Author Topic: Showa Ki-61-II KAIa  (Read 2088 times)

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Offline comrade harps

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Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
« on: September 15, 2013, 02:18:44 am »
Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
Personal mount of Captain Naoyuki Ito
White 147, 35 Sentai, Japanese Imperial Defence Force
Tsuiki Air Field, 6 September, 1945



During WW2, American propaganda made much of alleged Japanese copying of American and German military designs. It is thus ironic that when first sighted (during the Doolittle Tokyo raid of 18 April 1942) that the Ki-61 was misidentified as being of German origins; indeed, as an IJA version of the licence-built He-100, the Hitachi J3H. The J3H was code named Hermann, and so was this new plane for a while. When it became apparent that it was different, speculation that the Ki-61 was based an Italian design saw it take the Italian sounding code name Tony. This name stuck, partly in an attempt to hide the aircraft's true heritage.

The American origins of the Ki-61 became apparent once it was seen in combat. The wing planform and side profile were clearly inspired the American P-34 and P-35, built respectively by Boeing and Seversky. 20 Seversky 2PA-B3s (with a similar layout to the P-35) had been delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1938, which although approved by the US Government, caused a souring of relationships between Seversky and the USAAC. Two (of 7 built) civilian versions of Boeing's P-35 also ended up in Japan during the course of 1937-38. The similarities between the two was of no minor coincidence, as the most distinctive features of both designs came from the drafting board of Michael Gregor, who switched jobs from Seversky to Boeing in 1933. The Japanese agent for both companies was Showa, which until 1919 was chiefly involved in aviation trading and maintenance contracts. Incidentally, it was Showa that also built a version of the Douglas DC-3 for the Imperial Japanese Navy.




Taking advantage of the growing military aviation market and the opportunity to provide a new generation of fighter with the Ha-40 inline engine (based on the DB601 and also used by the J3H), Showa cut corners and proposed a fighter mating the Ha-40 with an airframe based on the P-34 and P-35. The type proved successful and in 1944 the Ki-61-II Kai entered service with numerous modifications and the longer Ha-140 powerplant (based on the DD605). This version, the Ki-61-II KAIa, was armed with 3 20mm HO-5 cannon (1 in each wing and a 3rd firing through the propeller hub) and a pair of 12.7mm Type 1 machine guns mounted above the engine.



Captain Naoyuki Ito graduated as an IJA pilot in 1942 and flew transports until mid-1944, when he was assigned to a flying school as an instructor. Here, his prowess at aerobatics and gunnery that had been lacking earlier in his career became apparent. Instead of being assigned next to a night fighter unit as he expected, Ito was sent to the 35th Sentai, which was equipped with the Ki-65s at Tsuiki Air Field on Kyushu. He arrived at the unit in December, 1944, achieving his first air-to-air kill (a TBF Avenger) during the US Navy's February, 1945, campaign against the Japanese Home islands. By 7 August, 1945, his tally had risen to 6, with the addition of an USN Helldiver, a P-51D Mustang and a B-25J (both USAAF) and 2 Hellcats (1 USN, 1 RN), and on this day he claimed his first four-engined kill, a USAAF B-24 that was bombing Tsuiki. On 5 September, he shot down another B-24, resulting in a series of propaganda photos being taken the next day. He was posed with his current mount, which was specially painted with kill markings under the cockpit for the occasion (as depicted here).



Captain Ito continued flying (fuel permitting) and in October shot down a RAF Tempest II and a Mexican Air Force P-47D in November. On 5 December, 1945, he was shot down by Lt. Douglas Glasser in a USAAF P-51H. He survived, but was badly burnt and spent the rest of the war convalescing.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 05:35:02 pm by comrade harps »
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Offline Ed S

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Re: Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2013, 07:28:35 am »
Nice looking model. I'd be interested in some info on how you kit bashed this one.

Ed
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2013, 08:04:40 am »
Really nice build.  :thumbsup:
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Offline comrade harps

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Re: Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2013, 07:17:33 pm »
Quote
I'd be interested in some info on how you kit bashed this one.

Not a kit bash, but an RS Regianne Re.2005 OOB in 1:72nd scale with a Japanese skin. The props are from the kit, but are actually for the Re.2006, that's the only variance to a Re.2005 in terms of plastic.

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 06:19:41 am »
That's a lovely one! Never expected the Reggiane 2005 to look THAT Japanese!  :thumbsup:

Offline Captain Canada

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Re: Showa Ki-61-II KAIa
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 06:21:30 am »
That's a lovely one! Never expected the Reggiane 2005 to look THAT Japanese!  :thumbsup:

LOL that's what I was just thinking !

 :thumbsup:
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