From: St.Petersburg, Russia
OK, now for the hard part. In a stock game, it is actually the easy part. Basically just build lots and lots of Nakajima Ha-35 and start expanding production of Najajima Ha-45 somewhere in late 1943.
Reluctant Admiral mod, however, adds one historical correction (Tojo now uses Nakajima Ha-34) and several major changes to Zero model line that can make Nakajima Ha-35 completely obsolete by late 1943, instead of late 1945, in favor of Mitsubishi Ha-33.
IJAAF fighter program still remains relatively uncomplicated, since, as mentioned above, Nakajima Ha-34 will be one of my main engine types anyway. I'm putting major effort into advancing Tojo and will probably build it in parallel with Frank until late 1944 at the very least. Considering likely economic difficulties at that point, probably for the entire war. Part of Oscar production will be switched to Tojo when the latter is available, as well as my Nate plant. I tentatively aim for 70 Oscars and 100 Tojos per month at that point. Frank is aslo a focus of serious research effort. Ki-84b has a better service rating in this mod, and I want it to be the defining end-war IJAAF fighter.
As about Army fighter-bombers, I plan to make Ki-45 KAIa instead of the latter Ki-45 versions until Ki-102 fighter-bomber arrives. KAIb and KAIc just suck because of their low-accuracy main cannons. I'll build a few KAIc just to upgrade 27th Sentai to them.
Now for the main conundrum. I'm about to reach production of 290 Ha-35 engines per month. Even with Ki-48 out of picture, and A6M3 not building (I was mistaken earlier - Yokosuka Ku T-3 requires A6M3b to upgrade from its floatplanes, so there isn't much reason to build A6M3) this stil isn't nearly enough, considering that Rufe and Nick arrive soon and I want at least 30 per month of both (current consumption is 270/month). With availability of Ki-44 the demand will be reduced by about 60/month, J1N1-C will add about 20/month, but then, in 1943, the production will take a huge hit (at least 130/140 month), if I try to keep my forces full of top-notch planes, as Kate, Rufe and Ha-35-using Zero fighter will become obsolete. The latter will be replaced by A6M8 with its Mitsubishi Ha-33 engine. Further complicating things, A7M2 will be available in late 1944, and it will require a new engine (Mitsubishi Ha-43) again.
Unlike the situation with Mitsubishi Ha-32, practically no decent late-war planes use Ha-35. Except for A6M7, which sucks, but has no competitors for the Navy's best fighter-bomber spot. There is that suicide box Ki-115, but it is available very late. The remaining production of Ki-43s (for training and escort purposes) won't be able to consume much of the produced engines. And with huge plants that make Ha-35s, conversions will be not only exceedingly costly, but slow.
After considering all this, I decided on the following:
1)I'll expand Nakajima Ha-35 production to 310/month (subject to further expansion in case of massive losses). With the existing surplus, this should enable us to provide everything, except A6M3b, with engines until the availability of Tojo alleviates the burden. And accumulation of suprlus of other airframes might allow us to produce A6M3b intermittently as well. But we don't need that many of them at this point, they are useable only to a limited number of airgroups.
2)I'll NOT upgrade the main Zero plant to A6M8 and I'll NOT switch Nakajima Ha-35 production to Mitshubishi Ha-33. I'll keep A6M5b and redirect my research effort towards bringing A7M2 into production even earlier. The reason for this is purely economical. I don't believe Japan can afford switching the main engine consumed by IJN fighters twice per war. With superior versions of Ha-35 Zero available early, and, hopefully, Allied fleet smashed hard in 1942, I believe the Empire will be able to hold on until A7M production kicks in.
Eventually, the big 200/month plant will be converted to Mitsubishi Ha-43, and the smaller plant will keep producing engines for A6M7 and Ki-115. Moreover, J1N1-S will be used as the Navy's primary night fighter instead of P1Y2-S. It is mostly inferior, but it uses Ha-35, instead of Mitshubishi Ha-32, which will be intensively used by IJNAF's twin-engined bombers, torpedo bombers and float fighters.
3)I'm already building up a reserve of Mitshubishi Ha-33 engines. The production will be further expanded in the future. A third Zero plant, specifically for A6M8, and with modest production, will be eventually added. As Mitshubishi Ha-33 powers land-based interceptor versions of Zero, some of the late-war Fleet kamikaze planes, plus the final version of Oscar also uses it in this mod, it is not likely to become utterly obsolete even if A6M8 is phased out entirely and Ki-100 is never produced (althouh if the state of Japanese economy allows it at all, I'd prefer to try and build some Ki-100 instead of Ki-43, if only to check if MVR boost given to it in this mod, managed to make this plane decent).