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A demon hunter to protect the Emperor – Army Type 2 Fighter 'Shoki'


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Nakajima  Ki-44-II Ko  Shoki

47th Sentai   Narimasu   February 1944

 

The 47th Hiko Sentai was established at Narimasu in October 1943 by expanding the 47th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai (Independent Flying Squadron) which had been the first unit of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force to be equipped with the Nakajima Ki-44 or Army Type 2 Fighter (Allied reporting name 'Tojo').

 

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As one of the earliest Home Defence units in the Tokyo area the 47th played a major role in opposing B-29 attacks for which, like many other sentai, it was ordered to form a Shinten Seikutai air ramming section in November 1944. After a long tenure with the Shoki they re-equipped with Ki-84 ('Frank') in the following year

 

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The model represents a Ki-44-IIa (Ko) from the 3rd Chutai with the narrow fuselage band indicative of a shotai (flight) leader. The Ko was armed with two 7.7 mm machine guns in the front deck to supplement the wing-mounted 12.7 mm Ho-103. Later versions had heavier armament. The Shoki was the first operational 'heavy' fighter of the IJAAF which offered speed, armament and protection versus manoeuvrability.

 

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Of 1974 vintage - long before the Hasegawa kit appeared - Otaki's design is nevertheless a fair representation of this chubby little fighter. My build goes back to 1982. I updated it some years ago with aftermarket items that had become available in the meantime (engine, cockpit, exhausts, control surfaces). Other parts were improved through scratch-building, e.g. the air inlet, oil cooler and outlet flaps, the tail wheel and doors, the open cockpit hatch and more. Decals are home-made.

 

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A couple of notes on colours  -

 

Sentai emblems in white, red and yellow colour for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Chutai with blue for the HQ flight were typical for the IJAAF. This convention has been questioned for the 47th Sentai by several authors/ illustrators who opined that an unusual order of blue-red-yellow or red-blue-yellow with white for HQ was employed by the 47th, and that the line-up in this photograph shows the 1st (or 2nd) Chutai sporting cobalt blue insignia. No evidence other than tonal interpretation of a series of monochrome pictures was provided. Taking all circumstances into account it would be safer (and more likely) to assume a conventional colour sequence*. In this case the photo, like my model, would show 3rd Chutai aircraft with yellow markings.

 

For the cockpit interior I chose aotake, the well-known blue-green translucent varnish used by Japanese aircraft manufacturers, although a yellowish olive green would have been more appropriate for a Shoki of this period with aotake being a remote possibility. Interior areas other than the cockpit were finished in aotake, however.

 

The two theories about the markings of aircraft  #19 -

 

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The Shoki is the first of a series of Japanese army fighters that I plan to present in the course of 2021.

 

 Maybe you like my Kawasaki family album posted here

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ハッピーモデル構築  - Michael

 

REFERENCES

NAKAJIMA KI-44 SHOKI I/II, AIRCAM AVIATION SERIES NO.25, RICHARD M. BUESCHEL, CANTERBURY, 1971

ARMY TYPE 2 FIGHTER “SHOKI“, FAMOUS AIRPLANES OF THE WORLD NO.16, TOKYO, 1989

JAPANESE ARMY AIR FORCE FIGHTER UNITS AND THEIR ACES 1931-1945, IKUHIKO HATA ET AL., LONDON, 2002

NAKAJIMA KI-44 SHOKI, MODEL ART PROFILE 5, TOKYO, 2009

NAKAJIMA KI-44 SHOKI, REVI CAT NO.II-4005, MARTIN FERKL, OSTRAVA, 2009

KI-44 'TOJO' ACES OF WORLD WAR 2, AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 100, NICHOLAS MILLMAN, BOTLEY, 2011

JAPANESE FIGHTERS IN DEFENSE OF THE HOMELAND 1941-1944 - VOL.1, LESZEK A. WIELICZKO, LUBLIN, 2014

IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY AIR SERVICE ILLUSTRATED (FIGHTERS EDITION), YUKINOBU NISHIKAWA, TOKYO, 2015

IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY & NAVY AIRPLANES ILLUSTRATED - BOOK 2, TOKYO, 2015

PICTORIAL HISTORY OF JAPANESE ARMY 47th SENTAI, FAOW SPECIAL EDITION VOL.8, TOKYO, 2020

* E-MAIL CORRESPONDENCE WITH NICK MILLMAN, AVIATION OF JAPAN, 1 MARCH 2021

 

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Great build of a neat little fighter! And a great presented RFI, both in terms of formatting and information (I absolutely love RFIs that provide detailed historical background on the subject). Looking forward to see your next IJAAF/IJN builds!

Edited by Ventsislav Gramatski
typos
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  • Toryu changed the title to A demon hunter to protect the Emperor – Army Type 2 Fighter 'Shoki'

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