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1/48 Nakajima “Shoki” Ki-44 II Hei (Tojo) 47th Sentai

It's been a while since I have posted anything... I have been rather busy building several projects in the "Year of the Cat" GB, as well as the "Kasserine Pass" GB too.

So here is one that I built way back in the late 1990's, not too long after this kit was released in 1995. This is the first issue kit number JT-36 or 09136 depending on what you prefer. When I built this one, I didn't have access to the internet, so I'm sure there are some errors, most likely with the color of the paint on the inside of the landing gear wells.

It went together rather nicely. I don't remember anything difficult with this build. I'm fairly certain that the kit decals were used. I remember they didn't react too well with solvent solution when I tried to get them to snuggle down... Please don't look too close at the Hinomaru markings as some have wrinkled a little... like me.

I don't like to use large sections of decal material unless it is a necessity. So for this one I painted on the "Bandages" behind the Hinomaru markings. On the real 's, this would have denoted "Defense of the Homeland" and this plane would have probably been used against high flying B-29's over Japan.

This one was finished using various shades of Bare Metal Foil. I did not weather this plane at all, since I liked how it looked "all shiny"... For a more realistic appearance, it probably should be weathered a little, and should have some minor exhaust stains or what have you... Maybe on the next one I build.

The control surfaces were painted in JAAF gray. On the real planes these areas were fabric covered. Model Master enamels were used throughout the build. I have several more of these kits in the stash, so look for a few more of these from me down the road. It's a good kit to build and I highly recommend it.

I did manage to find a few pictures tonight of the real planes from the 47th Sentai. They are included at the end of the pictures.

The Ki-44 is one of my favorite planes from the Japanese Army Air Force. I picked up the larger 1/32 Hasegawa cousin to this one shortly after it was released. It's one of my planned subjects for next year... along with the Airfix Boulton Paul Defiant that I was awarded as the random prize gift here on Imodeler a while back.

I'll be sure to post up a build log for these when the time comes and these projects have started.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about this one, and looking at the photos I provided.
I plan on building a light box for photography with LED lights one of these days... Busy, busy, busy...

As per my usual sign off, comments are encouraged.

28 additional images. Click to enlarge.

31 responses

  1. Nice job on the Bare Metal Foil stuff, Louis - but how the heck do ya get "various shades" of BMF...? I know how to get 'em usin' MM Buffable Metalizers, but foil?
    Beautiful set of photos, by the way 🙂

    • Thanks Craig ! Yes Bare Metal Foil is available in different colors. For this one (and most of my Foil projects) I used "Chrome", and "Ultra Bright Chrome". After I built this kit, they came out with another shade called "Matte Aluminum". They even offer a gold and a copper and a "Black Chrome" for the car guys... Hope this answered your question.
      Merry Christmas buddy...

  2. real beaut, Louis. You inspire!

  3. Sweet looking aircraft

  4. Very nice Louis. I like the finish, looks good.

  5. Nice and shiny Louis, looks good.

  6. Thanks for posting Louis. Allway nice to see earlier work. Great work with the BMF. Thanks to the various shades it's still very usable, but one might not think of it right away.

    • You're welcome my friend.

      This one has survived pretty well over the years, unlike some of my older builds. Using foil takes a little practice, but is easy to do once you get the hang of it.

      Thanks for the compliments and for liking the article as well.

      Your Airfix Ju-87 is coming right along... it looks good !

  7. It works Louis. Sometimes shiny things which easily amuse and delight are fun and give a person those warm fuzz ies. I have built several of these kits and they do go together well.

    Two thumbs up.

  8. A beautiful build, Louis!

  9. Very interesting, Louis, I like the idea of using foil and might give it a try on that Chinese jet I'm building. A while ago someone posted an article here using ordinary kitchen foil which he applied panel by panel. Anyway, your Ki-44 has stood the test of time and still looks great. I guess using foil means no pre or post shading Can you remember if you painted the white bandages on top of the foil, or did you paint the white bits first and then use the foil as a kind of post masking strip? I hope this isn't too silly a question!

    • Thank you George, for the questions, comments and the "liking" of the article / photos. I actually thought about posting this information in the write up. I guess great minds think alike... 🙂

      As far as painting on the "bandages" (and the anti glare panel), I painted them on first.

      I have found that if you try to mask over the foil with a tape that is too aggressive and has a lot of bite in the adhesive, it pulls the foil off when you remove the masking.

      You are correct with the statement about no pre or post shading. I haven't figured out a way to do this since it's something I have never done before on any of my builds since I rely on chalks and pastels for that.

      I say give it a try on your jet. I knew a guy who used actual household / kitchen type aluminum foil once on a B-17. It looked really nice too...

      When I get around to re finishing the A-20 Havoc (which currently resides on the shelf of doom), I thought I would try to paint the areas that have compound curves with a metallic finish, and foil the flat areas using Bare Metal Foil.

      Please don't think it was a silly question. There really isn't such a thing.

      Take care my friend and I hope to see some updates on your jet soon... BTW, is that a licensed built version of the Mig-21 ?

  10. Very nice indeed, you need to give me some lessons on working with the bare metal foil. I love the finish. Cool build.

    • Thanks for the compliments Marc. Coming from a fantastic scratch builder such as you, this is a wonderful compliment.

      It isn't too hard to work with at all. Maybe I can post up a "How To" article similar to the one I did on how I did the "Fokker Streaks" on my Dr-1 Werner Voss Tri plane. I need to finish up my Bare Metal Foil A-20 Havoc that has been stalled for quite some time... so it may be the perfect subject for the article.

      I could take some scratch building lessons from you... Your work is incredible !

      Thanks again my friend...

  11. Beautiful "Tojo," Louis! Your BMF work is flawless.

    I always get a kick out tof this aircraft; the nose is too big for the itty-bitty tail.

    Great photos you included as well!

    • Thanks my fellow Army tanker buddy... Funny you should mention the "itty-bitty tail... I have read a first hand account that was taken from a former JAAF pilot who was going through conversion training from Ki-43 Oscars to the Ki-44 Tojo. He said the plane was overly sensitive with the elevator controls... This could cause the plane to occasionally "Float" along the runway as it was landing, due to the pilot not being familiar with the handling characteristics. If the pilot wasn't careful, it would stall causing a crash.

      Here's the final kicker...

      When the plane would crash in this manner, he stated that most of the time the plane would break in half, just behind the cockpit, causing the plane to somersault, occasionally ejecting the pilot while he was still strapped to the seat !

      The plane would supposedly continue to "roll" in this manner making several revolutions until it finally lost enough energy to come to a complete stop...

      Thanks for liking the article and photos.

      Merry Christmas buddy...

  12. Looks great! This is one I've been itching to build - I've captured lots of reference material, but it just hasn't made it to the top of my list yet! It's such a brute-looking aircraft.

    • I say go for it Greg. You will really enjoy building this one... I hope to complete a few this upcoming year as well. This plane reminds me of a cartoon drawing of an English Bulldog. Big shoulders, neck and head... and like Jeff stated... a little tail.

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