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Hasegawa 1/48 scale Kawasaki Ki-100-I Otsu (Tony)

Kit: No. JT38
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, distributed by Marco Polo Import Inc., 532 S. Coralridge Place, City of Industry, CA 91746
Price: $31.98
Comments: Injection molded, 84 parts, decals.

AS WORLD WAR II approached its conclusion, the Japanese, like the Germans, developed some of the best aircraft of the period. Similarly, the pounding of the Japanese homeland by Allied bombers severely hampered production, and Japan's super weapons came too few and too late.

One such fighter was Kawasaki's Ki-100. Production of Ki-61 Hien (Tony) airframes exceeded the supply of reliable water-cooled engines, so the Japanese army ordered the airframes modified for air-cooled radials -- the Ki-100 was born. Nearly 300 Ki-100-Ia fighters had the same razorback rear fuselage and canopy as the Ki-61. The second version (Ki-100-Ib, 118 built) had a cut-down rear fuselage and "bubble canopy" as depicted in this kit.

Hasegawa's Ki-100 features crisp recessed panel lines, good detail, and beautiful decals. Some of the sprues are common with Hasegawa's Ki-61 Tony kit, so 26 parts go unused. Decals provide markings for two late-war home defense machines.

The fit is good all around, except for the bottom fuselage fairing which required filling and sanding.

The cockpit is adequate for the scale, but it is missing the prominent breeches for the cowl guns. I like the fit of the three-piece wing, and the trailing edges are thin and sharp.

I painted my model with Floquil Classic Military Colors for the camouflage, then Floquil Crystal Cote for a gloss coat. The decals went on with just a little solvent to snuggle them into the recessed panel lines. I was surprised how well they conformed to the curvy junction of the fuselage and tail. A coat of Floquil clear flat came next, then I added the canopy, propeller, antennas, and pitot tube.

The Ki-100 is a fine kit with no major fit problems. It looks like the real thing compared with the photos and stats in Rene J. Francillon's Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. It took only 15 hours to complete, and it's easy enough for beginners to build.

Steve Davis

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