Marushin MARS024 Imperial Japanese Navy Aichi D3A2 'Val' 22 Dive Bomber - Aircraft Carrier Shokaku, 1941 (1:48 Scale)
"We have resolved to endure the unendurable and suffer what is insufferable."
- Japanese Emperor Hirohito speaking to the Japanese people after the atomic bombings, August 1945
The Aichi D3A (Allied code name Val) was a World War II dive bomber produced by the Aichi company in Japan. It was the primary carrier-borne dive bomber in the Imperial Japanese Navy in the early stages of the war, and participated in almost all actions, including Pearl Harbor.
In mid-1936 the Japanese Navy issued the 11-Shi specification for a monoplane carrier-based dive-bomber to replace the existing D1A biplanes currently in service. Aichi, Nakajima and Mitsubishi all submitted designs, and Aichi and Nakajima were both asked for two prototypes each.
The Aichi design started with low-mounted elliptical wings inspired by the Heinkel He 70 Blitz. The fuselage looked quite similar to the Zero, although the entire plane was built stronger to withstand the rigours of dive bombing. It flew slowly enough that the drag from the landing gear was not a serious issue, so fixed gear were used for simplicity. The plane was to be powered by the 710 hp (529 kW) Nakajima Hikari 1 nine-cylinder radial engine.
The first prototype was completed in December 1937, and flight trials began a month later. Initial tests were disappointing. The aircraft was underpowered and suffered from directional instability in wide turns, and in tighter turns it tended to snap roll. The dive brakes vibrated heavily when extended at their design speed of 200 knots (370 km/h), and the Navy was already asking for a faster diving speed of 240 knots (440 km/h).
The second aircraft was extensively modified prior to delivery to try to address the problems. Power was increased by replacing the Hikari with the 840 hp (626 kW) Mitsubishi Kinsei 3 in a redesigned cowling, and the vertical tail was enlarged to help with the directional instability. The wings were slightly larger in span and the outer sections of the leading edges had wash-out to combat the snap rolls, and strengthened dive brakes were fitted. These changes cured all of the problems except the directional instability, and it was enough for the D3A1 to win over the Nakajima D3N1.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of an Imperial Japanese Navy Aichi D3A2 'Val' 22 dive bomber that was embarked upon the aircraft carrier Shokaku during 1941. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 11-3/4 inches
Length: 9 inches