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Hasegawa 1/48 scale Ki-45 "Nick"

Kit: No. 09781
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322,
Price: $48
Comments: Injection-molded, 161 aircraft parts, 110 fuel truck and diorama parts
Pros: Excellent level of detail; many options; diorama-ready
Cons: Indistinct panel lines on canopy
Issue Published: July 2008
A hit-and-miss project begun in the 1930s, the Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu twin-engine heavy fighter went into production just before Pearl Harbor.

Hasegawa's enhanced kit purports to be the earliest production variant. Features include two forward-firing 12.7mm machine guns, one Ho-3 cannon in the belly, and a single rear-firing Type 98 7.92mm machine gun.

The box also contains an Isuzu TX40 fuel truck, a fire extinguisher, two ground crewmen, four fuel drums, and a 61/2" length of vinyl fuel hose.

Assembly instructions are on single folded sheets of paper. Instructions in six languages include black-and-white photos of a model, a brief history, symbol key, a parts map, a paint color list for GSI Creos aqueous and Mr. Color paint, extensive exploded-view assembly drawings, and multiview marking and painting guides. The Nick is completed in 21 steps, and the Isuzu is finished in 16 steps.

Being inexperienced with military vehicles, I was pleased with the excellent fit and high level of detail in the truck. The fire extinguisher is quite delicate. I could not resist painting it red, even though the box art shows it in basic Army green. If you want to pose the Ki-45 being refueled, the fuel tank covers need removal, as the kit has no provision for tank access. A drawing shows the tank-cover locations.

Parts for both kits are bagged separately. Options include open or closed canopy, clear wingtip nav light lenses, clear taillight, early or late cannon barrel tip, antenna mast locations, and clear or black instrument panel decals.

Parts have fine mold seam lines, very few pin marks, no sinks, and thin sprue attachments. Panel lines are finely scribed.

The Ki-45's cockpit floor has wing spars which later aid in the mounting and strength of the wings. One part, M13, cannot be fixed to the cockpit floor as shown; it must be moved slightly aft to a lower position.

Step 9 calls for the installation of the rudder mass balance horns (parts N7), but these will interfere with the tail markings for both aircraft unless you apply the markings before installing the horns.

I like the little polyvinyl propeller keepers, which allow late propeller installation and still permit the props to turn.

Using information provided by Tom Hall in Asahi Journal (Vol. 4, No. 1, Japanese Information International), the Kawasaki exterior color of the Ki-45 series is close to FS24554. I used a full bottle of Testors Model Master Imperial Japanese light army gray mixed with two eyedroppers of Testors Model Master FS34250 green to match the chip in my Federal Standard color reference book. Using color photos found in Monogram Close-Up No. 14: Japanese Cockpit Interiors Part 1 (Aviation Publications) of the Nick at the Smith-sonian National Air and Space Museum, I painted the interior Testors Model Master FS34102 medium green. It's probably a little too green with not enough olive.

I prepped my model for decals with coats of Testors Glosscote lacquer. However, the decals were a challenge - they didn't react well to solvents and wouldn't settle into panel lines. They do adhere if instructions are closely followed, but silvering was prevalent. I used Testors Model Master semigloss clear lacquer to even everything out.

The model measures about 11/2 scale inches short but looks just like the Nicks I saw in photos.

I spent well over 75 hours on this project, mostly masking and painting, and I can report the models are virtually flawless … they were a pleasure to work on, and the Nick is a worthy addition to my collection of World War II warbirds. Now, Hasegawa, how about a Frances or a Randy?

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