Kit #AA2108. 1/72 scale. Highly-detailed resin
kit of the Mizuno Jinryu anti-tank
suicide glider, complete with decals.
In early 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy
began development of a “special attack” – code name for suicide – rocket-launched
anti-tank glider. The Yokosuka Naval Air Arsenal was assigned design
responsibility for this new weapon, and the Mizuno Corporation was selected to
produce the glider. This weapon was designed to be launched from coastal air
bases and caves, using JATO or RATO units to get aloft. They would then glide towards the tank that
its pilot intended to destroy.
The first prototype, named Jinryu (Lord
Dragon) was completed in May 1945, and the first flight took place in July. The
suicide weapon was constructed almost entirely of wood, and powered at launch by
three rocket motors. Its 220-pound explosive
charge was mounted in the nose, in front of the pilot.Although the
prototype was found to be unstable, it was nonetheless accepted for production
by the increasingly-desperate Japanese high command. The fifth prototype was
under construction when the war ended, and all the documents related to the
Jinryu were lost after the war. Although a few poorly-focused photographs of
the prototype were made public by a surviving pilot trainee in 2000, the Mizuno
Jinryu anti-tank suicide glider remains one of
the most mysterious aircraft that actually flew.