Tamiya 1/48 scale Nakajima, Gekko Night Fighter Type 11 Late version
Originally designed as a long range fighter, the Nakajima Irving (as it was know as) was soon outclassed by other fighters. It was relegated to recon duties primarily, until a field design modification proved its worthiness as a night fighter.
The production version night fighter (Gekko) had two 20mm guns set at a 30 degree upward angle, in a fixed position. The tactic was to fly under an allied bomber, aim and fire upward into the enemy aircraft, maintain air speed and attack the next aircraft. I personally can’t imagine the poor guy in the rear seat suffering through the muzzle blast of two 20mm guns going off just above your head.
The Tamiya Gekko kit is fantastic. I had no issues at all with this build. Every part lined up beautifully. Tamiya engineered the three piece fuselage with a back strap piece that covers the area from the tail to the canopy. I always dred this design, but on this kit it fit perfect with the edges all matching a seem line.
This particular aircraft represents an aircraft of the 322nd Naval Fighter Group based at Katori in 1944.
After decaling, I went back over the upper panels with a very thin dusting of light grey, to add a little paint fading look. The exhaust stains were produced by airbrushing a thinned down shot of Model Master exhaust metalizer and some pastel chalk. Paint chips were made using a silver pencil.
The engines were wired but are almost completely covered by the spinners, Eduard photoetch seatbelts were added and the antenna wire is that stretchy stuff my model buddy Dave Hansen provided for me. He also provided me with the thin solder I used for the brake lines. Thanks Dave !
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.