Nakajima's Ki-43 Hayabusa was a turning point aircraft for the JAAF. Prior to this aircraft, the thinking of the time was for a lightweight aircraft that was capable of being superior in a dogfight. The mount of the time was the Ki-27, a very small, low-winged monoplane with fixed landing gear. The Ki-27 was very maneuverable and able to dogfight successfully with biplane fighters.
Most pilots disliked the Hayabusa upon first meeting. Here was a (relatively) large aircraft, that was a bit heavy and had retractable landing gear. Sure, it was faster than the Ki-27 by quite a bit, but it could not out-dogfight it. Reluctantly, pilots had no choice but to start flying their new mount. As they flew it, they began to appreciate the qualities of the aircraft and the extra speed that it provided. All they had to do was to take advantage of the pluses of the aircraft and develop new tactics.
The Oscar, as the Allies code named it, was operational throughout the war, being used as training and suicide aircraft late in the war. After the way, those aircraft still remaining were used by the countries in which they were left. Both the French and Indonesians used the Ki-43 for a few years. Those in Indonesia were often pieced together from planes found on the scrap pile.
Nakajima Ki 43-II Hayabusa Oscar
Nakajima KI.43II Hayabusa Oscar, 248th Flight Regiment
Plastic model kit.
Manufacturer: Hasegawa Models