Nate Sturman's Mitsubishi Type 96 Shipboard Fighter (Claude)

Mitsubishi Type 96 Shipboard Fighter (Claude). This 18" 1/24th scale model was created from the Maru and FAOW drawings and photos. Now there is a Fujimi plastic kit in 1/48th to help.

My model has paper overlay color trim, is "Houkokku 348" (Defend the Country #348), donated by subscription of the "Woman Schoolteachers of Japan", so it has the Chinese characters "Woman Schoolteachers' Special" on the fuselage. It is a later Claude without the big funnel shaped air scoops on the cowl. It is now flying right-right and is a real trickster that usually lands on its feet. Enlarged stab.

I have lots of air battle scenes with the I-15bis, the real main adversary of this type of Claude, along with the Gladiators and I-16s. This Claude was a "secret weapon" of its day, not even shown in Jane's for 1937. An MAN plan by Bligh, mistakenly called a "Nakajima" type 96, appeared in 1945. Maybe some were built by Nakajima, (half of the Zeros were) but I'll have to check. These were used down to the bitter end in 1945, and could outmatch even the Zero in a low level dogfight. (The Army's Type 97 Nakajima Ki-27 "Nate" was also used to the very end.)

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