Marushin MARS009 Imperial Japanese Army Kawanishi N1K2 "George" Fighter - Lieutenant Naoshi Kanno, 301st Sentai, 343rd Kokutai, Matsuyama, Japan, 1945 (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 Kawanishi Shiden-Kai ("Violet Lightning") was one of the best fighters produced for the Japanese Navy during WWII, essentially a ground-based variant of the Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu "Rex" seaplane. The N1K2-J and its predecessor, the N1K1-J, derived from Kawanishi N1K1 seaplane fighter (code name "Rex"), arose from a development ordered by the Imperial Navy in 1940. On its own initiative, however, Kawanishi modified the seaplane design by turning it into a land-based plane, which it later called "George."
After several successful tests, it offered the experimental model to the Navy for further testing, but was greeted with skepticism, no doubt due to the success of the Zero. Not officially accepted by the Navy until 1943 and put into production after a series of modifications to its engine and landing gear, its entry into front line service was further delayed by difficulties in pilot training and logistical problems, reflecting Japan's military and economic reverses. Once operational, the George proved itself to be a superb aircraft which was respected by Allied pilots. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 9 inches
Length: 7-1/4 inches
Release Date: October 2008
Historical Account: "Til the End" - On August 1st, 1945, while leading his men against B-24s over Yaku Island, one of Lieutenant Kanno's 20mm cannons blew up due to mechanical defect, leaving a large hole in his wing. He experienced difficulties, in controlling his aircraft and his wingman. WO Mitsuo Hori offered to stay with him. Kanno kept pointing at the bombers, and when Hori insisted on flying escort, Kanno glared at him and gestured again. The wingman reluctantly left and Kanno was never seen again.
Lt. Naoshi Kanno was elevated two ranks to commander and received a posthumous commendation. His bulldog tenacity, while admired by his CO, Captain Genda, worried his subordinates, with some of his men even considering him reckless and overrated. Indeed, of the four squadrons within the 343rd, Kanno's 301st suffered the heaviest casualties.