The Second World War, for all the death and destruction it wrought, did provide the catalyst for some amazing technological advances. Sticking some floats underneath a Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter probably isn’t in the top three though, but the result is still rather cool. The Nakajima A6M2-N ‘Rufe’, developed from the infamous Zero, turned the land-based fighter/bomber into an amphibious floatplane. Just over 300 were produced between 1942 and the end of the war, with last being operated by the French following its capture in Indo-China. This ingeniously constructed small scale version comes from John C. Lamarck of Flickr, who has captured the Rufe’s unique asthenic brilliantly in miniature. See more at John’s photostream via the link.
Eagle-eyed readers of this blog post will have noticed that this is not a car. It is in fact a Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ World War 2 fighter, as flown by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service in the last three years of the war. One of the fastest, most formidably armed, and highest flying fighters of the time, the Nakajima Ki-84 was a feared adversary.
Over 3,500 Ki-84’s were produced between 1943 and 1945, although towards the end of the conflict the crippling effects of the war on production meant that defects rose dramatically and quality dropped. After the Allied victory several Ki-84’s were captured, with Indonesia the People’s Republic of China operating the aircraft within their own air forces, and America using two for evaluation.
Today just one Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ fighter survives, an ex-U.S evaluation aircraft now located in the Chiran Peace Museum in Japan. However thanks to previous bloggee and military-building specialist Daniel Siskind we now have double the number of Ki-84’s available to view.
Daniel’s superb mini-figure scale recreation of Japan’s fastest Second World War fighter is a beautifully detailed build and includes authentically replicated Imperial Japanese roundels and tail markings, as well as a custom IJA airman mini-figure shown in the first image above. See more of Daniel’s Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Hayate’ fighter and its custom mini-figure pilot on Flickr by clicking here.