Tamiya made 1/48 Mitsubishi J2M Raiden Jack (61018) Propeller Aircrafts Military Series assembly kit
About the Raiden (JACK)
In September 1939, aircraft
manufacturers Nakajima and Mitsubishi received an unofficial order to
trial-manufacture the Raiden, the Japanese Navy&39;s first interceptor (a fighter
to undertake the air defence of land bases). It was finally decided, however,
that the development and trial-manufacture of the Raiden should be conducted
only by Mitsubishi. It was in April of 1940 that the plane was designated
"14-Shi Interceptor (J2M1)" and official requirements were set out by the Navy.
The requirements gave priority to climbing power, maximum speed and high
altitude performance. Aircraft engines of those days that could meet all these
requirements were only the air-cooled engine "Kasei" type 11 trial-manufactured
by Mitsubishi for the Type 1 Attack Bomber (G4M) "Betty" and the liquid-cooled
engine "Atsuta" trial-manufactured by Aichi. Because of the Navy&39;s poor
experience in liquid-cooled engines and Atsuta&39;s insufficient reliability, the
Navy was forced to employ the air-cooled engine Kasei which, having larger
engine diameter and giving larger air resistance, was not best suited to be used
in a fighter.
The Raiden was
designed by engineer Jiro Horikoshi and his designers who had taken charge of
the Zero Fighter. To lessen air resistance, was not best suited to be used in a
fighter. The Raiden was designed by engineer Jiro Horikoshi and his designers
who had taken charge of the Zero Fighter. To lessen air resistance, the
propeller shaft of the engine was made longer and the cowling was made
slenderer. To obtain higher cooling efficiency, the forced-cooling fan was used.
The body was spindle-shaped with its largest section at the 40% of its overall
length. The wing load was as large as 145 kg/m? and, in due consideration of
dogfights, Fowler flaps were employed. The retracting system and propeller pitch
changing system of the electric type were employed in place of those of the
hydraulic type which had a bad reputation.
Interceptor made its first flight at Kasumigaura Airfield on 20th March, 1942.
As a result of various tests flights made thereafter, defects such as
insufficient power of the Kasei engine, bad vibration of the extended propeller
shaft and poor visibility were pointed out. A production type which bettered
visibility by shortening the nose and remodelling the canopy and mounted the
more powerful Kasei 23 engine equipped with the water-methanol injection system
made its first flight on 13th October, 1942. The production type also developed
many troubles in the engine and other sections, and it was in December 1943 that
the plane was accepted for use under the name of Raiden Type 11 (J2M2). In the
meantime, the Raiden Type 21 (J2M3), an anti-bomber fighter which had more
powerful armament consisting of four belt-fed 20mm machine guns, was completed
in October 1943 and now became the main object of production. The production of
the Type 21 totaled about 300.
The Raiden Type 21 first
saw action in the Battle of Mariana in September 1944. Subsequently, some were
sent to the Philippines and Formosa and took part in actions, but the result
was not as good as the Japanese had expected. It was in air defense actions
for the mainland by the Raiden unit of the 302nd Air Group based on Atsugi that
the Raiden exercised its own power to the full and showed the most brilliant
activity. The Raiden unit distinguished itself by shooting down a total of about
300 enemy planes in the short period from the end of 1944 to the end of the
war. It owed much of its success to the fact that it could readily obtain necessary
material from the nearby Koza naval air arsenal which produced the Raiden, the
geographical conditions that its base Atsugi was located near the course of
B29 bombers intruding into the Kanto district, and the best consolidated air
defense system and air control by means of radar network.