In my series of models that may have directly confronted each other in combat I would like to present today a pair of fighters that were involved in a battle over Chiba prefecture on 16/17 February 1945.
The Grumman F6F-5 is the Monogram 1/48 kit from the sixties (!) which I built in 1994 and upgraded recently with several aftermarket items such as a new engine, cowling, cockpit, landing gear, tank, HVARs, and other accessories. My model represents a fighter bomber of VBF-12 aboard USS Randolph. The pilot of this Hellcat is not known because the US Navy – like most carrier-borne air forces – did not assign specific planes to pilots (except for Group Commanders).
The Mitsubishi Raiden of the 302nd (Yokosuka) Kokutai is a buntai leader’s aircraft (yellow fuselage band) and was most likely assigned to Lt Teramura Junro, buntai-cho of the 1st Buntai. This J2M3 was lost on 19 April 1945 while flown by Lt(jg) Fukuda Ei. The victory was claimed by P-51 pilot Maj James Trapp, squadron commander of the 78th FS. A few weeks later, on 29 May, Lt Teramura was shot down, too, and wounded by a Mustang at the hands of Capt Todd Moore of the 45th FS.
It may be interesting to note that a fully loaded Raiden weighed 1,500 lbs less than a Hellcat when empty. Their speed was about equal at around 330 kts (600 kph).
A build report and more information about my Tamiya model and its details can be found HERE:
References: Naval Fighters Number 92, Aircraft of the Aces 129.
The photo montage captions are imagined.
Cheers to all J-modellers
Michael Thurow - Germany