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Nakajima J9Y1 Kikka

by Francisco Carlos Soldán Alfaro

Nakajima J9Y1 Kikka


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The Nakajima Kikka was the only Japanese jet plane of the Second World War (the Kugisho Okha type 22 had to be transported by a Mitsubishi G4M BETTY).

When Germany began flight trials of its first prototype of the magnificent Messerschmitt 262, the Japanese Military Air Attache in Berlin was witness to a number of flight tests. Thanks to the enthusiastic reports of the Attache, the commander of the Kokutai of the Nihon Kutei Kaigun, Japanese Imperial Navy issued a requirement in 1944 to Flat the Greater General, in his 19-Shisaku (19° year of the Showa regime) demanding a local fighter specifically for defence. Initially, the Navy wanted a two-engine interceptor of short operational range; but the turn of the events changed the demand for a defensive weapon for the Mother country, destined to attack and to commit suicide if the situation required it. That is to say, in western language, Kamikaze.

In September of 1944, the Navy ordered Nakajima Hikoki K.K to develop to a single-seat twin engine airplane based on the design of Me 262 (although some sources indicate that in fact a contract under license for the construction of Me was signed 262, for which were on board received the planes of a submarine, such as happened with the Sushui J8M1).

The specifications were something less rigorous than for the German fighter: Operational range: • 205 kilometers (127 miles) with a load of of 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds) • 278 kilometers (173 miles) with a load of 250 kilograms (551 pounds); top speed of 696 km/h (432 mph) Landing speed: 148 km/h (92 mph) Take-off run: 350 ms (1,150 feet) with the help of rockets of attendance to the takeoff.

The design had to include folding wingtips so that it could be hidden in caves and tunnels. Emphasis had to be placed on the fact that the aircraft would be assembled by inexpert manual labor.

Nakajima assigned the project to engineers Kazuo Ohno and Kenichi Matsumura. Its design resembled the 262 at first look, but it was smaller compared to the Messerschmitt. It was an airplane entirely of metallic construction, with the exception of the fabric control surfaces. Ohno and Matsumura designed the Kikka with motors under each wing, to the way of the German jet. This characteristic allowed that the designers proved diverse types of motor without having to redistribute the structure of the fuselage.



With the Japanese industry surrounded by numerous logistic and technical problems, the design of the motor was delayed. Initially, the airplane had to be driven by a pair of Tsu-11 of 150 kgs of thrust, motor type Campini (although entirely of independent Japanese design), but these soon were replaced by two turbojets of also Japanese design, two Ne-12 of 300 kgs each. Nevertheless, the Ne-12 could not give the anticipated push, and the official interest in the Kikka began to diminish because it seemed that it would not be possible to be solved the requirements of benefits on time. However, meanwhile and luckyly, an engineer found photographs and a drawing in cross-sectional section of the German BMW 003 axial flow turbojet, and the Japanese technicians could use these photos to help themselves in the design of a similar turbojet (denominated Ne-20) of about 550 kg of thrust. It was decided to change the Kikka to the Ne-20 after several attempts to perfect other designs failed. Now it seemed that the requirements of benefits could be solved, after all, and the project followed ahead with greater speed. The first prototype left the factory the 25 of June 1944 for Kasukawa, in the prefecture of Gumma.

Lieutenant Commander Susumu Takaoka was assigned to the program, and from autumn she was prepared for the installation of the new motors. The engines were fitted to a Mitsubishi G4M Betty specially modified to serve as large bench test for the new powerplants.

The first flight of the Nakajima J9Y1 Kikka took place on the 7 of August, a day after the U.S.A. dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It returned to try one second attempt four days later, after Nakasaki had already been devastated by the second atomic bomb, but aborted the takeoff and crashed in Tokyo Bay. This accident occurred because the technicians had mounted the rocket assisted take-off bottles at the incorrect angle.

The development of the Kikka ended four days later with the Japanese surrender. Another prototype was almost ready for flight and nearly 25 other Kikkas were in Nakajima’s factory in various stages of assembly.

The fighter version was planned to be armed with 30mm cannon. This version would have been powered by two Ne-130 of 750 kg or two Turbojets of axial flow Ne-330 of 900 kgs.





I was hooked as soon as I researched the history of this fascinating aircraft.

The Kikka, together with the Okha and the Sushui, comprises of the trio of secret arms of Japan.
When I confronted the task of finding these scale models in the market, I only found them in scale 1/72 by MPM. Of average quality in general, that yes, with photoetched of detailed, are not that bad, but there are not many options in any case.

I prefer to build in 1/48 scale, an especially wanted to build the Kikka in this scale to complement my Me 163 Komet and Me 262 Messerschmitt . After much investigation, I managed to find the rare kit in HLJ (Hobby Link Japan) released by the previously unknown (to me anyway) company of Fine Molds. I ordered the kit without delay and waited impatiently for its arrival.

When the kit was finally in my hands, I was pleasantly surprised: the parts were finely molded, with engraved panel lines; very fine and faithful details to the original plane; and with detailing of the cockpit more than sufficient. The only disappointment was the one-piece, closed canopy.



I went to work. I installed the cockpit, which I painted using Tamiya Green mixed with a little Olive Green, to recreate the color of Nakajima cabins. I rebuilt the instrument panel with photoetched parts for the dials
Except for this, everything in the cockpit was built straight from the box.

Some care must be taken with the wings to obtain the correct dihedral.

Another important detail is the presence of a screw that is fitted in the upper base of the well of the front undercarriage (piece nº C27) that acts as a counterbalance. When I bought this model, the option to display the Ne 20 motor did not exist, so I installed the nacelles them without greater complications to the wing.

The only problem is the hollow which they presented/displayed which shows the wing in this inferior portion. Evergreen strips were used to address this problem. nothing that could not be solved with fine plastic sections evergreen.

The area that is a genuine pain, however, is the tail. This requires much filling and sanding, made worse due to the requirement to maintain or recreate surface details in this area. At this stage I left the Kikka and I embarked on other projects.

After some months, my interest returned when I saw that HLJ was offering a new version of the FineMolds Kikka, but this time with 20 Ne engines. On impulse I ordered it, wishing fervently to build and detail the motor, since I believe that it is the first time that a Japanese motor has been available to display in this scale.



My biggest surprise was when the kit was delivered was that the new parts for the motor came magnificently represented in white metal, and the nacelle in which it is displayed is a magnificent resin reproduction. I removed one nacelle to install the new motor. In the process, I damaged the trailing edge of the wing, which I had to rebuild with plasticard, without major problems.


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Francisco Carlos Soldán Alfaro
Page Created 29 October, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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