Mitsubishi Ki-45 project began in 1938; however a long teething period did not make the plane available until May of “41”. The first operation Ki-45 did not occur until around August of “42”. The “Dragon Slayer”, Toryu, known to the allies as “Nick”, was designed as a heavy two-engined fighter, much like the Bf-110. It served in many roles during the war, but became one of the main B-29 hunters the last year of the war.
A total of 1,701 of the Ki-45’s were built by July of “45”. Like many other Japanese aircraft, the Ki-45 version went into production with upgraded engines, In this case, Nakajima 14 cylinder radial engines each outputting 1050 h.p. The aircraft was first used for ground attack and anti-shipping. To give better attack capabilities the Ka-45 KAib was produced carrying a 20mm and 37mm cannon in the nose. This was a successful change, leading to the Ki-45-KAIc with additional two upward firing machine guns, but no radar for lack of room. This version
was used in the B-29 Hunter role.
The 4th Sentai began night fighter training in January of “44”, 15 of the 40 pilots qualified, with over 500 hours of training. A captured B-17E at Bandbung, was used to work out coordinated attacks. The 4th was scrambled against the incoming B-29’s, 1Lt. Kashida reported that he was scared at his first sighting of a B-29, the was no denial compared to a B-17 it was truly a “Super fortress”, it reminded him of a great whale in the ocean when it appeared in the search light.
images below to see larger images
This is the Nichmo 1/48 Ki-45, found the model at the “Hope it don’t Snow” contest in Rochester Man. I had picked up the AeroMaster Empire Defenders Pt II (48-171) when they first came out in 1994. The decals held up very well and transferred without incident. Tamiya AS-17 IJA Dark Green rattle can spray was used, with flat white Testers spray for the Hinomarus areas. The yellow decals were used from the AeroMaster sheet for the forward wings.
Aircraft #53 is from the 53rd Sentai, 3rd Hikohtai at Matsudo AB, Chiba Prefecture.
Another of the 4 aircraft in the decal set (picture above) was an aircraft flown by 2nd Lt. Yamamato, leader of the KAITEN-TAI special ramming unit, his surname was written on the tail. It was a unique version with all armament removed and the rear gunner seat removed and sealed. The emblem on the nose of a white B-29 with its wing getting torn off, is a unit marking, not a kill marking. On April 18, 1945 he was killed in this plane during a ramming attack over Fukuoka Prefecture, slamming into the wing of 1st Lt. Robert J. Johnson “Gonna Mak’er”, all aboard were killed.