Mitsubishi Ki 46 II Dinah by Airfix
Kit No. X-207
Decals: Two versions - both Imperial Japanese Army
Comments: Old kit; raised panel lines; basic cockpit; optional position landing gear; two half-crew figures; one-piece propellers
One of the sleekest looking Japanese aircraft of World War II, the Mitsubishi Ki-46 was designed to meet a 1937 Imperial Japanese Army requirement for a higher performance reconnaissance aircraft to supersede the Ki-15. A cantilever low-wing monoplane with retractable tailwheel landing gear, powered by two 671kW Mitsubishi Ha-21-l radial engines, the two-seat Ki-46 prototype was flown for the first time in late November 1939.
Early testing showed that the maximum speed of the Ki-46 was some 10% below specification, but as its speed and overall performance was better than in-service Army and Navy aircraft the type was ordered into production as the Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1 (Ki-46-l), and was later given the Allied codename 'Dinah." Early operational problems with the Ki-46-l resulted in production of the improved Ki-46-ll with 805kW Mitsubishi Ha-102 engines, this powerplant giving a maximum speed slightly in excess of the original specification. The Ki-46-ll was the major production version, with more than 1,000 built, a number of which were converted later into three-seat radio/navigation trainers under the designation Ki-46-ll KAI. Subsequent variants included the faster and aerodynamically improved Ki-46-III, of which 609 were built, a small number being converted later as Ki-46-lll KAI fighter interceptors and Ki-46lllb ground-attack aircraft. Ki-46-IV prototypes, with 1119kW Mitsubishi Ha-112-ll Ru turbocharged engines to give improved high altitude performance, were being tested when the war ended.
In service for the entirety of the Pacific war, the Ki-46 proved to be an important aircraft for the Japanese Army, but the growing capability and number of Allied fighters resulted in unacceptably high losses of Ki-46-IIs. However, the improved performance of the Ki-46-lll meant that this version was virtually free from interception until the final stages of the war. Production of all versions totalled 1,742, all built by Mitsubishi.
Wingspan: 48 ft. 3 in.
Length: 36 ft. 1 in.
Height: 13 ft. 9 in.
Maximum speed: 391 mph
Service ceiling: 34,450 ft.
Range: 2,486 miles
The Airfix Ki-46 Dinah Mk II is molded in grey and consists of 50 injection molded parts. The kit has instructions that are entirely in Japanese, but the illustrations are more than sufficient to build the plane, as construction is Classic Airfix, simplicity itself. The kit has two half-crew figures and a surprisingly detailed control yoke for the pilot's position in the cockpit. There is also a separately molded seat, two bulkheads, and an instrument panel minus any raised detail or substitute decal. The wings and elevators are simple and do not feature separately molded ailerons or flaps. The spinners and propellers are molded as a single piece. The forward and rear canopies are both one-piece affairs, there are separate parts for the engine intakes and exhausts on the nacelles, and the radio antenna and pitot tube are both delicately molded.
The instructions include some some detail as to the two different versions, but it is in Japanese. One version is painted overall Imperial Japanese Army Green, the other is overall Imperial Japanese Navy Grey or natural metal. Both have red spinners and yellow leading edges on the inboard area of the wings. The band of yellow on the leading edges ends about a foot or two short of the meatball (national insignia) on eitcher wing.
This is a straightforward weekend build of a fast Japanese reconnaisance plane, not particularly detailed but with roughly accurate lines.
Virtual Aircraft Museum www.avistar.org