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Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Expert Set (70051) 1:72


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Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Expert Set (70051)

1:72 Arma Hobby




Founded by Chikuhei Nakajima in 1918, the Nakajima Aircraft Company was Japan’s first native manufacturer of aircraft. The company produced a number of successful designs for the Japanese Armed Forces, not least of which was the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Hurricane). Known as the Army Type 4 Fighter in Imperial Japanese Army Air Service, and simply as the ‘Frank’ by the Allies, the Hayate was widely regarded as the best mass-produced Japanese fighter aircraft of the war.


The Hayate originated from a design competition instigated by the Air Headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army for a fighter aircraft assembled around a licence-built version of the liquid-cooled Daimler Benz DB601A engine. Although Nakajima’s design lost out to the Kawasaki Ki-61, many of the lessons learned during the competition were applied to the design of the Ki-84, although the engine didn’t. Powered by an indigenous eighteen-cylinder Nakajima Ha-45-21 radial engine, the Hayate possessed excellent all-round performance including a top speed in excess of 400mph and outstanding manoeuvrability. Unlike many previous Japanese fighter aircraft, it was also fitted with armour and self-sealing fuel tanks, thus enhancing combat survivability.


Although an effective fighter, the Ki-84 arrived too late to have much of an effect on the war in the Pacific, despite the fact that over 3,500 examples rolled off the production lines. It was plagued by reliability problems throughout its service life, thanks to poor manufacturing and quality control standards late in the war.



The Kit

This is a brand-new tooling of the Frank from Arma Hobby of Poland, and it arrives in a smaller end-opening box, which has a nice painting of the type on the front, and the decal options on the back.  Inside are just two sprues of grey styrene in a resealable bag, clear parts in a Ziploc bag, another Ziploc containing a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) and some pre-cut masks, plus a portrait A5 instruction booklet in colour on glossy paper.  I’ll hold up my hand to being a 1:48 modeller by nature, and yet again I’m impressed with the detail that Arma have packed into this model.  It makes me fervently wish they did more in my preferred scale.  A fella can dream, eh?  The surface detail is very finely engraved with a clean matt finish to the outside, showing off the recessed panel lines and other raised details to great effect.  It’s one of those surfaces that makes it seem a shame to cover it in paint.













Construction begins with the cockpit, which is based upon a slightly curved floor onto which the rudder pedals and throttle quadrant are placed, then from beneath, the control column and another stick are pushed through.  The rear frame has the seat-frame moulded-in, and unusually for styrene, you are incited to pull the mount out at the bottom to give it the correct slope to fit the seat on later, held in position by a pair of holes in the cockpit floor.  The instrument panel is made up on a short frame, and has the main panel and an integrated side panel, both of which have decals provided to detail them up.  Incidentally, colour call-outs are given in blue circles that correspond to a table on the front of the booklet that gives colour names, plus Hataka, AK RealColor, MRP, AMMO, Mr. Color, and Tamiya codes to give pretty comprehensive coverage of brands.  The two frames are added to the floor and joined by the seat, which has a pair of lap-belts included on the PE sheet, and another dial decal for an instrument embedded in the floor.  Before the cockpit can be glued into the fuselage, a number of PE and styrene parts are added to the ribbed sidewalls, and for one decal option, there is a small recess in the outer skin that should be drilled and filled before proceeding.  The engine is also required before the fuselage can be closed up, and this is built from two rows of nine-cylinders, a two-part push-rod assembly at the front, and axle that pushes through the PE wiring loom and the bell-housing at the front.  A scrap diagram shows the correct locations for each of the many wires sprouting from the loom.  Once it’s painted it is slotted into the port fuselage half along with the cockpit and the tail-wheel, which should also be painted per the scrap diagram.




Turning to the wings, the lower is full-width, and has the top two halves placed on top, which have the main gear bays moulded-in.  The fuselage is inserted into the gap, and a cowling part covers the top of the engine with moulded-in gun troughs, while at the rear the elevators are glued into the tail using the usual slot and tab method.  Underneath is a choice of two styles of chin intake, with PE grilles for the front of either one, while the rest of the cowling underside is inserted along with the intake lip.  The canopy is placed into position over an insert that depends on whether you plan on building your kit with open or closed canopy.  Additional diagrams show their location and where the glazing parts fit accordingly, and each of them need a small hole drilling in the side, again as per the diagrams.  Before installation of the inserts the gunsight and some stencil decals should be fitted into the surround after painting.  There are pre-cut masks included for the canopy, although they’re not numbered.  It isn’t exactly difficult to figure it out though, so no problem!


The main landing gear legs are supplied as single struts with a captive door on the outer, and a wheel with masks on the short perpendicular axle at the bottom.  The inner bay doors have good contact points and fit on the inner edge of the bays, with a pair of smaller doors on the retractable tail-wheel, and twin bomb-shackles under each wing, to accommodate either long-range tanks, 100kg or 250kg bombs that are included in the box.  The smaller bombs have a little wedge moulded into the perpendicular fins to help with handling during painting, and they should be nipped off and painted over once complete.  The fuel tanks also have decals for the details on the top side.  The remaining parts go to make up the cooling flaps with the separate exhausts protruding from within, the gun barrels in the wing leading-edge; pitot probe, an aerial mast on the spine, and the four-blade prop that is covered in the centre by a curved spinner cap.




There are a generous six options on the decal sheet, and they offer substantially different looks, depending on which one you choose.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • Ki-84 Otsu (4x20mm cannon), 104 Sentai, Ota Air Base, Japan, Aug 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko S.n. 1446, 2 CHutai 11 Sentai, Philippines, 1944/5
  • Ki-84 Ko, 10. Rensai Hikotai (OTU), Lt. Takana, Japan, Spring 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko, 3 Chutai 47 Sentai, Japanese Home Defence Forces, Ctp. Haneto Narimasu Airfield, Feb 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko, 57 Shimbu-tai, Mijokonojo Air Base, Kyushu, Japan, Battle of Okinawa, May 1945
  • Ki-84 Ko, 2. Yuso Hikotai, Lt. Shuho Yamana, Saigon, Summer, 1944






Decals are by Techmod, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.




This is a good-looking kit of the type, and if it wasn’t 1:72, it would have made it onto my bench later today.  The Expert Set is a well-rounded boxing that should allow the modeller to build a great replica of this powerful late war Japanese fighter without having to resort to aftermarket.


Very highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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Thank you Mike for this review, which is very opportune as my kit arrived unexpectedly today from the Big H!


I confess this is my first Arma Hobby kit, and judging by what I found fondling the sprues and from your review, may well not be the last Arma Hobby kit I buy.


I'm hoping it won't stop in the stash for too long and join the other Japanese fighters I have built recently on the completed shelf.

Edited by Whofan
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