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Chuck A. Villanueva
118 articles

IJA Mitsubishi Ki-46 III Kai Dinah, 1/48 Tamiya PTO

September 8, 2020 · in Aviation · · 18 Comments

It's late June 1945, the bombers streams are approaching the Japanese mainland, Lt Fuchida and his radioman Sgt Yamada are in their Mitsubishi Ki-46 III Dinah. Lately the B-29's have changed tactics were not coming as high once they crossed the beach and hit their targets. Their Dinah was the normally armed version with the 20mm cannon in the nose. They were also carrying a pair of anti-air bombs to drop over the B-29's when they passed over and in hoping when the bomb detonates over the Superfortresses that some would be destroyed or damaged enough not to continue. Also to avoid the heavily armed bombers. The Dinah had no armor, and not very maneuverable. A quick straight line to intercept and just fire into the bombers and get out. This was Fuchida's 2nd mission, 6 weeks out of a fast paced training regimen and basically here is your mission good luck. The Dinah has no radar to help track the incoming bombers. The orders are the bombers should be at this point at about this time, hopefully and kill as many as you can. His first mission was on a rainy afternoon, overcast skies, couldn't see beyond mile much less else. He considered it a successful mission by just simply returning back to base and landed safely. The young man in the back was an infantry man pressed into duty as the guy in the back, as most of the qualified were dead or have became pilots themselves. There were more planes than qualified men now. He spent more time vomiting than paying attention to his task, useless really. This afternoon was high scattered clouds but a bright day. He was determined to take advantage of the bright skies. He can see the bombers at his 10 o clock low, 10 miles. A quick look around for escorts. He calls out to Yamada arm the bombs I'm going over the bombers we will release the bombs when I make my pass. Be ready. How high should I be? Do I slow down when I release? How long does it take for a bomb to detonate once they depart? All these questions swirling in his head as he approaches the bombers at an angle, picking a spot to do the strafing run and then release and get out. The bombers apparent see him coming as they start to maneuver and not run into each other. He selects a group of 4 in a box and starts his run, defensive fire starts to lick out at him from all around as he is now over them. He shoots the cannons as he hopes that he can hit that big silver bullet in the sky as he aims into the group of 4 and then yells release, release, release, as he feels the thump of objects falling away and the aircraft feels a bit lighter to his commands. He starts his down past the bombers to safety. Though he feels some impacts of bullets hitting his plane and then the dreaded scream coming from the back. Checking his instruments, one engine is running hot, as he head away from the bombers and heads back to base. Did the bombs work?, Did he hit any of those bombers? He checks in with Yamada, but no sound. Fuchida returns to base with a wounded radioman, thank fully it was not a mortal wound. Still the feeling of futility is deep in his soul. His commander calls him in for his report. The crews are out patching up the Dinah for another mission. Must defend the Empire.

The Ki-46 III is the fighter version of the highly successful recon version. Though from the outset of the design, the Ki-46 is not very maneuverable, not armored. It was never intended to go into combat as a fighter. The few that were tasked to intercept the bomber streams didn't do it very well despite their efforts, another hindrance, no radar. The "Schrage Musik" with the upward firing 37mm cannon, only 15 of those were modified to that configuration.

I had built the recon version about 2 years ago. I am late to the party on this one as I had completed it last March. Just now posting her up. And an inspiration to those in the Empire of Japan GB, So other than the weapons and different style of nose, the kit was basically the same as the recon version. The engines are also different on this as you will notice on the exhaust stacks. I used Japanese Brown for the camo. Aeromaster War Bird Acrylic IJA Grey Green unde rsurfaces. Rising Decals for the Fighter scheme. There isn't much out there for this version of the Dinah. So choices are limited in trying to find something different. Another Tamiya kit that is a fun build. Now let see if someone will build one for the EOJ.


Fly Navy

39 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. Nice one, Chuck. Like the group shots.

  2. That's an astonishing Dinah, Chuck! You did your usual excellent job!
    I loved the short introductory story, as well!

  3. Looks great! Interesting narrative.

  4. I remember you building this one... It turned out very good. Interesting short story too, and I hope that someone will decide to build one of these for our Empire of Japan group. Those are some cool looking group pictures !

  5. This airplane always looks so cool, especially in the brown paint scheme. I have this kit in my stash but it has never made it very far up the build list. After seeing yours, I may have to move it up the list. Great job.

    • Thanks George, i hope you go ahead and build it. It is a fun one to do, though the fighter version is limited on paint schemes. And not much more on the recon version. Either way, you will enjoy the project.

  6. Very sharp-looking Dinah, Chuck. The canopy masking and decal work look very precisely done. I like your original story - it adds real interest to the model and clarifies its mission, given that we more commonly see the recon version of the Dinah built up. I also agree with George about the brown camo - striking given the common emphasis on IJN and IJA green schemes.

    • Thanks Colin, Eduard's masking system is the best and easiest to apply to each glass panel. Though really not that much compared to comparable twin engines. Still recommended, masking is not my favorite part of building. The story is fiction but I try to picture the challenges the Dinah aircrews had to face. Survive the barrage of defensive guns they had to evade in a plane that does not maneuver very well. Just sheer speed and guts. Also any escorts and the new dreaded Black Widow.

  7. For sure a great looking build, Chuck.
    Weathering is subtle and looks very nice.

  8. Hi John, thanks, after seeing some photos of the fighter version, they didn't seem as worn out in appearance, not the paint peeling off like some of the single engine fighters and the heavily used Betty. Most of the later Dinah's were serving on the Japanese homeland and were not subject as much to the harsh south pacific environment. And then most of the airframes were not lasting long enough to get really weathered.

  9. Chuck,

    I am new to the site and I am currently working on the KI-46. I am also a researcher and I collect all I can on the Japanese. In doing this I decided on building the version with the 37mm gun going out the top. I read that it was not that great of a weapon, but I am a Night Fighter guy and picked up a few books on it. I have yet to find any real good photos of the gun actual gun assembly. I know you did not build that version, but did you ever see any photos of it? And also very nice job on your model. Jeff

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  10. Hi Jeff thanks for commenting and welcome to the site. Your off to a great start on your Ki-46. Kit decals, or different markings? You know you can enter it in the Empire of Japan Group build that is presently in progress. It would be a welcome edition. I had completed both Dinah' variants before the GB started. Right now working on a Ki-45 Nick and will present a Jill real soon. I am also a night fighter/intruder enthusiast as well with several builds planned.

    Nice Hornet by the way. My 2nd duty station was with F/A-18C's of VFA-303 and then to VFA-305. Looking forward to more of your work,

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