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Kawanishi N1K2-J ShidenKai (George) – Japan Naval Air Force

Availability:

4 in stock

£16.99

4 in stock

Superb 1/72 scale model from Altaya of the Kawanishi N1K2-J ShidenKai (Translated as Violet Lightning–Improved) Allied cename: George; a fast and powerful fighter used by Japanese Naval Aviation in the later years of WW2. Perfect accompaniment to the Corgi range of 1/72 WW2 fighters. Has to be seen to be appreciated. Complete with optional undercarriage positions and stand in a sealed plastic blister. The only diecast model of this plane available.

The N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai (Japanese for “Violet Lightning–Improved”) was the best fighter used in significant numbers by the Japanese Navy during World War II. Known by the Allies as the “George,” this maneuverable, heavily-armed fighter was a formidable opponent in the closing months of the war.

The Shiden Kai was considerably better than the Japanese Navy’s most common fighter, the A6M Zero. With a top speed of 369 mph, the N1K2 was about 20 mph faster than the A6M Zero. The heavier Shiden Kai also possessed surprisingly good maneuverability due to a mercury switch that automatically extended the flaps during turns. These “combat” flaps created more lift, thereby allowing tighter turns. Moreover, its four 20 mm automatic cannon provided greatly increased firepower than earlier Japanese designs. Unlike the A6M Zero, the Shiden Kai could compete against the best late-war U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Air Forces fighters.

The N1K2-Ja was developed to counter high-flying B-29s. It first entered combat early in 1945, and over 400 were produced before the war ended. The Shiden Kai primarily equipped the 343rd Kokutai, a unit composed of the Japanese Navy’s best fighter pilots. Commanded by Capt. Minoru Genda, the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack, the 343rd Kokutai entered combat in March 1945 in the defense of the Japanese home islands.

Shiden Kai pilots scored several successes against low-flying, carrier-based U.S. Navy fighters. Even so, they did little to stop high-altitude B-29 attacks because of the N1K2’s insufficient climbing ability and the considerable loss of horsepower and engine reliability above 21,000 feet. These B-29 raids seriously hindered Shiden Kai production by heavily bombing the plants building the fighter.

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