Ki-27 Home Defense

1/48 Minicraft / Hasegawa Ki-27

Gallery Article by Mark L. Rossmann on Apr 9 2021



Nakajima Ki-27, allied code name “Nate” in the southwest Pacific and as “Abdul” in the CBI theater, was a small liked fighter. To some pilots it was similar to the IJN A5M; having a fixed landing gear, all metal, low winged with a Nakajima Ha-1b, 9-cylinder radial, air cooled 710 h.p. engine, 2 machine guns, 220lbs of bombs with a maximum speed of 292 mph at 11,480 ft. with a range of 390 miles. Total production, between 1938 and 1942, came to 3,399 with 2,020 by Nakajima and the rest built in Manchukuo.

The Ki-27 was a transition aircraft into the Ki-43 Hayabusa, begun in 1935 to army specifications with the first prototype in October of 1936. The plane was extremely maneuverable in an era that was still conditioned on the agility of planes. 

The plane debuted in March of 1938 in China, then against the Russians in Manchuria, the next year. The fighter proved superior to the Russian I-15 but had problems up against the monoplane I-16. In June of 1939, WO Hiromichi Shinohara, of the 11th Sentai in Nomonhan China, held the record for downing 11 Russian planes in one day. By the time of his death in August, he had 58 kills to his name. 

This precursor war in Mongolia gave insight to the Japanese of pending trials in WWII.

At the beginning of the Pacific War, five Ki-27-equipped Sentai were deployed to support the campaigns in the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, and the Dutch East Indies, others continued on in China and in support of the Japanese puppet government in Manchukuo (Manchuria). 

The “Doolittle Raid” violated the sacred homeland, it was quite an embarrassment to Admiral Yamamoto whose naval aviators, and the Japanese Army aviators, failed to protect the capital. The Ki-27 was replaced by other front-line aircraft, immediately JAAF recalled the 47th Independent Chutai from Saigon, equipped with the Ki-44. The Ki-27 began to quickly disappear from the home defense role and by 1943 moved into the training role. 

With the impending invasion of Japan by the allied forces, Ki-27’s was transformed into suicide planes carrying half-ton bombs. However, the Manchukuo Air Force used the Ki-27b for the entire war. 
246th Sentai.  The 246th Sentai was formed in August 1942 from the 13th Sentai. (13thSentai was established in July 1938 at Kakogawa Prefecture Japan.) 246th used the Ki-27, Ki-44, Ki-84 and the Ki-46. It operated in the Philippines and Japan. Unit was disbanded at Taisho, near Osaka Japan at the end of the war.

Click on images below to see larger images

The build was easy, barely 46 parts, yet simple and a respectable look of a Ki-27.

Kit: Minicraft / Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-27 NATE, Type 97 Model “B”
Decals: This kit came from a swap meet with 2 sets of decals. Original boxing came with decals for the 84th Independent Chutai and the 13th Air Combat regiment.
Aircraft: This plane flew with the 246th “Sentai”, 2nd Chutai, (Identified by to blue stripes aft fuselage), which was mostly a Japanese Island “Home Defense” Unit. The Home Defense planes had a white “band” applied behind the Hinomaru’s marking on the fuselage, most of the time, this plane does not appear to have one. 

Pilot: St.Sgt. Susumi Kajinami. Kakogawa AB, Hyogo, Japan, early 1943.

This photo, of a 246th “Nate” is widely circulated on the internet.

A) Tamiya AS-18 IJA Light Grey spray for the base plane.
B) Testers Flat white spray for the Hinomaru’s areas. 
C) Tamiya TS-86 Pure Red spray for the cowling.
D) Tamiya TS-47 Chrome Yellow spray for the leading wing edges.

1. Osprey Aviation Elite – B-29 Hunters of the JAAF, by Koji Takaki and Henry Sakaida,
2. Osprey Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937 – 1945, by Henry Sakaida,
3. Rand McNally World War II Airplanes Vol. 2 by Enzio Angelucci and Paolo Matricard. 
4. Photo – daveswarbirds.com

Thanks to Steve for maintaining this fine site.


Mark L. Rossmann

Photos and text © by Mark L. Rossmann