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  LS ---- Mitsubishi Ki-46 III KAI -"Dinah" Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft 1/72

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Kyushu J7W


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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : East Coast USA

PostSubject: LS ---- Mitsubishi Ki-46 III KAI -"Dinah" Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft 1/72    Sun Feb 19 2017, 20:59

The  Ki-46

A twin-engine reconnaissance aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. Its Army Shiki designation was Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft (一〇〇式司令部偵察機); the Allied nickname was "Dinah".   Prior to 7th December, 1941, the Ki-46 aircraft made long-range sorties over China, the Philippines, Thailand, Burma, India, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. The Independent Squadrons followed the lightning advances by Japanese forces, some Ki-46 aircraft (now given the code-name ‘Dinah’ by the Allies) were based on the island of Timor, from where they made sorties as far south as Northern Australia! There were some difficulties on these flights, however, as the ‘Dinah’s’ oxygen system was found to be hardly able to cope with the long missions, also, the undercarriage suffered a number of failures on landing.

The ‘Dinah’ had such a great operational record that the Luftwaffe made a request through the Japanese/German Technical Exchange Program for the rights to manufacture the type under license. For whatever reason, this deal did not go through.

This is a salvaged 1/72 Ki-46 III KAI from my 1970's building days.  Unlike disco, it's back.  Allied Code name Dinah.  Same story as the others.   Props broken, a stabilizer, both landing gear which always seem to get the  worst of it, nose cannon, main cannon,  one engine nacelle,  crew missing but found in the bottom of the box of wrecks.  The canopies were  not painted, perhaps after the Caproni and others I got tired  or scared off with this extra small size.  Oddly I put more effort into the pilots and actually had painted those tiny goggles. I guess my eyes were better in the 70's.  I will use this one as a flying model, so I closed the gear doors, have repaired the major items including props and some other other broken bits.   Still some to do and paint the canopies.   Repainted it IJN green which is darker and looks almost black after seeing that artwork below.

I traced this kit to an LS make that was available in my area hobby shops back then. LS 1/72 Mitsubushi Ki-46 Dinah Type 100-3 Fighter A-303.   The tail insignia matches up to a decal sheet and the original plastic in the kit found on line matches. There are no other 1/72 kits with the "scharge musik" cannon and similar markings.    The large white identification markings are for civil defense fighters and had to be painted on while the yellow wing markings were decals.   There were no decals for the white panels.

 I had planned to use  this for the Okinawa 1945 diorama assuming it was pressed into service for recon.  But the board was all ready getting too busy.   Smile  Supposedly Hasegawa took some of these molds over. The kit was a 1970's  original release re-boxed in the 70's at some point to reflect the cannon variant.  Data via scalemates


Dinah's were extremely fast recon aircraft for the IJAAF but they were often seconded to the IJNAF as well.   They were often sent out to scout ahead to locate the US fleets and sometimes observe the results of attacks.  The Ki-46 was regarded by the British RAF in Burma as a difficult aircraft to counter, only occasionally intercepting them successfully. On September 25, 1944, Flying Officer Wittridge shot down a Ki-46, using a personally modified Spitfire Mk. 8. Wittridge had removed two machine guns and the seat armor, and also polished the wing leading edges to gain extra speed. The leading American fighter pilot Richard Bong, flying a P-38 Lightning, managed to shoot down a Ki-46 over the coast of Papua New Guinea in late 1942.

   Defense interceptor/night fighter version of the Ki-46. Equipped with two 20 mm cannon in the nose and one 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon in the "Schräge Musik"-style upwards-aimed dorsal frontal position.  The traditional’ stepped windshield was replaced  in the III with a smooth, curved, glazed panel extended over the pilot’s seat giving an aerodynamic nose. Engine power increased to 1,500 hp (Ha-112-II), an extra fuel tank was added in the nose.

In 1944-45, during the last days of the war, the Ki-46III KAI  was modified as a high-altitude interceptor, with two 20 mm cannon in the nose and one 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon in an "upwards-and-forwards" position -  similar to  the Luftwaffe 's Schräge Musik night fighter cannon emplacements for fighting AAF B-29 Superfortresses over the Japanese islands.  However the KI-46  lacked stability for sustained shooting of the 37 mm (1.46 in) weapon, had only a thin layer of armor plating, lacked self-sealing fuel tanks, and was too slow to climb.  Once US long range fighters came into play it was a sitting duck during the day with the added weight. When  General Lemay took the B-29 night raids to low level that made interception more difficult.    The conversion was not a real success but a few kills were recorded with it.    

The role of the unit, based at Chofu and under the command of Capt Takahiko Yasuda, was long range air defence reconnaissance for the Kanto sector, conducting continuous sector patrols of the approaches air space, reporting incursions in co-operation with coastal radar units and then tracking enemy formations to provide a running commentary on their type, number, altitude and heading to facilitate  interception by fighter units. Each sector patrol was usually flown by a flight of three aircraft, one of which would be assigned to track any observed incursion by an enemy bomber formation whilst the others continued to patrol. Although an organic part of 1st Air Army the 17th Air Brigade was under the operational control of Eastern Army Command for air defense purposes.  

With re-assignment as a brigade HQ squadron the marking of the unit changed to a stylized ’17’ in red laid over a horizontal bar in cobalt blue symbolizing the coastline and the headquarters status of the unit (cobalt or sky blue was the arm of service color for Army Air and was usually used to denote command status).  Stars and diagonal stripes continued to be used to indicate aircraft within Flights but this system was later simplified to display one to three colored horizontal stripes painted on the rudder.

Focus Model: Mitsubishi Ki-46-III-KAI (Dinah)
Country of Origin: Imperial Japan
Manufacturer: Mitsubishi - Japan
Initial Year of Service: 1941
Production Total: 1,742

Crew: 2

Length: 37.66 ft (11.48 m)
Width: 48.23 ft (14.70 m)
Height: 12.73ft (3.88 m)
Weight (Empty): 8,446 lb (3,831 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 13,730 lb (6,228 kg)

Powerplant: 2 x Mitsubishi Ha-112II piston engines developing 1,500 horsepower.

Maximum Speed: 391 mph (630 kmh; 340 kts)
Maximum Range: 1,243 miles (2,000 km)
Service Ceiling: 34,449 ft (10,500 m; 6.5 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,970 feet-per-minute (600 m/min)
Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
1 x .303 caliber Type 89 machine gun in rear cockpit.

2 x 20mm cannons in nose
1 x 37mm oblique-angled cannon in upper central fuselage.

Mitsubishi factories made a total of 1,742 examples of all versions (34 units Ki-46-I, 1093 units Ki-46-II, 613 units Ki-46-III, KAI ,  B & C models and 4 units Ki-46-IV)during 1941-44

The only known survivor is a Ki-46-III Army Type 100 example, currently on display at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford. It was captured in Malaya and became part of the RAF St Athan collection of historic aircraft, before passing to the RAF Museum at RAF Cosford where it is currently on public display.

My model represents the JAAF 17TH independent CHUTAI based at Chofu field with the 10th fighter division assigned to protect the imperial capital.  Reference B-29 Hunters of the JAAF.   I'm still researching the Sentai but the white fuselage and wing bands were used by metropolitan defense units sent against the B-29.  


The basic Japanese air combat unit was the sentai, equivalent to a AAF group, though with only half the aircraft. With an effective strength of between 30 and 40 aircraft, the sentai was commanded by a major or lieutenant colonel who was himself a flying officer. The sentai in turn was divided into three chutai, or squadrons, usually commanded by a captain. Occasionally a chutai might be detached for service in an isolated area, or an "independent chutai" would operate on a continuing basis outside the usual command structure. (An independent chutai was a bit like a Royal Air Force squadron, which could move from place to place with its own headquarters staff, attaching itself to whatever group or wing was already there.)

Very approximate equivalents (established strengths varied considerably) were:

   Hikodan Wing       Group        Geschwader
   Sentai Group Wing        Gruppe
   Chutai Squadon   Squadron Staffel
   Shotai Flight       Flight        Schwarm

JAAF Unit Designations

   The basic unit was the HIKOSENTAI (Air Group or Regiment) usually abbreviated to Sentai comprising 25--50 aircraft.
       The Sentai consisted of 2 or more CHUTAIs (company or squadron) plus a Sentai Hombu (HQ flight).
       The Chutai included (usually) 3 SHOTAIs (sections or flights) of 3/4 aircraft. (Like other Air Forces they had found that the odd man out in a 3-plane flight was most vulnerable.)

   Higher formations included in ascending order the HIKODAN (Air Brigade), HIKOSHIDAN (Air Division), and the KOKUGUN (Air Army).

   Other formations included the Dokuritsu Chutais (Independent Companies) and Rensei Hikotais (Fighter OTUs).

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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