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20th Century Fox Nakajima B5N-2 Kate

20-cent-kate


It was necessary to create a Japanese Air Force to accurately film 20th Century Fox's "Tora! Tora! Tora!” since no World War II Japanese air-craft existed in any quantity. Three types were needed; Nakajima B5N-2 "Kate" torpedo bombers, Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighters, and Aichi D3A "Val” dive bombers. Ten of each were needed.
Probably the greatest challenge to the Hollywood film makers as producing an authentic looking "Kate” torpedo plane. To make ten "Kates" it was necessary to use ten BT-13's and ten Canadian Harvards.

Itoh Chu Koku Seibi Kabushiki Kaisha, late in 1968, converted a number of North American T-6 Texan trainers to represent Nakajima B5N torpedo-bombers for film Tora! Tora! Tora!

Beginning at the nose, a new spinner was added, along with a deeper cowling with cowl flaps. To create a proper nose profile the engine was moved forward eighteen inches and a dummy exhaust added to the left side. The oil cooler air scoop on the left side was moved to the bottom of the cowl to match the original "Kate". The Har-vard heater was removed from the right side. Japanese wing roots were made from a mould of the Curtiss P-40 wing root fairings, while the wheel well "bumps" on the leading edge were faired in with sheet metal. To complete the wings, eighteen-inch rounded extensions replaced the original tips.
The cockpit glass was changed and the canopy extended to a three--seat configuration which accommo-dates the pilot, navigator, and rear gunner. Just aft of the wing trailing edge a-seven inch extension of totally new airframe was added. The only change made there was the addition of a sheet metal fairing to make the BT fin (on the new BT-13 tail section) slant at a greater angle. To complete this fantastic project, a true to life torpedo was added, the torpedo being slightly smaller in diameter than the original to allow the Harvard land-ing gear to properly retract. The addition of proper gear covers was the final modification necessary to com-plete the job.

 

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