Japanese Yokosuka MXY7-K1 Trainer
In the Summer of 1944, things were not going well for the Japanese. The Americans were approaching Japan, and from the Japanese viewpoint, an invasion of the homeland was not too far away. Conventional weaponry seemed to be ineffective. Due to the fact that Japan was far behind the U.S. in industrial development, existing air and naval forces were being used up far beyond Japan’s ability to replace equipment and personnel. The leaders still thought they could win, but it was obvious to many military and naval people that something radical was needed.
A Japanese Navy transport pilot, Mitsuo Ohta, came up with the idea of a piloted missile that could be launched by aircraft, being guided to its target by the pilot. He designed a small, rocket powered aircraft which was to carry a 2,600 lb. war head, launched from a Mitsubishi G4M2 “Betty” medium bomber. Built of wood and non-essential metals, it was designed to be flown by relatively unskilled pilots. Designed and built in only a few weeks, a glider version was test flown successful, and oddly enough, quite a number of service pilots volunteered to fly them against the Americans. Their first use was off Okinawa, where the first attacks were unsuccessful, because the bombers carrying them were quickly intercepted and destroyed by carrier fighters. Later, there were a few successes, with several Navy ships sunk and others damaged. A total of 755 was manufactured, and in addition, there were several variants, one with a jet engine and other for use as trainers.
There are two very good references on this aircraft. The book Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by R,J,. Francillon, New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1970, provides an excellent account of the development and service use of the aircraft, as well as some accurate three view drawings. Another book, Thundergods,by a Japanese author, Hatsuho Naito, New York & Tokyo:, Kodansha Int’l, 1989, covers the organizations created for the use of these aircraft, along with personal interviews of some of the survivors of these units. One strange part of this book is the author’s references to Japanese aircraft by their American code names, e.g. Betty, Sally, Jill, etc. There is a lot of firsthand information here, telling how the pilots felt about their one-way missions. It is amazing how these pilots felt about spending their last evening alive before going off to their explosive ends. One could question their sanity, but I digress.
Four pages of instructions are provided, with a sprue diagram, color guide, and various exploded assembly drawings. Color drawings are provided on the boxtop for two variations. There is no interior color information provided.
The first kit I became aware of of this aircraft was included in an early Hasegawa kit of the Mitsubishi G4M1 “Betty”. It depicted the Oka 11 bomb version, and is still a very good kit, although most of the G4M’s used to carry the Oka 11 were the later G4M2 turreted variety.
The Brengun kit appeared rather recently, although there is no indication on the kit box or instructions as to the date of issue or manufacture. From the look of the kit, it appears that Brengun originally issued the kit as an MXY-7 bomb, and issued this kit subsequently as the trainer version. One reason for this opinion is that the decal sheet provides decals for the bomb version, with no explanation why the unit markings need not be used. In fact, I used the Brengun unit markings for the Hasegawa kit, which I built alongside this one.
The differences between the Oka-11 bomb and the MXY-7 trainer were the landing skid and the lack of the rocket exhausts. In addition, the MXY-7 Trainer had wingtip skids to protect the aircraft so it could fly again.
The kit is fairly well molded, although many of the joining surfaces need to be trimmed and sanded to form. The wing and tail units need a lot of trimming to get proper fit, and the small skid along the bottom needs careful fitting. The kit has a modest interior, but nothing to really attach it into the fuselage. The wings do not fit into the receptacles on the fuselage, and it takes quite a bit of work to get them right. The same goes for the tail unit. The canopy fits fairly well, but still requires some filled along the sides.
There is a small PE sheet included, which mainly includes a section for the small wheels that attach to the skid. The wing skids are also on the PE sheet. All of the aileron and flap hinges provided apparently go with the MXY-7 Bomb, so are not to be used. The small wheels for the skid are resin parts.
Aside from the problems with the joining surfaces, the kit went together fairly well. A fair amount of putty was required on all joints, and the skid was a problem, requiring a superglued assembly. A attached the canopy and masked each window section, a fairly tedious job, but still it only took about 10 minutes.
The kit has excellent decals which require no trimming. They are obviously the same decals used on the MXY-7 Oka 11 Bomb.
Painting and Finishing
Two paint schemes are provided for this aircraft, one orange, and one medium green over the usual Japanese Navy light grey. The decals are adequate for either version.
If you like small, unusual models, this one is for you. Don’t expect to throw it together without some effort, but it turns into a nice model when completed. Get one of these while you can. Now I’m waiting for another so I can build the jet powered version.