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Bill Koppos
116 articles

Hot-Rod Hien, the last of the breed.

August 2, 2022 · in Aviation · · 17 · 1.3K

Sooner or later, all good fighters need an upgrade. The Kawasaki Hien JAAF fighter was still running around with a Diamler Benz DB 601 copy in 1944, which had gone out with the Bf109E model in 1941. The Ha-140 was the "developed" engine, which turned out to be a real dog reliability wise. Nonetheless some were installed in lengthened airframes and a very hot ship resulted, when the engines ran, or when fuel could be found for them. The last versions had a cut-down rear fuselage and improved vision canopy, a-la the Ki-100. Depending on your source, either thirty of these were made, or just one prototype. I find only one photo of this one, by itself, so- your guess. Either way, I think it's the best-looking of a whole line of really good-looking airplanes, so, I built one.

The ability to build this came from A to Zee products, or . They give you a resin fuselage and some other small bits, to be used with a Hasegawa Ki-61 Hien donor kit. The resin fuselage is quite nicely cast, with crisp panel lines and such. The stock interior is used, a bit of sanding allowed a pretty good fuselage half fit. Same can't be said of the wing to fuselage fit, which required a major wrestling, sanding and trimming match to get on. Most else was garden-variety modeling. The resin cast canopy parts were a bit cloudy but responded very well to a Future dip. Crystal clear!
I did use the Ki-61 sliding bit, as it fit properly compared to the kit's.

Most profiles show these (this?) in green but I hadda be different and use the late-war brown. I used the new Tamiya Lacquer JSSDF brown with a touch of "propellor colour", sprayed over marbling of white. Unders are Tamiya Lacquer gloss aluminum. I really like this a an NMF finish, and it can be mixed with black or white for different shades. Hinomarus are sprayed, and the rudder device sprayed using an Alley-Cat provided stencil. A bit small, but WTH.

Fuselage band is brush painted In the field.

Ya never know when you get hit with a bug, but I started this for no particular reason and zipped right thru it. One
nevah knows, do one?

Reader reactions:
31  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. Love it, Bill! Rare, for sure, you did your usual magic and the result is absolutely superb!

  2. Beautiful build, Bill @billkoppos
    Everything on this Hien looks superb, detailing, painting etc.
    Well done.

  3. Beautiful build! As I understand it, There were some 404 Ki-61-IIs produced with the earlier style canopy/fuselage (but squared off at the back, rather than angled like the Ki-61-I). The one you've built was the Ki-61-III prototype. There were about 275 Ki-61-II airframes awaiting engines when the Ha-140 production line was destroyed, so they were converted to Ki-100-Is. The rest of the newly produced Ki-100-IIs (either 106 or 121, depending on source) got the cut down fuselage design of the Ki-61-III.

  4. Beautiful work, Bill. Kinda too bad the Ki-61-III never had a chance to perform, given the shoddy engines that didn't really work and then got bombed out of existence. But the last-chance conversion to the Ki-100 created a fighter the equal of anything the US was flying over Japan. Just not enough of them, thank goodness.

    I did the Ki-100-Ib from Alley Cat and you're right about the fit of the very nice fuselage to the kit wings, but definitely worth the effort.


  5. Great job on the build, this is a beautiful looking kit!

  6. Well done, Bill. The paint/weather job is top notch. Subtle.

  7. She does indeed look hot, pops. A stunner. Also that photography looks to be improving as well

    • Up against the south wall of the shack. Sun was filtering thru the leaves, for that professional fotograffer look. Finally figured out the closeup focus thing too.

  8. Nice work, Bill. Great subject. AZ did a full kit of that plane that didn’t look too bad in the box.

  9. Great looking model Bill! That's probably my favorite Japanese fighter. ?

  10. Well done, Bill (@billkoppos). This is indeed a very nice looking plane. I especially like the finish you got on the paint-work. I have built an Alley Cat conversion before, and you have certainly got the best out of this conversion.

  11. That is a beautiful Tony! Excellent work on this.

  12. Wow nice job! Love the bubble top Tony!

  13. Gorgeous as usual. Love the brown. You must have been on very good terms with the airbrush gods- marbling magnifique!

  14. As always, the comments are appreciated, thanks guys. And all positive!

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