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 Marushin model # S014 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate/Frank IJAAF 1st Chutai, 73rd Sentai #327, Tokorozava AB, Japan, November 1944

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Kyushu J7W


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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: Marushin model # S014 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate/Frank IJAAF 1st Chutai, 73rd Sentai #327, Tokorozava AB, Japan, November 1944   Sat Feb 18 2017, 21:38

Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate/Frank
Producer Marushin ( This die cast line is occasionally active, but releases are limited )
Scale 1/48
Model # S014

IJAAF 1st Chutai, 73rd Sentai #327, Tokorozava AB, Japan, November 1944

Marushin diecast are impressive pieces of of metal. Very little plastic, solid, great panel lines but completely bereft of cockpit detail. They need to be assembled but this as a rule is easily done. Saves on box storage space. Other that the Willow I encountered few snags that were not worked through with very basic modeling skills and a small screwdriver and swiss army knife. The canopies are snap in arrangements but a drop of clear elmers glue holds them in place. Some owners have used 1.48 plastic model cockpit interiors and created astonishing detail to flesh out their Marushins, but I personally have never attempted this. The landing gear is also sparse on detail but not so noticeable. Cannon, machine guns and pitot tubes are metal rods and should be painted. The rods can take a bit of filing down to place within the wings. Still this is more than worth the effort.

Crew: One
Length: 9.92 m (32 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 11.238 m (36 ft 11 in)
Height: 3.385 m (11 ft 1 in)
Wing area: 21 m² (226.041 ft²)
Empty weight: 2,660 kg (5,864 lb)
Loaded weight: 3,601.5 kg (7,940 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 4,170 kg (9,194 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima Ha-45-21 Homare 18-cylinder radial engine, 1,522 kW at SL, 1360 kW at 17,900 ft (1,970 hp at SL, 1850 hp at 17,900 ft)

Never exceed speed: 800 km/h (496 mph)
Maximum speed: 686 km/h (426 mph) at 7,020 m (23,000 ft)
Range: 2,168 km (1,347 mi)
Service ceiling: 11,826.24 m (38,800 ft)
Rate of climb: 21.84 m/s at SL, 18.29 m/s at 3050 meters (4300 ft/min at SL, 3600 ft/min at 10,000 ft)
Wing loading: 171.47 kg/m² (35.1 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 1.8 kg/hp (4 lb/hp)

2× 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns in nose, 350 rounds/gun
2× 20 mm Ho-5 cannon in wings, 150 shells/cannon
2× 100 kg (220 lb) bombs
2× 250 kg (551 lb) bombs
2× 200 L (53 US gal) drop tanks

Design of the Ki-84 commenced in early 1942 to meet an Imperial Japanese Army Air Service requirement for a replacement to Nakajima's own, earlier Ki-43 Oscar fighter, then just entering service. The specification recognized the need to combine the maneuverability of the Ki-43 with performance to match the best western fighters and heavy firepower. The Ki-84 first flew in March 1943 and deliveries from Nakajima's Ota factory commenced in April 1943.  The Ki-84 was a low-wing monoplane. The fuselage had a level upper fuselage, with a bubble cockpit for good vision. The wing had a straight leading edge and tapered trailing edge, while the tail plane was set ahead of the vertical surface of the tail. In the original version the 12.7mm machine guns were mounted at the top of the engine, while the 20mm cannon were in the wings, just outboard of the main undercarriage. The aircraft had a big exhaust collector pipe on each side of the engine. The production versions could carry either a fuel drop tank or a 551lb bomb under each wing.

The aircraft was designed to be easy to produce, and took  fewer hours to complete than the Ki-44. It was designed to use many of the same production jigs as the Ki-43, meaning that there was very little disruption when it replaced the Ki-43 on the production lines. The aircraft was built on two construction lines by Nakajima and in small numbers by the Mansyu factory in Manchuria.  The flight tests went well, and Nakajima were ordered to build a pre-production series. One of these aircraft was tested against the Ki-44 and a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-5. The Ki-84 outperformed the Ki-44 on all counts and was more maneuverable than the Fw 190, but was slower in level flight and in dives.

The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate ("Gale") was a single-seat fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in World War II. The Allied reporting name was "Frank"; the Japanese Army designation was Ki-84-Ia Army Type 4 Fighter Model A. Featuring excellent performance and high maneuverability, the Ki-84 was considered to be the best Japanese fighter to see large scale operations during World War II.   It was able to match any Allied fighter, and to intercept the high-flying B-29 Superfortresses.  Much of its superlative all-round performance stemmed from its extremely advanced direct-injection engine, the Army's first version of the Navy NK9A. Yet this same engine gave constant trouble and demanded skilled maintenance.  One of the B-29 raids destroyed the Nakajima engine factory at Musashi where most engines for the Hayate were produced, and the production never reached the same levels afterwards. Also workmanship suffered from the constant manpower draws made by the Army.    Its powerful armament (that could include two 30 mm and two 20 mm cannon) increased its lethality.  The Ki-84 addressed the most common complaints about the popular and highly maneuverable Ki-43: insufficient firepower, poor defensive armor, and lack of climbing speed.

 Though hampered by poor production quality in later models, a high-maintenance engine, landing gear prone to buckle, (poor heat-treatment of high-strength steel had the consequence that the landing gears often snapped)  inconsistent fuel quality, and a lack of experienced pilots above all else, Hayates proved to be fearsome opponents.  3,514 were built. The Ki-84 was the fastest fighter in the Imperial Japanese military if good fuel was used and the aircraft was in good shape.     No Japanese fighter aircraft had a better all-round performance than the Ki-84. As far as protection goes, the Ki-84 had seat back and head armour of 12 mm steel, and self-sealing fuel tanks. The self-sealing tanks were not considered as efficient as those fitted to American aircraft at the time.

The Ki-84 was first issued to an experimental flight training company in Japan in October 1943. This unit was used to eliminate a number of problems with the aircraft, and was then disbanded in March 1944. Most of its pilots were transferred to the 22nd Sentai, the first unit to use the Ki-84.  In the summer of 1944 the 22nd Sentai moved to China, where it came up against  the US 14th Air Force. In five weeks the 22nd achieved remarkable results, gaining a reputation as a fighter to be reckoned with, partly because of its excellent new aircraft and partly because it contained many of the best Japanese pilots.   It was granted the rare honor of having the emperors symbol to be placed on their aircraft.

The first major test of the Ki-84 came on the Philippines. Seven Ki-84 Sentais had been posted to the islands by mid-October 1944, just in time for the American invasion on Leyte. The KI-84's with the unpainted dural aluminum finish caused some confusion as the USAF at first not recognizing the aircraft,  mistook the unfinished aircraft for friends. Once they got past this, they at times referred to it as the "stretched and heavier Oscar with a bite"  Soon enough the Code name Frank was applied.  From that moment until the end of the Pacific war the Ki-84 was deployed wherever the action was intense.  In theory the Japanese had enough aircraft to cause the Americans some serious problems, but the Ki-84 was about to reveal its main weakness.

In ideal conditions it was a reliable aircraft, but in more normal combat conditions the Ha-45 engine proved itself rather unreliable, as did the landing gear. After a promising start the number of serviceable aircraft dropped rapidly, and many of the replacement aircraft were either lost en-route from Japan or had a much poorer performance than expected. In the hands of a good pilot the better aircraft were able to more than hold their own against most Allied fighters, but despite rushing fresh units to the area the Japanese were increasingly outnumbered. By the third week in November the JAAF in the Philippines was down to only 21% of its full strength, and this figure fell even further in December. By the end of January 1945 the battle for the Philippines was over, and the JAAF had suffered catastrophic losses. The Ki-84 had proved itself to be a capable fighter, but was simply overwhelmed.

The Ki-84 was used during the battle of Okinawa, operating in a hit-and-run capacity from southern Kyushu. Fighter-bomber models also entered service using skip bombing tactics on the transports and landing craft. On April 15, 1945, 11 Hayates attacked US airfields on Okinawa, destroying many aircraft on the ground. Once again the Japanese fighters were overwhelmed by Allied numbers, especially after the Allies began to attack the bases in Kyushu.

The 73rd Sentai was one of the late war units formed in Japan on the Hayate in May 1944 together with its sister units in the 21st Air Brigade, the 71st and 72nd Sentai. Formed at Kita-Ise the unit moved to  Taisho, Tokorozava in Japan until they moved to Mabalacat and Bamban, on the main island ofLuzon,  Philippines.  The unit was annihilated in the Philippines where it had provided 3rd phase reinforcement as part of Sho Go # 1 staging via Shanghai and Heito, Formosa.  The few surviving aircrew were evacuated and the unit was disbanded in March of1945. The tail marking was reportedly not distinguished by the Chutai colour, being red on unpainted machines and white on camouflaged machines. The Chutai colour distinction was restricted to the spinner, sometimes the radio antenna mast and the lower rudder on which the aircraft number was painted.

Some of the unit's pilots and aircraft were lost in suicide operations in the Philippines as the Army sent in its fighters and bombers on kamikaze runs similar to the navy's example.  It was unlikely that any of the 21st Air Brigade Hayate units were ever at full strength, many were lost in transit and flat lined due to maintenance and spares issues,  there and probably little more than over-sized Chutai in numbers. The bulk of the Brigade was evacuated in January 1945 and the 73rd was unofficially disbanded in March 1945, its surviving pilots and aircraft being incorporated into the 71st Sentai which had been transferred to the 12th Air Division.  What was as bad was again, as in New Guinea the leaving behind of thousands of experienced ground crews who could not be evacuated. Some 12,000 air force personnel through out the Philippines were left to fight as ground troops.  Few survived.

The capture of Clark  airfields allowed  the air intelligence units their first opportunity to obtain flyable examples of the next generation IJNAF and IJAAF fighters like the KI-84.   After the war a number of aircraft were tested by the allied forces, two at the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - South-West Pacific Area (ATAIU-SWPA) as S10 and S17 and a further two in the United States as FE-301 and FE-302 (Later T2-301 and T2-302).  Tested against allied fighters of the day it proved to be the equal or better especially when supplied with higher octane fuels not readily available to the Japanese in 1944/45.  

One which was captured at Clark Field during 1945, was transported aboard the USS Long Island (CVE-1) to the United States. In 1952 it was sold off as surplus to Edward Maloney, owner of the Ontario Air Museum (Planes of Fame Museum) and restored to flying condition before being returned to Japan for display at the Arashiyama Museum in Kyoto. The aircraft is now displayed at Tokko Heiwa Kinen-kan Museum, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is the only surviving Ki-84.

Camouflage and markings

The Ki-84 is known to have appeared in three Japanese Ministry of Munitions sanctioned camouflage schemes;

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 (see photo of 73 Hiko-Sentai aircraft).

Type B: Irregular blotches or stripes of dark green on the basic natural metal scheme. This was applied once the aircraft reached its operational base. On occasion the edges of national (hinomaru) and Sentai markings were accidentally covered.

Type S: Three variations were seen on Ki-84s; S1 – Dark green upper surfaces, with light gray/green lower surfaces. S2 – The light gray/green on the lower surfaces was replaced by a pale blue/gray. These colors were often applied on an unprimed airframe; because of this and the poor adhesion of Japanese paints in the later years of the war this scheme often weathered quickly, with large patches of natural metal being visible (see photo of 85 Hiko-Sentai Ki-84 on a Korean base). S10 – The upper surfaces were left in a red/brown primer with the under surfaces in natural metal. The black anti-glare panel was optional.

Other schemes were applied, particularly by the Shinbu-Tai "Special Attack" units. For example, a Ki-84 of 57 Shinbu-Tai, flown by Corporal Takano, had very dark brown-green upper surfaces (some sources state black), with a large red "arrow" outlined in white painted along the entire length of the fuselage and engine cowling. White Kana characters "hitt-chin" (be sure to sink) were painted above the arrow on the rear fuselage. The under surfaces were light gray.

Factory applied markings included six hinomaru (national insignia), outlined with a 75 mm (2.95 in) white border on camouflaged aircraft, on either side of the rear fuselage and on the upper and lower outer wings. Yellow/orange identification strips were applied to the leading edges of wings, extending from the roots to ⅓ of the wingspan.

By wars end there were mock-ups of KI-84 made of steel and wood. Nakajima dispersed production to caves and mines. School girls were drafted into making wood parts, but neither of these modifications made it into  production.   Many KI-84's were captured in Japan and in China where they were used by both sides, sometimes with contract Japanese pilots.  The reliability issue soon grounded them and the US occupation forces burned the  majority as they demobilized the armed forces.   With the advent of jets the testing projects also ended.

Some books on the subject.   Schiffer Publishing books by Bueschel on individual aircraft are particularly good references.

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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Marushin model # S014 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate/Frank IJAAF 1st Chutai, 73rd Sentai #327, Tokorozava AB, Japan, November 1944
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