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Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)

Hasegawa 1/48 Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2014 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick) Scale 1/48
Kit Number 07363 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, colorful decals Cons None noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)
Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)
Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)
Kawasaki Ki-45 Kai Hei Toryu (Nick)

In 1940, Kawasaki was under contract to develop the Ki-45 twin-engined fighter for the Imperial Japanese Army. The type was supposed to provide long-range fighter/interceptor capabilities to maintain air superiority over Japanese-held territories. Unfortunately, the IJA rejected the Kawasaki design and as a last-ditch effort, handed the problem to Doi Takeo who had succeeded with the Ki-48 twin-engined bomber. The results of the redesign were accepted for production by the IJA as the Ki-45 Kai (improved).

One of the derivatives of the Ki-45 Kai was the Hei which replaced the gun armament in the nose bay with a single 37mm cannon based upon an IJA anti-tank gun and one 20mm cannon in the ventral gun bay. The type was assigned to homeland air defense following the Doolittle raids but there was no action until the start of the B-29 raids in 1944. The Ki-45 Kai Hei was very effective against the early high-altitude raids, with one pilot achieving eight B-29 kills before Curtis LeMay took over bomber operations and moved the raids down below 10,000 feet. At these altitudes, the B-29 could easily outpace the Ki-45 and the type was reassigned to Kamikaze missions.

Here is a nice kit from Hasegawa that has been released in several configurations, this one being the cannon-armed Ki-45 Kai Hei. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. According to the specs, this kit is comprised of 139 parts.

This kit has the following features and options:

  • Detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Choice of flat/decal or relief detailed instrument panels
  • Cockpit section also has main spars for solid wing/fuselage join
  • Positionable canopies
  • New nose with 37mm cannon barrel
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Movable propellers

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • Ki-45 Kai Hei, 4th Flt Regt/2nd Company, Ozuki AB, 1945, as flown by 2Lt Sadamitsu Kimura (eight kills on the nose)
  • Ki-45 Kai Hei, 4th Flt Regt/2nd Company, Ozuki AB, 1944

If you're not familiar with the Ki-45 tooling, this is one of Hasegawa's newer molds with recessed details and simple construction. Assembly is straightforward and you'll spend more time painting this gem then assembly given the easy layout.

If you're looking for a nice project, this release will give you a nice opportunity to try (or brush up) your IJA camouflage skills.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!