Lifelike Decals has long been known for their high quality, limited edition decal releases. The decals come in the customary clear plastic zip bag, and inside you will find two full color, single sided pages with color callouts, decal placement guides, references, and a ton of historical information on each aircraft covered. Not to mention the decals themselves. This release contains one standard size decal sheet with markings for four WWII Imperial Japanese Army Ki-44 Shoki “Tojo” fighters, as well as a smaller sheet with the kill markings, and a small “correction” sheet for kill markings. Decals are printed by Cartograf of Italy, and are clear and in perfect register.
**Just a note to the buyer – when you’re doing a search to purchase these, you may see some decals labeled for the “Japanese Edition” and some for the “English Edition”. The difference here is the language on the instructions. If you don’t read Japanese and are interested in getting the wealth of historical data written about each aircraft – be sure to look for the English one!
These decals are intended to be used on the 1/48 Hasegawa kit and here is a breakdown of the four different Shoki fighters on this sheet:
Capt. Yoshio Yoshida, 70th Sentai, 1st Chutai Leader, Kashiwa AB China, June 1945
Ki-44-II Hei Overall natural metal aircraft with very distinctive kill markings on the fuselage. Large number 11 on fuselage below cockpit. This famous aircraft can be seen in many references.
Warrant Officer Makoto Ogawa, 70th Sentai, 1st Chutai, Kashiwa AB China, May-June 1945
Ki-44-II Hei Aircraft in natural with large number 2 under cockpit. This is another well photographed aircraft and is seen in many references. Of interest here is the nice way Lifelike has made their decals “weathered” – you don’t just get the “2” but you get a very convincing weathered and chipped “2” – along with the chipped kill markings.
Sgt. Sadao Miyazawa, 70th Sentai, 3rd Chutai, Kashiwa AB China, February 1945
Ki-44-II Kou Aircraft again in overall natural metal. This aircraft has a single kill marking for an F6F on the fuselage.
9th Sentai, 1st Chutai, China 1944-1945
No pilot information given for this Ki-44-II Kou. Aircraft is green over natural metal. Directions clearly state they cannot find any photos of this aircraft, but are basing it on illustrations found in various references. Aircraft has a chipped and weathered appearance with a white tail marking.
I highly recommend this decal sheet for anyone interested in WWII Japanese aircraft, or the Shoki in general. Lifelike has done a great job of giving the modeler all of the information needed to build one of the aircraft shown by listing their references. They have done all of the research so we can just build! One of my favorite things about Lifelike Decals is that they tell you what they used as a reference in making their decals and then let the modeler decide if there are any questions.
The only down side to this sheet is that it is indeed a limited edition and, once they are sold out, they are gone for good. Lifelike decals can be difficult to find here in the US, but a quick internet search should provide some vendors, both here in the USA and overseas.
Thank you to Lifelike Decals for supplying the sample and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.