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G4M Type1 (Betty)

Minicraft 1/144 G4M Type 1 (Betty) Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2011 Manufacturer Minicraft
Subject G4M Type 1 (Betty) Scale 1/144
Kit Number 14634 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build, nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $13.00

First Look

G4M Type1 (Betty)
G4M Type1 (Betty)
G4M Type1 (Betty)

The Mitsubishi G4M was a twin-engine land-based aircraft introduced into service in mid-1941 for the Imperial Japanese Navy air arm. The aircraft was designated by allied intelligence as Betty. The G4M was a long-range bomber with a range of over 3700 miles. This impressive range was achieved by building the aircraft with as little weight as possible with next to nil for armor and no self-sealing fuel tanks. While this aircraft was formidable in the early stages of the war, once the allies could field enough of a fighter force, the Betty quickly turned from threat to target.

With the lack of self-sealing fuel tanks, any damage to the fuel tanks would start a fire that would usually lead to an in-flight explosion. Allied pilots used to nickname the G4M as "the one-shot lighter" and "the flying Zippo". Judging from the nicknames given the Betty by its own crews: "Type One Lighter" or "The Flying Lighter", pilots on both sides of the war could agree on something.

Nevertheless, Japanese crews would use the G4M's ability to fly high, fast, and used its long range to approach its target from unpredictable directions and be gone before allied fighters could reach their altitudes. Despite the aircraft's intolerance to battle damage in the fuel tanks, the aircraft could otherwide sustain serious battle damage and still get home. Armed with a 20mm tail gun, any fighter that could get up to the G4M would be very vulnerable to that 20mm gun before the fighters could close enough to use their own .50 caliber machine guns.

Minicraft has re-released the Crown 1/144 G4M Type 1 (Betty) kit and this is a nice little gem. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on three parts trees plus a tree of clear parts. Molding in clean and layout is very simple.

Construction starts with the cockpit and while simple, the kit provides three crew seats under that greenhouse enclosure. The wings and tail are simple assemblies that rould out the basic airframe.

The kit can be built with the landing gear extended or retracted and the propellers can be installed with blades or spinner only to simulate running engines.

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • G4M1, K-310, sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, Dec 1941
  • G4M1, unconditional surrender scheme, Aug 1945

This is a nice kit that will go together nicely and provide a quick project to add to your scale flightline. This is another nice installment in Minicraft's growing line of 1/144 scale aircraft.

My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!