Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate was operated by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service for the last two years of WWII. It was officially designated the Army Type 4 Fighter, though it was given the name Hayate, translated as ‘Gale’. The Allies designated its type as ‘Frank’. It was a progression from the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ‘Oscar’ in order to counter the superior performance of Allied aircraft. The Ki-84 boasted high speeds and excellent manoeuvrability with armament that provided quite a punch. Compared to its popular predecessor, the Ki-84 offered better climb rate, improved armament and armour and all gained at very little cost to its predecessor’s high manoeuvrability. Acknowledged to be the finest mass-produced fighter the Japanese produced during WWII. The Ki-84 like many thoroughbreds needed care in handling and maintenance. The landing gear was not strong and could easily collapse in a heavy landing. The Ha-45 Homare engine needed constant maintenance to preserve its performance. The dwindling accessibility of quality fuel was a problem as well as a shortage of experienced pilots. Its performance at altitude was disappointing. There were numerous plans to address the problem, including the use of other radial engines and as well as superchargers. None of these possible solutions were ever tested. After the war Ki-84 with the Ha-45 Homare was tested in the States using 92 octane AvGas and methanol injection and it achieved a speed of 427 mph [687 km/h] at 20,000 ft, so it was no slouch.
The Ki-84 Hayate saw a lot of action against the Americans in the pacific. It was quickly realised it was a very capable fighter. Not one to underestimate particularly at low and medium levels. As with all fighter the Ki-84 Hayate was adapted to carry bombs and used its excellent speed to good effect on hit and run raids against the advancing American forces. The final year of the war saw the Hayate in the ever-increasing desperate effort to protect the homeland. In total of 3,514 Ki-84 Hayate were built.
One of two versions of the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate can be built: the Ko or the Otsu. The Ko was the most widely produced armed with two 12.7 mm machine guns and two 20mm cannons all fitted in the wings. The Otsu was fitted with four wing mounted 20mm cannons, though only a handful were built. This initial edition is an expert set containing plastic parts, photo etched fret, paint masks as well as decals.
The contents of the kit are contained in a side opening box. All the contents are placed in a single bag and inside are separately packed clear parts with the decals placed inside the instructions. Taking the sprues out of the bag it’s clear that Arma Hobby is maintaining their excellent reputation with the quality of the raised and recessed detail. The panel lines are sharp, consistent and quite subtle. Pretty important attributes for a kit, particularly as there are a couple of natural metal scheme included with this release. There are locating pins included on the main parts.
There are eleven detailed parts making up the cockpit. The raised and recessed detail on the instrument panel [IP] looks good, and a decal provides the detail for the instrument faces. There are a couple of other decals providing additional detail for the IP. Three small photo etched parts replicates the controls on both sidewalls. The seat has a number of circles, representing weight saving cut outs. You may want to drill the seat out to better represent the perforated look. Seat harnesses are provided as a PE part with a decal providing the detail. The harness attachment points on the plastic frame needs bending slightly. The detail on the sidewalls of the cockpit looks very good and will benefit from a light wash to further accentuate the detail.
The canopy can be displayed open or closed. The three clear canopy parts are crystal clear. There are two alternate sections of the fuselage around the cockpit, onto which fits the canopy. One is for the closed canopy and the other is for open. I’m a little puzzled why the instructions suggest the closed canopy is only for option one rather than all the marking options. Though its a reflection of the thoughtfull approach to the design of the kit that Arma Hobby has provided separate parts for this option
The two separate banks of cylinders and the separate push rods and reduction gear housing as well as the photo etched ignition harnesses will create an impressive looking Ha-45 Homare engine. I doubt you’ll see much of it as it’s a snug fit inside the fuselage.
The fuselage halves are split tradionally with left and right halves. The hatches on the upper and lower part of the engine bay are separate as are the two radiator fairings. There are two different styles of fairing, so just make sure you fit the correct one applicable to the marking option. Before attaching the housing there are a couple of PE parts to fit representing the radiators. The cowl flaps are separate and moulded in the closed position. The exhaust pipes are attached to two semi annular piece of plastic making the fitting of such small fiddly pieces easy to do. The lip around the nose is separate and one piece. The four-blade propeller is one piece with a separate prop boss. At the other end the rudder is moulded in situ.
The wings are in two pieces with a one piece lower and unusually a one piece upper. The ailerons and flaps are moulded in situ. The walls of the undercarriage bay are moulded to the upper wing and there is some excellent detail in there. There are holes already in the wing to accept sway braces for carriage of the bombs or fuel tanks. There are a couple of gun barrels and a landing light cover to add. It’s great to see the canvas covered control surfaces represented accurately by Arma Hobby. No sagging canvas between the ribs, just rib tape on show. Both horizontal tailplanes are one piece with the elevators moulded on.
The main wheels are one piece and the tyres are subtly weighted. The rear wheel unit is one piece and superbly moulded. The main undercarriage bay is attached to the upper wing. Detail looks good though you could add hydraulic lines to make it look busier. Detail on the inner doors of the main undercarriage is really well executed.
The kit includes a couple of wing fuel tanks and there are a pair of 100kg and single 250kg bombs. The latter is slung under the left wing with a fuel tank on the right counter balancing the weight distribution. I like Arma Hobby’s novel approach to attaching the small fins to the 100kg bombs. A tab has two of the small fins attached. It’s simply slid into the rear of the bomb and when the glue is set, the tab is cut off. Shackles are included for the bombs and tanks.
The small photo etched fret contains seat harness, oil radiator fronts, three control levers for the cockpit and ignition harness for the engine.
Arma Hobby was sorted out their mask supply difficulties and thankfully reverted back to the Kubuki type masks. Wheel and canopy masks are included.
The decals printed by Techmod look superb: thin, glossy, with good colour density and the definition is superb. Included are all the various tail markings. Cockpit instruments and seat harnesses are provided. There are actually two lots of IP instruments, harnesses and stencils and there are spare Hinomaru or roundels allowing you to apply them to any ‘overtrees’ you might purchase.
There are six marking options:
- Ki-84 Otsu (armed with 4 cannons 20 mm), 104 Sentai, Ota airbase, Japan, August 1945
- Ki-84 Ko serial no. 1446, 2 Chutai 11 Sentai, Philippines, 1944/45
- Ki-84 Ko, 10 Rensei Hikotai (Operational Training Unit), Lt. Takata, Japan, spring 1945
- Ki-84 Ko, 3 Chutai 47 Sentai commander’s Cpt. Hatano airplane Japanese Home Defence Forces (Hondo Boei Butai), Narimasu, Japan, February 1945
- Ki-84 Ko, 57 Shimbu-tai, Mijokonojo airbase, Kyushu, Japan, Battle of Okinawa, May 1945
- Ki-84 Ko, 2 Yuso Hikotai (ferry formation), Lt. Shuho Yamana ferried this airplane from Nakajima factory airfield in Ota to the base in Saigon, summer 1944
- There are plenty of variations in the marking options to muse on. Upper surfaces are either dark green or olive green with light olive grey or light grey green under surfaces. The one exception is option three which is natural metal. Option six is aluminium overall with dark green patches on the opper surface.
The instructions look pretty straightforward, just be aware of the two options for the aircraft you select markings wise. There is quite an extensive range of paint manufactures as reference for the colours. They include Hataka, AK RC, Lifecolor, Ammo, Humbrol, Vallejo and Tamiya. Also included are the FS numbers too.
Arma Hobby has shown recently its commitment to produce excellent scale aircraft models. The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate is a most welcome addition to their ever-expanding range. The release brings a breath of fresh air from the usual subjects and will hopefully be a springboard for future modern tooled releases of Japanese WWII aircraft. Nicely done Arma Hobby and very highly recommended.
Price: €24.58 from Arma Hobby shop: https://www.armahobby.com/
Many thanks to Arma Hobby for this review sample.
70051 - Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate – 1:72
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