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G4M Kit

Hasegawa 1/72 G4M2E Type 1 Model 24 Tei (Betty) Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review May 2005 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Mitsubishi G4M2E Type 1 Model 24 Tei (Betty) Scale 1/72
Kit Number 00550 E20 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Includes Ohka Model 11 Glide Bomb Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $42.95

First Look

G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit
G4M Kit

Developed as the successor to the Mitsubishi G3M (Nell), the Mitsubishi G4M’s prototype first flew on October 23, 1939. Known as the “Betty” in the Allied code name system, the full Japanese name of the aircraft was Isshiki Rikujo Kogeki-ki, or usually Isshiki-riko for short, taking just the first syllable from the last two words. This translates into English as “Type 1 Land-based Attack Plane”.

Imperial Japanese Navy demands for the new aircraft were severe. It was to have a range of no less than 4,185km in reconnaissance configuration, and no less than 3,704km when carrying up to 800kg of bombs or torpedoes. In order to produce this kind of range, it was necessary to essentially turn the wings of the plane into giant gas tanks, with integral fuel cells throughout. The plane’s characteristic cigar-like fuselage was designed to allow all ordnance to be carried internally, thus reducing drag and further increasing range, as well as to facilitate crew movements within the plane. In the end, these measures let the Betty actually exceed the performance demands that had been place upon it.

In the early years of the war, the Betty was in it’s element, proving to be a potent attack plane that could use it’s enormous range to strike targets deep within China and the Philippines, or far out to sea, as the British learned so painfully when G4M’s participated in the attacks which sunk the Repulse and Prince of Wales. However, when enemy opposition increased, the huge wing fuel tanks proved to be the Betty’s weakness as well as it’s strength; even a few hits from an enemy fighter or AA-guns would generally set the plane ablaze. Realizing this problem, later models of the Betty had redesigned wings with self-sealing fuel tanks, but only limited production of such versions was possible before the end of the war. In all, approximately 2,400 G4M’s were built.

The Model 24 Tei (G4M2E)

This was the version of the Betty with it’s bomb bay removed, and the ability to carry an Ohka Model 11 suicide plane. In addition, armor plate was added to the area around the pilot’s seat, the fuel tanks, and other locations. These changes significantly increased the gross weight of the plane and made the G4M2E a poor flyer. As a result, most were shot down before they could launch their Ohka’s (the box art portrays the fictional launching of Ohka no. I-13).

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art shows a G4M2E Betty, flying in formation with another G4M2E. Both are laden with Ohka’s. The one in the foreground is carrying Ohka number I-13. This is wrong as that Ohka number was never with the group that the Betty is marked for. The Betty has markings for the 721 st Naval Flying Group, 711 th Attack Squadron, 3 rd Section, Ibaragi Kounoike Air Base, March 1945 (this is one of the options provided on the decal sheet, by the way). A side panel of the box has a color photo of the finished Betty and Ohka in other markings.

Inside the box are 3 cello bags of parts. The largest of these bags holds 7 large medium gray parts sprues of parts for the Betty. A smaller cello holds one tree of parts that is all the pieces for the Ohka and a single clear part for it’s canopy. The last cello bag holds a tree of clear parts for the cabin windows and gun turrets on the Betty. There is also a small sprue of nylon washers that you use to retain the props in the cowlings, so that they will turn if you please.

The large decal sheet and instructions complete the contents of the kit. There is also a 4 page catalog showing other Hasegawa aircraft, and a couple sport car kits, that they market.

The instructions consists of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages.

Page 1 begins with a black and white photo of the Betty and Ohka models built up. This is followed by the history of these aircraft in Japanese and English.

Pages 2 through 4 give us a total of 14 assembly steps.

Page 5 begins with parts tree drawings, followed by a paint color listing for Gunze Sangyo brand of hobby paints suggested to use to decorate the two aircraft.

Pages 6 and 7 give us 4 different paint schemes and markings for the Betty and 3 schemes for the Ohka. All the Betty schemes are for the same 721 st Naval Flying Group in the following squadrons:

  1. The 711 th Attack Squadron, 3 rd Section, Ibaragi Kounoike Air Base, March 1945
  2. The 711 th Attack Squadron, 1 st Section, Kagoshima Kanoya Air Base, April 1945
  3. The 711 th Attack Squadron, 2 nd Section, Kagoshima Kanoya Air Base, March 1945
  4. The 708 th Attack Squadron, Kagoshima Kanoya Air Base, April 1945

Tree letter A holds the Betty’s fuselage and cowling parts (8 parts) Two parts on this tree are marked as being excess/not needed.

Trees letter B and C hold the Betty’s upper and lower wing halves. (2 pieces per tree)

Letter D is the single piece that is the floor that goes inside the whole length of the Betty’s fuselage.

There are 2 identical letter E parts trees. They hold the Betty’s horizontal tail parts, propellers and engine fronts etc. (6 parts per tree) One part is excess/spare.

There are also 2 identical letter F parts trees. These hold the Betty’s cowling and engine parts and landing gear doors. (11 parts per tree)

There are no letter G through I parts trees.

Letter J parts tree is the clear parts for the Betty’s windows and gun blisters. (15 parts)

Two of these parts are excess/spares.

There are no letter K through M parts trees.

Letter N tree holds the Betty’s nose radar array, interior bulkheads, some guns etc. (41 parts) 8 are excess/spares.

Parts tree lettering now jumps to letter Q parts tree. This tree holds landing gear parts etc. (27 parts) 2 parts are excess/spares.

The last tree is all the parts for the Ohka suicide aircraft and it’s wheeled ground trolley. This tree does not have a letter designation. (22 parts) The final single part is the clear one for the Ohka’s canopy.

The final item is the decal sheet. It is large and includes decals to do the yellow leading wing edges on the Betty.

This kit looks to build into one neat aircraft combination. As said earlier, you can opt to either mount the Ohka in the Betty’s bomb bay or on the little ground trolly provided in the kit. If you choose for mounting it below the Betty, you have to cut away part of the ceiling of the bomb bay in the Betty to accommodate the canopy of the Ohka. Several holes have to be drilled through the bottom of the Betty to attach the Ohka cradle too.