Category Archives: Fighterbomber


Mizuno ‘Jinryu’ (Divine Dragon), (Anigrand Models, Resin)

TYPE: Special attack glider


POWER PLANT: Three Toku-Ro I Type I solid-fuel rocket engines, rated at 100 kp thrust each


COMMENT: In November 1944, the Navy Aviation Bureau looked into the possibilities of an aircraft to undertake suicide missions. While the mission was not unique, the fact that the aircraft being investigated would be a glider was unique. The Bureau envisioned that gliders would be launched with rocket boosters from caves or shore positions and pilots would guide the aircraft and the 100 kg explosive payload inside into Allied ships or tanks should the Japanese home islands be invaded. The Bureau assigned the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal at Yokosuka the task of turning the glider into reality. The project was realized by a number of teams that would each be responsible for one part of the glider. The different sections were the wings, the fuselage, control surfaces, aerodynamic testing and test flights once the prototype was complete. The Navy Aviation Bureau gave instructions that the glider must be built from as much wood as possible.
This restriction was imposed for two reasons. The first was that in using wood and keeping the use of metal to an absolute minimum, the glider could be manufactured in any small shop using only wood working tools, and secondly, as a consequence, what metals were available would be conserved for other military uses. A number of concepts were discussed and sketched and after much deliberation among the design teams the prototype was complete by May 1945, and the Mizuno Corporation, a small glider manufacturer better known for sports equipment, had almost finished the glider.
The glider was very simple and used a high-wing monoplane form. The straight and flat wings were wide but had a short span and were designed to ensure that the glider was easy to handle given that inexperienced pilots would be at the controls. Also, the platform would be able to accommodate the rocket engines that were to be used to boost the glider into the air. The pilot sat in an open cockpit. The design was sent to the Navy Aviation Bureau for review with the result that several changes were necessary.
After these had been made the design was approved. Work began on the revised Jinryu (Divine Dragon), as the glider was now called, by the middle of June 1945. Construction of the Jinryu was again given to Mizuno Corporation. Working around the clock, the company completed two prototypes with such speed that wind tunnel testing of the design was still underway. In fact, the first flight of the Jinryu occurred in mid-July 1945 at the airfield in Ishioka, a city located about 90 km northeast of Tokyo. The Jinryu was towed into the air by a Tachikawa Ki-9. These tests showed that the glider was stable and possessed good handling characteristics. For the second flight the diving capability of the the Jinryu was tested and the glider reached a speed of 190 mph.
The Jinryu was modified by adding some strengthening in the enlarged tail and the the next phase of a powered flight  began. The glider was modified to accept a group of three Toku-Ro I Type I rocket engines that together would produce 300 kg of thrust during a 10-second burn. Testing of the rocket array showed two serious flaws. The first was the quality of the rockets that resulted in a number of failures. The second reason was the inconsistency of the burn times. Despite the changes made to the glider to improve the flight characteristics, it was a challenging aircraft to fly and as a result the Jinryu was found to be unsuited for suicide missions. In total only five Jinryu gliders were produced.
Nevertheless, it was suggested that instead of being used for suicide operations, the the design was modified to a much enlarged glider fighter aircraft. Provision was made that the glider should be modified to take six rocket engines each with a 30-second burn time. It was estimated that at maximum burn the new design could attain a speed of 470 mph, and for weapons it was envisioned that it could carry ten explosive charges adapted from artillery shells used by the Imperial Japanese Army Airforce (IJA) in their 100 mm guns. This new aircraft was designated Shinryu (Divine Dragon II) and could be used against tanks and ships but added that it could also be used to attack US Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers. All work was stopped with the end of WW II (Ref.: 24).

Kogiken Plan V Revised Light Bomber (Unicraft, Resin)

TYPE: Light bomber, fighter-bomber. Project


POWER PLANT: Two radial engines, rated at 1,450 hp each

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: This design of a light bomber dates back to autumn 1941. A blueprint became available after the end of WW II showing a detailed three-view of the project and some important physical dimensions. It might be possible that this design may have had influence on the development of the Kawasaki Ki-102 (Allied code ‘Randy’). Furthermore, the design shows some similarity to the Grumman XP-50, forerunner of the Grumman F7F “Tigercat” (Ref.: 24).

Nakajima Ki-43-II KAI ‘Hayabusa’, (‘Peregrine Falcon’, ‘Oscar’), 50th Sentai, 3rd Chutai, (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Interceptor fighter, fighter bomber


POWER PLANT: One Nakajima Ha.35/21 air-cooled radial engine, rated at 1.130 hp

PERFORMANCE: 320 mph at 19,680 ft

COMMENT:  Combat experiences with the Ki-43-I dictated a number of changes in the design of the aircraft that led to the development of the Nakajima Ki-43-II-KAI. It entered service in summer 1943 and served over every theatre to which the JAAF was committed. The Ki-43-II-KAI was capable to out-maneuvering every Allied fighter it encountered and its element was dog-fighting, but the Lockheed P-38 ‘Lightning’, the Republic P-47 ‘Thunderbolt’ and the north American P-51 ‘Mustang’ could all out-dive and out-zoom the Japanese fighter which could not withstand the greater firepower of the Allied types, frequently disintegrating in the air when hit. More than 5.000 Ki-43-II ‘Hayabusa’ were built by Nakajima and Tachikawa (Ref.: 13)

Nakajima Ki-43-II-Otsu ‘Hayabusa’ (‘Peregrine Falcon’, ‘Oscar’) of Headquaters Chutai, 77th Hiko Sentai (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Fighter, fighter bomber


POWER PLANT: One Nakajima Ha.115 radial engine, rated at 1,130 hp

PERFORMANCE: 320 mph at 19,680 ft

COMMENT: The Nakajima Ki-43 ‘Hayabusa’was a single-engine land-based tactical fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in WW II. It was light and easy to fly and became legendary for its combat performance in East Asia in the early years of the war. It could outmaneuver any opponent, but did not have armor or self-sealing tanks, and its armament was poor until its final version, which was produced as late as 1945. Allied pilots often reported that the nimble Ki-43s were difficult targets but burned easily or broke apart with few hits. In spite of its drawbacks, the Ki-43 shot down more Allied aircraft than any other Japanese fighter and almost all the JAAF’s aces achieved most of their kills in it. Prototypes for the Nakajima Ki-43-II flew in February 1942. The Ha-25 engine was upgraded with the 2-stage supercharger, thus becoming the more powerful Nakajima Ha-115 engine, which was installed in a longer-chord cowling. The new engine turned a three-bladed propeller. The wing structure, which had suffered failures in the Ki-43-I, was strengthened and equipped with racks for drop tanks or bombs. The Ki-43-II was also fitted with 13 mm armor plate for the pilot’s head and back, and the aircraft’s fuel tanks were coated in rubber to form a crude self-sealing tank. Nakajima commenced production of the Ki-43-II at its Ota factory in November 1942. Production was also started at the Tachikawa Hikoki KK and the 1st Army Air Arsenal (Tachikawa Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho), also at Tachikawa. Although Tachikawa Hikoki successfully managed to enter into large-scale production of the Ki-43, the 1st Army Air Arsenal was less successful – hampered by a shortage of skilled workers, it was ordered to stop production after 49 Ki-43s were built. Nakajima eventually ceased production in mid-1944 in favor of the Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’, but the Tachikawa Hikoki continued to produce the Ki-43. Total production amounted to 5,919 aircraft. Many of these were used during the last months of the war for kamikaze missions against the American fleet (Ref.: 24).

Kawasaki Ki-102-Otsu (“Randy”), 45th Sentai, 3rd Chutai,(Pavla Models)

TYPE: Ground-attack aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radio-operator

POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ha 112-II air-cooled radial engines, rated at 1,500 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 360 mph at 19,685 ft

COMMENT:  While the first prototype of the Kawasaki Ki-96 twin-engine heavy fighter was nearing completion the Kawasaki design team suggested to the Imperial Japanese Army that a version of the aircraft be built as a replacement for the Kawasaki Ki-45 “Toryu” used in ground attack role. In August 1943 after approval to the project the construction of prototypes began under the designation Kawasaki Ki-102. In its original two-seat configuration additional armour and petrol tank protection was fitted as well as a nose-mounted 37 mm Ho-203 cannon. The first of three prototypes was flown in March 1944. For production two versions were proposed, the Ki-102-Ko as high-altitude interceptor with Ru-102 turbo-superchargers and the Ki-102-Otsu ground attack aircraft without turbo-superchargers, a nose-mounted 57 mm Ho-401 cannon and two fuselage-mounted 20 mm Ho-5 cannon. In October 1944 the aircraft was placed in production. Most of the aircraft were kept in reserve in Japan, but a few saw limited action during the Okinawa campaign were the Ki-102-Otsu became known as Randy to the Allied forces. In total 238 Ki-102 aircraft were built, most of them as Ki-102-Otsu. By the end of 1944, when the B-29 operations against Japan were intensified, a specialized night-fighter version was developed as Kawasaki Ki-102-Hei. Only two prototypes were finished when WW II ended (Ref.: 1, 5).

Kawasaki Ki-45-KAI-Otsu “Toryu”(“Dragon Killer”, “Nick”), 4th Sentai, 2nd Chutai, (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Twin-engined heavy fighter, ground attack aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radio-operator/gunner

POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ha-102 radial engines, rated at 1,050 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 335 mph at 19,685 ft

COMMENT: The Kawasaki Ki-45-Kai Toryu was probably the most manoeuvrable twin-engined fighter to be employed operationally by any combatants during WW II.  Although outclassed in the air-to-air combat arena by Allied single-seat fighters, the Toryu was never to be considered an “easy kill” and it was to prove capable of out-manoeuvring the Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” without difficulty. Furthermore, the Ki-45 was very effective in ground attacks. A special version, the Ki-45-KAI-Otsu, was equipped with 20-mm Ho-3 cannon, too low-firing in air combat, but, as the Imperial Army enjoyed air superiority over the areas in which the Toryu was operating, it was found to be particularly efficacious in attacks on US Navy PT boats and other smaller vessels and in ground-attack role. In late 1943 the 20-mm Ho-3 cannon was replaced by a hand loaded 37-mm Type 98 gun, making this variant even more successful for close-support duties (Ref.: 5).

Kawasaki Ki-45-KAI-Ko “Toryu”, (“Dragon Killer”, “Nick”), 5th Sentai, 1st Chutai, (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Twin-engined heavy fighter, ground attack aircraft and night fighter

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radio operator/gunner

POWER PLANT: Two Mitsubishi Ha-102radial engines, rated at 1080 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 373 mph at 9,186 ft

COMMENT: The primary task of the Kawasaki Ki-45 “Toryu” , it’s design dates back to the late 1930th , was long-range escort of bombers. But it took a long time until the first pre-series aircraft were completed and flight testing initiated. Soon it became clear that the model has to be revised. This new aircraft, Ki-45-KAI (Kaizo means modified) was in fact a totally new design and performed completely satisfactory during its initial flight tests. Orders for quantity production were placed and the first aircrafts reached units by August 1942. The increasing use by the USAAF of B-24 Liberators by night called for improvisation on the part of the Imperial Army as the service possessed no specialized night fighters. The Ki-45-KAI-Ko was a choice for the nocturnal role and a field modification resulted in installation of a pair of Ho-103 machine guns or Ho-5 cannon mounted obliquely to fire upward and forward at an angle of some 70 degrees. While lacking AI radar and being forced to rely on ground guidance to intercept intruders, with searchlight illuminating the quarry, the Toryu enjoyed some success as a night fighter (Ref.: 5).

Nakajima Ki-44-IIc-Otsu Shoki (Devil-Queller, Toyo), 87th Sentai, 2nd Chutai (Hasegawa)

TYPE: Interceptor fighter


POWER PLANT: One Nakajima Ha-109 radial engine, rated at 1,520 hp

PERFORMANCE: 367 mph at 17,060 ft

COMMENT: When China-based B-29s of the US XX Bomber Command, soon joined by Mariana-based Superfortresses of the XXI Bomber Command, began their bombing raids against Japan homeland, the Japanese Army had only one type of interceptor fighter on strength: The Nakjima Ki-44-IIb Shoki, (Devil-Queller) known as TOYO to Allied personel. The first prototype was completed and flown in August 1940 and production of the Ki-44-I started in in January 1942. As war progressed several variants were produced, so as Ki.44-II and Ki-44-III, all with several subtypes and more than nine Sentais and several Fighter Training Schools were equipped with the Ki-44. In late 1944, Shoki production terminated as the aircraft was replaced by the Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Ref.: 1).

Kawasaki Ki-119 (Unicraft, Resin)

TYPE: Suicide aircraft, Light bomber, Dive bomber and Escort fighter. Project.


POWER PLANT: One Mitsubishi Ha-104 radial engine, rated at 1,900 hp

PERFORMANCE: 360 mph at 19,685 ft

COMMENT: The Kawasaki Ki-119 was a design for a single-engine light bomber that would have been used in the defence of the Japanese homeland. Earlier Japanese bombers had been designed to operate over long distances, either in China or over the Pacific, but by the start of 1945 it was clear that the Japanese army might soon be fighting on home soil. This meant that a short range single-engine bomber would be possible, saving on the limited supply of both engines and trained air crew.
In March 1945 the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force issued Kawasaki with orders to produce a single seat bomber that could carry 1,764lb of bombs to targets 373 miles (600km) from its base, armed with two 20mm cannon and powered by one 1,900ph Army Type 4 18-cylinder radial. Unlike many new aircraft being developed in Japan in 1945 the Ki-119 was not designed to be used in suicide attacks.
Takeo Doi and his team produced a design and a mock-up in three months. The fuselage was based on that of the Kawasaki Ki-100 radial-engine fighter. The aircraft was made as easy to fly as possible – a wide track undercarriage with good shock absorbers was chose to make the aircraft easy to handle on the ground, and large wings with a high aspect-ratio were designed, to make it easy to handle in the air. The aircraft was designed to carry three different sets of armament. In its basic light bomber role it was to be armed with two 20mm cannon and one 1,764lb bomb. It could also serve as a fighter escort, with no bombers but two extra 20mm cannons, or as a dive bomber with two 551lb bombs.
The impressively rapid development of the Ki-119 came to a halt in June 1945 when the detailed drawings were destroyed when American air raids damaged Kawasaki’s factory at Kagamigahara. This pushed back the expected delivery date for the prototype from September until November, with production expected in time for the new aircraft to take part in the fighting of 1946. The unexpectedly sudden end to the war meant that the prototype was never completed (Ref. 1, 24).

Mansyu Ki-98 (A+V Models, Resin)

TYPE: Ground attack aircraft, fighter-bomber. Project


POWER PLANT: One Mitsubishi Ha-211 Ru radial engine, rated at 2,200 hp

PERFORMANCE: 454 mph at 32.810 ft

COMMENT: In 1943 Mansyu offered the Japan Army Air Force a project of a single-seat ground attack aircraft designated Ki-98. The design was of twin boom configuration and was powered by a 2,200 hp turbosupercharged Mitsubishi Ha 211 Ru radial engine mounted in the central nacelle behind the pilot’s seat and driving a four-blade pusher propeller. Nose-mounted armament consisted of one 37 mm and two 20 mm cannon. A prototype was still under construction when Japan surrendered in September 1945 (Ref: 1)