Malley...:)

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