Choroszy Modelbud's 1/72 Mitsubishi 2MB2 Washi Bomber
By Brent Theobald
Despite being a very clean and novel design, the Mitsubishi 2MB2, also known as the Experimental Washi (Eagle) Light Bomber, fell victim to the very same cause which was and still is the bane of experimental aircraft to this day. In 1925, the Imperial Army issued a request to three firms, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, and Nakajima. This request was for the development of a light bomber, which would be completely manufactured in Japan with Japanese components. As the other two aircraft firms got to work on their designs, Mitsubishi called in some assistance from Germany in the form of Dr. Alexander Baumann, then, a professor at Stuttgart University. Baumann was to oversee and supervise the project and was assisted by Nobushiro Nakata (chief designer) and Satsuo Tokunaga.
The resulting aircraft, the one and only prototype being completed in December of 1925,proved to be of unique design, being a high aspect ratio sesquiplane with very clean strut and brace arrangement with wide-track landing gear. The fuselage was of metal while the wings were a blending of wood and metal with fabric covering. The two-man crew, pilot and observer sat in open cockpits. A Mitsubishi built Hispano-Suez 12-cylinder, water-cooled engine, which developed between 450 to 600 horsepower, drove a Reed, fixed pitch, two bladed prop. The Washi had a fairly powerful weapon payload. It was equipped with two, fixed forward firing 7.7mm machineguns and for the observer, a ring mounted flexible 7.7mm machinegun. The observer could also use a flexible 7.7mm machinegun in a ventral mounting, providing firepower below the aircraft. The bombload was a maximum of 1,763lbs. When testing got underway at Kagamigahara, speeds of 130 to 131mph were recorded, a testament to the design. When the Army began to test the Washi and the competing designs from Kawasaki and Nakajima for comparison, the Washi proved to be the superior in overall performance and both of the competitor's designs were rejected.
The victory was short lived as the Army deemed the Washi too expensive to produce because of the very design, which granted it the excellent performance. So, not to miss out on any contracts, Mitsubishi quickly submitted the design for the 2MB1, which was basically a modification of the Mitsubishi Navy Type 13 Carrier Attack aircraft which had been completed in 1923. Even in that year, this design was outdated and outclassed but the Army accepted it for service anyhow based on the fact that the plane, called the Type 87 Light Bomber in Army service, was more practical and thus, by extension, cheaper to build, regardless of the fact the Army was giving its pilots a lesser plane.
Special thanks to Charles Metz for mining this information for me. I understand the source is The Xplanes of Imperial Japanese Army & Navy 1924-45, by Nohara.
This is another example of the fine resin kits that are coming out of Eastern Europe. Choroszy Modelbud makes some excellent kits, and this one is no exception. Digging out the parts and laying them out on the table I was surprised at the amount of parts in the zip lock bag. There are tons of tiny fiddly bits. The wing span on this model is impressive too. It is over ten inches wide. It looks like it ought to build up into a large, well-detailed model.
The fuselage is cast in two separate halves. The detail on these two parts is very nice both inside and out. There are engine louvers that are well represented as well as stringers in the cockpit area. A little clean up with a sanding stick is normal for this kind of kit and should be expected. A sign of this kit's quality is how little will actually be required.
The top wing is cast in three sections, center section and two outer sections. That ought to make adding dihedral simple. The wing was fabric covered so there is petite detail that convincingly portrays the structure of the wing. There is no annoying fabric texture. The lower wing is similar with the exception of being cast in two pieces. All the wings feature realistically thin trailing edges. The edges are nearly transparent. A little sanding will be required to clean the wings up from the casting process, but nothing to be concerned about.
The detail parts are where this kit will get challenging. Removing the casting plugs from all those little parts should provide hours of modeling enjoyment! Once all the parts are cleaned up they will go a long way to detail this model. There are bits for the cockpit, the engine and little pieces to add to the struts. Electrical generators I suppose. Speaking of struts… They are all supplied in cast resin. Due to the wings span of this aircraft I would suggest replacing them with Strutz material.
The only area in which these kits from Choroszy Modelbud are deficient is in the instructions department. This kit's one three-quarter exploded view drawing is better and larger than some I've seen from this company. The instructions could still be greatly improved upon. There are just a lot of parts with few hints on where to put some of them. Still, the experienced aircraft modeler will recognize most of them and know where they go. The decals are simple. Just red dots.
This is another impressive kit from Choroszy Modelbud. They specialize in obscure aircraft and do a good job of it too. Their casting is first class, if only their instructions were so good. Certainly a great model can be built from the contents of this box. The model will be very large. It wouldn't look out of place parked next to one of the ICM I'lya Muromets models. I can't wait to see what weird and unknown aircraft this company is going to produce next!
I would like to thank Roll Models for making the model kit available for review.