Hasegawa’s 1/48 Kyushu J7W2 Interceptor Fighter
The Japanese Navy had conducted trials on the propeller driven J7W1 Shinden Interceptor in May 1944; the aircraft was a rather unconventional design in that it was powered by a large, six-bladed ‘pusher’ type propeller, with shorter main wings and a smaller set of wings forward at the nose. At first glance, the ‘Shinden’ appeared to be an aircraft driven in reverse. The short wings at the front, or ‘canard’ design, permitted shorter main wings to be fitted to the aircraft and gave additional ‘lift’. This design feature allowed the overall aircraft to be reduced in both length and wingspan, with resulting savings in overall weight of the aircraft.
This aircraft sat on a long, spindly tricycle undercarriage system to permit
ample clearance for its large diameter propeller. The prototype flew three
recorded test flights on 03, 06 and
The Japanese had looked at jet and rocket powered aircraft and both the Mitsubishi J8M ‘Shusui’ rocket fighter, which resembled the Me-163 and the Nakajima J9Y ‘Kikka’ that resembled a scaled down version of the Me-262 made brief test flights around the same time as the flights of the Shinden. With its tricycle undercarriage and overall body shape, it would seem a logical ‘next step’ to simply substitute the propeller driven version for an improved jet-powered one.
Limited information can be obtained for exactly how far progressed this project was at the time of the Japanese surrender, however it joins an increasing array of post-1945 ‘what it’ subjects that are gaining in popularity.
(Thanks to Tony Hodun, we have images of sprues and decals. Ed) Hasegawa released a kit of the propeller driven J7W1 version of this kit in 1/48th scale some 30 years ago. I remember working on this kit many years ago and marvelling at its long, spindly undercarriage system. It was also a bit fragile when it came to setting the aircraft on its undercarriage and needed a blob of plasticine concealed in the nose to ensure it didn’t tilt back onto the two very small wheels on the underneath of the rear stabiliser fins.
Hasegawa have released this kit as the J7W2 ‘jet version’ by simply adding an additional set of three parts to replace the propeller driven engine with its jet counterpart. Probably the easiest ‘conversion’ set ever encountered in a model. These new parts are enclosed in a separate bag and are moulded in a sand-yellow colour, as opposed to the overall light grey of the original J7W1 version. 72 parts make up this kit and all parts are packed in a series of plastic bags to protect them. My example was quite crisply presented with little evidence of excess ‘flash’.
A rather brief set of instructions is included with the kit, I personally like to read up on the history of the aircraft before I construct them but Hasegawa has been pretty reserved on the historical information and data on this aircraft. Two sets of decals are included with the kit: a (fictitious) ‘307 Naval Flying Group’ from 1947, with the standard ‘JNAF Green and Light Grey camouflage pattern’ and also an equally fictional Luftwaffe fighter of an unnamed fighter squadron from 1947 with the late war ‘splinter camouflage pattern’.
The three piece canopy can be moulded in the ‘open’ or ‘closed’ mode. However cockpit detail is not overly represented in this kit.
As an improvement over its propeller-driven earlier version, this kit comes with large and small anti-aircraft rockets to be fitted under the wings and a ‘drop tank’ under the central fuselage. A standing pilot figure, similar to the earlier J7W1, is also included.
This kit will appeal to those of us who like modelling the growing amount of ‘what if’ concepts that are emerging onto the market and, contrasted with its earlier propeller driven ‘brother’, will no doubt be good talking points for any display. Presented with the various other Japanese kits of the Mitsubishi ‘Shusui’ rocket plane and the Nakajima ‘Kikka’ they make for interesting subjects.
Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and Hannants.
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