Hasegawa 1/48 Kawasaki Ki-100
Model, Text and Photos by: Mike Swinburne
The IJAAF Ki-100 was essentially a Ki-61 with a radial engine added in place of the Atsuta inverted V-12 (DB601 or 603 copy, it slips my mind which). Although less aerodynamic than the Ki-61, the -100 was lighter and actually performed better than its predecessor. Early versions of the Ki-100 shared the razorback ("fastback") cockpit of the ki-61 but with different rear canopy glazing. The early Ki-100 "fastback" version is the subject of this review.
Several years ago, Hasegawa released 1/48 kits of the Kawasaki Ki-61 and later, the Ki-100 in both the "fastback" and later bubble-canopy versions. Unfortunately these kits have been discontinued but there is hope that they will be re-released in the near future. The Hasegawa Ki-100 kits contain all of the sprues from their previous Ki-61 kit but with the appropriate fuselage halves for the version being built. They also contain a new sprue for the radial engine parts, new propeller, a rounded fuselage bottom that gets glues to the center of the ki-61 wing, and some smaller detail parts. I found minimal flash on one or two parts, but otherwise, they are all up to standard Hasegawa quality.
The cockpits for all of the Ki-61 and -100 kits are identical, and are well detailed out of the box but are lacking seatbelts. There is a decal provided for the control panel if the builder chooses. The decal goes on nicely with Solvaset but make sure to trim away the miles of excess carrier film! The kit only provides the option of a closed canopy, and the cockpit built out of the box looks very convincing to me. Aires produces a cockpit set for the ki-100, I suspect it is the same as the Ki-61 cockpit, which is a beautiful little set.
I painted the cockpit with model master SAC bomber tan (no.1792) with a bit of olive drab and white mixed in which was a close enough match to my liking for one of the many cockpit colours I've seen in Japanese aircraft. Seat cushions were painted with MM leather and *lightly* drybrushed with off white.
Fuselage and Engine Assembly:
The cockpit fits nicely in the fuselage, and before the fuselage halves can be clued together, the exhausts, cowl guns, engine, and another piece or two must be installed. The holes where the exhaust pieces go (one on each side) need to be cleaned up a bit with a sharp blade, a five second job, and then the parts fit nicely. The detail on the engine front is rather overscale. The pushrods look far too thick and the cooling vents on the cylinders also look rather soft. The engine still looks quite nice in my opinion behind the cowl and propeller. The fuselage fits together very well, but take care with the top cowl/gun trough and cowl ring alignment to the fuselage.
Wings and Gear:
The Ki-100 kit uses the ki-61 wing, which is flat on the bottom. A part is provided for the new lower fuselage cross section that gets glued to the center of the lower wing before gluing the pair to the fuselage. I prefer to glue the lower wing on before the upper wing halves, so that I can make sure there are no annoying seams on the upper wing root-fuselage join. The fit of the lower wing to the fuselage bottom was a little loose so I had a few minutes of annoyance getting the lower wing perfectly aligned so that the upper wing halves would fit with no problems at all. I found it much easier to cut off the Wing locator pins and just use the fuselage for alignment.
Gear well detail is sufficient, and the gear legs have a strong fit to the plugs in the lower wing. I was pleased with the whole assembly so there is not much else to say about this part. I painted gear legs black, everything else went aluminum.
The gun sight and landing light lens come from the KI-61 canopy sprue (so you have an extra ki-61 canopy in case you messed one up in an earlier build) and the Ki-100 canopy fits nicely. The tail wheel gets glued into a little square hole inside one fuselage half, which seems to work very well but I have concerns about the strength of this. I think at this point it's safe to say that I really don't like the kit propeller. It is very thick at the trailing edge on the inner halves and has a very unconvincing cross-section to my eye. I worked on this for about an hour with an ex-acto knife until I was pleased with the end result.
Painting, Weathering, and Decaling:
I always prime my models in model master metalizer aluminum (non-buffing) to show up any seams or other imperfections. I was very pleased with how the primer aluminum sprayed on the bottom so I sprayed one more coat on for luck and then "painted" future floor polish onto the whole model with a q-tip to seal it and so the metalizer wouldn't come off with masking tape. I mixed Model Master French Khaki, Euro Dk. Green, and one more green that slips my mind until I had a green that I was convinced was close to IJAAF green. (I found a bottle of model master IJAAF green in the local hobby shop a week or so later, it was almost an exact match!)
I sprayed the topside green a day or two after "painting" the future on; I didn't want to take any risks with anything at this point. When the green was dry, I thought I would see how real the finish would look if I attacked the paint with a no.11 blade. I was so happy with the result that I gave all of the panel lines varying degrees of chipping. It can't look more real than the real thing!
At this point I applied the kit decals, which go nicely with Solvaset although are prone to leave air bubbles under them even after the Solvaset. I ended up poking holes in the decals with the ex-acto and applying Solvaset multiple times to most decals. After I was happy with the decals, I took a look at the model and decided to do no more weathering to it. Now, I know that it is *a little* inaccurate to not have this chipped at least to some extent and to also not have any exhaust or gun stains, but I was very pleased with the finish at this point and decided to go no further.
On the whole, this kit is on par with the Hasegawa A6M kits in my mind. I have nothing to check the accuracy of dimensions but it certainly looks like a fastback ki-100 to me. I am currently working on a bubble canopy Ki-100 and two Ki-61 kits (one with the Aires superdetail set) and these will all go very nicely together once I get off my butt and put some time in. Modelers with only a few kits under their belt should have no problems building this kit.
Ed.: The Ki-100 is currently not in production, but the Ki-61 is available:
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