Lifelike Decals 1/48 244th Sentai Pt2

This 1/48 decal sheet from Lifelike decals is a reprint of their early 48-004 set that is now hard to find. This set covers 6 Ki-61 (Hien) and 2 Type 97 (Nate) aircraft all from the 244th Sentai that defended Tokyo. The instructions say the set is designed for the Hasegawa Nate and Hien and also the new Tamiya I-Tei. The Tamiya I-Tei is a brand new kit while the Hasegawa, although a very good kit, is quite a few years old now. The only game in town for a Ki-27 Nate is really the Hasegawa kit. The release of this kit is very nicely timed to give you more options for your new Tamiya kit.

The decal set arrived from Lifelike Decals in a cardboard envelope and made it from Japan to Canada in perfect condition. The decal set contains:

  • 2 A4 sheets of single-sided colour instructions
  • 1 double sided sheet of background information about the references and the 8 decal options.
  • 1 decal sheet 21.5 cm x 14.5 cm
  • 1 decal sheet 14.5 cm x 7 cm

The subjects of this sheet are:

  1. Ki-27 Type 97 fighter Otsu, 2nd Chutai, Chofu AB, Autumn 1942
  2. Ki-61 Hien type 1- Tei ’24’, Capt Kobayashi, Chofu AB, February 10 1945.
  3. Ki-61 Hien type 1- Tei ’62’, Captain Teruhiko Kobayashi,  Chofu AB, April 1945.
  4. Ki-61 Hien type 1- Hei 15,  Corporal Seiichi Suzuki, Chofu AB, January 29 1945.
  5. Ki-27 Type 97 fighter Otsu, 3rd Chutai, Chofu AB, Autumn of 1943
  6. Ki-61 Hien type 1- Otsu 16, Corporal Matasumi Nakano, Chofu AB, February 1945.
  7. Ki-61 Hien type 1- Hei 33, Corporal Matasumi Nakano, Chofu AB, December 3 1945.
  8. Ki-61 Hien type 1- Otsu 73, Sergeant Masao Itagaki, Chofu AB, early 1945.

The decal sheets look to contain enough hinomaru to make 2 of the Ki-61 and 1 Ki-27 with enough stencils for one subject of each type. If you use the stencils and hinomaru from the kits you’re building you can obviously make them all.

The best place to start first is the double sided sheet of information about the 8 decal options. For each of the options there is a paragraph of background information. I’m always impressed with the research that Lifelike Decals do on their subjects. For each subject they explain which of the 17 reference documents were used and explain any parts of the paint scheme of each aircraft that are not completely known. They will often tell you what it more than likely was and tell you why it was probably that way. They really know their subjects! They also give other background information where possible, such as the fate of the pilot and even give some extra pieces of information about the references, such as identifying a girl in a photo in one reference as Commander Kobayashi’s younger sister. The last part of the information sheet talks about a clover leaf marked Hien Tei, which despite being shown in a few books and portrayed as being added by Japanese ground-crew, probably wasn’t original and was most likely added by American personnel after the war.

The decal placement guides are in full colour. The main sheet shows port side views and the decals are clearly numbered. It’s on this sheet that it also says which kits are suitable for the decals. Lifelike Decals likes to hear from you and puts their fax number and email address on this sheet. Their website is also listed and if they discover updated information about any of their decal sheets they put the info on their website. The last sheet contains various part views of the aircraft showing where all the stencils are placed and well as propeller tip colours and any idiosyncrasies specific to each aircraft. There are also several notes about the colours and markings of the 244th Sentai aircraft. This sheet covers which colours are used where, both inside and outside the aircraft and also when to cover such things as when the identification band on the leading edge of the wings changed in August 1942. Again Lifelike show the amount of research they have done to get these decals correct. You get decals for the yellow identification marks on the leading edges of one Ki-61. You can also paint these on too of course.

The decal sheets, as you can see attached and  in the video, have minimal carrier film and the colours are clear and everything seems in register. The text is readable when viewed up close.

The decals are available from Lifelike’s website for around $13.40 depending on the exchange rate, as well as from other suppliers around the world.

This is a very well researched decal set that covers 8 aircraft of 2 types. You have stencils for 2 aircraft and can make a third if you use your kit stencils before you have to resort to kit hinomaru, basically you get plenty of options. The instructions are excellent and the decals are of a very high quality too. If you have either the Tamiya or Hsegawa Ki-61 or the Hasegawa Ki-27 then this decal sheet is a good investment for you to make your finished build different from the crowd.

Many thanks to Lifelike Decals for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International


Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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