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Chuck A. Villanueva
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Tamiya 1/48th Mitsubishi Ki-46 Recon “Dinah”, IJA WWII PTO

May 21, 2018 · in Aviation · · 28 · 3.8K

When the Imperial Japanese Army invaded China and parts of SE Asia, before the official start of WWII. They soon realized that their current recon aircraft would not be suitable to cover the vastness of China and the Pacific region. So an order to produce a more capable aircraft was developed with Mitsubishi submitting plans for a fast, long range twin engine aircraft. It would replace the Ki-15 "Babs' currently being used. Mitsubishi met the Army's specifications and in 1939 the first prototype was ready for testing, low wing, twin 900 HP Mitsubishi HA-26i radial engines, faster than any current allied aircraft including their own A6m-2 Zero. Sleek in design, one of the most aesthetically looking plane ever to fly. Graceful elegant lines. One of the best looking aircraft in WWII. The Luftwaffe produced some amazing technically advanced aircraft during WWII with many planned that never got off the drawing board. But the Japanese also designed some very capable aircraft as well. This being one of them. Code named "" by the allies. Though the early variants or Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane model 1 or Mitsubishi Ki-46I. Entering service in early 1940. it did suffer from nagging problems which did take some time to rectify. But it's value was recognized and soon an improved version was soon coming off the production line with an upgraded engine, the 1080HP, Mitsubishi HA-102, it had a 2 stage supercharger. The Ki-46II, this variant exceeded the original speed specifications of 373mph. They were sent to operational units as fast they could be produced, just in time for the start pf the Pacific war. At the initial start of WWII the allies didn't have anything that can catch the Dinah at speed and altitude. But as the British and Americans finally ramped up production with newer and capable aircraft, it wasn't long when the Ki-46II losses were mounting rapidly, fortunately the Japanese had anticipated this and had the Ki-46III already in production and soon entered service supplementing the Ki-46II not replacing them. With more powerful Ha-112-II engines, it wasn't until towards the end of the war that anything was capable of catching them.

The kit represents the III variant which served until the end of the war. It's amazing how old this kit is already. It seems it wasn't so long ago it was new. In fact I bought this kit just about when it was put out by Tamiya. When planning a build for a Japanese aircraft I look for something unusual with some color as cool Japanese aircraft are, there are not much in colorful schemes like the other air arms were flying in WWII. So I look for something a little different. And Techmod has a nice set of decals sheet #48-111, and I went with the first choice an overall Brown over Lt Grey/Green scheme, representing a homeland defense unit 17th Independent Chutai (squadron), 2nd Shotai (Flight). Chofu, Japan around January 1945. It's stylized bird (which looks like an "A") unit markings on the tail. The 3 stripes on the rudder marks it as the 3rd aircraft in the flight of 3. This system being put in place in 1944.

This kit was molded in a lighter grey plastic which compared to the previous kits and right after the plastic has been the normal medium grey. A little bit more involved in this kit compared to the D-520 recently built, a little bit more bits and pieces to go along with the Eduards cockpit zoom set to enhance that part of the build. Otherwise a nice and fun build. It is the first Tam multi engine kit I have attempted since the much older Lancaster and not as labor intensive. The only issue is the 2 piece main wheel bays and that awful seam dead center. I didn't do anything with it as you can only see it when you flip it over. And it won't be displayed on it's back so I left it as it is. This plane is so sweet to in appearance. It looks fast just sitting on the shelf next to the Hein and Zeros. I used Polly Scale IJA Brown (though I think it should be a bit lighter), Aeromaster IJA Grey/Green under surfaces, Red/Brown props. RLM04 for the ID leading edges. One self made boo boo is I believe the White ID markings should be a bit wider. Tamiya Deep Green was used for the Interior. I hope you enjoyed the Dinah, it is one beautiful airplane. Thanks for viewing.


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28 responses

  1. Chuck, I really am with you here; the curved lines and general proportions make the Dinah a lovely aircraft. And very much under represented in the modeling community.

    For my money you nailed the color - may be it's not historically 'perfect' (in all reality who knows?) but it's unusual and really suits her.

    A great piece of work, Chuck.

  2. Thanks David, it was a joy to build, but also learning more about the plane itself.

  3. A very pretty aircraft, Chuck & beautifully built. Thanks for all the research as well.

  4. Nicely done Chuck, and you're correct she looks sleek as well as fast. i like it.

  5. Looks good Chuck, I like it - then IS a Tamiya. 🙂

  6. really nice and unique subject matter. Like the finish and color, great tones.

  7. Nicely done Chuck! I've been watching the WIP tread, and you brought this one to a fantastic landing!

  8. Thanks Greg, it is one of those planes that would look even more elegant in flight all clean with wheels up. That's why I decided to leave the drop tank off. Though it looks sleek parked on the ramp.

  9. Very nice work and a great result.

  10. Profile Photo
    said on May 21, 2018

    Good looking build Chuck.

  11. Nice build Chuck.
    I remember building the Airfix 1/72 version of this back in the 70`s, and she was a looker then.

  12. Pretty aircraft. Great build.

  13. Nice bit of history, good looking model, what more do we want? Great posting, Chuck.

  14. I really enjoyed the background read Chuck, it was a perfect accompaniment to a cracking build. You've done a great job presenting this graceful looking aircraft - and your choice of scheme makes it a total 'stand out'. Congratulations!

    • Thanks Paul, it was worth it, unique twin engine recon, (which normally is not interesting to me) but it's graceful lines, the subject matter history, the scheme all played a part in getting my attention when it was time to start the work on it.

  15. Very nice looking model. I had never heard of this Tamiya kit until now. It's a very strange looking aircraft and you did it justice.

  16. Hi George, the subject is quite unknown really. Reading about the Dinah was all new to me, When you have the Zero's, Tony's and even the Val's seem to have more interests. There is more to Japanese air that is quite interesting subjects that I wish to pick up like the "Grace", Oscar's and some other not so common aircraft the Japanese used. Tamiya also has the fighter version of the Dinah which will be on the build list next year. God willing.

  17. Well done Chuck. I have one in the stash to be done as a captured aircraft

  18. Thanks George, will be looking out for that project when you get to it.

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