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Kyūshū J7W1 Shinden (震電, ”Magnificent Lightning”), No. 1 Aircraft, Aug. 1945, Hasegawa, 1/48

Hi everyone!

This is my Hasegawa 1/48 Kyūshū J7W1 Shinden, finished as a part of the great Empire of Japan Group Build, here in iModeler.

The Kyūshū J7W Shinden (震電, “Magnificent Lightning”) was a World War II Japanese propeller-driven prototype fighter with wings at the rear of the fuselage, a nose-mounted canard, and pusher engine.

Developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as a short-range, land-based interceptor, the J7W was a response to Boeing B-29 Superfortress raids on the Japanese home islands. For interception missions, the J7W was to be armed with four forward-firing 30 mm cannons in the nose.

The Shinden was expected to be a highly maneuverable interceptor, but only two prototypes were finished before the end of war. A jet engine–powered version was considered, but never even reached the drawing board.

The construction of the first two prototypes started in earnest by June 1944, stress calculations were finished by January 1945,[8] and the first prototype was completed in April 1945. The 2,130hp Mitsubishi MK9D (Ha-43) radial engine and its supercharger were installed behind the cockpit and drove a six-bladed propeller via an extension shaft. Engine cooling was to be provided by long, narrow, obliquely mounted intakes on the side of the fuselage. It was this configuration that caused cooling problems while running the engine while it was still on the ground. This, together with the unavailability of some equipment parts postponed the first flight of the Shinden.

On 3 August 1945, the prototype first flew, with Lieutenant Commander Masayoshi Tsuruno, of the technical staff of the IJN at the controls, from Itazuke Air Base. Two more short flights were made, a total of 45 minutes airborne, one each on the same days as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred, before the war’s end. Flights were successful, but showed a marked torque pull to starboard (due to the powerful engine), some flutter of the propeller blades, and vibration in the extended drive shaft.

The two prototypes were the only examples of the Shinden ever completed. After the end of the war, one was scrapped; the other was claimed by a U.S. Navy Technical Air Intelligence Unit in late 1945, dismantled, and shipped to the United States (some sources claim that the USN took the first built while others state that it was the second.)

The sole surviving J7W1 was reassembled, but has never been flown in the United States; the USN transferred it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1960. Its forward fuselage is currently on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center annex (at Dulles Airport) of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

The kit is a raised panel line affair, but otherwise a typical “modern” Hasegawa one. meaning nice details and good fit.

I used the kit decals to represent No.1 aircraft, as was flown by Lieutenant Commander Masayoshi Tsuruno.

A nice figure of the Lt Commander is included, so I assembled and painted it to accompany the Shinden.

What a beautiful plane!

I will not tire you with building/painting and weathering details, but, if you so wish, please follow my build thread here:

https://imodeler.com/groups/the-empire-of-japan-1919-1946/forum/topic/kyushu-j7w1-shinden-%e9%9c%87%e9%9b%bb-magnificent-lightning-no-1-aircraft-aug-1945-hasegawa-1-48/?topic_page=1&num=15

Once more (and it is not enough), I would like to THANK this GB Administrator, my friend Louis Gardner @lgardner, for his restless interest and support of all builds within this amazing EoJ GB. Also, a big THANKS to my friends who honored me by following my build thread.

Happy modeling!

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.


52 responses to Kyūshū J7W1 Shinden (震電, ”Magnificent Lightning”), No. 1 Aircraft, Aug. 1945, Hasegawa, 1/48

  1. What a fantastic build, Spiros! The photography also shows off the incredible lines of this strange aircraft. You really wouldn’t have wanted to be a test pilot for those prototypes! When you look at the last but one photo you’d be forgiven for thinking it flew in the opposite direction!!

    Congratulations on another outstanding contribution to this exceptional GB!

  2. Looks great, Spiros! I can just imagine a B-29 crew’s faces plastered up against the windows if they saw that fly by for the first time…. Again, great posting.

  3. Lovely looking aircraft. Still amazed at the length of the landing gear, very Do335 like

  4. Very nice build and story Spiros! Kudos!

  5. Very interesting looking plane. Great job.

  6. Really nice clean build of a lovely aircraft, Spiros. This somehow escaped me on the EOJ GB, but I have been spreading myself too thin doing mostly building these days. I went over your build thread and can see you put your usual care and skill into this project – inspiring as always. My apologies for not commenting earlier. The Shinden was an impressive purpose built B-29 killer but would have been a maneuverable dogfighter too from the sound of it. Interesting that Wikipedia says it was capable of 470 mph. Very little drag there and a ultra modern multi-bladed prop probably make the performance estimates realistic. I really like what you have achieved with this model, nice pilot figure too. The low angle photography and multi-view shots also bring it to life.

    • Thanks Colin @coling! It’s just great that you spend more time in modeling. This makes me double happy, as we can enjoy more of your work!
      The projected speed of the Shinden might have been high, the shape just built for speed, but we would have to see the if the operational outcome would have fulfilled the expectations. I would also be sceptical about that engine cooling on the ground…

  7. Great looking J7W1. Always thought it was the best looking of the canard style prop driven planes.

  8. Another fine build, Spiros.

    The pilot figure really puts the Shinden in perspective. Looks like It was a real grunt getting into the cockpit.

  9. Superb work, Spiros, and good history too.

  10. Spiros my friend, I somehow missed this build in the EoJ GB, seems an occasional browsing while drinking some wine during vacations really handicaps my attention span eheh
    A great project my friend, this unique plane really looks futuristic even now. Good job!!

  11. Thanks my friend Pedro @holzhamer! Hope you have a good vacation time!

  12. Nicely done pusher! Figure looks good too!

  13. It was great to follow this build in the groups section, and the presentation here in headlines is equally great. Well done my friend!

  14. Well done Spiros! Came out great. Nice photos as well.

  15. Such a cool looking airframe, and you did it justice! Looks great!

  16. Nice work on this Spiros. Now you need to do the Curtiss Ascender to display with it!

  17. A beautiful build,Spiros! It really sits high off the ground.@fiveten.

  18. You flew this one under the radar, Spiros (@fiveten). This build slipped completely by me. This plane looks pristine, which befits the idea that it came so late in the war that it didn’t have a chance to get faded and dirty. Looks awesome.

  19. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Very nice build of one of aviation’s oddity, even it’s stance with those long sprawling landing gears give it character. Nice clean and sharp work Spiros’ the photography really is well taken.
    Thank you for sharing these images.

  20. Great looking Shinden Spiros. Built to a very high standard just like all your models. The aircraft always looks so futuristic to me. I think the B29 crews can be thankful that it never became operational.

  21. Very nice Spiros – great to follow your build and even better to see the final product. Imagine this plane in a dogfight – its opponent wouldn’t know which way it was flying! The EofJ GB certainly is bringing out some great looking planes.
    Nice Build and nice write up.
    Cheers.

  22. Nice job, Spiros. I’ve always liked that plane. I built a 1/72 Shinden 40-45 years ago. Time to get a 1/48 version! Thanks for the history too!

  23. Great modelling, Spiros. @fiveten
    Good idea of the designers to add wheels at the bottom of the tail.
    Lifting the nose during take take-off must be challenging with this design.
    You really showed the beauty of this airplane.

  24. Looks good, Spiros, as your work usually does! 🙂

  25. A very good build, Spiros.
    You have a typo in your bio. It says “I am less than mediocre modeler”, which is clearly wrong.
    Liked.

  26. Great job on a very interesting design, war usually brings a lot technological development in a hurry, there was the flying-flap jack …. anyway bailout would have been interesting to say the least I wonder how it handled in the air.

    • And was there an emergency prop jettison system provided in case of bailout??
      The handling qualities would have been be positive, according to design and expectations. With only two flights performed, not a lot of potential should have been experienced. I am also aware that there was already a project running as to fit a jet engine to the Shinden….did they sense that the piston engine was too limiting for the promising aerodynamic design??
      Many questions with many probable answers, all emerging from the galloping aviation develpoment back then, combined with the adverse prevailing conditions.
      Τhanks for inspirational commenting, Walt @waltosoaring!

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