Yokosuka MXY7 OKHA Model 11
In 1945, Japan had their backs against the wall. The Allies were about to invade Okinawa, part of Japan, and the situation was becoming desperate. In October of 1944 much of the Imperial Japanese Fleet had been destroyed at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Kamikaze suicide aircraft had been used during the Leyte Gulf battle, and it appeared that this might be the weapon that could turn the tide back to Japan’s favor.
Coincidentally in October of 1944 a new suicide weapon had been developed, and flight testing took place in November. The Yokosuka MXY7 “Okha” (Cherry Blossom) was basically a 1,200 KG (2646 lb.) bomb with wings, tail and cockpit added. It was powered by three solid-fuel rocket engines, and could reach 600 mph in a dive. The Okha was ready for deployment when the Allies invaded Okinawa in April of 1945.
The Okha’s purpose was to destroy or disable ships with a direct hit. The huge charge could and did sink ships with one hit. The USS Mannert L Abele, a destroyer was hit, broke in two and sunk by a single Okha. The other advantage was that except for the bomb casing, the Okha was built mostly of wood, using far fewer strategic materials than a standard aircraft.
The other side of the coin was that the Okha had a range of only 20 miles. It had to be carried into battle under a G4M2 Betty bomber. After the first attack by the Betty/Okha combination, the Allies increased Combat Air Patrol radii. The Betty was slowed considerably by the weight and drag of the Okha, and most of the Bettys which sortied failed to return, whether they got close enough to launch the weapon or not. Of the 43 Bettys sent toward the Okinawa invasion fleet, 5 returned to base.
No Allied capital ships were damaged; all of the ships damaged or sunk were transports or destroyers. Postwar analysis was that the Okha was an ineffective weapon due to effective Allied air defenses.
You get three sprues of resin, a photoetch sheet, decals and two vacuformed canopies. The instructions are fairly straightforward, as is the build of the aircraft.
I was impressed by the nicely cast resin parts and the detail. Note the beautiful rocket exhausts in the photos. The PE includes a seat, belts, stick and what is probably armor or a headrest for the cockpit. OK, how many other 1/144 kits include a PE cockpit? From my experience, not many.
I cut out the fuselage from the sprue. I’m glad that I purchased some PE saw blades a while back with really fine teeth. It took a while, but I managed to cut the sprue away without damaging the fuselage. Same with the wings and tail parts.
The wings fit pretty well to the fuselage. The tops fit cleanly and required only a touch of putty. The bottoms less so, but a bit of Mr Surfacer 500 was all it took. The tail parts fit nicely, with only a bit of filler required at the front of the horizontal stabilizer.
I always take note if there are bubbles at the surface of the resin parts. This kit did have one. Most excellent casting. I filled the hole with bit of Testors Model Master paint, the same color I used to paint the entire model.
Pretty simple. I painted the entire kit with Model Master enamel. One color. I used 36440 gray, which looked pretty good. I then painted the interior of the cockpit light green, along with the seat. I painted the seat belts light tan, and the stick black. I then put the PE cockpit parts in the cockpit. Everything fit, although I had a devil of a time getting those tiny seat belts to stay in place. They seemed to have a real affinity for the tweezers.
There are markings given for two aircraft. I just picked one and put them on. It turns out that I-10 and I-18 are at air museums, both in Chino California. The decals came off the sheet cleanly, went on the fuselage with no problems, and stood up to handling with no problems. And since there are only 2 markings on the Okha, I didn’t have any problems. Good decals.
After the decals, I cut out the canopy and installed it. This thing is so small I couldn’t really see what I was cutting. That’s probably why they send two canopies. But I got it pretty close, except for small gaps between the fuselage and the sides of the canopy. Micro Krystal Kleer is my friend here, filling that tiny gap. I then brush painted the canopy, using a toothpick to straighten out the lines.
There are 3 tiny PE parts which go on the fuselage. I didn’t put these on until the very end, because any handling will knock them off.
I’m also building a Hasegawa Betty, which I’m converting to a G4M2 to carry this Okha. I’ll probably display them side-by-side.
Highly Recommended. This is a tiny kit, but it’s really well done. I am really impressed by the art and engineering Brengun put into this kit. The fit is darned good, the decals are primo, and the addition of PE puts this into a class of kit which could win at any contest.
Many thanks to Brengun for this excellent kit, and to IPMS/USA for the chance to build it.