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Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit

Zoukei-Mura Inc. 1/32 Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2019 Manufacturer Zoukei-Mura Inc.
Subject Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Scale 1/32
Kit Number 32014 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful molding, excellent detail Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $140.00

First Look

Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit
Ki-45 Kai Ko/Hei Toryu (Nick) Kit

During the late 1930s, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) had noted the rise of twin-engined heavy fighters like the Bf 110 and sought a similar capability. Kawasaki developed the Ki 38 design which was approved for construction as the Ki 45. The initial prototypes were not successful due to the underpowered Ha 20 engines and a few aerodynamic errors. The airframe was revised and the engines were later replaced with the Ha-102, and the IJA approved the aircraft for service as the Ka 45 Kai Type 2 fighter and received the allied codename of Nick. In service, like the Bf 110 in Europe, the Ka 45 was no match for single-engined fighters and was pressed into service in air-to-ground combat and later as a bomber interceptor.

Zoukei-Mura Inc. first announced the Ka 45 project along with another twin-engined design, the Hs 129 several years ago. They released the first Ka 45 last year with the long-nosed Tei and Hei-Tei versions, and here is the short-nosed kit with options for the Ko and Hei versions. The box is large and for good reason, there is a lot of plastic inside. As you can see in the images to the right, there is almost two kits inside the box with five parts trees provided in gray styrene and again in frosted clear. With all of the internal details provided in this kit, you have the option of using some or all of the clear parts to reveal the impressive engineering inside the airframe. The kit consists of 18 parts trees molded in gray styrene and another seven parts trees in clear.

Again the kit is molded in a constant gray and clear styrene for a total of twelve parts trees. Two are for each of the beautifully reproduced Daimler-Benz 603 engines. Clear parts are crisp and thin throughout with the main airframe parts following in the lines of ZM’s Ho 229. Kit features:

  • Beautifully detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Choice of opaque or clear instrument panels for both versions
  • Positionable canopies
  • Two nicely detailed Ha 102 engines
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable rudder & elevators
  • Positionable engine covers
  • Nice structural detail in wings and airframe that can be viewed
  • Fine detail throughout all moldings
  • Optional external fuel tanks

ZM provides markings for two examples:

  • Ki-45 Kai Ko, 2nd Sqn/4th Sentai, as flown by 1st Lt. Isamu Kashiide
  • Ki-45 Kai Hei, 2nd Sqn, 4th Sentai, as flown by 2nd Lt. Sadamitsu Kimura

Decals are Cartograf and are provided on one sheet with optional control panel and various stencils.

When I say beautifully detailed cockpits, there are 11 pages that cover all of the panels, controls, plumbing, flight control linkages, fuel cell between the cockpits, and much more.

This kit is not for beginners as you'll see that some of the parts are quite delicate. Note how thin the one-piece aileron control linkage that spans the full wing of the model. That is some very impressive mold engineering to be able to render such parts.

The instructions are Zoukei-Mura's usual high-quality printed using CAD drawings with color images to illustrate the appearance of each subassembly after painting. The paint call-outs are all using Vallejo colors, but it shouldn't be difficult to find other equivalents.

This is a very impressive kit and getting past the shock and awe of the duplicate clear parts trees in the box, this model provides quite a few options for showing off its details. As with previous kits from Zoukei-Mura, there are optional details available for this kit from this company, including flight crew figures, resin wheels, photo-etched cockpit details, metal landing gear struts, display bases, and more.

I'm looking forward to building this beauty (once I get caught up on the backlog) and I'll have to look online for the video series that cover the nightfighter version of this aircraft. I think it was called "Nick at Night"...

My sincere thanks to  Zoukei-Mura Inc. for this review sample!

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