Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony)

Model & Photos by Chris Beaumont
Description by Brett Green

Hasegawa's 1/72 IJA Fighter (Hien)
Major Kobayashi, 244th Sentai, Chofu, Japan, 1945

Four more images in the text and another two at the bottom of the page.


  D e s c r i p t i o n


Most Japanese aircraft used air-cooled radial engines. The Kawasaki Army Type 3 "Hien" (Tony) was, in fact, the only liquid cooled, in-line engined fighter to enter Japanese service during World War Two. Its powerplant was a license-built copy of the DB 601A as used in Germany's Messerschmitt Bf 109. The combination of a traditionally lightweight Japanese airframe with the powerful German engine resulted in a fast, maneuverable fighter which performed particularly well at altitude. For this reason it was an important weapon in the defence Japan against mass-bombing raids by American B-29 Superfortresses. The KI-61 Hien entered service in 1943.


A combination of unfamiliarity and shortages of the license built DB 601 led to the development of the basic airframe with a Mitsubishi Ha-112-II air-cooled radial. The resulting aircraft was the KI-100. The KI-100 was no ball of fire, however, with a top speed of only 360 mph compared to 435mph for the in-line KI-61


  P a i n t i n g    &    D e c a l s


This "shamrock meatball" scheme was one of two options directed by Hasegawa's marking and painting plan. The three leaf clover decal decorations appear to be unique to Major Kobayashi's Ki-61, as are the style of the Superfortress nose art kill markings on the port side.

Chris has depicted the aircraft in a weather-beaten and crew-trodden paint finish. This effect was achieved by polishing the camouflage colour with toothpaste to reveal a base colour of silver below, representing the metal alloy of which the aircraft was mainly composed.



The underwing surfaces of this aircraft were actually painted in IJA grey, not left bare metal like many other Ki-61's.


  R e f e r e n c e


"Famous Aircraft Of The World, Army Type 3 Fighter "Hien", No.17, 1989.

The "Famous Aircraft of the World" photo manual series are available from
specialist hobby shops and HobbyLink Japan


 A d d i t i o n a l   I m a g e s

Click on the thumbnailed images below to view full-size. Click the back arrow on your browser to retrun to this page.



See Hasegawa's 1/48 Hien in a distinctly different camouflaged scheme at
Chris Wauchop's Ki-61 Feature

.....and you can explore more Japanese model aircraft at

Hiroyuki Takeuchi's " Wings Of The Sun " Japanese Aircraft Page

Model and Photographs Copyright 1998 by Chris Beaumont
Description Copyright 1998 by Brett Green
Original Page Created 06 May 1998
Last updated 26 July 2007

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