Zoukei-Mura 1/32 Ki-45 Nick
By Malcolm Reid
My first ZM kit!
This is the superb 32nd scale Ki-45 Toryu (Nick). This is one of two boxings provided by ZM - in the case of this specific boxing you can model either the Kai Ko (with two forward firing 12.7mm guns and one 20mm canon) or the Kai Hei (which replaced the 12.7mm guns with a 37mm canon in the nose). I built the latter.
ZM kits provide a whole bunch of internal detail (such as fuel tanks, aileron linkages etc.) which is all lost once the whole thing is assembled. The engines were stunning in detail requiring only some ignition wires. The cockpit is astounding out of the box - no extras need, not even seat belts. Fit all round is really good. The only problem area was the very tight cowling fit around the engines. I give it a 9 out of ten.
The only thing that had me wondering was the replication of the full set of main airframe sprues in a frosted clear plastic. This frosting, along with distinct mould ejector marks, detracts from the intention ZM must have had to allow the modeller to display some of the internal detail. Odd...
For the 37mm cannon version, ZM would have one apply a very dense dark green squiggle pattern. I went for something a bit less dense. Colours used were:
- Interior - Tamiya XF-49 Khaki to replicate the Kawasaki cockpit colour (I think...).
- Base camouflage - Mr. Colour 128 "IJA Grey green."
- Green squiggles - Tamiya XF-13 "Japanese Army green."
- Propeller blades and spinners done using Mr. Colour "propeller colour."
- All markings were airbrushed after careful masking. The only decals applied were the squadron markings on the vertical stabilizer and a very minimal amount of stenciling.
- Weathering was achieved with a combination of MiG washes, pastels, and airbrushed exhaust stains. Chipping was kept to a minimum.
Nose cone is a nice tight fit and can be removed to show off the large cannon.
The undercarriage detail is just beautiful. I added the external fuel tanks provided in the kit as well. I used the ZM aftermarket resin tyres which are flattened.
Building a kit like this is a wonderful modelling journey. There is so much detail and so many sub-assemblies to deal with. The instruction sheet is a thing of beauty with a lot of detail, and it provides clear assembly guides for those complex parts.
ZM kindly provide the distinct fuselage longitudinal lapped panels providing more 3D relief.
The most challenging part of the build was having to carve out a replacement exhaust from a solid plastic rod as one went missing along the way.
I used mottling templates to provide a bit of variation to the plain grey-green base coat.
Some of the hidden detail:
Ha-102 engines - the only bits I added were the ignition wires. Most of this detail cannot be seen as the cowling is very close fitting. However, the modeller can leave off some cowling panels if so desired.
The two fuselage fuel tanks are totally hidden from view, as are the four wing tanks (not in this photo). Luckily the front and rear offices are visible care of the option to pose the canopies in an open position.
© Malcolm Reid 2023
This article was published on Thursday, May 04 2023; Last modified on Monday, May 08 2023