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James Kelley
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Hasegawa 1/48 Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden.

May 15, 2022 · in Aviation · · 8 · 1.1K

Mitsubishi J2M3

Technical Air Intelligence Units (TAIU) were joint Allied military intelligence units formed during World War II to recover Japanese aircraft to obtain data regarding their technical and tactical capabilities.

The first such unit, known later as Technical Air Intelligence Unit–South West Pacific (TAIU–SWPA), was formed in November 1942 by the United States Navy (USN), United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at Eagle Farm Airbase, Brisbane, Australia, in November 1942.
During 1943–44, three other TAIUs were formed in the other Allied theatres of the Pacific War.

• South East Asia: ATAIU–SEA; British Royal Air Force (RAF)/USAAF
• Pacific Ocean Areas: TAIU–POA; USN
• China: Republic of China Air Force

A proposed joint U.S. Army-U.S. Navy research unit in the continental United States was never established, as neither service was prepared to work with the other. Some Japanese aircraft were tested in the US, at various bases, by pilots from the Naval Air Test Center, the USAAF Test Training Unit (which was established with the assistance of RAF technical intelligence units in Europe) and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

Crashed and captured aircraft were located, identified, and evaluated (often in or near the front lines), before being recovered for further tests. Aircraft that were not too badly damaged were rebuilt for test flights that revealed vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Examination of the materials used in the construction of aircraft allowed the Allies to analyze Japanese war production. The unit also absorbed a small team who developed the code name system for Japanese aircraft, and produced aircraft recognition charts and photographs.

The kit is the venerable 1996 Hasegawa Raiden, re-boxed in 2012 with the "POW" decals. The kit goes together well, you just have to tend to a LOT of pin ejector marks. Also, these were some of the worst decals I've ever used, and THE worst from a Hasegawa kit. The roundels all peeled up along the edges while drying under Micro-Sol. Additionally, the port-side "SEA" silvered badly, despite a perfectly glossy model surface. Really very disappointing. I added an Eduard lap belt, and the antenna is E-Z Line. Cannon barrels hollowed out with a #11 blade tip. As it stands, an unsatisfying 3-footer.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

8 responses

  1. Despite the difficulties with the decals, it turned out great!

  2. Looking superb, James!
    Yes, decals sometimes can give a hard time...
    Thanks for the TAIU provided info!

  3. Very fine looking Raiden, James @jkelleycrna
    The history background is very nice as well.

  4. Grreat looking build!

  5. Very nice, it's a shame these two planes weren't saved for posterity. I'm on Raiden number 2 in the Empire of Japan build, and find it a decent kit and one of the few that make detailing the cockpit a worthwhile venture.

  6. Looks great, despite the difficulties. I like the Raiden - one of my favorite Japanese aircraft. The captured warbirds scheme looks nice on it.

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