Anigrand #AA3008 1/144 Japanese Navy Experimental Defensive Airplanes Special Set

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Product Code: AA3008


Kit #AA3008. 1/144 scale. This is a highly-detailed set of resin kits of late-war Japanese Navy aircraft designs, complete with decals. The aircraft include the Mitsubishi Q2M1 Taiyō, the Aichi S1A1 Denko, the Nakajima J5N1 Tenrai and the Kawanishi J6K1 Jinpu.

Mitsubishi Q2M1 Taiyō: Based on the successful Imperial Japanese Army heavy bomber, the Mitsubishi Ki-67-I Hiryū – Allied code name "Peggy" – the Q2M1 was designed but not built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was initially seen as a replacement for the Mitsubishi G4M heavy and torpedo bomber, code-named Betty. However, as the US Submarine blockade increasingly starved Japan of both food and strategic raw materials, the design adapted to the role of anti-submarine patrol craft, and for this, it was equipped with Type 3 Ku-6 Model 4 Radar and a Type 3 Model 1 Magnetic Anomaly Detector, used to detect the ferrous metal of a submerged submarine from low altitude.

The Taiyō was a sleek and conventional low-wing twin-engined bomber, with dorsal and tail turrets and other defensive weapons, as well as an odd wing planform that was cranked mid-span to give a marked upturn in dihedral. It was to be powered by a pair of 1,850 horsepower Kasei 24 Otsu 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engines driving advanced five-bladed propellers, generating a projected top speed of 304 mph and a range of 1,500 miles. With an incredibly-low service ceiling of 12,000 feet, it had no high-altitude performance, but because it was designed for low-altitude anti-submarine patrol, this wasn’t considered significant.

Other variations on the Mitsubishi Ki-67-I Hiryū design included the Ki-109 bomber destroyer and the mother-ship for the Ohka suicide rocket glider bomb.

Aichi S1A1 Denko: This twin-engined heavy fighter, intended for the night fighting role as the replacement for the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Nakajima J1N1-2 Gekko – Allied code name Irving – the Aichi S1A1 Denko (Bold of Lightning) was to be equipped with radar and was intended to counter B-29 raids over Japan. An extended gestation time – lengthened because of the massive Tonankai earthquake of December 1944, coupled with under-performing Nakajima NK9K-2 Homare engines were supposedly rated at 2,000 horsepower but did not live up to expectations – doomed the aircraft to “what-if” status. Late war bombing raids that destroyed prototypes on the ground were adding insult to injury for a plane that was going nowhere, and not fast enough.

The design was so sleek that the massive engines and their nacelles looked oversized and out of place, despite the engine’s poor performance. The aircraft was overweight for its power, and its projected 360 mph speed was insufficient to give the aircraft any margin over the “B-San” B-29 bomber, which had a rated top speed of from 357 to 365 mph.

Nakajima J5N1 Tenrai: Another sleek heavy fighter cut from the mold of the Aichi Denko and Nakajima’s own Gekko, the Nakajima J5N1 Tenrai (Heavenly Thunder) became another visionary but abandoned prototype – this one dropped even before the war ended. It was specified to reach 414 mph, but in practice topped out at 371 mph, too slow to catch a B-29 from behind. The Tenrai was in fact based on the Gekko design, but with a single crewman and more powerful 1,990 horsepower Nakajima Homare engines.

The aircraft mounted two 30mm cannon and two 20mm cannon in the nose – devastating firepower if it could hit its target. Initially intended to fight off American escort fighters, it proved unable to even keep pace with the B-29s, making it yet one more failed “heavy fighter” concept that could not compete with sleek and speedier single-engined fighters, let alone powerfully-armed high-speed, high-altitude bombers. Six prototypes were built, and even after extensive modifications, they proved incapable of coming anywhere near specifications, let alone the performance of American B-29s, P-51s or long-range P-47Ns. It was cancelled as a failed dream.

Kawanishi J6K1 Jinpu: This purpose-built Japanese Imperial Naval interceptor was a design failure, not because it wasn’t good enough, but because Kawanishi’s N1K2-J land-based fighter, adapted from Kawanishi’s remarkably-effective N1K2 float-plane fighter design, was better, and in production. The Kawanishi J6K1 Jinpu (Squall) began design work in 1943, built around the powerful Nakajima Homare 42 radial engine.

The aircraft, a very standard looking sleek low-wing radial-engined Japanese fighter, would have been heavily armed, with two 30mm cannon and two 13.2mm machine guns, and with a design top speed of 426 mph, making it the P-51D Mustang’s equal and a speed-demon compared to the Navy’s F6F-5 Hellcat.

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