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One of the two new 1/32nd models to be announced by Zoukei-Mura at Telford SMW 2016 is a Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu "Nick". Source: http://www.zoukeimura.co.jp/sentiment/oyajiblog_089.html V.P.
Kawasaki Ki-45Kai Hei Toryu Manchurian Air Corps Hasegawa 1:48 In 1937 the Japanese Army issued a requirement for a two engine fighter. The specifications were for a fighter that could go 340 mph at 10,000', operate from 6,500' to 16,250', and cruise for 4 hours and 40 minutes at 220 mph. Mitsubishi and Nakajima also submitted designs as well, but the Nakajima was selected. Kawasaki submitted the Ki-38 which would later become the Ki-45. In January 1939 a prototype with two Bristol Mercury engines was first flown. Later aircraft had the Nakajima Ha-25 radials installed. The prototype didn't meet specifications mostly due to the engines. In late 1939 test flights were stopped while Kawasaki rectified the problems. This modified design became the Ki-45 KAI, with KAI meaning "modified. The Ki-45 was initially used as a long-range bomber escort. The 84th Independent Flight Wing (Dokuritsu Hikō Chutai) used them in June 1942 in attacks on Guilin, where they encountered, but were no match for Curtiss P-40s flown by the Flying Tigers. In September of the same year, they met P-40s over Hanoi with similar results. It became clear that the Ki-45 could not hold its own against single-engine fighters in aerial combat. It was subsequently deployed in several theaters in the roles of interception, attack (anti-ground as well as anti-shipping) and fleet defense. Its greatest strength turned out to be as an anti-bomber interceptor, as was the case of the Bf 110 in Europe. In New Guinea, the JAAF used the aircraft in an anti-ship role, where the Ki-45 was heavily armed with one 37 mm (1.46 in) and two 20 mm cannons and could carry two 250 kg (550 lb) bombs on hard points under the wings. 1,675 Ki-45s of all versions were produced during the war. By the spring of 1945, the advent of American carrier-based fighters and Iwo Jima-based P-51s escorting B-29s over the skies of Japan brought the Ki-45's career to an end. Three Ki-45s fell into communist Chinese hands after World War II. Unlike most captured Japanese aircraft that were employed in the training role, the three Ki-45s were assigned to the 1st Squadron of the Combat Flying Group in March 1949 and were used in combat missions. These aircraft were retired in the early 1950s. The Model This model has been re-issued a number of times now with differing decals as the Hasegawa way of doing things. That said it still looks a very nice kit. Inside the standard Hasegawa style top opening box, on which a pictorial representation of the aircraft in Manchurian Air Corps colours is depicted. On opening the box the modeller is confronted with several poly bags containing the seven sprues of grey styrene and one sprue of clear parts. The mouldings are very clean and flash free, with small moulding pips on some of the more complex parts, perhaps more worryingly there are quite a few on the clear parts. Admittedly they are on the canopy frames, but care should be taken when removing. There is very finely moulded recessed and raised detail where required and both the cockpit and undercarriage bays come pretty well detailed, although there is still plenty for modellers to add extra should they wish. The clear parts are nice and clear although a dip in Aqua Gloss or Future wouldnt go amiss. There are some ejector pin marks on the rear and centre canopies, which would be a problem if they werent mostly concealed by a coat of paint. The instructions, in a multi folded sheet are really clear to read, with the identification of parts in Japanese and English. The build begins with the two seat cockpit; the multi level floor of which includes spars for the wings is fitted out with the pilots seat, pilots and co-pilots instrument panels, side consoles, joystick, rudder pedals and rear bulkhead. The instrument panel and consoles have raised detail for those who like to paint their panels or decals for those who dont, in which case the raised detail has to be removed first. The fuselage sides are then detailed with internal panels for the rear cockpit and control boxes for the front. The completed cockpit is then sandwiched between the fuselage halves along with the co-pilots seat. The forward bulkhead is then added, along with the cannon trough on the belly of the aircraft. The modeller has the option of painting the rear ident light and the warning light on the fuselage top or removing the plastic and using the clear parts provided. The completed fuselage can now be put aside as the construction moves onto the engine nacelles and wings. The nacelles comprise of inner and outer halves, with the outer fronts separate. Internally they have a rear bulkhead and oil cooler exhausts fitted before closing up. The completed nacelles are then attached to the wings, once the upper and lower halves have been glued together. At this point the nose halves are also glued together and the underside clear part fitted. The fuselage, wing and nose sub-assemblies are now brought together, along with the single piece horizontal tailplanes to build the main aircraft structure. The port wing is fitted with the landing light glass and pitot probe. The engines are built up using the one piece cylinder bank, crankcase, oil cooler ring and the cowling halves. The engines are not particularly detailed and could do with tarting up a bit, but how much is up to the modeller, bearing in mind that not much will be visible once the cowlings are fitted. The complete assemblies are then fitted to the nacelles, but not before the three piece oil cooler intake and the two piece exhausts are attached to the front bulkhead of the nacelle. On the underside of the wings, between the nacelles, two fuel coolers are fitted, along with the cannon, with alternative muzzles, retractable foothold and signal light which are attached to the lower fuselage. Each main undercarriage is made up of the main legs, separate scissor links, two piece tyres, with separate inner and outer hubs, retraction jack and support arms. With these positioned in the nacelle bays the undercarriage doors can be attached. The tailwheel consisting of a one piece oleo/wheel arrangement and separate scissor link, is glued into place. The propellers have separate hubs and spinners and once assembled they can be attached to the prop shafts. The final stage of the build is the fitting of the gun sight, aerial mast and canopies, for which there are separate parts depending on whether the cockpits are to displayed open or closed. Decals The decals are provided for two aircraft, both of which were flown by the 3rd Squadron, Manchurian Air Corps. They are well printed, in good register and density. Conclusion Whilst this aircraft has be re-released a number of times, its still a good looking aircraft and the Manchurian insignia makes it look quite different. I havent tried for fit, but Im sure its pretty good as Ive not read of any problems when researching for this review. The detail may not be up to the latest releases, but theres more than enough for the average modeller. If anyone mentions the prices of recent releases by Hasegawa they will be taken outside and shot. Amerang Hasegawa Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for