Nakajima

Ki-84-Ia

'Frank'

The Nakajima Ki-84 was another in the line of very successful fighters including the Ki-27 Nate, the Ki-43 Oscar and the Ki-44 Tojo that were produced by Nakajima for the Japanese Army Air Force. The Ki84 had excellent speed, maneuverability, firepower and defensive armor and from its operational debut over China in August 1944, the fighter proved itself the most troublesome J.A.A.F. type insofar as the Allies were concerned. The Ki-84 possessed none of the shortcomings of the earlier generation of Japanese fighters. Extremely sturdy and possessing adequate firepower and protection for both pilot and fuel tanks, it compared favorably with the best of its antagonists, out climbing and out maneuvering both the P-51H Mustang and the P-47N Thunderbolt, the ultimate developments of these excellent American fighters. It was also adaptable, serving in the role of high, medium and low level interception, close support and dive bombing roles. Production of the Ki-84 began in August 1943. The first production model being the Ki-84-Ia with the Ha.45/11 engine and an armament of two fuselage mounted 12.5-mm guns and two 20-mm cannons in the wings. This version made its operational debut against the U.S.A.A.F. in August 1944 with the 22nd Fighter Sentai based at Hankow, China. The introduction of the Ki-84 to this theater soon proved costly to the U.S. 13th Air Force. The Ki-84 proved simple to fly and pilots with a minimum of training could be assigned to the type, the majority of the new pilots converting to the new fighter with only two hundred flying hours, a level considered sub standard by the Allies but tolerated by the J.A.A.F. in order to maintain an adequate supply of pilots. As the war progressed, loosening of production standards due to the bombing campaign by the U.S.A.A.F. resulted in variations in the performance from one fighter to another and some issues with the Ha.45 engines resulted high maintenance issues in the field. During the final phases of the war it was numerically the most important Japanese fighter and certainly the most potent available in quantity and most likely the best Japanese fighter aircraft of the war and the third most produced fighter after the Zero and the Hayabusa with a total of approximately 3,500 aircraft produced.

The Kit

The Hasegawa kit comes in a large top open box befitting the scale with their usual lovely artwork. Inside the box are two large bags each with a several sprues of light gray plastic and one small bag with clear parts and the decals are also sealed in their own bag. The parts are cleanly and sharply molded with only the slightest hint of flash here and there. The surface detail consists of recessed panel lines, rivets and fastener detail as well as raised details where appropriate. The control surfaces are all fixed in the neutral position except the rudder and the flaps are separate and can be installed in the down position. The fabric control surfaces appear a bit too heavy for my taste but not much different that many others these days. I did not find any surface defects on any of the airframe parts and there is only a very small amount of mold alignment seams to deal with on double sided parts. Ejector pin marks are mostly where they won't be seen but there are some on the inside of the main gear doors. There are separate panels on each side of the fuselage but it appears it was done that way to allow proper depth of the holes molded into the panel as there is no detail behind them. The landing gear bays are deep and contain a lot of detail. The cockpit is very well detailed and most will not think it requires any after market. The instrument panel has a lot of really great detail and the decal sheet offers both a complete overlay and a sheet with just the instrument faces. The engine is molded with front and rear cylinders but these are hollow on the back but that can't be seen anyway. The kit incorporates a double wing spar which should make for a great fit of the wing to the fuselage and guarantee the correct dihedral is achieved. The kit includes a drop tank. The propeller has separate blades but they are keyed to provide the correct angle. A pilot figure is included, it requires assembly and actually looks pretty good. The landing gear wheels are not weighted. See photos below.

The clear parts are thin and clear with minimal distortion, the clear parts include lenses for the navigation lights, landing light and the gun sight and reflector. See below.


The decals come as two large sheets, one which has only white decals. These are for the wing 'band aids' and are put under some of the other markings to create a white outline or background as well as some of the tail numbers. The second sheet has all of the color decals. The decals are clearly printed but have more clear film surrounds than I like to see. The set also includes instrument panel decals, wing walk markings and stencils, fuel and oil filler hatch markings and other detail. Hasegawa decals tend to be thick and getting some of these to settle over details could be an issue especially where they need to be stacked. At least the white is really white and not the cream color Hasegawa used for years. the sheets provide markings for three aircraft. See below.


The instructions are printed on a long sheet folded to fit the box and creating eight panels. The front panel contains a brief history in English and Japanese, the second panel has a symbol chart, parts map and a paint chart giving the colors used in Gunze numbers and common names in English and Japanese. Panels three through five are the assembly instructions, the next two panels have the painting and marking instructions and the last page has basic assembly and decal instructions and the usual health and safety warnings.

After Market Goodies

Well, after telling you how nicely detailed the kit is I turn around and buy this stuff, what was I thinking ? Actually this set will take the cockpit to the next level. I am a bit undecided on whether or not to use the PE panel or the kit part, I generally love the color panels that Eduard provides but in this scale the raised detail that the kit part provides may be more appropriate but the rest of the goodies provided should put some icing on the cake. This is Eduard's set # 32542. I also decided to go with the Quickboost # 32041 set that supplies the exhaust stacks that are cast with open ends to save me from drilling out the kit parts. See below

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Also available but in my opinion not needed unless you are seriously AMS stricken are; Aries # 2084 resin cockpit set, Eduard # 32141 PE landing flaps, Eduard #32142 PE exterior detail set, Eduard Big Ed set # Big3228, Eduard cockpit mask # JX034. There are also decals available from Eduard and Eagle Strike.

Conclusions

This is a really lovely kit that should provide not only an easy build fit wise but a nicely detail model right out of the box, highly recommend to all but very beginners.

Links to kit build or reviews

A build can be found here.

References

Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War by R.J. Francillon

Back to the 1/32 Scale Japanese Aircraft page

Updated  7/5/13