Author Topic: Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'), IJA; Burma, September 1945  (Read 4954 times)

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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Some background:
In the summer of 1941, Kogiken (a contraction of Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo) formed a design group under the leadership of Ando Sheigo. The task was to study Japanese aviation technology in terms of what was possible at present and in the near future. Additionally, some effort was to be spent on reviewing the aircraft technology of other countries. From the results the group was to assemble and draft proposals for aircraft to fill various pre-determined roles: heavy fighter, light bomber, heavy bomber and reconnaissance. For a bigger idea pool, IJA's main aircraft providers, Kawasaki and Tachikawa, were invited to join the group, too.

One central design demand was to incorporate a select group of engines, primarily radials but also the Ha-40 inline engine, a licence-built DB 601A of German origin. In September 1941 the design inspection ended completion, and among one of the five fighter designs (all from Kogiken), the so-called 'Plan I Type C' interceptor offered an exotic layout which was to maximize the potential of the Ha-40 engine, which had been successfully used in the IJA’s Ki-61 ‘Hien’ fighter.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

This compact single-seater featured a conventional layout, but the engine had been placed behind the cockpit, similar to the P-39. But in order to keep the nose free for a heavy cannon armament, which would in turn keep the wings free from heavy gun and ammunition loads, the Ha-40 drove a three-bladed pusher propeller in the tail through an extension shaft. The propeller was protected from ground contact through an additional fin under the fuselage. As another novel feature and consequence, the aircraft had a tricycle undercarriage, the nose wheel retracted backwards, the main landing gear inwards. The Ha-40’s radiator bath was split and situated on the aircraft's flanks, similar to the arrangement of the Ki-78 experimental high speed aircraft.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

The concept’s idea was to concentrate all heavy elements in the smallest possible airframe, close to its CG and longitudinal axis, so that agility and overall performance could be improved without need for new/more powerful engine developments.

The pilot enjoyed very good forward view, even though no solution for a safe exit in case of emergency was provided at first. The powerful armament consisted of a single 37mm Ho-204 cannon in the nose, flanked by a pair of 20mm Ho-5 cannons in the lower fuselage. As an alternative, a single 57mm Ho-401 cannon was even considered, as well as a set of four Ho-5 or three 30mm Ho-15 cannons - the spacious nose compartment allowed many options.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

The design was so convincing that a go-ahead was quickly given for three prototypes, the first of which flew in August 1943. While the tricycle undercarriage and the rather small angle of attack for starting and landing called for special flying techniques, the aircraft behaved well and kept its promise of high agility, esp. at medium heights.

The prototypes were soon troubled with ever serious problems caused by vibrations from the extension shaft. This could finally be mended through new bearings and the introduction of a reduction gear, which would now drive a five-bladed pusher propeller on serial aircraft – it might be that Japan received technical support from Germany, e .g. in the form of blueprints and test reports from the Göppingen Gö 9 research aircraft or its successor, the formidable Dornier Do 335 “Pfeil”.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

Anyway, the revised power shaft arrangement needed more internal space. As a consequence, the radiator installation was modified for the serial aircraft: It was re-located into a single bath under the fuselage, at the wing's trailing edge. While this was not aerodynamically as clean as the original flank solution, maintenance was much easier and furthermore this simpler installation saved enough weight to compensate for the reduction gear. Additionally, a primitive ejection seat (powered by pressurized air) was introduced and an emergency mechanism which would allow to blow away the upper or lower fin, or both.

After flight test had been completed in April 1944, Rikugun immediately started serial production at Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho, located in Tachikawa. The modified serial aircraft was given the official designation 'Ki-124-I' and was christened ‘shoufuu’ (しょうふう, ’Maple’). Production started slowly, at first due to the lack of Ha-40 engines. Initial production aircraft met front line service in September 1944, and these initially suffered heavy losses because of the type’s unfamiliar handling - not through enemy confrontation, though. Many landing accidents occurred, esp. in the hands of inexperienced pilots.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

On the other side, the Ki-124 offered considerable handling advantages in comparison with the Ki-61 Hien, and it was faster in level flight. As a side effect, the unique engine and propeller arrangement made the aircraft very silent - it was very popular for reconnaissance missions at low level, as well as for night missions. On the downside, the slender aircraft was only designed as a cannon-armed fighter – external loads like bombs or air-to-ground missiles, even drop tanks, were not part of the interceptor design.

Army units to be equipped with this model included the following Sentai: 5th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 59th, 111th, 112th, 200th and 244th and the 81st Independent Fighter Company. Along with the previously named Army air units, pilots were trained through the Akeno and Hitachi (Mito) Army Flying Schools. Many of the Akeno and Hitachi instructors, who were often seconded from operational units, flew combat missions, too. Tthis deployment was a notable spreading out of the very few fighters that were operational, but many of these wings were only partially re-equipped, anyway.

The Ki-124 made its combat debut on the night of 12th October 1944 and scored its first victory on 7th April 1945, when a Ki-124 flown by Master Sergeant Yasuo Hiema of the 18th Sentai claimed a B-29 after "attacking the formation again and again".


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

After the bombing of the Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho plant and the slow deliveries of components by the satellite plants, production rates of the Ki-124 began to dwindle more and more, and in the course of the following months, less and less units were delivered. Finally, production ended due to the bombing in mid- 1945, with only 118 units of the Ki-124-I delivered.

An overall assessment of the effectiveness of the Ki-124 rated it highly in agility, and a well-handled Ki-124 was able to outmanoeuvre any American fighter, including the formidable P-51D Mustangs and the P-47N Thunderbolts which were escorting the B-29 raids over Japan by that time. Furthermore, the Ki-124, which received the code name ‘Ike’ from the USAF, was comparable in speed, especially at medium altitudes. In the hands of an experienced pilot, the Ki-124 was a deadly opponent and, together with the Army's Ki-84, Ki-100 and the Navy's Kawanishi N1K-J, the only other Japanese fighters being able to defeat the latest Allied types.



1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


General characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 30 ft 2.5 in (9.22 m)
Wingspan: 32 ft 0 in (9.77 m)
Height: 12 ft 1 ¾ in (3.70 m)
Empty weight: 2.238 kg (4.934 lb)
Loaded weight: 2.950 kg (6.504 lb),

Powerplant:
1× Kawasaki Ha-40 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled supercharged 60° inverted Vee aircraft piston engine, rated at 1.175 PS (864 kW) at sea-level with 2,500 rpm


Performance:
Maximum speed: 620 km/h (385 mph) at 5.000 m (16.405 ft)
Service ceiling: 39,100 ft (11,900 m)
Range: 580 km (360 mi)
Rate of climb: 15.2 m/s (2,983 ft/min)
Time to altitude: 6.2 min to 5.000 m (16.405 ft)

Armament:
1× 37mm Ho-204 cannon with 30 RPG
2× 20mm Ho-5 with 100 RPG



The kit and its assembly
This fantasy aircraft is the outcome when you look at a crappy kit and ask, "What CAN you actually make from it...?". The kit in question is Amodel's Soviet Ticheranovov Ti-302 rocket interceptor in 1:72 - a “short run” (= appalling) quality kit. Nothing fits together, the material is questionable, best thing is that the injected canopy actually is actually clear and that the inside of the main landing gear covers HAVE a structure. But the rest...(*shudder*)?

Anyway, I got that kit for cheap some years ago and never had an idea what to do with it, until... I wondered if I could not turn the tail-sitter TI-302 into ‘something’ with a tricycle undercarriage? The lines are almost there, but propulsion was the next issue. A jet, maybe? And who would have made/used it?

Inspiration struck when I read about the innovative Kogiken planning group under Ando Sheigo, and with its compact size I was certain that it would become something Japanese. Since the jet age was during WWII not as far progressed as in Europe, I decided to make a propeller aircraft from it, keeping the jet-like cockpit, though. But instead of a pull arrangement (P-39 style) I wanted to try an exotic pusher layout.

The TI-302 airframe was basically kept, but had to be modified accordingly for the totally new propulsion concept. Biggest issue was the much longer tricycle landing gear - while the nose wheel and its well found a neat place under the cockpit, the main landing gear had to be moved back.
I found a simple solution: I just reversed the lower part of the wing, so that the original TI-302 landing gear well ended up at the wings’ trailing egde. The track had to be widened in order to accept the longer struts, though, but that was a simple task. The new front wheel was puzzled together from spare parts, the main landing gear struts come from a P-51.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

Fitting the propeller was not much of an issue - it took the place of the original TI-302 rocket engine, in a slightly shortened fuselage. The new propeller was built from scratch, it is a massive 1:100 750lb bomb, cut to size and with single propeller blades glued to it in 72° angles, and is mounted with a metal axis, so that it can turn freely. In order to protect the propeller from ground contact I also added a fin under the lower rear fuselage, which comes from a Matchbox Supermarine Spitfire.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr

The original cockpit is non-existent, so I added a pilot figure in order to conceal the bleak interior and the tons of lead in the nose. The cockpit is rather tiny, anyway, so that it was - together with the added floor for the front gear well - pretty difficult to get the pilot into it!

The radiator comes IIRC from a Hawker Hurricane, and some added parts on the flanks like exhaust stubs, carburetor intake or simple covers enhance the otherwise bleak surface of the kit.

All in all, nothing fancy and no structural modifications - just external cosmetics. But the result is convincing!


Painting
While the tones are authentic, the paint scheme is fantasy, and I wanted to keep things rather simple and subtle.
In an initial step, the whole model was painted in Aluminum with Revell Aqua Color, as a kind of primer. On top of that, a thin and uneven coat of enamels were applied with a brush: IJA Green on the top sides, and IJN Grey on the lower sides (Testors 2114 and 2115, respectively). In order to add some unusual style, the waterline was raised and received a very wavy shape.
After anything had dried thoroughly, I wet-sanded the upper coat, so that more of the Aluminum could shimmer through, for a worn/flaky look. The result is surprisingly good.

All interior surfaces were painted with Testors 2119, "Aodake Iro", the distinctive translucent corrosion protection varnish you find on/in many Japanese WWII aircraft.

Markings were puzzled together. Most of them come from a very old MicroScale sheet for various IJA types. The yellow ID bands on the wings' leading edges were cut from decal sheet - a convenient alternative to masking and painting by hand.

Finally, the kit received some painted panel lines, done with RLM 70 and FS 34096 (both Testors, too) on the upper sides and Sky "S" on the grey areas. Some soot stains were added to the exhausts and the guns, too, as well as some silver on the leading edges.


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Kogiken Plan I Type C/Rikugun Ki-124-I ‘Shoufuu’ (しょうふう; US code 'Ike'); aircraft "12" of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, IJA; Burma, September 1945 (Whif/A Model kit conversion) by dizzyfugu, on Flickr



A simple conversion, quick but effective, done in a couple of days as a ‘side dish’. Reminds a bit of the German He 162 jet fighter, but it breathes a whiffy, Japanese aura. And while the finish is not perfect and some details like the pretty cramped cockpit don’t look THAT good (after all, the original TI-302 does NOT have anything under the pilot's seat...), overall look and impression are better than expected.

Offline NARSES2

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That's fantastic. I love these pushers  :thumbsup:
Decals my @r$e!

Offline Father Ennis

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First rate !!!    :thumbsup:

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Thanks a lot!  :cheers:

Offline Dizzyfugu

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I revive this old thread because of successfully "attracting" people - took the crowd pretty long to realize that it's a whif (or not?)...  :party:

Read and enjoy :wacko::

http://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/177062-ki-124-shoufuu/

(LOL)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 07:36:33 am by Dizzyfugu »

Offline zenrat

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Well done Dizz.
Fred

Let's make Victoria great again.

Another ill conceived, poorly thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

https://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=IMELBOUR261

Offline NARSES2

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Decals my @r$e!

Offline martinbayer

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I love the argument by one poster: "Since it did have a code name... It definitely existed"

Sounds like one of those average voters that Churchill dreaded... ;D

Martin
Would be marching to the beat of his own drum, if he didn't detest marching to any drumbeat at all so much.

Offline Captain Canada

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fgt
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 04:49:11 am »
Wow is this ever a sleek and sexy bird ! looks just as good showing off her legs as she does in flight ! Nice. Love the prop, and the colours. Great photos as usual !

 :cheers:
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Offline Flyer

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Very nice :thumbsup: :bow:

 :cheers:
Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Thank you for the late applause!  :cheers: