1/48 Otaki Ki-44 Shoki “Tojo” built 39 years ago today …..Monday, February 6th, 1978
Here’s a few pictures of a kit I built as a kid. This model has somehow survived over all of these years…
Here’s the background on the build:
Some dates in time, (for some unknown reason), just seem to stick with you. This is one for me.
Many years ago, I had a dog named “Laddie”. He was a mixed breed dog, crossed between a German Shepherd and a Collie. He had the body shape of a Shepherd and the color markings of a Collie… He was probably my best friend.
Way back then, the TV show “Lassie” was still a popular re-run. So my Dad had the chance to get me a puppy… my very first. I wanted to name him Lassie, but Dad said “That’s a girl dog name, and he’s a boy. How about calling him Lad instead ?”.
And so it was. He was an outside dog for the most part.
I had to walk past his dog house each morning on my way to the bus stop, which I rode to school. 39 years ago this morning, he didn’t look so good. I knew something was wrong. So I went back inside our home and told my Dad about it.
You see where this is headed…
Two days prior to this, my Dad and I went to our local hobby store, where I found this kit. Several dollars lighter in my wallet, I returned home, a very happy boy. I just had to have it.
Anyhow that afternoon as I was walking back home from the bus stop, I noticed my dad was in the yard with a shovel in his hands.
My first dog Lad had died around 9:15 AM or so, and my Dad had been deciding on what would be the best thing to do. So I grabbed another shovel and helped my Dad do what we had to do.
I think it broke both of our hearts…
So in order to help relieve the pain of my loss, I decided right then and there to build this model, once the task at hand was completed. It was some sort of an escape I guess. Several hours later the model was done. Nothing fancy. I don’t even think anything was painted on the plane except for the pilot.
I did hand paint my dog’s name and the date inside the rear of the fuselage. The next day I brush painted it silver and applied the kit decals.
For many years it was hanging from the ceiling of my old bedroom.
Finally about 15 years ago or so, I decided to give the plane a “make over”. So I visited my parents, and took the plane home with me.
Once the model was home, I gave it a good cleaning. By now most of the original kit decals had long since disappeared. Then I applied bare metal foil to it, right over the top of the old brushed on silver paint. The remaining details were all hand painted, including the green “squiggly” camouflage.
Anyhow, here it is… Not too much to look at, but priceless to me.
Time does help to heal old wounds. But you never really forget. I still miss him, and several others that followed him. They really are man’s best friend.
As usual, comments are welcomed.
16 additional images. Click to enlarge.