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Old 05-18-2009, 12:37 AM
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Marek Marathon: Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony) 1:50

Hi everyone!

I'm new here. I've been building this Ki-61 for about a month. It is about 80% finished now, but I didn't take any pictures of the build process until today. My original plan was to just build it and show off the pictures of the finished model in the gallery. The reason I changed my plan is, well, I think I need your help:D



The airplane is Kawasaki Ki-61 Hei (or Ki-61c) of 244th Sentai stationed in Chofu, Tokyo. The specifications listed on the cover page are actually those of Ki-61 Tei (or Ki-61d), but I believe this model is Hei because it has shorter fuselage than Tei. On this particular aircraft, the long-barrel Mauser MG 151/20 cannons have been removed from its wing. One of the books I have states that the 20mm cannons were removed after the squadron switched their airplanes from Ki-61 to Ki-100, leaving this particular aircraft in 'reserve' state.

The coloring of this model is questionable. The vertical stabilizer should be painted in red. I have never seen an airplane of 244th Sentai with a blue vertical stabilizer. The propellers and the spinner were probably painted in brown. And if this model is the airplane that Major Teruhiko Kobayashi flew on, the 'lightning' stripe was also drawn in red.

Enough for the history. Let's move on to building the model. I tried to build this model out-of-the-box, no modification, as clean as possible (well, I tried).

The fits are marginal, I would say. At each connection of the fuselage I had to adjust the diameter of the sections being connected so that their cross sections match. It was pretty tough, but it is still doable. Even if you manage to fit the sections perfectly, the panel lines, the stripe and other markings don't match perfectly. I could not do anything about that.

The biggest challenge so far was the fillets. They are simply too long. I had to cut it about 5 mm at the front and shape it to fit between the fuselage and the wing nicely. The rear end of the fillet also look different from the actual airplane.

The wing and the rear section are good. They fit well. I could have done the canopy better, especially at the front.

It may sound like I hate this model, but no, I like it. I really enjoy building this model. It doesn't have props and landing gears yet and that makes it look as if it is flying. It's a cool looking aircraft, isn't it?
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Marek Marathon: Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony) 1:50-imgp6022.jpg   Marek Marathon: Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony) 1:50-imgp6023.jpg   Marek Marathon: Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony) 1:50-imgp6025.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2009, 04:52 AM
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It looks pretty good so far. I guess I missed what your question is that you wanted help on though
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:04 AM
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Hi ruf0us,
Welcome to the forum - your introduction is the type I like the most :D
I do not claim to be an expert in the field and I can be wrong but the only depiction of a Hien with blue tail appeared on wingspalette website WINGS PALETTE - Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien/Tony - Japan with the description
Unit: hombu chutai, 244th sentai
Serial: unknown
Tokyo Defence, 1944-1945
Looks like color scheme of the model was based on this specific illustration.
To the best of my knowledge, all 244th Sentai Hien's that I ever saw in this type of camo, had red or camouflaged tails. Lightning bolt is also shown as red.
As for the model itself - good job!
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:48 AM
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Very nice !!!! Love that camo scheme..
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:57 AM
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I couldn't find a specific example either, but blue seems to have been the predominant colour used by hombu(HQ) chutai, so it's plausible at least. 1chutai -red tails with white bolt, 2 and 3 chutai red and orange bolts respectively on green/camo tail. Yellow stars on all, although the hombu chutai used blue stars on a red bolt when they had Ki27's, so there's blue again.
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:48 AM
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I'm glad to see this model appear. I favor Japanese aircraft and I purchased this one from Dewayne Barrett a couple of years ago but have never built it. I would be very pleased if, when I build mine, it looks as good as yours.

I'm glad to know about the issues you discovered as you were building it.

I thought it would be easy to pin down the markings (although when the redoubtable Mike Krol and Shrike hedged on their answers, my confidence was shaken), but in fact, there seem to be some mysteries about the markings of the famous 244th Sentai, and a number of non-standard practices in the markings (not unusual for the air domination units late in the war). As you probably know, most IJAAF fighter sentais color coded their sentai tail markings, with blue usually being used for the hombu (headquarters) chutai.

In the earlier edition of Richard Bueschel's book on the Ki-61, there is a Richard Ward painting of a 244th Ki-61 with a blue tail. The markings are similar to yours, but there is also an orange horizontal fuselage stripe. It is identified as a headquarters chutai aircraft. That's the only such illustration I have found so far. [Richard M. Bueschel, Kawasaki Ki.61/ki.100 Hien in Japanese Army Air Force Service,New York: Arco Publishing, 1971, Plate E]

I'm sure we'll hear more on this. And if you REALLY want to get into a complicated discussion, there is the possibly-bogus "shamrock" emblem on Lieutenant Ishikawa's (or maybe Major Kobayashi's) 244th Sentai Ki-61, which is also among the Marek 1/50 models in my (and probably your) collection. See, for example:
No.244 Hiko Sentai Aircraft, Personal Markings: CONTINUED!
Kawasaki Ki-61 "Tony": Ki-61 I Tony "Clover-leaf"
Kawasaki Ki-61 "Tony"?
WW I Connection To WW II "Shamrock" Painted On No.244 FR HIEN?
Kobayashi's Ki-61 camouflage

I look forward to seeing more of your builds, and to trying my own hand at that Ki-61 some day.

Thanks for sharing that fine model with us.

Don Boose
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:52 AM
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Don,
And you just opened a can of worms
Since Halinski's Hien is my next subject, I will reffer everybody to this post for info and avoid any discussion about validity of the camo scheme and/or pilot who supposed to fly it - instead I will concetrate on the build.
I get the praise, you get the blame :D
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:08 AM
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ruf0us ruf0us is offline
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Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Hey, I didn't want to go into the "shamrock" discussion in this thread either Don, I'm glad to know you are skeptic about the shamrock scheme because I am, too!

Michael, thanks for pointing me to the picture of the "blue tail" Hien. Now I know where the livery of this model came from. I'm glad to know that Mr. Marek did not make that up himself.

I'm no expert or historian and I may be wrong, but here's what I understand from various sources (mostly in Japanese, because it is my mother tongue)

  • Color coding of Shotais did exist. (Thianks Shrike for pointing that out) However, I could not find any accounts from the suvivors or the historians (in Japanese) stating that the color coding was used for painting the vertical stabilizers. In fact, the color coding rule was not strictly followed in late 1944 and 1945.
  • The red-tail scheme was originally designed for Hagakure Tai (the 'ramming' unit). After Major Kobayashi came to lead the 224th Sentai, he also adopted the red-tail scheme for his unit, which is Honbu Shotai.
I got to go now. I couldn't get to the 'asking for help' part again! This model has a problem in its landing gear. That is why I stopped building and created this thread. I will show you the pictures to explain what is wrong later.

Thanks,
Shinji (ruf0us)
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:55 AM
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Shinji -- How great it is to have another person in the forum with an interest in and knowledge of Japanese aircraft. Especially one with a Japanese language ability!

I studied Japanese in the past and lived in the country for a few years and so I can puzzle out photo captions and other short entries with the aid of dictionaries. But my language skills are pretty rudimentary. That hasn't stopped me from trying to translate short aviation-related Japanese passages from time to time, but it is best to have folks like yourself, Yu, and Lex, who actually CAN read the language.

Tonight, I will take a look at the Marek Ki-61s in my collection and see what I think about the landing gear. You are our lead scout for this model, so one way or another, we should learn a lot from your build.

I will also be interested to know how you plan to attach the prop. I have a somewhat crude system of aluminum tube and pin that allows props to turn. Leif Ohlsson has provided a much more elegant solution that I hope to try out. Meanwhile, I await further news from your fine build.

Ganbatte!

Don
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:37 PM
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Don, I have seen your posts decoding some Japanese words and phrases. They are very accurate and truly amazing.

To me, being appreciated for speaking Japanese is like being thanked for inhaling some air and exhaling it from two different places. (Bad joke, sorry) I was born and raised in Japan and that's it. It is nothing, compared to your effort and achievement for understanding Japanese airplanes.

I didn't know anything about the WWII Japanese airplanes two years ago. And I'm still a novice modeler. I have a lot to learn in this forum.

Also, I don't think that the information about Japanese airplanes written in Japanese is always more credible than the sources in English. When WWII ended, Japan destroyed most of the military records. The U.S. tested some of the Japanese airplanes during and after the war and still keeps their very accurate performance data that Japan doesn't have. Another strength that U.S. has and Japan doesn't is the presence of the communities that restore WWII airplanes and keep them in flying/museum conditions. There are no such communities in Japan. Do you know what happened to the sole surviving Ki-84 Hayate after it was restored in the U.S. and returned to Japan?

Sorry, I tend to digress from the subject. Let's talk about the landing gear.

Heres the diagrams that came with the model.


As you can see, the landing gear assembly is completely obscured by the door. There is no separate diagram for the landing gear either.

The green line represents the 0.5 mm wire. It is just a straight line from the wing to the center of the wheel. That is okay, as long as the landing gear is a straight pipe all the way from top to bottom. But it's not!

Here is the picture of the Ki-61's landing gear.

It is not straight. My question is, obviously, how am I going to build it?

It seems as if the diagram suggests that you attach the 0.5 mm wire to the landing gear door, attach the wheel and strut to the wire and let the wire and the door support the weight of the airplane, just like this:


That would be awkward because the straight wire between the strut and the door would be visible. Is this what the designer intended? Is this common in Marek 1:50 models?

I'm tempted to bend the wire along the strut and bend it 90 degree at the bottom to form an axle of the wheel. But it is against my 'out-of-the-box' policy. Mmm...what should I do...

Thanks,
Shinji
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