Military Illustrated Modeller 2011-07 (Issue 03)
The Kawasaki Ki-61 is sometimes described as a Japanese Messerschmitt Bf 109 due to the distinctive nose shape associated with the licence-built Daimler-Benz engine. The first production Ki-61-Is were deployed operationally in April 1943 when the 68th and 78th Sentais arrived in New Guinea. With four .50 calibre machine guns, the Tonys proved to be at least a match for the opposing American fighters, but not strong enough to knock down enemy bombers. This led to more heavily armed versions carrying 20mm and sometimes 30mm cannon. The aircraft I have chosen to represent flew with the 244th Sentai based in Japan at Chofu, performing home defence duties for the Tokyo prefecture under the command of Major Tembico Kobayashi. A photograph of this aircraft appears on page 78 of Robert C. Mikesh's book 'BROKEN WINGS OF THE SAMURAI'. This is a great reference for late war Japanese aircraft paint schemes and especially weathering!