Kitbashed 1/48 scale
Ohka Type 43
by Steve Zaloga
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I recently began research work for a forthcoming book on the defense of Japan in 1945, and was intrigued to learn that the Imperial Japanese Navy planned to deploy a coastal-launched version of the Ohka special attack aircraft for defense against US Navy warships.
This was essentially the world's first coastal anti-ship missile.
The Ohka Type 43 was a jet powered version of the baseline, rocket-powered Ohka Type 11. The powerplant was the same Ne-20 jet engine as the twin-engined Kikka.
The Ohka Type 43 was substantially different than the baseline Ohka Type 11 due to the launch mode and propulsion, having signficantly larger wings to permit extended range operations from the ground instead of the usual airborne launch, an extended nose to accomodate the jet fuel, and a revised and enlarged tail. Due to the limited thrust of the Ne-20 engine, the Ohka Type 43 had supplementary rocket assist take-off engines. The launch mode was the use of a "catapult" which was in essence a simple rocket sled on a rail. There were plans to fit the Ohka Type 43 with a landing skid as the kamikaze missions sometimes failed to find the intended targets, and there was the expectation that the Ohka Type 43 could return to base to await a second chance mission.
The plan was to deploy the Ohka Type 43 in coastal bases using tunnels to shelter the aircraft, with launch rails aimed seaward out of the tunnels.
Construction of the Ohka Type 43 bases began in the early summer of 1945, and several were reaching completion when the war ended. Some test launches of the catapult were conducted using Ohka trainers without the jet engine.
It is unclear how far the Ohka Type 43 program progressed; the US discovered wooden mock-ups of the Ohka Type 43 in Yokosuka after the war but production was slated to begin in August 1945 which suggests the program may have progressed further.
Building the Ohka Type 43 in 1/48 scale is a bit of a challenge due to the limited references and the faint connection between the Ohka Type 43 and the more familiar Ohka Type 11.
I started with an old Hawk/Testors Ohka Type 11, which mainly provided the cockpit area.
Surprisingly, the nose section of the Hawk/Testors V-1 is a pretty good match for the Ohka Type 43 extended nose. I began hunting down other necessary bits for the kit-bash while at the New Jersey IPMS Mosquitocon show this year.
The rear jet engine area came from an old Monogram Me 262 while the wings were cut down from those from a Hawk/Testors U-2.
The tail was built from bits of the Hawk/Testors V-1 wing and tail. The rocket sled and nose skid were scratch-built.
This is a fairly simple little aircraft, and an intriguing subject for a kit-bash project.
Model, Images and Text Copyright ©
2009 by Steve Zaloga
Page Created 22 April, 2009
22 April, 2009
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