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 Marushin model #S017 Nakajima KI-43-I Hayabusa / Oscar - Tateo Kato, 64th Sentai, Malaya, 1942

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Join date : 2017-02-18
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PostSubject: Marushin model #S017 Nakajima KI-43-I Hayabusa / Oscar - Tateo Kato, 64th Sentai, Malaya, 1942   Sat Feb 18 2017, 21:36

Nakajima Ki-43-I Type 1 Fighter  Hayabusa/Peregrine Falcon, Allied code name Oscar
Producer Marushin ( This diecast line is occasionally active, but releases are limited )
Scale 1/48
Model Number S017

Nakajima Ki-43-I Hayabusa 'Oscar' Fighter - Tateo Kato, 64th Sentai, Malaya, 1942

Marushin diecast are impressive pieces of of metal. Very little plastic, solid, great panel lines but completely bereft of cockpit detail. They need to be assembled but this as a rule is easily done. Saves on box storage space. Other that the Willow, I encountered few snags that were not worked through with very basic modeling skills and a small screwdriver and swiss army knife. The canopies are snap in arrangements but a drop of clear elmers glue holds them in place. Some owners have used 1/48 plastic A6M model cockpit interiors and created astonishing detail to flesh out their Marushins, but I personally have never attempted this. The landing gear is also sparse on detail but not so noticeable. Cannon, machine guns and pitot tubes are metal rods and should be painted. The rods can take a bit of filing down to place within the wings. Still this is more than worth the effort.  

This particular Oscar is described as a KI-43-II on many vendor sites, but the I believe it to be actually the Ki-43-I.  The reason being the two bladed prop and the fighter unit in the description used the earlier production models.   The KI-43-II is described as the first Oscar having a 3 bladed prop.

Nakajima Ki-43-I Type 1 Fighter
Manufacturer Nakajima Aircraft Company
Designer Hideo Itokawa
First flight Early January 1939
Introduction October 1941

General characteristics

   Crew: One
   Length: 8.92 m (29 ft 3⅜ in)
   Wingspan: 10.84 m (35 ft 6¾ in)
   Height: 3.27 m (10 ft 8¾in)
   Wing area: 21.4 m2 (230.4 ft2)
   Empty weight: 1,910 kg (4,211 lb)
   Loaded weight: 2,590 kg (5,710 lb)
   Max. takeoff weight: 2,925 kg (6,450 lb)
   Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima Ha-115 fourteen cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 858 kW (1,150 hp)


   Maximum speed: 536 kilometres per hour (333 mph) at 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) (286 knots (530 km/h) at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft))
   Cruise speed: 355 kilometres per hour (221 mph) at 4,000 metres (13,000 ft)
   Range: 1,760 km (952 nmi, 1095 mi)
   Ferry range: 3,200 km (1,730 nmi, 1,990 mi)
   Service ceiling: 11,200 m (36,750 ft)
   Rate of climb: 3,900 feet per minute (20 m/s) ()
   Wing loading: 121 kg/m2 (24.8 lb/sq ft)
   Power/mass: 331 W/kg (0.20 hp/lb)


   Guns: 2× fixed, forward-firing 7.7 or 12.7 mm (.30 -.50  in)  machine guns in the cowl with 270 rpg.   There were several configurations but no cannon in this mark.  
   Bombs: 2× 250 kg (551 lb) bombs

Number produced of the KI-43-I    716

Need to straighten that gear , they fold in.  Also noticed in the pics I need to dust Smile

Primary users
Imperial Japanese Army Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force
Manchukuo Air Force
Developed from the Nakajima Ki-27

When Japan decided to prepare for war in Southeast Asia, the army needed a fighter that could fly 400 miles, fight, and go home, a capability utterly beyond the fixed-gear Ki-27 "Nate" aircraft then currently in use.  The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ( "Peregrine Falcon") was a single-engine land-based tactical fighter designed to meet the spec of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. The Army designation was "Army Type 1 Fighter; the Allied code name was "Oscar", but it was often called the "Army Zero" by American pilots because its certain resemblance to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the Imperial Japanese Navy's counterpart to the Ki-43. Both aircraft had generally similar layout and lines, and also used essentially the same Nakajima Sakae radial engine, with similar round cowlings and bubble-type canopies (the Oscar's being distinctly smaller and having much less framing than the A6M).

While relatively easy for a trained eye to tell apart with the "finer" lines of the Ki-43's fuselage — especially towards the tail — and more tapered wing plan form, in the heat of battle, and given the brief glimpses and distraction of combat, Allied aviators frequently mistakenly reported having fought "Zeros" in areas where there were no Navy fighters.  Like the Hurricane pilots of the Battle of Britain who were victims of Spitfire snobbery on the part of their German counterparts preferring to reporting being shot down by Spitfires,  this may have caused some irritation on that part of the IJAF Ki-43 aircrews.  

The Ki-43 was the most widely used Army fighter, and equipped 30th sentai FR,(flight regiment) and 12th chutais IS,(independent squadrons). The first unit equipped with the Ki 43-I was the 59th FR at Hankow Airfield, during June–August 1941. Operational sorties over Hengyang on 29. October 1941. The second unit to re-equip with the new Aircraft was the 64th FR, from August to November 1941.

Like the Mitsubishi-produced A6M Zero, the radial-engined Ki-43 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.

The Ki-43 prototype was produced in response to a December 1937 specification for a successor to the popular fixed-gear Nakajima Ki-27 Nate. The specification called for a top speed of 500 km/h (311 mph), a climb rate of 5,000 m (16,400 ft) in five minutes and a range of 800 km (500 mi). Maneuverability was to be at least as good as that of Ki-27.

When first flown in early January 1939, the Ki-43 prototype was a disappointment. Japanese test pilots complained that it was less maneuverable than the Ki-27 Nate and not much faster. In order to solve these problems, Nakajima produced a series of progressively modified prototypes through 1939 and 1940. Tateo Kato, then the army's leading fighter pilot and group commander, was brought on the Hayabusa. It was evidently his idea to add butterfly combat flaps, which actually enabled the Hayabusa to turn inside a Zero. The Hayabusas that Kato commanded in the 64th Sentai were actually pre-production models. His efforts resulted in the successful use of the Hayabusa in air combat. "Hayabusa sentai cho Kato (Commander Kato's Falcon Corps)" (1987) was written to tell his story.

These changes involved a major weight saving program, a slimmer fuselage with the tail surfaces moved further aft and a new canopy. Crucially, the 11th prototype introduced the unique differential "butterfly" (or Fowler-type) maneuvering flaps, which dramatically improved performance in tight turns. The 13th prototype combined all these changes, and tests of this aircraft resulted in an instruction for Nakajima to place the Ki-43 into production, the Ki-27 jigs being transferred to the Mansyu factory at Harbin in Japanese occupied Manchukuo.

The Ki-43 (Oscar) was initially produced in November 1939, given the designation Ki-43-I. Deliveries from Nakajima's Ota factory commenced in February 1941. In addition to outstanding maneuverability, the Ki-43-I had an impressive rate of climb due to its light weight. Power was provided by the Nakajima Ha-25 engine turning a two-bladed, two-position variable-pitch metal propeller. Top speed was 495 km/h (308 mph) at 4,000 m (13,160 ft).

The Ki-43 was equipped with two synchronized cowling machine guns in various configurations. The configuration that appears to have been most prevalent at the outset of the war was the first configuration with two 7.7 mm (.303 in) Type 89 machine guns, while as the war progressed the heavier combinations gained popularity and the version with the heaviest armament was sometimes given the designation Ki-43-Ic. The Ho-103 was often loaded with explosive ammunition to increase target effect; its penetrative effect against later Allied aircraft armor appears to have been marginal.

Superior marksmanship/airmanship was to make up for the lack of heavy guns. This clever hope failed to materialize. The plane's light wing loading and fundamentals limited its top speed, diving ability and punch. Light armament dogged the design to the end, and doomed its pilots as well, and not for a lack of trying...the design could simply not carry more guns, not on pylons, not anywhere, although it was tried desperately down the years (finally with an unsuccessful nose-stretch for twin cannon.) as time ran out for Japan. But the beautiful, if fragile, Oscar created its share of havoc and horror for Allied airman upon the outbreak of hostilities and down to the end of the war.

Beside its simple pure beauty, it had a number of strengths. For one it was stable, predictable and easy to fly, land, approach in and handle on the ground. It spun safely in any configuration and was used as a trainer extensively.

For another it had a fantastic rate of climb and the tightest turning radius of the entire pack. Although it lacked the Zero's top speed and wing-cannon punch, it turned inside of it and climbed faster, with the same power in the respective air frames.

Weak firepower and inadequate Army pilot training and tactics/philosophy were to blame for the Oscar's perceived lack of success relative to the Zero. Still, Oscars shot down significant numbers of Allied planes and airmen right down to the end, (suffering high attrition themselves for the above reason and backwards fighter tactics) and were a mainstay (along with the Ki-84 Frank) of the Army's large "Special Attack" (Kamikaze) program. They were found in nearly every region of the Pacific and in very large numbers in China.

But perhaps the greatest advantage the Oscar had over its contemporaries (and shared with the P-51 Mustang, Zero and Frank) was its RANGE. It was an extremely long-legged airplane and its pilot was under little stress about time as a result. With its large wing tanks and external stores it was an extremely long ranged fighter airplane, not unlike the P-51. It had a huge radius of action and the pilot never felt under constant pressure to figure out just where he was and to plot a hurried course home, with its attendant distraction.

An Oscar or Zero out of Taiwan could reach the Philippines, fly and fight for 30 minutes and return to base with reserve fuel. This was an important lesson of the Battle of Britain; all those Messerschmitt Bf 109s that never made it home for want of fuel, and Itokawa (and Mitsubishi's Horikoshi) took note. The location of the tanks in the wings and under the cockpit, without the dangerous forward fuselage tank, made the plane more survivable in combat or operational accidents; they didn't catch fire as easily as the Zero. On the negative side, there was a certain structural weakness in high G pullouts and a reluctance to recover from terminal velocity dives. They couldn't dive that fast anyway, so it wasn’t easy to pursue a diving P-40.  The qualities that made it a delightful plane to fly, turn and climb in, was a dog in a dive.

The first version, Ki-43-I, entered service in 1941, the Ki-43-II in December 1942, the Ki-43-II-Kai in June 1943, and the Ki-43-IIIa in summer 1944. The progression of the changes can be seen in the color plate below.  Note the KI-43-I clean lines , no oil coolers or chin radiators underneath and single exhaust collector.

The aircraft fought in China, Burma, the Malay Peninsula, New Guinea, the Philippines, South Pacific islands and the Japanese home islands.

Like the Zero, the Ki-43 initially enjoyed air superiority in the skies of Malaya, Netherlands East Indies, Burma and New Guinea. This was partly due to the better performance of the Oscar. and partly due to the relatively small numbers of combat-ready Allied fighters, mostly the Curtiss P-36 Hawk, Curtiss P-40, Brewster Buffalo, Hawker Hurricane and Curtiss-Wright CW-21 in Asia and the Pacific during the first months of the war.

Maj.Tateo Kato, group commander of 64th sentai, Burma, Spring 1942.

64th Sentai operated from Ipoh in January 1942,the 59th Sentai from Kahang.  The Hayabusa fighters of the 64th Sentai were among the very first fighters to saw action in the Pacific. The Ki-43s Hayabusa of Kato Air Group escorted Yamashita's troop transports en route to invade Malaya and some were lost when they were unable to return to Pho Quok island a day before the war broke out. They flew air cover within the maximum operational range which was quite a feat in those days.

Hiroshi Onozaki was among the 'Nate' pilots who flew air cover over the Takumi's invasion force at Kota Bharu beach on the first day of the war.

Even today in Japan his memory is kept alive by the popular song 'Kato Hayabusa Sentoki Tai' (Fighter Air Group Kato).

Tateo Kato; ( September 28, 1903 – May 22, 1942) was a Japanese  army aviator, credited with at least 18 aerial victories and who was honored posthumously by an award of the Order of the Golden Kite.

In 1941, with the start of the Pacific War, Kato; was given a combat command after having already flown in china and being credited with  9 victories. He was the commander of the 64th Sentai, based at Guangzhou, China, and equipped with the latest Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa fighters. His unit participated in the early stages of the war, especially distinguishing itself during the Battle of Malaya. The 64th Sentai was based at Duong Dong airfield on Phu Quoc Island to provide cover for the Japanese invasion fleet bound for Malaya, and to attack ground targets in Malaya and Burma.

The 64th Sentai had its first combat experience against the Flying Tigers on 25 December 1941, escorting a bomber raid on Rangoon. Under Kato;'s command, the unit recorded over 260 aerial victories over Allied aircraft. This number far exceeds the number of available aircraft in the inventories of the allies in the theater where he flew .  He disallowed individual victory credits for the sake of teamwork. Kato; was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in February 1942.

On May 22, 1942 while over the Bay of Bengal, Kato; was killed in action while attacking a flight of No. 60 Squadron RAF, Bristol Blenheim bombers. As Kato pulled up after making his first diving pass on the Blenheims, turret gunner Flight Sergeant "Jock" McLuckie raked the fighter's exposed belly with a long burst and the Ki-43 started to burn, and crashed into the sea. Kato; was posthumously promoted two steps in rank to Major General, and was honored by a special State Shinto ceremony at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine as a "god of war" in mid-October 1942.[4]

Kato's heroism had considerable propaganda value, and the Japanese government sponsored a movie titled Kato hayabusa sento-tai (1944) glorifying his life story.

As the war progressed, however, the fighter suffered from the same weaknesses as the Ki-27 "Nate" and the A6M Zero; light armor and less-than-effective self-sealing fuel tanks, which caused high casualties in combat. Its armament of two machine guns also proved inadequate against the more heavily armored Allied aircraft. As newer Allied aircraft were introduced, such as the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, Lockheed P-38 Lightning, North American P-51 Mustang, Vought F4U Corsair, Grumman F6F Hellcat and late-model Supermarine Spitfire/Seafire, the Japanese were forced into a defensive war and most aircraft were flown by inexperienced pilots. However, even near the end, the Oscar's excellent maneuverability could still gain advantage over rash Allied pilots. From October to December 1944, 17 Ki-43s were shot down in air combat; their pilots claimed seven C-47s, five B-24 Liberators, two Spitfires, two Beaufighters, two Mosquitoes, two F4U Corsairs, two B-29 Superfortresses, one F6F Hellcat, one P-38, and one B-25. Like most Japanese combat types, many Hayabusas were at the end expended in kamikaze raids.

The Ki-43 also served in an air defense role over Formosa, Okinawa and the Japanese home islands. Some examples were supplied to the pro-Japanese regimes of Thailand, Manchukuo and Wang Jingwei Government as well. The Thai units sometimes fought against the USAAF in southern China. Capture examples and rebuilt wrecks were used in China during and after the war.

Hayabusas were well liked in the JAAF because of the pleasant flight characteristics and excellent maneuverability, and almost all JAAF fighter aces claimed victories with Hayabusa in some part of their career. At the end of the war, most Hayabusa units received Ki-84 Hayate "Frank" fighters, but some units flew the Hayabusa to the end of the war. The top-scoring Hayabusa pilot was Sergeant Satoshi Anabuki with 39 confirmed victories, almost all scored with the Ki-43.

If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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Marushin model #S017 Nakajima KI-43-I Hayabusa / Oscar - Tateo Kato, 64th Sentai, Malaya, 1942
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