Marushin MARS016 Imperial Japanese Army Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa "Oscar" Fighter - Akeno Army Aviation School (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 Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) was numerically the most important fighter used by the Japanese Army Air Force during the Pacific War. It remained in production from the beginning of the Pacific War until its end in August 1945. In many ways, it was a transitional type, bridging the gap between the lightly-loaded monoplane fighters of the late 1930s with their fixed undercarriages and open cockpits, and the more highly-powered heavy fighters of the early 1940s with their retractable undercarriages and enclosed cockpits.
Its appearance was a complete surprise to the Allies, and the fighter proved to be superior in performance to most of its opponents during the first year of the Pacific War. Most of the Japanese Army's aces established the larger part of their scores while flying this airplane. The Ki-43 is often confused with its contemporary, the famed Mitsubishi A6M Reisen (Zero Fighter) of the Japanese Navy, and was often misidentified as a "Zero" early in the war.
Wingspan: 10 inches
Length: 9 inches
Release Date: October 2008
Historical Account: "Akeno" - In May 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army initiated a six-year program to expand its air units. It was to establish 142 squadrons, but because of the Sino-Japanese War, the program was extended. Upon the implementation of the Program, the Army invigorated its training program for flight crews, establishing the Army Air Academy and the Army Juvenile Flying School. Four more schools for flight crew training were established between 1939 and 1940 namely: Mito (Gunnery-Communication), Hokota (Light-bomber), Gifu (Basic flight training), and Paichengtso (Navigation), complementing the existing four schools at Kumgaya, Akeno, Shimoshi and Hamamatsu.
The American Vinson plan of 1934 that was to expand the U.S. Navy prompted the Japanese Navy to establish additional 14 squadrons of 262 aircraft, and to build 294 ship-based aircraft. With this expansion program, twelve new Air Corps were established bringing to 25 the total number of Air Corps, 15 of which were operational. With the second Vinson plan of 1938, the Japanese Navy further expanded its 1937 program, starting with the construction of two battleship of 65,000 tons displacement, 80 surface vessels, including an aircraft carrier of 34,000 tons displacement, as well as 75 land-based squadrons and 174 ship-based aircraft. The Navy's 4th expansion program, which was to be completed within five years from 1939, would provide the Navy with a total of 128 squadrons (65 operational and 63 training) comprising 2,294 land-based and 520 ship-based aircraft. It was such an ambitious and unprecedented plan that it posed a great financial strain on Japan, then on war with the Chinese. Nonetheless, the fact that the government gave the go-signal demonstrated the power and influence wielded by military and naval leaders at that time. Expecting the start of the Pacific War, the Navy accelerated its expansion program, completing all constructions three years ahead of schedule. This brought the Navy's operational force to 1,786 aircraft comprising 1,095 land-based aircraft and 691 ship-based machines, which convinced the Navy that it was ready for the Pacific War. However, inadequate preparations were observed in the areas of pilot training, which was not attuned to the technology of the new aircraft. There was also the shortage of essential equipment and munitions, such as torpedoes and bombs.