1/48 Hasegawa T-4 Blue Impulse

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on July 3 2014


For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my 1/48 scale Kawasaki T-4 Blue Impulse.

The Kawasaki T-4 is a subsonic twin engine, two seat jet training aircraft used by the Japan Self Defense Force (JSDF). The aircraft was developed in response to the need for a new generation of training aircraft to replace the aging and obsolete T-33 and T-1 training aircraft. Note that the JSDF does not name its aircraft like the USAF. However, unofficially the T-4 is called the Dolphin because of its similarity to the Dolphin.

The T-4 proved to be so maneuverable that the JSDF in 1996 decided to use the T-4 for the JSDF Aerobatic Team, the Blue Impulse. T-4s continue to perform with the Blue Impulse to this day, thrilling audiences throughout Japan with spectacular displays of aerobatic skills and maneuverability that rival the F-15. My model here is marked and painted in the livery of the Blue Impulse for the years 2012 and 2013.


Click on images below to see larger images

Construction of the T-4 was straight forward and easy, thanks to the excellent assembly drawings and the good parts fit. The kit comes with white plastic with crisp panel lines, no flash, and the majority of the ejector pin marks are invisible on the finished model.

Construction began with the cockpit that went together nicely. You can build the model with an open or closed canopy. The kit also provides two pilots. I chose to have a closed canopy with two pilots. The two piece clear canopy fit perfectly, but have a parting line in each piece that required sanding.

As for the rest of the build, I simply followed the instruction guide and the model went together without problems. Some filling and sanding was required in a few places. I added some lead weights in the nose to prevent tail sitting. Note that this was the first Hasegawa kit to use poly caps for attaching the landing gears and the horizontal stabilizers.

I painted my T-4 Blue Impulse with Model Masters enamels Bright Blue and Flat White. I used Bright Blue as it is a very close match to the blue decals of the kit. The kit plastic comes in white so there was no trouble covering the white areas of the model. Masking was a bit challenging and time consuming.

Once the paint was dry and cured, I hand brushed two coats of Future on the model in preparation for decals. I let the Future dry for 72 hours before starting the decaling process.

The T-4 Blue Impulse decals went on with no major problems. The decals are on the thick side, but they needed to be as some of the decals were difficult to position. I cut some of the wing decals into smaller pieces to make it easier to position them. I used Solvaset on each decal to ensure they were snug to the model. Some of the decals required several applications of Solvaset to get them to conform to the model.

Once decaling was complete, I ran a damp cloth over the decals, then hand brushed a light coat of Future over the decals. To finish off the model I airbrushed the entire model with a coat of Model Masters Clear Gloss Lacquer.

This was an enjoyable build, and I was impressed with the detail and the parts fit. It is a build that can be done by modelers of all skill levels.

Burt Gustafson

Click on images below to see larger images



Photos and text by Burt Gustafson