Nakajima Ki-43 Decals Part 1

Published: January 5th, 2013     
Product Image
Decal Packaging
Reviewed by: Paul Mahoney - IPMS# 8943
Scale: 1/48
Company: Lifelike Decals
Price: $17.00
Product / Stock #: 48-041
Product provided by: Lifelike Decals

This is one of two new sheets Lifelike Decals has released covering the Nakajima Ki-43. A quick check of Lifelike's website reveals that this latest addition to their line is only available in 1/48 scale at the moment. The website is definitely worth a visit, as they not only list their products, but from time to time also give updates and corrections to existing decal sets.

The instructions consist of two sheets of paper (approx. 8 1/2" x 11"), each printed on one side and folded together, resulting in a small booklet. One sheet is printed in full color and provides profiles of the aircraft, while the second features in-depth text describing each subject. Clearly, a lot of time and effort has gone into the research on this sheet. 13 different reference books (or websites) are listed and cited throughout the individual aircraft descriptions.

Five different Ki-43s are covered: three Type I aircraft, and one each of a Type II Otsu and Type II Kou. The recommended kit is by Hasegawa (Types I and II), or the Arii Type II. I would think these could also be used with the Fine Molds kits, but no mention of that brand is made. From the website it looks as though Part 2 covers Types I, II, and III.

The 5 markings are as follows:

  1. Ki-43 Type I of Major Takeda, 1st Sentai
  2. Ki-43 Type II Otsu 23rd Sentai
  3. Ki-43 Type I of Major Ishikawa, 50th Sentai
  4. Ki-43 Type I of Sgt. Anabuki, 50th Sentai
  5. Ki-43 Type II Kou of Sgt. Sugimoto, 54th Sentai

Each aircraft has a nicely-done color side profile (left side only), as well as a full top-view color profile. Numbers 1 and 3 also have full underside color profiles, while the rest have scrap views for the underside markings. There is also a small generic color top- and bottom-view showing stenciling placement. A full set of stencils is provided for one aircraft. Enough Hinomarus are provided to cover 2 aircraft (including different style fuselage ones). There is also one set of the yellow ID markings for the wing leading edges.

Each of the subjects is described with quite in-depth text, describing unit assignments and some history of the individual aircraft. There is also an explanation, complete with reference citing, as to how Lifelike came to its conclusions regarding paint schemes and markings. Several paragraphs are devoted to each profile. Lifelike explains where they made educated guesses (and how they arrived there), as well as potential errors in references (and why they are considered errors).

The decals themselves are on one standard-sized decal sheet, with an additional half-sheet providing the white wing bands, some fuselage bands, and a strip of natural metal to be used under the presentation/donor markings for aircraft #1 (a nice touch). I believe, like all other Lifelike sheets, that these are printed by Cartograf. These look like just about every other Cartograf decal I have ever seen - very crisp colors with good density, slightly glossy, and with minimal carrier film. I would think to apply those like any other Cartograf decal - over a gloss base, perhaps with some MicroSet and Sol. I would not press this type down as it is too thin and this is unnecessary, nor would I advise using too hot a decal solution (like Solvaset) with these.

I have now had the opportunity to review several Lifelike decals, and I continue to remain impressed. Real thought has gone into the research of these markings, and the description as well as the decals themselves are exactly the sort of thing modelers (well, at least this one) want to have. Once again, as with their Ki-44 decals I reviewed earlier, I have several of the references they mention and was able to follow the train of logic regarding the markings quite easily. The information in this sheet stands on its own, but it is nice to see how clearly Lifelike shows its sources

Thanks to Lifelike Decals for providing the sample, and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it!

  • Side, top, and underside profiles
    Side, top, and underside profiles
  • Text description of aircraft
    Text description of aircraft

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