Aircraft dioramas in 1/48 scale are a trend now, there is no doubt about it and manufacturers like Tamiya or Hasegawa have understood this. The latter realeased a nice Fw 190 A-5 with BMW 327 combo this year (see review here
and a build report here
) and have done it again with a Ki-45 Toryu and Isuzu TX40 fuel truck. Here's a quick review of the kit.
The kit's content
Hasegawa's Ki-45 Toryu with Isuzu TX40 fuel truck kit comes in a large (the largest Hasegawa box I have in my stash!) top opening cardboard box with a cover artwork by Koike Shigeo. The Painting, while nicely done, is a bit misleading though, since only the aircraft is represented (in flight) with no trace of a truck whatsoever. It would probably have been better for Hasegawa to depict a scene on the ground with the plane, the fuel truck and some crew members at work, since these are all included in this boxing. The grey plastic parts of the plane are all placed in the same bag while the transparent part are separately placed in a smaller one. The tan colored parts of the truck are also bagged in a single bag while the clear parts are separated. Two instruction guides (one for the Ki-45 and one for the Fuel Truck) are also present as well as a big decal sheet.
The Ki-45 kit
The aircraft kit is composed of 11 sprues labelled A, B, C, E, J, K, N(X2), M, T, U and P. All are made of light grey injected styrene except for sprues T and U which are transparent and sprue P which is made of vinyl (propeller caps).
The quality of the plastic sprues is very good with some very fine detail. The panel lines are all engraved while other details are in relief like the movable controle surfaces (rudder, ailerons and elevators for example). Some rivets are represented but far less than on Nichimo's 1/48 scale Ki-45 kit (see the build review at swannysmodels.com
). I found no sink marks and no flash on my sample, as one would expect from a new tooled kit. The only real bad points are some ejection pin marks inside the fuselage halves (but they won't be visible) and on the separate inner sidewalls (here they will be very visible!).
The level of detail is quite good with a busy cockpit interior, a deep landing gear bay and nicely done landing gears. Only the radial engines are a little bit simplified but on the finished model they will be almost completely hidden behind the oil cooler ring and located deep inside the nacelles anyway. Four spars are molded with the cockpit floor and will ensure a strong fuselage to wing assembly. This is a good initiative by Hasegawa.
The transparent plastic parts are excellent and one of the higlights of the kit in my opinion. They are very clear and distortion free and you can choose between the closed or the opened position for both the pilot's and gunner's greenhouse. The latter option is ideal if you use the aircraft in a maintenance scene.
Rather than list all the parts on the sprues I'll let the pictures speak. On the side of the box it is written that the aircraft kit is composed of 142 parts but there are more than that because some parts are optional so it is highly possible that other versions of the Ki-45 will be available from Hasegawa (or Revell?) in the future.
The intructions are printed on a large sheet of paper in panoramic format. They are typical of Hasegawa and composed of one page with a history, one page with a parts layout and Gunze color chart, 5 pages with 21 construction steps and 2 pages with painting and decal guides for both decal options.
The fuel truck kit
The first thing one will notice when opening the box is that the aircraft and the vehicle kit are made of different styrene. As I said earlier, the Ki-45 kit is made of light grey plastic while the Isuzu TX40 is made of tan colored plastic. This makes it easy to know what belongs to what if you are a messy modeler working on a messy desk.
The vehicle kit is composed of 9 sprues labelled A, B, C, E, K, M, N and Q. All are made of tan colored styrene except for sprue M which is transparent.
There is nothing more to say about the overall quality than what I already said about the Ki-45 kit. If the truck model was engineered by the Hasegawa people like their BMW 327 car, I can only say that it will be a real pleasure to build (but only time will tell). From the box the truck model seems to be well detailed even if the windshield frame seems to be a little bit thick. But since I don't know much about the original vehicle, maybe it is accurate that way.
Two fuel hoses are present in the box: one in plastic if you want it to lay over the truck's fuel tank or one in vinyl if you want to display it in action in the hands of the two groundcrew members.
The clear parts are excellent as well in the truck kit and another good initiative by Hasegawa was to do the canvas cover in transparent plastic since a rear window is featured on it.
A bonus on the Isuzu kit sprues is the presence of a small fire extinguisher cart, two groundcrew members and two fuel drums. It's always nice to have such additional items since they add some life to an aircraft diorama.
Like those for the aircraft, the truck's intructions are printed on a large sheet of paper in panoramic format. They are composed of one page with a history, one page with a parts layout and Gunze color chart, 4 pages with 16 construction steps and 1 page with painting and decal guides for both decal options.
There is one big decal sheet in the kit with complete markings for both the aircraft and the vehicle. The decals are typical Hasegawa: well printed and very crisp but unfortunately a little bit on the thick side. I never managed to successfully use Hasegawa decals but the good thing this time is that most of them can be easily replaced by masks since 75% of the sheet is composed of Hinomarus and Yellow or White identification markings. Only the small stencils will be really usefull. The instrument panel is provided in two versions. The first one has white dials on a black background while the other one has white dials on a transparent carrier film. From past experience with Hasegawa decals I predict that they won't conform to the plastic instrument panel's relief details. I know I won't use them.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- Ki-45 Toryu of the 5th Flight Regiment, 1st Company, Timor Island, October 1943
- Ki-45 Toryu of the 5th Flight Regiment, 1st Company, Kashiwa A.F. spring 1943
The first aircraft is camouflaged with spots of Dark Green over Gray Green while the second one is overal Gray Green with big white bands under the red Hinomarus.
Markings are also provided for a Japanese Army or Navy fuel truck. The Army vehicle is painted in Khaki Brown while the Navy one is given as "Midnight Blue" or "Cowling Color"...? whatever this means.
This is another fine aircraft/vehicle "combo" from Hasegawa after their Fw 190 with BMW kit. From the box, everything is provided to do an interesting diorama except for a display base. Needless to say that this one is very high on my "to do" pile and I'm looking forward to see what Hasegawa will release the next time. Maybe an Allied subject? Or something modern perhaps? Anyway, I definitely recommend this kit!
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