1/48 Hasegawa Ki-44-II Shoki

  • 41 posts
  • Last reply 9 months ago
  • 1/48, Hasegawa, Ki-44, Shoki
Viewing 1 - 15 of 41 posts
  • George R Blair Jr said 10 months ago:

    I have had this kit for a while, but I hadn’t really wanted to build it until recently. I was looking through one of my references on Japanese aircraft when I found a diagram of an all-black Shoki used near the end of the war. I ordered the stuff that I would need to complete the kit, namely some Eduard photoetch, an Eduard canopy mask, and some Lifelike decals.

    While I was waiting for the add-ons to come in, I wanted to do a little research on the paint scheme. Although I managed to find the same aircraft in several references, it seems there is a lot of uncertainty over the exact color scheme used. All of the sources agree that the plane was flown by Lt. Hideaki Inayama of the 87th Sentai, and they all agree that most of the plane was painted black, but most of the other info is a little fuzzy. One source says that the plane was black overall, including the bottom of the aircraft, and had yellow leading edges. Another source had the same description, except that they say the plane had white bands around the rear fuselage and wings. Another source agreed with everything, including the white bands, except they say it had a light gray bottom. There is information on the instructions that came with the decals that discuss the confusion over the markings. Lifelike says that the pilot was interviewed in the 1960s and thought he remembered a blue diagonal band on the rear fuselage, and possibly some white bands. So there is a blue band included in the decals, as well as white bands for the rear fuselage and wings, although they probably wouldn’t have both been used at once. There is also some disagreement where the plane was located when it flew in this scheme. One source says it was flown out of China in 1944 and 1945, while other sources say it flew in this paint scheme while stationed near Tokyo in homeland defense. After all of this research, I decided I would simply take the parts of each paint scheme that I liked and come up with something that I liked and think appropriate. So, my Shoki will be black on top and gray underneath, with yellow leading edges, and white bands on the fuselage and wings. All the sources agree on the all-red tail insignia used on the aircraft. A couple of the sources show the rudder being a dark green color, so I may add that for a little contrast.

    Planning the Build:
    The kit is what you would expect from Hasegawa. It is fairly well detailed, with crisp panel lines, and a decent cockpit. Whatever detail was missing from the kit cockpit I figured would be supplemented by the Eduard photoetch, which included a bunch of parts for the cockpit and several parts for the exterior. When I examined the photoetch, I was disappointed to see that the instruments that go in back of the panel are printed on paper, not clear acetate. This is the second Eduard photoetch set that I have used in the last few weeks that used paper to depict the instruments and I was concerned that the paper might not react well to the various finishing and weathering techniques I use for the cockpit. Since both of the sets that used paper were for an older kit, I assume that this was something Eduard did a while ago and have since replaced the paper with acetate.

    It was about this time that I found a resin cockpit set for the Shoki by SBS Models. It looked very nice online, and the price was right, so I ordered it. When it finally came in, I found that it was worth the wait. The resin is very detailed and should really look great, provided my painting skills don’t disappoint. It also included some great photoetch, and some clear acetate instruments (problem solved). One thing did make me hesitate, and that was their instruction that you had to remove the molded-on cockpit details from the inside of the fuselage (no surprise there), but they said that the plastic fuselage walls needed to be ground down to .5 mm in thickness. I don’t use metric measurements much, but I knew that .5 mm was pretty thin. I decided to give it a try, so out came my Dremel tool and I carefully managed to bring the walls down to something fairly thin. I don’t have a caliper to measure the walls, but my TLAR (That Looks About Right) measurements make me think I am close to .5 mm.

    The Shoki also had two panels, one on either side of the cockpit, that would fold down to make cockpit entrance easier. These panels are molded into the fuselage, but are separate pieces in the resin set, so these were cut off with a razor saw.

    After the grinding session, I went about the job that I hate the most about using resin: removing the casting plugs. My razor saw made pretty short work of this process, and I used a sanding stick to clean up the cuts. I always worry about the sanding dust from this process, which is toxic, but I managed to get the process done with little dust. Probably not a big surprise to anyone, my next building session will be construction of the cockpit.

    Everyone stay safe.

  • Jeremy Millan said 10 months ago:

    Interesting paint scheme and the resin parts looks nice.

  • Louis Gardner said 10 months ago:

    This is a great start and an even better subject !!!

    I have the exact same boxing as yours in the stash. I also just cut open the side entry doors on my larger 1/32 Hasegawa cousin that’s posted here as an EoJ build. These resin parts and decals you have gathered for yours will make this a very interesting build……….

    Thanks for posting it, and I will definitely be watching this journal for updates.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 10 months ago:

    Hi George!
    This is another great entry at this GB: a good basis kit, nice resin and PE, very interesting paint scheme, and you have already made significant progress.
    What is not to like?

  • Erik Gjørup said 10 months ago:

    George @gblair, that is a very promising start. I really like S.B.S. model aftermarket kits (they also make some very nice full kits in resin), and I really dislike the process of preparing resin. Usually I use a lot of water on some damp paper and avoid dust that way. I suppose to be really safe it has to be done with a dust-mask, and the workarea fully cleaned before resuming work. That said, it offers some really amazing possibilities, and the choices of AM products are really limitless.

    Anyway – I am tuned in on this build and looking forward to it!

  • George R Blair Jr said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    I started assembling the cockpit today, as well as getting some painting done. The SBS resin for this kit is really a work of art. After cutting out the various pieces, I removed any lingering mold release on the parts by soaking them in Windex for three hours. After letting the pieces dry for a while, I started putting things in place. The two cockpit side panels are very detailed and were cemented into place using super glue.

    I cut out and added the photoetch that comes with the SBS cockpit. The seatbelts are nicely detailed and very thin, which makes them easy to bend into place.

    The rudder pedals were added to the rudder bar, and the instrument panels were cut out and readied for painting. I was glad to see that the instruments are depicted on a piece of acetate which will be added to the photoetch front panel in due course.

    I used Tamiya Superfine Gray Primer to ready the different materials for painting, followed by AK Real Colors Mitsubishi Cockpit Green for the interior color. The Hasegawa instructions call out Mitsubishi Green Interior as the color for the cockpit and wheel wells, so it is great that AK Real Colors have several cockpit colors, including the Mitsubishi color.

    I like AK Real Colors, which are a hybrid acrylic lacquer similar to Tamiya. In addition to painting well, AK Real Colors, unlike Tamiya, has a huge number of colors available in their line. My Paasche airbrush wasn’t spraying quite right, so I disassembled the airbrush and cleaned everything to see if I could fix the problem. During the disassembly, I noticed that there were some loose fittings, so I made sure everything was tight during reassembly. Things seemed to work much better the second time around. I suspect the problem was due to the loose fitting, not anything evil lurking in the deep recesses of the airbrush.

    Tomorrow, after everything dries, it will be time to do some detail painting and assembly on the cockpit. Till then, stay safe.

  • Pedro L. Rocha said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Like everyone mentioned above, the subject and it’s livery is a cool one… I have a long hidden desire to build a Frank that sported a large red arrow all through the fuselage sides, and much like your Tojo, that plane camouflage colour also provides fuel for fire, some claiming it to be black while others mention black green… anyway I digress, the SBS resin sets are terrific, used several and their quality is second to none, but they demand some testing and sanding to fit. Good luck with your WIP

  • George R Blair Jr said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Thanks for the tip on the resin, Pedro (@holzhamer). I don’t do a lot of full resin cockpits and usually limit myself to a resin ejection seat. I had the same issue in researching this plane that you did: one source said the plane was dark green. But the man who flew the plane was interviewed in the 1960s and confirmed that the plane was black, but he couldn’t remember if it was all black or black over a light gray belly. He also muddied things up by saying he thought there was a blue band on the rear fuselage, and also thought there were white panels under the insignia. A couple of sources say the white panels were never used with colored bands, so I guess you take your choice. Haven’t found any photos of this plane.

  • Louis Gardner said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    George, @gblair
    You have made some great progress !! I especially like the way the seat looks. Today I was prepping some resin wheel parts and I soaked them in some “Simple Green” for about an hour. I gave them a good rinse with water, and blew them dry with my compressor. I didn’t have any problems with paint coverage afterwards.

    I’ll give it a try using Windex sometime…………… Thanks for the tip, and for posting another great update. I’m also happy to hear that you have your air brush fixed. That can be a real pain if it’s not working properly.

    From what I have read about Lifelike decals, they spend a lot of time doing research on the subjects they chose. So you should usually be OK if you follow their recommendations. I have a 1/48 scale Ki-84 that will probably make an appearance soon. I have a set of “Special Attack Squadron” markings for it, and it too is a black airplane. It has a red stripe going down the side and is very colorful.

    Pedro, @holzhamer
    Please let me know if this is the plane you had planned on building. If so I can chose another subject if this choice will cause you grief, (like a Hasegawa Ki-45 in 1/48 scale that I have been wanting to build for ages).

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Hi George!
    These cockpit extras/replacements look really good, a great improvement over the standard parts.
    Waiting for your next installment!

  • Pedro L. Rocha said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Louis my friend @lgardner that is indeed the Frank I was mentioning in the comments above, but go ahead and build it, I’m not afflicted by people building the same subject I want to build, that would be nonsense…even more so because I don’t even have a Ki.84 in the stash 🙂

  • George R Blair Jr said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    Thanks, Louis (@lgardner). The Windex seemed to work great, especially if you have the gallon refill from Sam’s Club, or Costco, etc. You really can’t miss with an all-black plane with a full-length black arrow on it. I am thinking about getting a crash course using my wife’s Scan and Cut machine and making masks so I can paint all of the markings. Hopefully more on that later.

  • Louis Gardner said 9 months, 4 weeks ago:

    George, @gblair
    That scan and cut machine sounds very interesting……………. so please keep me posted on that !!!

    The black and red Ki-84 is working it’s way closer to the build pile each day…… and I definitely will give Windex a try the next time I prep some resin parts. Thanks again !!!

  • George R Blair Jr said 9 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Today was a slow day, full of detail painting and folding photoetch that I can barely see. I only lost two levers, but I managed to replace them using pieces of the leftover pieces of photoetch “sprue”. After previously painting the fuselage interior using Mitsubishi Interior Green from AK Real Colors, it was time to do the detail painting. The only hard part in the painting, aside from trying to paint the fine details with some really old hands, was trying to figure out the colors needed. A search of the internet produced a number of black and white interior photos of the Shoki, but I needed something in color. I couldn’t find any color photos (no surprise there), but the diagrams tend to be illustrations from books or interiors from digital planes used in computer flying games. And none of the diagrams seemed to agree with each other. So, I merged what I could find from the diagrams, made some guesses from the black and white photos, and then added my experience from my Air Force flying days, and came up with something that hopefully looks OK.

    In the midst of cleaning up the resin parts and then painting them, I managed to break the resin stick off its sprue, so I recovered by using the stick from the kit which fit the resin parts perfectly.

    As I prepared the acetate instrument piece for installation, I noticed that one of the instruments in the color diagrams was red on one side and black on the other side. The instrument on the acetate depicted the black side, but the other side was clear. I used some Tamiya Clear Red to add color to the clear side of the instrument. I painted the back of the acetate with some white paint to make the instruments stand out a little more.

    Once all of this was dry, I assembled everything into sub-assemblies that will go directly into the model. I still need to spray some clear flat on the parts to tie the various colors and sheens into one harmonious whole. After that, things will move faster as everything gets sealed into the fuselage.

    Everyone stay safe.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 9 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Hi George @gblair!
    What a fantastic detail!
    …..five PE levers?
    You did a meticulous job. Waiting eagerly for your progress!

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