Arma Hobby 1/72 Nakajima Ki-84 Expert Set
The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Gale) was the finest Japanese fighter produced during World War II. It was heavily armed and it followed Nakajima's earlier Ki-43 and Ki-44 planes into service. The Ki-84 gave a good account of itself in the hands of experienced pilots and was able to combat Allied fighters on more or less equal terms.
Arma Hobby's Ki-84 Expert kit comes in a sturdy end-opening box with a nice painting of a Hayate high in the sky over Japan. The kit consists of 71 injection molded parts on 3 sprues, a sheet of canopy and wheel masks, a tiny photo-etch fret and a large decal sheet. The surface detail on the wings and fuselage consists of recessed panel lines and rivets where appropriate and this detail is superb. All parts are extremely well molded with no flash and very small sprue attachment points, so they will be easy to remove from the sprues. The wheel wells are deep and well detailed.
The cockpit is a multi-piece assembly and it will look superb with an oil wash and careful detail painting. Arma Hobby recommends using "Cockpit Green" for the interior color. I have seen references stating that early Ki-84 cockpits were blue/gray in color and late cockpits were painted Aodake (a transparent preservative, often tinted blue or green to verify coverage). Consult your references carefully...
The 1900 hp Nakajima Ha-45 18 cylinder engine is very detailed. Dry brushing and an oil wash will bring out this detail; too bad some of it will be obscured by the propeller.
The clear parts include a 3 piece canopy that you can pose open or closed. There are 2 different fuselage upper decking sections to cater to open or closed canopies although I don't know why you would lavish your care and attention on that cockpit only to close the canopy. The PE fret includes a seat harness and ignition wire harness.
Arma Hobby's decals are crisply printed with bright colors and good registration. The decal sheet includes 6 aircraft options:
Ki-84 Otsu Hayate (equipped with 4 20mm cannon), 104 Sentai, Ota Airbase, Japan, August 1945. This Ki-84 was painted Olive Green over Light Olive Grey with a white fuselage band and yellow spinner, lower wing tips and upper fin.
Ki-84 Ko Hayate, serial number 1446, 2.104 Chutai, 11 Sentai, Phillipines, 1944/45. This Ki-84 was painted Olive Green over Light Olive Grey with an Olive Green spinner.
Ki-84 Ko Hayate, 10 Rensei Hikotai (Operational Training Unit), Lt. Takata, Airbase, Japan, Spring 1945. This Hayate was Natural Metal (aluminum) with Light Grey Green fabric control surfaces and a red spinner.
Ki-84 Ko Hayate, 3. Chutai 47 Sentai, Japanese Home Defense Forces, Capt. Hatano, Narimasu Airfield, Japan, February 1945. This Ki-84 was painted Olive Green over Light Olive Grey with a wide white fuselage band and outer wing bands, 2 narrow yellow fuselage bands and yellow spinner.
Ki-84 Ko Hayate, 2 Yuso Hikotai (ferry formation), 57 Saigon, Summer 1944. This Hayate was painted Dark Green over Light Grey Green with a Dark Green spinner.
Ki-84 Ko Hayate, 104 Sentai, Ota Airbase, Japan, August 1945. Natural Metal (aluminum) with a Dark Green hard edged camouflage on the upper surfaces only. The spinner was Dark Green and the fabric control surfaces were Light Grey Green.
The decal sheet includes 2 complete sets of air frame stencils and seat harnesses.
The instructions are up to Arma Hobby's high standards. The instructions include a parts map, a well illustrated and logical build sequence and full color profiles of all 6 decal options. Color call outs are for Hataka, AK Real Color, Lifecolor, Mig AMMO, Humbrol, Vallejo and Tamiya paints. Federal Standard (FS) color numbers are also included. My overall impression that this is a top shelf presentation.
Arma Hobby's Nakajima Ki-84 Expert Set is a great kit of one of my favorite planes. It's accurate and well detailed right out of the box and includes everything you need to build a contest-winning model. Take your time and give this model the care and attention it deserves. The decal options are interesting and there's always the aftermarket if none of the kit options suit your fancy. I recommend this kit and I would like to thank Arma Hobby for the review sample.
Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate, Volume No. 18, by Leszek A.Wieliczko, Kagero Publications, 2005.