Anigrand #AA3009 1/144 Japanese Army Experimental Defensive Airplanes Special Set

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Product Code: AA3009


Kit #AA3009. 1/144 scale. This is a highly-detailed set of resin kits, complete with decals. The kits include the Mitsubishi Ki-109, the Army Aero-technical Research Institute Ki-93 Rikugun, the Kawasaki Ki-102B Randy, and the Mitsubishi Ki-167.

Mitsubishi Ki-109: The Mitsubishi Ki-109 was a high-altitude bomber-destroyer – built in both day-fighter and night-fighter versions – and was a variant of the Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryū (Flying Dragon) – Allied code name Peggy. Four variants were designed. A radar-equipped night fighter hunter, and a gun-equipped night fighter killer which worked in pairs. A heavily-armed day fighter intended to kill B-29s with a single shot. And a production day heavy fighter with that heavy gun, and increased tail-gun protection.

All of these were intended to shoot down B-29s, though as it turned out, all were too heavy and too slow to even catch the big bombers. The day fighter prototype and the Heavy Fighter Interceptor (22 produced) were built around a single fixed-aim nose-mounted 75mm Type 88 Heavy Cannon, which could kill a B-29 with a single shot – if it could score a hit.

The night-fighter pair included the Ki-109a – the hunter in the hunter-killer pair, equipped with radar. It also included the Ki-109b, which was the night-fighter killer, armed with twin 37mm Ho-203 Cannon mounted in a German-developed slanted upward-firing “Schrage Musik” (literally, “Oblique Music” – the German translation for “Jazz”) in a fixed dorsal mount. This night fighter scheme was a project concept, and did not go to prototype.

Two of the day fighter prototypes were produced with 1,900 horsepower turbocharged engines, and 22 of the Heavy Fighter Interceptor versions – basically the day fighter but with a heavier tail gun position – were constructed. There are no records of it actually shooting down a B-29.

Army Aero-technical Research Institute Ki-93 Rikugun: Yet another too-little, too-late twin-engined heavy fighter designed to defeat the B-29 menace before it could pound Japan to flinders, the design was to be equipped with a large-caliber cannon for anti-shipping/anti-invasion as well as anti-bomber missions.

In 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army set up the Japanese Army Aero-technical Research Institute (or Rikugun Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo) to study advanced military aircraft. This team designed the Ki-93 around two Mitsubishi Ha-211 radial engines, and estimated that its top speed would be 422 mph. In 1942, the design was passed to the First Army Air Arsenal (Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho) at Tachikawa for further development, and it was from this Arsenal that the aircraft got its name. Up-engined with the Mitsubishi Ha-214 engines connected to advanced six-bladed propellers, heavy cannon armament was added.

The aircraft at first glance looked like a typical twin-engined Japanese heavy fighter, with a long, narrow fuselage and twin underslung radial engines. However, a ventral gondola that extended from ahead of the wing-root to mid-fuselage gave the design a decided Germanic, Bf 110-kind of look, especially from the front. The bomber destroyer variant would be armed with a 57mm auto-cannon and two 20mm cannon, while the anti-ship/anti-invasion version would have a 75mm cannon slung in the gondola, as was done in the Germans’ Henschel Hs-129, along with two 550-pound bombs.

Not surprisingly for first-time aircraft designers, the prototype was seriously overweight, while – as often happened – the new Japanese radial engines proved to deliver much less power than designed. Instead of a pair of 2,700 horsepower engines, the overweight fighter was powered by two 1,970 horsepower engines. The prototype flew on April 8 from Tachikawa, but it ground-looped on landing, ripping the landing gear apart and bending the rare six-bladed propeller. Repairs were completed in four weeks, but the night before it was to fly again, a B-29 raid destroyed it in its hangar. Designed for 422 mph, the design would have been able to reach 388 mph at altitude, barely enough to catch the B-29s.

Kawasaki Ki-102b (Type Otsu: The Kawasaki Ki-102, Allied code-name Randy, was long range heavy fighter adapted to serve as an assault plane and night fighter. It looked very much like the aircraft it was meant to replace, the Ki-45 Toryu, and with good reason. It had that sleek, trim-fuselage appearance, with twin low-slung radial engines – very Japanese, very deadly-looking. Three versions were planned – the Ki-102a day fighter, the Ki-102b ground-assault and the Ki-102c night fighter.

Unlike most second-generation twin-engined fighters, the Ki-102 entered service in 1944, but saw little action. The design reached a speed of 360 mph, powered by two Mitsubishi Ha-112-II Ru 14-cylinder radial engines, producing 1,500 horsepower each.

There were 207 of the ground attack version built, each equipped with a single 57mm Ho-401 cannon, along with two 20mm Ho-5 cannon in the belly, and a defensive 12.7mm Ho-103 machine gun firing from the rear cockpit. Though available in numbers before the Okinawa invasion, they were being held back to defend the Home Islands against the Allied invasion scheduled for late 1945. This Ki-102b ground attack model was to be equipped with the Igo-1-B air-to-ground radio-controlled guided bomb, an aerial torpedo-looking weapon propelled by a rocket engine, that Japan had developed as a last-ditch defensive weapon. More than 175 of these rocket bombs had been completed when the war ended.

Mitsubishi Ki-167: Yet another spin-off of the Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryū (Flying Dragon) – Allied code name Peggy – this “Sakura-Dan” was the “special attack” (Kamikaze) version of the Ki-67. Stripped down, the bomber had a 6,400 pound shaped-charge thermite bomb built in behind the crew cabin.

The shaped charge would propel the force of the blast forward in a deadly superheated plasma jet capable of reaching nearly a mile, with a maximum blast radius of 980 feet. It was designed to breach heavy fortifications or to destroy massed formations of armor. No ship made could survive such a charge, but it was not intended to fly breech the Big Blue Blanket of F6F Hellcats and F4U Corsairs protecting the American Fleet – it was built to destroy ground targets after America invaded Japan, or to massively disrupt that major US landing. In August of 1945, a mission had been planned to strike American advanced invasion facilities on Saipan Island, but the attack was aborted by Japan’s surrender.

Six of these monsters were built, but no record has been made of any of them actually seeing combat.

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