1/72 Special Hobby Tachikawa Ki-54 Hickory
I am always looking for something a little different to build, and I was pleased when Special Hobby recently released this new model. The new Special Hobby kits have a very good reputation, so I was eager to build this plane for the Empire of Japan group.
The Tachikawa Ki-54 "Hickory" (Army Type 1 Advanced Trainer Model A) was developed as a light transport and a multi-engine crew trainer. It is similar in size and function to the Airspeed Oxford, the Beech 18, Lockheed Ventura, and the Avro Anson. There aren't many photos available of this plane, especially of the interior. There are apparently only 3 surviving Ki-54s, including one that was recently recovered from the bottom of Lake Towada in Japan.
Building this kit required the normal test-fit, sand, re-test, re-sand, then glue. It went together well with just a few fit problems to deal with. This plane has a very tall mast on top of the fuselage. On some photos you can see an antenna wire going back to the tail, and on other photos there is no wire. The mast on the model is extremely delicate, so I chose not to tempt fate and add a wire. I also discovered after I was done that the pitot tube is the wrong configuration, which I will fix sometime. There are decals for 3 different Japanese planes, one in overall gray/green, and two with very intricate squiggly camouflage. Guess which one I chose? I used AK Real Colors for the paint, sealed with Tamiya Clear Gloss. The kit decals had a lot of extra clear film on them, which I trimmed off before applying. The decals worked well with MicroSol and MicroSet. Everything was sealed using Tamiya Clear Flat.
Weathering was done using artist oil colors and Odorless Turpenoid. As I was finishing this build, this month's copy of Scale Aircraft Modelling Magazine arrived with the Ki-54 on the front cover. They have a full build article in the magazine, and it was nice to see they encountered the same problem areas I did. Of course, they chose to do the squiggle camo. So, anyway, build is done, it was fun, and now on to the next build. Everyone stay safe. Cheers.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.