Oxford AC042 Imperial Japanese Army Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate "Frank" Fighter - Cpt. Tomojiro Ogawa, 1st Chutai, 103rd Sentai, Itami Airfield, Japan, 1945 (1:72 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 Hayate (Gale) was specifically meant as the successor to the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa. It was one of the best fighters of the Japanese forces during the closing stages of the War, and was available in useful numbers and without any teething problems.
The origins of the type can be found early in 1941, when the Ki-43 Hayabusa first entered combat, which turned out to be an excellent air-combat fighter. The Imperial Japanese Army Air Force did not want to rest on their laurels, however, and decided that it would plan its successor. Nakajima therefore received orders to start work on a new multi-role fighter with long range capabilities in mind, a high level of protection for the pilot and fuel tanks, a fixed forward-firing armament of 2 - 20 mm Ho-5 cannon and 2 - 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) Type 1 (Ho-103) machine guns, a powerplant of 1 - Nakajima Ha-45 (Army Type 4) radial rated at 1,900 hp (1.417 kW), a max level speed of 423 mph (680 km/h) at optimum altitude, and a combat endurance of 1 hour 30 minutes at a radius of 249 miles (400 km) from base.
Nakajima entrusted the project to a team under the supervision of T. Koyama, and the design was clearly inspired in its basic configuration by the Ki-43 although with a number of features to improve its basic lines and provide higher performance. The design was therefore based on a circular/oval-section fuselage of light alloy semi-monocoque construction carrying the high-set cockpit (with a three-piece canopy including a rearward-sliding central section and providing all-round fields of vision) and the flying surfaces. These comprised a plain tail unit with metal-skinned fixed surfaces and fabric-covered control surfaces, and a cantilever low-set dihedraled wing that was tapered in thickness and chord and carried on its trailing edges the standard combination of outboard fabric-covered ailerons and inboard light alloy split flaps that possessed a combat setting for improved turning capability. It had a fully retractable tailwheel landing gear, which included wide-track main units that retracted inward. Other features of the design were the twin exhausts under the lower rear edge of the cowling, and the centerline provision for a drop tank.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale diecast replica of an Imperial Japanese Army Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate "Frank" fighter that was used in the defense of Japan during 1945.
Release Date: May 2014
Historical Account: "Heaven on Earth" - During WWII, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service was organized into five Air Armies, koku-gun, with each maintaining a clear area of operations (ie, one per theater of war). Each Air Army contained two or more Air Divisions, hiko-shidan, containing two or more Air Brigades, hiko-dan, each. Optimally, an Air Division was assigned to each Group Army and an Air Brigade was assigned to a Field Army.
Each Air Brigade contained a Headquarters,
chutai hombu, responsible for tactical planning and three or four Air Regiments, hiko rentai, plus some reconnaissance and transport aircraft units.
Air Regiments usually contained only one type and brand of aircraft, such as fighters or light or medium bombers. Air Regiments consisted of three or four Air Companies,
chutai, of, usually, 9-12 aircraft or two Air Battalions, hiko daitai, of two Air Companies.
These Air Companies contained three sections,
shotai, of three, and later, four aircraft each. However, fighter Air Regiments contained 45 to 48 aircraft and the Bomber and/or Recon Air Regiments contained 27 to 36 aircraft. The Air Regiments themselves were later replaced with Air Groups called Hiko Sentai which consisted of only one category of aircraft but could operate several different types as needed or available.
The IJAAS also organized Independent Air Companies or
dokurista chutai and Independent Air Wings called dokuristu hikotai whick performed missions such as reconnaissance, VIP transport, etc.
The Heaven Shaking Air Superiority Unit or
Shinten Seiku-tai were specially designated and trained sections of fighter units with the mission of air-to-air ramming of allied bomber aircraft. They usually had their armaments removed and their air frames may have been reinforced. Lastly it raised the Special Attack Units, called the Shimbu-tai, which were dedicated suicide units for Kamikaze missions. Around 170 of these units were formed, 57 by the Instructor Air Division alone. Notionally equipped with 12 aircraft each, it eventually comprised around 2000 aircraft.