Hobby Master HA2013 B5N1 Type 97 "Kate" 9-348, 14 Kokutai, Sanzao Dao, South China 1938-39 1/72
Hobby Master HA2013 1/72 B5N1 Type 97 "Kate" 9-348, 14 Kokutai, Sanzao Dao, South China 1938-39
The Nakajima B5N1 first flew in January 1937. It was quite unique for a carrier-aircraft with its low mono wing that folded for storage and wide-track inward folding retractable landing gear. The new Kates were far superior to its competition, the TBD Devastator and the Fairey Swordfish however it did have its shortcomings. It was very poorly armed for self defense and required A5M escort protection. Also the crew and fuel tanks had no protection. The B5N1 was replaced by the improved B5N2.
The prototype of the B5N1 Type 97 completed its maiden flight in January 1937 and ordered into production almost immediately. The new aircraft was state of the art for 1937 and became known as the Kate to Allied forces. 143 Kates took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The B5N1 was Japan’s most effective torpedo bomber but even when it became obsolete because of the newer U.S. aircraft Japan was forced to continue using it because they had no alternatives.