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Kayaba Type 4 Katsuodori Ramjet Fighter

Meng 1/72 Kayaba Type 4 Katsuodori Ramjet Fighter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2012 Manufacturer Meng
Subject Kayaba Type 4 Katsuodori Ramjet Fighter Scale 1/72
Kit Number DS001 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Interesting subject Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $19.99

First Look


After the end of World War II, allied forces found a number of advanced programs that were under development by the Imperial Japanese armed forces. One of these was being developed by the Kayaba study group looking at how to adapt ramjet technology into combat aircraft. As technology transfer continued between Nazi Germany and Japan, engineering advancements made by the Germans further encouraged this design team. An aircraft was developed that bore similarities to the Heinkel P.1078 tailless jet fighter but replaced the turbine engine with a ramjet. Four RATO bottles propelled the aircraft into the air and provided enough airspeed for the engine to develop sufficient thrust for sustained flight. While the design showed promise, it was never put into full-scale development before war's end.

Meng is a model company based in Hong Kong, China and has released an interesting new range of kits for subjects that have never been produced in plastic before. One of these is the Kayaba ramjet fighter in 1/72 scale.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on a single tree plus a clear tree with two canopies. Actually there are two canopies because there is a second kit included in this box - two complete Kayaba fighters. The design is simple as you would expect from a small single-plane aircraft in this scale but you can see in the images that the details are there.

When you look closer at the parts, you'll note that this isn't a ramjet at all. The intake and exhaust ducts have a jet engine compressor and turbine face (respectively) so this kit follows the Heinkel design intent more closely. I'm not sure how a turbine fits into the development of this aircraft given that the historical resources online still consider this a ramjet fighter.

The cockpit is simple and not surprisingly similar to an Me 163 even down to the canopy. When you assemble the cockpit, fuselage halves, intake and exhaust ducts, and wings, the basic aircraft model is done.

The kit does provide some interesting options:

  • RATO bottles for assisted take-off
  • Fixed landing gear
  • Transport dolly (when there isn't fixed landing gear installed)
  • Transport cradle

The transport dolly is similar to the type used to move the Me 163 around on the ground when it doesn't have its detachable wheels installed. The cradle on the other hand is an interesting option - the cradle mounts into the bomb bay of a mothership. The instructions list candidates as Ki-49 Helen, G5N Liz, G8N Rita, Ki-67 Peggy, G7M and G10N. While this would make for an eye-catching in-flight model, you'll have to do some re-engineering of the mothership to allow for ground clearance of the fighter while it is on the ground.

Two sets of markings are provided for this kit (two kits actually), one IJA fighter circa August 1945 and one IJN fighter about the same time.

This is an interesting kit that to my knowledge has never been produced in plastic before. It is technically a drawing board project that had never reached production before war's end so it could be categorized as a Luft '46 subjct or simply an interesting concept fighter. Either way, this kis a nice looking kit that should build up easily and having two complete kits in the box at this low price means you can do the IJA and IJN examples provided, or even do a squadron of your own choosing.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!