Brief description: This picture gallery contains aircraft models of World War II on a scale 1:72 as injection moulded, resin- and vacu- formed kits as well as home-made conversions.
Here, you will find photos of aircraft models of World War II on a scale 1:72. e.g. those of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), the United States Navy (USN), the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Navy (RN) , the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF), the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force (IJNAF), the German Air Force (Luftwaffe, GAF) and the Air Force of the Soviet Union. Within these branches of the services you can select between fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers, trainers etc. Also you can select projects, designed on the drawing board as well as post-war developments, whose origin dated back into the time of WW II.
Important notice: Among the aircraft models shown here there are many aircraft from the former German Air Force (Deutsche Luftwaffe). They all show the swastika as a national symbol of that time. I would like to point out that this is not a political statement, but rather a source of historical information on the types of aircraft flown by the German Luftwaffe before and during the Second World War. It is to be taken as a reference for all aviation enthusiasts, and not taken as an expression of any sympathy for the Nazi regime or any Neo-Nazi or Right wing hate Groups.
I have built all these models just for fun and never, it has been my intention to show them anybody or to present them at a show. Over the years more then 1.500 models have emerged, and many more kits have not been completed yet, or are still waiting for the finish or the last little detail.
COMMENT: After the end of “WW II, when the Allied occupied Germany they found a huge amount of secret project documents. Among these were several unconventional designs from the Messerschmitt Company e. g. the so called “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet midget fighter “Libelle” (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and „Wespe II“ (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter“ Me P.1079/18 „Schwalbe“(Swallow), a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer – Projekt I” and „Zerstörer – Projekt II“ (Destroyer I and II).
As far as these latter are concerned these projects appear to consist of studies from the period 1941/42. But very unusual for Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets matched with the contures of any turbojets that were under development by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth, Junkers and Porsche nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correpond to the known turbojet variants in production or development at that time.
An other confusing fact is that the Zerstörer ProjektII had the air intakes in the wing rootes and the sole turbojet engine was located in the rear fuselage. But additionally there were two openings on both sides the fuselage and the wings leading edges. This could be interpreted that the Zerstörer project II was powered by two turbojet engines.
On the other hand the high T-tailplane leads to the assumption of a later design period 1944/45. Focke-Wulf employed the T-taiplane for the first time in 1945 in the design of the Tank Ta 183. Messerschmitt, Heinkel and other aircraft manufacturers followed hastingly, as too little was known of the related flying characteristics of this type of tail surface. After the war the Allied quickly recognized its advantage and adopted this design feature.
Finally, a further factor indicating that the Zerstörer-designes were of later vintage is that both designes had a nosewheel tricycle undercarriage – a design feature that was first introduced in the Messerschmitt Me 262. Also, the rearward reclining seat and flush canopy blending into the fuselage nose contures were not features of high-speed aircraft designes oft he 1941/42 period.
In conclusion and perhaps more likely is the fact that these designs are more after war fantasy than reality. So this comment is in contrast to the comment, given with the Messerschmitt Zerstörer-Projekt, Ausführung I, (Destroyer-project, Scheme I) on that website.
POWER PLANT: Two Allison V-1710-49/53 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,225 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 351 mph at 10,000 ft
COMMENT: The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was an American single-seat, piston-engined fighter aircraft that was used during World War II. Developed for the United States Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacell containing the cockpit and armament. Along with its use as a general fighter, the P-38 was utilized in various aerial combat roles including as a highly effective fighter-bomber, a night-fighter and as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks. The P-38 was also used as a bomber-pathfinder, guiding streams of medium and heavy bombers; or even other P-38s, equipped with bombs, to their targets. Used in the aerial reconnaissance role, the P-38 accounted for 90 percent of the aerial film captured over Europe.
Delivered and accepted Lightning production variants began with the P-38D model. The few “hand made” YP-38s initially contracted were used as trainers and test aircraft. There were no Bs or Cs delivered to the government as the USAAF allocated the ‘D’ suffix to all aircraft with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor. Many secondary but still initial teething tests were conducted using the earliest D variants.
The first combat-capable Lightning was the P-38E Lightning and its photo-recon variant the F-4, which featured improved instruments, electrical, and hydraulic systems. Part-way through production, the older Hamilton Standard Hydromatic hollow steel propellers were replaced by new Curiss Electric duraluminium propellers.
The first P-38E rolled out of the factory in October 1941and promptly filled the news wires of the world. Because of the versatility, redundant engines, and especially high speed and high altitude characteristics of the aircraft, as with later variants over a hundred P-38Es were completed in the factory.
After 210 P-38Es were built, they were followed, starting in February 1942, by the Lockheed P-38F, which incorporated racks inboard of the engines for fuel tanks or a total of 910 kg of bombs. Early variants did not enjoy a high reputation for maneuverability, though they could be agile at low altitudes if flown by a capable pilot, using the P-38’s forgiving stall characteristics to their best advantage. From the P-38F-15 model onwards, a “combat maneuver” setting was added to the P-38’s Fowler flaps which allowed the P-38 to out-turn many contemporary single-engined fighters at the cost of some added drag. However, early variants were hampered by high aileron control forces and a low initial rate of roll, and all such features required a pilot to gain experience with the aircraft, which in part was an additional reason Lockheed sent its representative to England, and later to the Pacific Theater.
In March 1942 the first deliveries of the photoreconnaissance version Lockheed F-4 were made. Otherwise similar to the P-38E from which it was converted, the F-4 had the nose armament supplanted by four K-17 cameras for reconnaissance duties. A drift sight and auto pilot were standart in the photographic Lightnings, which were painted in cerulean blue. More than 100 F-4 reconnaissance aircraft based on the P-38E and 20 F-4A based on the P-38F were built.
The aircraft shown here belonged to the 12th Photo Reconnaissance Group, 15th Air Force, Mediterranean Theater (Ref.: 24).
COMMENT: The end of WW II saw a great amount of secret project documents burned, captured or left to blow around empty hangars. Some companies documents were almost completely lost, others were scattered. After the war some of these seemingly reappeared but most likely many of these projects are imaginations. Some were relatively conventional, others were futuristic, but it is unknown whether these designs are from the period 1940/41 or from the time at the end of the WW II.
This is true for instance for Messerschmitt’s “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet midget fighter “Libelle” (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter Messerschmitt Schwalbe (Swallow), a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer I” and “Zerstörer II” (Destroyer).
Both Messerschmitt “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” had swept-back wings, were to be powered by a single turbojet-engine and had a tricycle landing-gear. From this point of view these projects could be dated to the end of the war.
In contrary, unusual for these Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets in each of the drawings matches with the contours of any turbojets that are under development or production by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth and Junkers, nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correspond to the known turbojets variants. Gas turbine development in Germany was concerned from the very beginning with the axial-flow type, save for the radial-flow turbojets developed by Dr. ing. von Ohain. This leads to the conclusion that at beginning of the war Messerschmitt possessed no documentation on turbojet development or installation plans hypothesizing that all these “Animal Name” projects could also be dated to the early 1940’s.
In conclusion, perhaps and more likely are these designs the product more of fantasy than reality. (Ref.: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode: Luftwaffe Secret Projects, Ground Attack & Special Purpose Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England)
POWER PLANT: Two Bristol Hercules XI radial engine, rated at 1,590 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 265 mph at 10,500 ft
COMMENT: The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.41 Albemarle was a British twin-engine transport aircraft that entered service during the WW II.
The Albemarle was originally designed as a medium bomber that was used for general and special transport duties, paratroop transport and glider towing, including Normandy and the assault on Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.
Air Ministry Specification B.9/38 required a twin-engine medium bomber of wood and metal construction, that could be built by manufacturers outside the aircraft industry and without using light alloys. The Air Ministry was concerned that if there was a war, the restricted supply of materials might affect construction of bombers.
Armstrong Whitworth, Bristol and de Havilland were approached for designs.
Bristol proposed two designs – a conventional 80 ft wingspan capable of 300 mph, and a tricycle design with 70 ft span with a maximum speed of 320 mph. Both designs, known as the Type 155, used two Bristol Hercules engines.
Armstrong Whitworth’s A.W.41 design used a tricycle undercarriage and was built up of sub-sections to ease manufacture by firms without aircraft construction experience. The A.W.41 was designed with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in mind but with Bristol Hercules as an alternative (“shadow”) engine.
In June 1938, mock-ups of both the A.W.41 and Bristol 155 were examined and new specifications B.17/38 and B.18/38 were drawn up for the respective designs. De Havilland did not submit a design. The specification stipulated 250 mph at 15,000 ft economical cruise while carrying 4,000 lb of bombs. Bristol was already busy with other aircraft production and development and stopped work on the 155.
Changes in policy made the Air Staff reconsider the Albemarle as principally a reconnaissance aircraft capable of carrying out bombing. Among other effects, this meant more fuel to give a 4,000 mi range. Two defensive positions were added; an upper dorsal turret, and a (retractable) ventral turret to enable downward firing.
In October 1938, 200 aircraft were ordered “off the drawing board” (i.e. without producing a prototype first). The aircraft was always expected to be of use as a contingency and to be less than ideal.
The Albemarle was a mid-wing, cantilever monoplane with twin fins and rudders.. The fuselage was built in three sections; the structure being unstressed plywood over a steel tube frame. The forward section used stainless steel tubing to reduce interference with magnetic compasses. It had a Lockheed hydraulically operated, retractable tricycle landing gear, with the main wheels retracting back into the engine nacelles and the nose wheel retracting backwards into the front fuselage.
The two pilots sat side-by-side with the radio operator behind the pilots and the navigator sat in the nose forward of the cockpit. The bomb aimer’s sighting panel was incorporated into the crew hatch in the underside of the nose. In the rear fuselage were glazed panels for a “fire controller” to coordinate the turrets against attackers. The dorsal turret was a Boulton-Paul design with four Browning machine guns. A fairing forward of the turret automatically retracted as the turret rotated to fire forwards. Fuel was in four tanks and additional tanks could be carried in the bomb bay.
A notable design feature of the Albemarle was its undercarriage, which included a retractable nose-wheel (in addition to a semi-concealed “bumper” tail-wheel). It was the first British-built aircraft with this configuration to enter service with the Royal Air Force.
The original bomber design required a crew of six including two gunners; one in a four-gun dorsal turret and one in a twin-gun ventral turret but only the first 32 aircraft, the Mk I Series I, were produced in this configuration, and they were only used operationally as bombers on two occasions. The Albemarle was considered inferior to other aircraft already in service, such as the Vickers Wellington. All subsequent aircraft were built as transports, called either “General Transport” (GT) or “Special Transport” (ST).
When used as a paratroop transport, ten fully armed troops could be carried. The paratroopers were provided with a dropping hatch in the rear fuselage and a large loading door in the fuselage side.
The production run of 600 Albemarles was assembled by A.W. Hawksley Ltd of Gloucester, a subsidiary of the Gloster Aircraft Company formed to build the Albemarle. Gloster was a part of the Hawker Siddeley group which included Armstrong Whitworth. Individual parts and sub-assemblies for the Albemarle were produced by about 1,000 subcontractors
The first Albemarle first flew on March 1940 at Hamble Aerodrome, where it was assembled by Air Service Training and was the first of two prototypes built by Armstrong Whitworth. To improve take-off, a wider span 77 ft wing was fitted after the eighth aircraft. Plans for using it as a bomber were dropped due to delays in reaching service, it was not an improvement over current medium bombers (such as the Vickers Wellington) and it had obvious shortcomings compared to the four-engine heavy bombers about to enter service but it was considered suitable for general reconnaissance.
From mid-1943, RAF Albemarle’s took part in many British airborne operations, such as invasion of Sicily (1943), D-Day (1944), Operation Tonga (1944), Operation Mallard (1944) and Operation Market Garden (1944).The gliders that were to towed included Airspeed Horsa’s, General Aircraft Hamilcar’s, and Waco Hadrian’s.
Of the 602 Albemarles delivered, 17 were lost on operations and 81 lost in accidents (Ref. 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Ju 222 liquid-cooled radial engines, rated at 2,500 hp each, resp. two Daimler-Benz DB 603 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,900 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 435 mph
COMMENT: The Heinkel He 219 „Uhu“ (Eagle-Owl) was a night-fighter that served with the German Luftwaffe in the later stages of World War II. A relatively sophisticated design, the He 219 possessed a variety of innovations, including Lichtenstein SN-2 advanced VHF-band intercept radar, also used on the Junkers Ju 88G and the Messerschmitt Bf 110G night fighters. It was also the first operational military aircraft to be equipped with ejection seats and the first operational German World War II-era aircraft with tricycle landing gear. Had the „Uhu“ been available in quantity, it might have had a significant effect on the strategic night bombing offensive of the Royal Air Force; however, only 294 of all models were built by the end of the war and these saw only limited service
By the end of 1944, the Luftwaffe had accepted 214 Heinkel He 219As, but during the previous November, the promulgation oft he „Jäger-Notprogramm“ (Fighter Emergency Programme) had sounded death knell for all twin piston-engined fighters with the sole exception of the Dornier Do 335 Pfeil. Ernst Heinkel tacitly ignoring the RLM edict and finalized an assembly line for the fighter at Oranienburg.
Prior to the creation of the „Jäger-Notprogramm“ several variants of the basic He 219 had reached advanced development and even initial production stages.The follow-on series to the He 219As in service was to be the He 219B fitted with the new, but troublesome 2,500 hp Junkers Jumo 222A/B 24 cylinder engines – a multibank, liquid-cooled inline engine, with six rows of cylinder blocks having four cylinders each—which would have allowed the He 219 to reach 440 mph, each of which were almost the same displacement in their A/B (supercharged) and E/F (supercharged with intercoolers) versions and each only very slightly heavier, compared to the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engines in the American Northrop P-61 „Black Widow“ night fighter. The He 219B wing was also to have had an increased span of 22.06 m for better high altitude performance. The Jumo 222 did not reach production status, with just under 300 examples built in at least three differing displacement sizes. Only a few test machines were ever fitted for the engines; some additional airframes were built with the enlarged wing. These examples were slated to fly with high-altitude versions of the standard DB 603 powerplants in place of the troubled Jumo 222 multibank powerplants, but only one or two test machines ever flew with them.
It was proposed to install the Junkers Jumo 222 in a high-altitude three-seat model, the Heinkel He 219B-1, but the non-availability of the Junkers engine necessitated the installation of the Daimler-Benz DB 603Aa in a sole exemple of this variant compleeted and tested. This He 291B-1 had an aerodynamically refined cockpit canopy, a lengthened fuselage, ans an extended wing spanning. Flight testing was cut short when, during the second landing, the starboard undercarriage leg collapsed and the aircraft suffered such intensive damage that it had to be scrapped.
The second B-series, the Heinkel He 219B-2, was intended specifically for anti-Mosquito operations, and was similar in concept of the He 219A-6 in being stripped of virtually all armour. Employing an He 219A-5 two-seat fuselage married to a long-span B-series wings it was powered by Daimler-Benz DB 603 engines with TK 13 turbo-superchargers, but only few additionaly aircraft of this type were hurriedly completed. These were placed in operationall service with a forward-firing armament ot two 20-mm MG 151 cannon in the wing roots, and two 30-mm MK 108 cannon in a „Schräge Musik“ installation.
The Heinkel He 219B-3 was similar to its predesessor apart from the reinstatement of ventral tray armament comprising two 30-mm MK 108 and two 20-mm MG 151 cannon, and this, too, was to have been powered by two Daimler-Benz DB 603L engines, but while still under construction, Heinke received a directive from the Technischen Amt to await delivery oft he Junkers Jumo 222 engines for installation in this aircraft. In the event, the Junkers power plants never arrived and, in conequence, the He 218B-3 never left the ground (Ref.: 8).
POWER PLANT: Two Hitachi Ha-13a Army Type 98 radial engines, rated at 510 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 234 mph at 6,560 ft
COMMENT: In late 1939, at a request of Koku Hombu, Tachikawa began designing a twin-engined multi-purpose trainer. The aircraft was required to duplicate closely the handling characteristics and performance of the series of modern twin-engined bombers the Army had operated since 1937. It was to be used for the simultaneous training of a complete bomber’s crew including pilot, bombardier, navigator, gunner and radio-operator. To achieve the necessary performance Tachikawa selected a low-wing design with retractable undercarriage and adopted a pair of Hitachi Ha-13a radials with Hamilton-type two blade variable-pitch propellers to power the aircraft.
Designated Tachikawa Ki-54, the first prototype was completed and flown during summer of 1940. Following minor modifications which partially corrected a nose-heavy tendency during landings, the aircraft was placed in production in 1941 as Army Type 1 Advanced Trainer Model A (Ki -54a). Like the prototype, the aircraft of this first production series were primarily designed for pilot training. However, the Ki-54a was soon supplanted by the Ki-54b (Army Type 1 Operations Trainer Model B) which had full provision for bomber crew training and had four gunnery stations each mounting a flexible 7.7 mm Type 89 machine-gun. Operated by all military multi-engined training schools and communications schools as well by civil training schools under Japanese Army contracts, the Ki-54b was built was in greater numbers than any other variants of the Ki-54.
As a crew trainer and light transport, the Ki-54was one of the most successful Japanese aircraft of the war and was well known to the Allies which named it “Hickory” regardless of the version. The code name “Joyce” was erroneously assigned to a non-existent light bomber version (Ref.: 1).
POWER PLANT: One Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, rated at 1.300 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: The Messerschmitt Me P.1106 was a proposed German fighter aircraft project near the end of WW II. It was intended as an improvement to the Messerschmitt Me P. 1101.
On December 15, 1944 Messerschmitt design team decided to submit another design alongside the Me P.1101 – the Messerschmitt Me P. 1106. This was an advanced update on the final version of the Me P.1092/5 which had been drafted in July 1943 but also bore some similarities to the Me P.1101.
The Messerschmitt Me P. 1106 was redesigned several times. It had a nose air intake and fuselage mounted turbojet-engine. The wings of each design were swept back at 40 degrees. The planned powerplant was a Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engine, and armament was to be two 30 mm MK 108 cannons
The first version (Me P. 1106/I) had a short fuselage and a T-tail with the cockpit faired into the vertical stabilizer, similar to the Lippisch Li P.13a.
The redesigned version shown here (Me P. 1106/II), had a very short fuselage, too, the vertical stabilizer was changed to a tail plane of butterfly style and the cockpit was housed far aft. This odd shape apparently gave the best aerodynamic performance Messerschmitt and his team had yet achieved but the disadvantage was a poor visibility for the pilot.
A third and final design (Me P. 1106/III) had a longer and slim fuselage with a V-tail plane and the cockpit moved slightly forward.
All projects of the Messerschmitt Me P. 1106 were abandoned since the performance of the Me P.1101 had not been improved on (Ref.: 17, 22, 24).
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two (Pilot and navigator/flight test observer
POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow turbojets, rated at 2.240 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 500 mph at sea level
COMMENT: The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 was a British flying wing aircraft design of the late 1940s for research into a proposed flying wing bomber and/or jet liner. Three aircraft, the A.W.52G glider and two turbojet-powered research aircraft, were built for the programme. The airliner was cancelled but research flying continued until 1954.
Armstrong-Witworth Aircraft proposed a turbojet-powered six or four-engine flying wing bomber/airliner design, using a laminar flow wing, during the Second World War. This had to be a large aircraft in order to provide bomb bay resp. passenger head-room within the wing. The low-speed characteristics of the design were tested on a 16.41 m span wooden glider known as the A.W. 52G; the glider was designed to be roughly half the size of the powered A.W.52, which in turn would be about half the size of the airliner. Construction of the AW.52G began in March 1943, with the glider making its maiden flight, towed by an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley bomber, on 2 March 1945. Flight testing, with tug releases from 20,000 ft giving flights of around 30 min continued, mostly satisfactorily until 1947. In 1944, Armstrong Whitworth received a contract that would allow them to produce two A.W.52 prototypes for evaluation, nominally asmail carrying aircraft.
The A.W.52 was intended for high speeds and was an all-metal turbojet-powered aircraft, with a retractable undercarriage; aerodynamically it had much in common with the glider. Both aircraft were moderately-swept flying wings with a centre section having a straight trailing edge. The wing tips carried small (not full chord) end-plate fin and rudders, which operated differentially, with a greater angle on the outer one. Roll and pitch were controlled with evelons that extended inward from the wing tips over most (in the case of the A.W.52 about three-quarters) of the outer, swept part of the trailing edge. The elevons moved together as elevators and differentially as ailerons. They were quite complicated surfaces – which included trim tabs – and hinged not from the wing but from “correctors”, which were wing-mounted; the correctors provided pitch trim. To delay tip stall, air was sucked out of a slot just in front of the elevons, by pumps powered by undercarriage-mounted fans on the glider and directly from the engine in the A.W.52. The inner centre section wing carried Fowler flaps and the upper surface of the outer section carried spoilers.
Maintenance of laminar flow over the wings was vital to the design and so they were built with great attention to surface flatness. Rather than the usual approach, where skinning is added to a structure defined by ribs, the A.W.52’s wings were built in two halves (upper and lower) from the outside in, starting from pre-formed surfaces, adding stringers and ribs then joining the two halves together. The result was a surface smooth to better than 2/1000 of an inch.
The crew sat in tandem in a nacelle so that the pilot was just forward of the wing leading edge, providing a better view than in the glider. The pressurised cockpit was slightly off-set to port. The engines were mounted in the wing centre section, close to the centre line and so not disturbing the upper wing surface.
The first prototype flew on 13 November 1947 powered by two Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engines of 2.240 kp thrust each. This was followed by the second prototype on 1 September 1948 with the lower-powered Rolls-Royce Dervent engines, rated at 1.580 kp each. Trials were disappointing: laminar flow could not be maintained, so maximum speeds, though respectable, were less than expected. As in any tail-less aircraft, take-off and landing runs were longer than for a conventional aircraft (at similar wing loadings) because at high angles of attack, downward elevon forces were much greater than those of elevators with their large moment.
The first prototype crashed without loss of life on 30 May 1949, making it the first occasion of an emergency ejection by a British pilot. Despite the termination of development, the second prototype remained flying with the Royal Aircraft Establishment until 1954 (Ref.: 27).
POWER PLANT: Two BMW 003 turbojet engines, rated at 850 kp each
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: The Blohm & Voss P 202 was an unusual design study for a variable-geometry turbojet fighter during World War II. It was the first design to incorporate a slewed wing (also known as an oblique or scissor wing) in which one side swept forward and the other back.
During WW II in Germany intensive work has been done in concern of influence back-swept wings on high-speed aircraft. Calculations as well as wind-tunnel tests showed that swept wings could minimize the effects of compressibility as the speed of sound was approached. But sweeping the wings causes problems of its own, especially at the low speeds used for takeoff and landing. A variable-sweep mechanism was one possible solution but it would be complex, heavy and expensive. It also has problems with movement of the centre of lift. Both backwards and forwards sweep were investigated and they proved to have opposite disadvantages. Sweeping one wing forwards and the other back would balance out the aerodynamic problems and a one-piece slewed wing approach would not need such a complex sweep mechanism.
In 1944, with their project Bv P.202 the design team of Blohm & Voss tried to compensate the disadvantage of swept-back wings a low speed by turning a single full-span wing in its yaw axis so that one side sweeps back and the other side sweeps forward. The shoulder mounted wing was shaped as a disc in the mid-wing section. During take-off and landing as well as at lower speed the wing was in rectangular position with all buoyancy forces such as airbrakes and spoilers still effective. At high speeds the whole wing was slewed at 35° that the left wing showed forward and the right wing backward. The wing span was 39.4 ft when unswept and 32.8 ft when fully swept. Because the fuselage was filled with wing-rotation machinery, the landing gear extended down from the wing main spar, and was very long, while the nose gear retracted backwards into the fuselage. The Blohm & Voss Bv P.202 was powered by a pair of BMW 003 turbojets, slung underneath the fuselage center section and exhausting behind the wing. Provision for three forward-firing cannon was made in the nose. Due to the war situation in Germany the project never left the drawing board (Ref.: 18, 24).
POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ha-112-II Army Type 4 radial engines, rated at 1,500 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 404 mph at 19,095 ft
COMMENT: The Mitsubishi Ki-46 was a twin-engine reconnaissance aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army in WW II. Its Army designation was Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft; the Allied nickname was DINAH.
At the beginning of the conflict the newest versionf of the Ki-46-II were able to performe their missions with almost complete freedom from interception as, without the benefit of ground control radar to guide them, the Allied squadron‘ obsolescent fighters failed to reach the elusive Nipponese aircraft in time.
When the USAAF deployed Lockheed P-38F Lightnings to the Pacific and the RAAF received some Spitfire Supermarinere Mk.V for the defence of Darwin, the losses suffered by Ki-46-II units began to mount. Fortunately for the Japanese, the Koku Hombu had anticipated this situation and in May 1942 had instructed Mitsubishi to install their new 1,500 hp Ha-112-II engine in an improved version of the aircraft, the Ki-46-III, to increase maximum speed to 404 mph and endurance by one hour. To meet the requirement for increased flight duration, despite the higher fuel consumption of the new engines, it was necessary to redesign the fuel system and add a fuselage fuel tank in front of the pilot with a resultant increase in total capacity from 1,675 litres to 1,895 litres. Provision was also made for a ventral drop tank containing an additional 460 litres. The engine nacelles were also slightly enlarged to accommodate the Ha-112, a development oft he earlier Ha-101 engine fitted with a direct fuel injection system. The landing gear was strengthened to cope with the increased weight and no provision was made for a single flexible machine gun which, though installed on earlier models at the factory, had often been dispensed with in the field. However, the most significant change in external appearance was the redesign oft he foreward fuselage to provide a new canopy over the pilot’s seat without the step between the nose and the top of the fuselage which had characterized the earlier versions of the aircraft.
Completed in December 1942, two Ki-46-III prototypes underwent accelerated flight trials leading to a production order under the designation Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 3. Both, the Ki-46-II, which remained in production until late in 1944, and the Ki-46-III were built at the Nagoya plant. However, when in December 1944 this plant was severely damaged by an earthquake and suffered further from the pounding inflicted by Boeing B-29 Superfortress’s oft he US 20th Air Force, production was transferred to a new plant at Toyama where only about one hundred machines were built. Late production Ki-46-IIIs coming off the Nagoya and Toyama lines were fitted with individual exhaust stacks providing some thrust augmentation and had sightly better speed and range.
Priority in delivery oft he Ki-46-IIIs was given to units operating in areas where Allied forces had achieved air superiority, but often they operated alongside the older Ki-46-IIs which they never completely supplanted. Once maintenance problems with the fuel injection system of the Ha-112-IIs engines had been solved, the Ki-46-IIIs, benefiting from markedly improved performance between 26,250 ft to 32,810 ft, proved to be a thorn in the Allies‘ side and only the faster climbing fighters under radar controll could successfully intercept the fast Nipponese machines which kept constant watch over the well defended bases as the B-29 airfields in the Marianas. However, as the war drew to its end, the Mitsubishi DINAH was no longer free from interception and losses rose alarmingly.
In total 609 Ki-46-III production aircraft, including fighter conversions were delivered between 1942 and 1945.
The aircraft shown here belongs to the Army Special Attack Unit “Sakura”, Kanoya Base, Kagoshima (Ref.: 1).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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