David Holmes builds Arma Hobby’s 1/72 Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate, representing an aircraft from the Battle of Okinawa during May 1945.
Nakajima’s Ki-84 Hayate (Allied codename Frank) entered service just a year before the end of World War Two, yet the type quickly gained a reputation in combat. Designed by Yasushi Koyama – the creator of other famous Japanese aircraft such as the Ki-27, Ki-43 Hayabusa and Ki-44 Shoki – the Hayate exploited the agility of the Ki-27 and Ki-43, and combined this with the speed and strong armament of the Ki-44. Additional armour provided protection for the pilot, while self-sealing fuel tanks were also incorporated. Despite Japan’s strategic situation in 1944 and the shortage of raw materials, personnel, constant bombardments and even a series of earthquakes, nearly 3,500 Ki-84s were produced.