1/48 Tamiya Hi-61I Hien

Gallery Article by Frank Steffens on Mar 17 2017



Here is Tamiya's 1/48th Scale Hi-61I Hien finished as "Blue 24" Captain Teruhiko Kobayashi's mount from February to April, 1945. Of the six victories depicted by the kill marks, one is for ramming a B-29. The 244th Flight Group at Chofu Airbase was tasked with defending the Japanese homeland from B-29 bombing attacks.

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Tamiya's kit of the Hien is probably the best kit I have built, ever. The fit is flawless, the engineering is elegant, with most seams falling on panel lines.

The Natural Metal Finish starts with a light coat of Mr. Color Black Surfacer 1500, followed by a base of Mr. Color GX-2 Gloss Black, which was then polished. Alclad II 101 Aluminum was then laid on, with the ailerons painted Alclad II 116 Semi Matte Aluminum and the panels over the gun bays in Alcladd II 103 Dark Aluminum. A barrier coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss Clear was sprayed on, and the leading edges of the wing were sprayed with a mix of Tamiya Yellow and Tamiya Orange. I used Maketar Kabuki Masks to mask the Hinomarus, which were painted with Tamiya XF-7 Red over the NMF on the wings, and over Tamiya XF-1 White on the fuselage. The blue fuselage stripes are Tamiya XF-8. The Tail is Tamiya XF-7 Red. All paints mention were thinned 50/50 with Mr. Color Leveling Thinner, except for the Alclad paints, which were shot straight from the bottle. After another protective layer of Aqua Gloss Clear, I did a sludge wash of Windsor and Newton Burnt Umber, Black and White thinned with Grumbacher Odorless Thinner (odorless IS NOT vaporless, so wear a respirator as you would when using any other smelly solvent!) After wiping off the sludge, I sprayed Alclad's Semi Matte Klear Koat for a slightly worn/oxidized appearance. 

The paint chipping was achieved by spraying hairspray over the anti glare panel, prop/spinner and leading edges, drying them with a hair dryer (which is why I got the stink eye from my wife when she saw me taking her hairspray and hairdryer down to the basement), and then applying the colors over that.  Once dry, I rubbed the areas I wanted to chip/scratch with some wet 600 grit sponge. The chipping step was done BEFORE the protective layer of Aqua Gloss Clear. Stains and soot made with pastel chalk and India Ink pens rounded out the weathering.

Frank Steffens

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Photos and text by Frank Steffens