Kyūshū J7W1 Shinden (震電, ”Magnificent Lightning”), No. 1 Aircraft, Aug. 1945, Hasegawa, 1/48
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, 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:
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.
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.