1/48 Arii (Otaki) Ki-43 Hayabusa (Finished!!)

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Senior Airman
Mar 16, 2018
Decided to try to finish another model I started a year ago. I had gotten discouraged by lack of reference photos and information to accurately build the cockpit layout of the Ki-43-ii otsu that this kit represents. There is only one known photo of the Ki-43-ii cockpit and the layout differed from the earlier Ki-43-I. Not being able to work out what went where, the kit went back onto the shelf after having made a meager start. I have since acquired the excellent Aero Detail book on the Oscar and it, with my other references, has helped me better fill in the gaps, at least to a point that I feel I can be more accurate, though surely not perfect. I have the Hasegawa kit, but it's cockpit seems to be a copy of the Ki-43-I except for the instrument panel which is correct for the -II, so it was not much help in figuring things out either.


These are my primary references for this build. Japanese aircraft are my forté and I enjoy researching these the most, therefore this is where my knowledge is strongest, as opposed to allied aircraft.

The Arii/Otaki kit is pretty accurate dimensionally, just a little off the mark in the main wings, but nothing too weird for me to justify surgery to correct. The whole aircraft is covered with delicate recessed panel lines and rivets which look very nice to my eye, and look quite realistic when compared to pictures of the few existing aircraft. So, lets get on with the build.


As mentioned, I started in the cockpit.
I made the instrument panel from plastic sheet punched and drilled as best I could determine appropriate instrument sizes. I still may add instrument bezels from copper wire to give it more dimension once painted. Still deliberating about that.
The kit cockpit had some decent details molded into the side walls, and floor. Unfortunately all of this was completely erroneous to any known aircraft, so I scraped off all the lovely detail and decided to go to town on it, references in hand.

This is the only thing left of these fanciful details. Rather than sand it all down to build onto, I simply turned it around since the backside was already flat and the "feet" were symmetrical for locating it on the floor. I trimmed down the kit part so that it would not be peeking out above or below the new panel. Also, the "legs" were reduced by about half their width from the inside and lightening holes drilled to represent the airframe structure.
This is the kit floor, extensively reworked. Removing molded on details resulted in large holes in the floor. Some spots were filled with styrene and Mr. Surfacer 500, and the bigger rectangular holes at both sides were filled with Milliput, the yellowish areas. The latter method was by far the easiest. I simply mushed putty in the bottom of the floor until it started protruding, like extruding pasta. I then simply sliced it off flush with my knife and smoothed it with a wet finger.

The white parts are sheet styrene, the gray hydraulic pumps with handles and rudder peddles are from the Nichimo 1/48 Ki-43-I kit. A friend from a modelling club I used to belong to gave me a Nichimo Ki-45 kit years ago, complete except for the canopies. I already had one of each, but I really like the old Nichimo kits a lot. He also had a Ki-43 by the same maker that had been started who knows when that he didn't want either and was gonna toss if I didn't want it. It was in poor condition, unfortunately the engine and cockpit had been mostly built already, with thick globs of glue and melted styrene everywhere, parts glued to wrong places and super thick brushed on paint of various garish colors. It was really just junk, but I figured it might come in handy for something someday. Turns out it is a perfect contender to donate parts to this build!

Here is my Franken-seat. The rear airframe structure is from the kit, trimmed down and drilled in the same manner as the instrument panel structure was. I wanted to use the very nicely detailed seat from the donor Nichimo kit (The Arii/Otaki seat was the equivalent of an ugly lay-z-boy recliner) but unfortunately it was a victim of too much glue all those years ago. The vertical seat rails and seat pan were partially melted, but the back was OK. I cleaned up the back, drilled out the holes and replaced the rails with styrene rod. The pan I made from sheet styrene pieces.

Here is the port side wall with ribs and stringers made from styrene strip. Some styrene panels have been added as well as the fuel selector panel added to the bottom from the Nichimo kit. The throttle quadrant and other details have yet to be fabricated.

Starboard side wall with the airframe and electrical boxes made from styrene. Again, more details and lots of plumbing and wiring to be added.

That's where I am at right now. Hope you guys like it so far and hopefully I will have more updates soon. Thanks for taking a look.

Edit: Replaced photos with hopefully better quality ones.
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This is a good return to retake the construction of your "Oscar".
You have acquired and accumulated a very complete source of information for your version and Japanese military aviation in general.
The progress you have shown us so far and the clear explanation, ensures an interesting thread to follow.

Saludos :thumbup:
Luis Carlos
Thank you guys! I'm excited to be moving this one forward again.

I hope I can keep this build entertaining enough. After the cockpit is done, I shall endeavor to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, I.E. the kit supplied engine.

fubar57 fubar57
Thanks George! I have seen those decals and have been eyeing them for a while. Unfortunately modelling funds are scarce at this time and I will have to forego them. I do have some tricks up my sleeve for the dials though. Should have that up shortly with what I plan to do and how it turns out. ;)
Great start! I like what you did with the extra added cockpit detail. looks great.
Have the Nichimo Ki 43 I and Fine Molds Ki 43 II Ko Oscar's in my stash. So following with great intrest.
Ohm-men Ohm-men
Welcome aboard sir! The nichimo kit is very nice despite it's age, I too have a complete -I waiting patiently on the shelf. I hear the Fine Molds kits are pretty nice too. I especially wouldn't mind having one of their late Ki-43-III kits. I have the Hasegawa -II as well, but am a little put off by the "broken back" appearance of their Ki-43 family. Spoils the elegance of the design a bit when I look at it and that is what draws my eye unfortunately. It just looks "off". Anyways, enjoy the ride, more updates this weekend hopefully.
Small update, cockpit 99% finished. Ready to be painted now and a few tiny details added after that such as the levers for the throttle and fuel.


I added instrument bezels with copper wire.


I made electrical wiring from white milliput and lead wire.


I drilled holes to receive lengths of lead wire for hydraulic and pitot static lines.


I routed the various lines, glued them down and trimmed off the excess length. I also added the control stick from the Nichimo kit and made its boot and electrical wire from milliput.

More soon, hopefully with paint. Thanks for having a looksee.
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It seems that we suffer the same infection and I am glad that this is the case, with regard to the details and wiring, complementing and / or improving the appearance of our kits. :laughing6:

I love the way you use copper wire to circle each dial. It is something I will try in future projects.

Bien hecho‼️ y saludos :thumbup:
The cockpit detail is impressive!!! really nice work. I hope some of it will be seen after you close up te fuselage as the opening is kind of small.
I too was not impressed with the "broken back" apearance of the hasegawa Oscar family. hence my choice for the Nichimo and Fine Molds kits.
I was impressed with the surface details on the older Nichimo kit...

As far as the Arii/Otaki kit is concerned, it's a bit of a cross between a Ki 43 late I and early/late II. I "think" the oil cooler under the nose was introduced on the late II model and was not pressent on the I or early II. I also think that the exhaust pipe has a slightly wrong shape, but nothing some careful sanding and filing can't take care off.
And there is also something about a landing light, but i can't remember if this had to do with the Nichimo or Arii/Otaki kit.
And I also think that the canopy of the kit is best replaced with a Falcon or Squadron vacu canopy as the kit item is kind of thick...
Thanks for the compliments guys! They are truly appreciated!

Indeed we are afflicted with the same detailing bug Luis, therefore I will gladly join you in the Looney bin which is where this is bound to drive us. :crazy::p
The copper wire bezels is a bit of an experiment to me on this project as I have never done an entire instrument panel before using this method. I wanted to add some dimension to the instruments and hopefully will look ok once all is painted.

Ohm-men Ohm-men
As far as I can tell the Arii/Otaki kit represents a late model 2 pretty well, not seeing anything that was crossed over from the model 1. There are a couple details either missing or just represented in the wrong place, such as the radio mast on the forward cowling and the fuel tank air bleed being too far back on the starboard side.

As far as the landing light is concerned, it was added mid way through the model 2 late type production and it is represented correctly on the Otaki oscar, but is molded solid with no clear lens provided. The Nichimo kit on the other hand has a light also with a clear lens provided. This is incorrect as it was not present on the model 1 and will need to be filled in. Conveniently, this provides me with a lens to add to my Otaki model, with a bit of sanding necessary to make it fit.:)

The kit exhaust look pretty decent actually. If anything they may be slightly thin on their cross section, but it is hard to tell honestly. I will be modifying these regardless since I will be scratch building the cowl flaps and will need to represent the exhaust collection ring the exhaust pipes are attached to since it will be visible.

The oil cooler is of the correct shape for a late model 2, it will just need a little extra detailing with screens and louvers.

I do have a Falcon vac canopy fortunately, and after all that detailing I would certainly be going out of my way to find one if I didn't!

Thanks for your interest in my project. I appreciate your input, and by all means, if you notice anything questionable in accuracy, call it out so that I can check into before I move too far along.:salute:
The interior now has its base color applied. Everything received a base of flat black before the main color was applied.
Hopefully everything is a little easier to see with some paint on it now. Please note this particular image is not a good representation of the true color as it appears in person. The first picture is much closer.


This is the color I am trying to represent in my interior. Contrary to popular belief, not all Oscar interiors were painted in the dreaded Aotaki translucent blue-green coating. Many later Oscars were painted in #29 Ki Midori Iro (yellow green color #29). This was a color similar to the US interior green FS 34151.

To represent this, I used approximately 1:1 model master fs34151 us interior green and Polly scale us interior yellow. I also added a single drop of Polly scale italian camo brown to achieve a slight olive under tone. Hopefully I came close.

The color chip is copyright Nicholas Millman from his blog Aviation of Japan. This is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in Japanese aircraft.
Aviation of Japan 日本の航空史
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