Doyusha 1/32 Ki-84 "Frank"
Submitted by: Ronnie Murray

    For nearly 20 years I have wanted to build the "Frank" in 1/32. It's my favorite Japanese fighter and in my favorite scale.  You can imagine how I felt when a friend gave me two of these kits for free nearly a year ago.  I jumped on that kit like a duck on a june-bug.
    It's an older kit and the molds have been swapped around but I was pleasantly surprised.  The recessed surface detail over the entire kit compares nicely with reference photos and the moving surfaces have the fabric texture.  The grey plastic is very sturdy and most of the parts fit nicely without much fuss.  Blending the seams took a little work but not bad compared to some kits in this scale.  The trailing edge of the wings were a little thick but this was improved with a little sanding.  All the moving surfaces are molded in neutral position and I recommend leaving them that way because of the construction.
    Since the kit was originally designed to be a battery operated "toy" of sorts, the simplified engine consists of a front and back piece only. I added wiring and washes to end up with a satisfactory product. Looking in the wheel wells  you'll see some impressive detail that's the best I've seen in this scale.  Even though the landing gear strutts are sturdy and look fine, the wheels and tires are a real dissappointment.  I replaced them with a 48 scale resin set intended for the Do-335, the fit was perfect.  The fuel cooler that fits under the wing is far too small, actually in 1/48 scale.  Scratchbuilding a new one was simple and is definitely the way to go.  Though the instrument panel is pretty good, the rest of the cockpit needs some real help from the parts box. I built some side panels, a head rest and added seat belts. The canopy is a little thick but looks good once dipped in "future" and allowed to cure.  Underwing fuel tanks are included and the connecting braces are nicely done.


    As for the paint job, nearly every paint scheme I've seen looks good on the Frank.  It has the sleek, classic lines of a super-model and would look good in a burlap sack.  I wanted mine to be different and really eye catching.  This particular paint scheme represents a plane involved in one of the many island hopping campaigns.  The overall mottled look is broken up by a segment of the fuselage and the port horizontal stabilizer painted solid in a different green. These were replacement parts from a scrapped plane, to repair battle damage.
    I started by spraying the entire model with Testors Aluminum Plate straight from the ol' spray can. I buffed it with a t-shirt to get rid of the excess that comes off on your hands. Since I used enamel as the base coat, all of the other paints are acrylic. The two paints don't bond very well and it is very easy to use weathering techniques to chip or scratch the paint.  The green mottle is Nakajima navy green, the
solid green panels are done in Kawasaki Army green. Other greens could have been used and may have even been more historically accurate but I had these on hand and they looked good to me. The undersides of the solid green panels are Nakajima grey.  The cockpit is NMF with the same Testors
aluminum plate, the wheel wells started the same way but were over-sprayed with Testors transparent blue.  There is much debate of where and when aotake may have been used on such planes so I split the difference.  When doing the prop, references call for "prop green" . Nobody makes this color
yet so I used Dk. Euro green 1 and applied Archers Fine Transfers for the yellow tips and lines.  The spinner is a mix of brown and red and the tires
    You won't believe the quality of the kit decals!  My kit was one of the old ones so I can't say what the updated decals are like. Mine looked great and went on nicely using solvaset.  It's a straightforward kit thats a real eye catcher.  Last year it was re-released by Doyusha so If you find it, get it!! It's the only Ki-84 in 1/32 scale. With that modeling dream of my life fulfilled, I'm ready for my next fantasy...maybe the Revell J2M3 Jack!!