Building the Tamiya Ki-84
Jeff Maples tackles a 1970's vintage classic kit with happy results.
The Build - Ki-84 IA
This is the Tamiya 1:48 kit of Nakajima’s Ki-84-IA ‘Hayate’ (Frank). It is an older Tamiya kit from the early 70’s. It is not up to today’s Tamiya standards, however, compared to other kits from that time period it was great (No Flashing!). It does have engraved panel lines and very little, to no rivets (saves time on not having to count them). There is a low count on pieces, and you can purchase a kit for around $15.00.
I built this a few years ago and I remember it being a fun build and fairly easy. The plane color is Alclad II White Aluminum which is a lacquer paint that dries very hard. The control surfaces are Dark Aluminum as they are canvas covered and usually showed darker (lower reflection).
The anti-glare panel is common on bare-metal aircraft (from any country) and that is Model Master flat black. The decals were perfect and up to Tamiya’s standards. They give you generous markings for 4 Sentai (squadrons). I used the 1st Chutai (unit) of 104 the Sentai (squadron) of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The Japanese used a blue-green color for the wheel well interior. I mixed Tamiya Clear Blue X23 and Clear Green X25. I don’t remember the ratio, but you can mix it to your liking. The final coat is Testors rattle can Dull. Like the copy states below, weathering on bare metal turned the skin panels a ray (less shine). I scraped pastel chalk in 2 colors for the engine exhaust – blue and black. For the gun smoke – straight black pastel.
The propeller is my favorite. The face is a dark green and the back is reddish-brown. When you build a lot of airplanes that all have a silver or black propeller, you are thrilled when neither color is used. I felt then and still do, that this is one of my best builds. I never call it Frank. I call her my ‘Smooth Gale’.
Camouflage and markings
My Ki-84-IA has the Type N markings. The rudder art represents the 104th Sentai. I couldn’t find any information on the Sentai logo, but I see (what I think is) the numbers 0 and 4 with the 1 being the long line (?). Any thoughts?
Type N: The entire airframe was left in its original natural metal. Because of the different grades of alloy used for various panels, the overall finish soon weathered or oxidized to a pale metallic grey, with variations in shade and texture, depending on the grade of duralumin used for each area of skin. A black ;anti-glare; panel was painted on the top forward fuselage and engine cowling.
The Americans called the Ki-84 ‘Frank’. Rumors say it was because they feared this Japanese fighter that Frank was short for Frankenstein. The Japanese called it ‘Hayate’. I have seen several translations but the most popular were ‘Gale’ (strong wind) and ‘Smooth’.
The Ki-84-IA Hayate is a Japanese WW2 Army type 4 fighter. Armed with 2 x 12.7mm Ho-103 machine guns and 2 x20mm Ho-5 cannon in wings (most widely produced version). Built by Nakajima Aircraft Mfg. Company, the Ki-84 was considered to be the best Japanese fighter to see large scale operations during WW2. The Ki-84’s performance matched that of any single-engine Allied fighter it faced, and its operational ceiling enabled it to intercept the high-flying B-29 Superfortress bombers (as displayed on the Tamiya box art).
It was Japan’s fastest fighter at max speed of 424 mph. The first major operational involvement was during the Battle of Leyte at the end of 1944, and from that moment until the end of the Pacific war, the Ki-84 was deployed wherever the action was intense.
Both sides of the "Frank" (or "Gale" if you were Japanese at the time) showing the clean lines and beautiful streamlining. From reading, the Hayate was a major thorn in the side of the Allies from it's introduction right up to the end of the war.