Hasegawa 1/48 B7A Ryusei “Grace”
Aichi’s B7A (allied code-name “Grace”) was an Imperial Japanese Navy attack plane built around some strange but valid perameters. It was to carry a torpedo (a BIG one) or similarly-weighted attack ordnance. It was to be at least as fast as a Zero (350 mph class) and supposed to be MORE manouverable than the fighter, as well. Tall order. While Nakajima’s B6N Tenzan (“Jill”) torpedo bomber was going through developmental delays, the IJN thrust Aichi’s large design into production, though by war’s end only about 100 or so were produced.
It achieved most of its design goals, utilizing the powerful but tempermental Nakajima Homare radial engine. The three-man plane compares well with the Grumman TBF/Eastern TBM Avenger, but in planform the wings look much like the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. But that’s where the similarities end with the B7A and U.S. designs.
Because it appeared so late in the war, I can assume that the B7A Ryusei groups flew very few missions, and were probably relegated to kamikaze missions at the very end. There is gun-camera footage from a Hellcat getting a “Grace kill” to be found in various archives. In any case, I think it is a NEAT airplane, and quite an engineering feat!
Hasegawa’s late-90s offering is the only one there is in 1/48th scale, and it is up to their usual standards. Unfortunately (for me, anyway), most Japanese planes were green on top, light grey or silver undersides for most of the war. Not alot of variety here for markings, as can be seen on my other recent posts!
The Grace is a classic example of how Japanese aircraft designs got bigger and more powerful towards the latter part of the war. Look at the size of that torpedo!
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.