Arawasi contest #8

Monday, 16 July 2018

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (Frank) - Decals and markings pt. 3 - 520 RinBo - 1 Rensei Hikotai

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...Tamiya's 1st decal option.
"Plane piloted by Staff Sergeant Joten Naito of the Kurai Unit of the 502nd Temporary Interception Corpse (March - May, 1945. Nakatsu Airfield)"
We can immediately see plenty of unusual details. The top color is mentioned as "Dark green" in the side view and as "Light greyish blue" in the top view. The bottom color is "blue", the lower parts of the wheel covers as well as the spinner are in red. Note the absence of anti-glare, the hinomaru with square white surrounds, the unusual radio antenna and ofcourse the "rabbit" on the cowling.
As mentioned before it is important to see who said what, when and where.
AFAIK the first time this scheme and markings were mentioned and depicted in print was in the October 1968, No.246, issue of the magazine "Aireview".
That issue featured an article by one of the most respected aviation artists in the world, Watanabe Rikyu (who I was very fortunate to meet in person and unfortunately passed away late last year), based on information and photographic material supplied by Corporal Naito Noboru or Joten (for the onyomi and kunyomi read of Japanese words and names check here).
Naito and Watanabe were both graduates of the 15 Class of Shonen Hikohei, Naito became a pilot Watanabe became a mechanic due his poor, for a pilot, vision. The article explains that Naito flew "Hayate" Model 1 Ko and belonged to the 520 Rinji Boku Sentai (Temporary Air Defence Squadron). The main duty of this unit was intercepting B-29 bombers, and although their nick name was "RinBo 520" their official name was "1 Rensei Tai" (1st Training Unit) and came under the command of the 1st Koku Gun (Air Army). The unit trained young skillful pilots to the new fighter and as it was to be an interceptor unit the aircraft had a white band wraped around the fuselage, near the tail, while also sporting a red line on the tail, the unit's marking. The aircraft were overall "light blue" with dark green "madara" (mottled) camouflage on the upper surfaces with excessive chipping and weathering on the cowling and the center of the fuselage. The light blue was not the standard bright hairyokushoku but more bluish, closer to the German hellblau.
Naito's aircraft had three kill markings which comprised of a white star with a blue circle in the center and a red tail and represented one B-29 shot down and two probables. The bomber was shot down on January 28, 1945 over Shirahama, Chiba Prefecture, the other two were on February 7 over Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, and on March 6 over Oshima.
The propeller, spinner and wheel covers were in red, the color of the "Kurai Unit". The yellow corresponded to the "Yamamoto Unit" and the blue to the "Tokoro Unit".

Watanabe created artwork of this particular aircraft in the fold-out accompanying the article.
In February 1945, over Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, Second Lieutenant Kurai flew against a group of B-29s in a diamond formation and crashed against the leading bomber. The nose of the bomber went up and collided with another B-29. As a result two B-29s were shot down during one attack. Kurai was able to escape with his parachute but bomber fragments cut the parachute cords and he fell to his death.

The B-29 kill record of the "Kurai Unit" is:
Captain Kurai                     --  4 B-29 shot down, 1 probable (2 rank promotion posthumously)
2Lt Gashu                           --  1 B-29 shot down, 1 probable
SgtMaj Fujiya (Fujitani?)   --  1 B-29 shot down, 1 B-29 and 1 B-24 probable
SgtMaj Ogiwara                 --  2 B-29 shot down
Corporal Naito                   --  1 B-29 shot down, 2 probable

Two weeks after the death of Captain Kurai the "520 RinBo" was disbanded and from the remaining members the Shonen Hikohei of the 13, 14 and 15 class were assigned to tokotai units. 48 of them perished in suicide attacks in March, 24 in April and 12 in May. From March until May the "Hayate" of Corporal Naito got a personal marking, a hare. The upper surface were repainted in glossy noryokushoku (dark green) and all the hinomaru got a white square surround.
Below is how Watanabe depicted Naito's aircraft as featured in the article and is ofcourse the source for the Tamiya decals.
The article continuous explaining that there were variations in the fuselage white band. Some planes had one, some two and some none at all. There was a "Hayate" with an eagle marking on the tail flown by Corporal Kuroiwa, a 14 Class Shonen Hikohei.
Watanabe's depiction is below.
After May all the markings except the underwing hinomaru were deleted and a very dark mat black green (kokuryokushoku) was applied; a characteristic of tokotai aircraft. Nevertheless pilots applied their own personal markings before toko missions.
On June 30, Naito got injured on the left leg with rocket fragments during an attack against a Dauntless over Nakachu airfield. Due to his injuries he was not able to fly again. As a side note the article explains that the adopted father of Corporal Naito was LtCol Naito Kunitaro who participated in the aerial attack against Tsingtao.

The Watanabe/Naito article caused quite a stir especially when Tamiya released their "Hayate" kit. The surviving veterans of the unit urged and helped noted aviation historian and prolific author Watanabe Yoji to write an article detailing the history of the unit, correcting the various innacuracies. This appeared for the first time in the September 1990 issue, no. 549, of Aireview magazine. The 12-page article features 21 extremely interesting and detailed photos (before you ask, the magazine is ofcourse out-of-print) which will not be reproduced here due to copyright restrictions.
The article is not a direct reply to the Watanabe/Naito article but offers many details about the "Hayate". From that article we put together the following brief history of the unit.

The organization of the 1st Rensei Hikotai ("1st Fighter Operational Training Unit" affectionately called by the veterans "1 RenHi") begun in the end of March 1944 and was completed on July 22 when the unit was officially established. The base of the unit was the Sagami airfield, Kanagawa Prefecture. The particular airfield, located between the Sagami and Nakatsu rivers, was used by a branch of the Kumagaya Hiko Gakko which was dissolved two days before the 1st RenHi was founded. "Sagami airfield" was the official name but everybody called it "Nakatsu airfield".
The 1st RenHi was under the 1st Air Army and their tsushogo (not their nickname as has been suggested) was Tobu 133 (East 133) or Kon 520 (Navy blue 520); don't be lazy, check the link for more information.
The unit's first commander was Captain Uchitoku Takayuki who changed from light bombers to fighters. On August 16 was reassigned as commander of the 52nd Sentai and later died in a night take-off accident.
The second C/O was Captain Ehara Hideo who took command on August 17, the same day Captain Tokoro Kojiro was assigned as commander of the flight training which commenced on June 30 when the first group of students arrived from the 1st Kyoiku Hikotai ("1st Fighter Training Unit"). They were graduates of the 7, 8 and 9 Type Ko Kambu Kohoshei, also graduates of the 1st Class of Tokubetsu Shoju Minarai Shikan and graduates of the 13th Class of Shonen Hikohei. Some of them had the rank of 2Lt. This first entry of students was split into two kutai (can be simply translated as "group") led by 1Lt Yamamoto Toshiaki and 1Lt Yoshikawa Haruo respectively.
In the middle of summer with more students arriving, a third kutai was organized, the leader of which was Kurai Toshizo who had the rank of 2Lt at the time. On November 30, Yoshikawa was dispatched to another unit so the 1st RenHi had again only two kutai.
The unit had about a dozen instructors and assistant trainers and about 100 students.
The training of the 1st kutai was completed in December having flown Tachikawa Ki-55 "Ida", Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" and "Hayate". Training with "Hayate" consisted of flying 24 times for a total of about six hours. Taxing, take-off/landing and flying around the airfield was 14 times, the rest was formation flight and basic combat.
The second entry arrived to the unit in the beginning of December and consisted of graduates of 14, 14 Otsu and 15 Shonen Hikohei. They trained with Nakajima Ki-27 "Nate", 2-seat and then single seat "Hayate."

When B-29 bombers started arriving from the Marianas, there were orders to reinforce the 10th Hikoshidan, responsible for the air defence of the Kanto area. The 1st RenHi came under the 10th Hikoshidan and organized two chutai with instructors and assistant trainers, the 1st led by Kurai, the 2nd by Yamamoto. There is absolutely no mention of any "520 Rinji Boku Sentai".
Members of the 1st Chutai were: Kurai, SgtMaj Fujitani and Sgts Kawakami and Oshima. Later they were joined by 2Lt Yoshioka and Corporal Eto (?).
The 2nd Chutai consisted of: Yamamoto, SgtMajs Saigo, Mochizuki and Ogiwara, Sgt Machuyama, Corproral Sakata and later 2Lt Kaneko. 
Later some graduates stayed with the unit, became assistant trainers and joined the 2nd Chutai.
Their first battle was when they received signal from the 10th Hikoshidan on November 1st, 1944 and took off to intercept a lone B-29 F-13 on a reconnaissance mission over Atsugi, the area assigned to the 1st RenHi, with no results.
Their first kill was on December 3 when Kurai as leader located a formation of six B-29s over Atsugi on a mission against the Musashino factory of Nakajima. During the attack he was credited with one bomber confirmed and two probables.
In the 1st Air Army there were mostly training units and CO Lt Gen Yi Un (check him out) was particularly impressed by the success and presented Kurai with a citation of "having flown for many hours without any accidents".
Following that incident Kurai sewed kill markings on the sleeve of his uniform and painted one kill and one probable marking on the nose of the "Hayate" he usually flew, making his maintenance crew feel very proud.
After the death of Kurai, leader of the 1st Chutai became 1Lt Hosono. The Watanabe article agrees with the details of the death of Kurai minus the damaged parachute.
While the 1st and 2nd entries of students completed their training, a 3rd entry never arrived and the unit had no chances to engage in combat. In the spring ten students from Akeno arrived to the unit to train with "Hayate" fighters; they were all from Burma i.e. Burmese nationals. The 1st and 2nd entries were all assigned to toko units and until the end of the war the 1st RenHi trained toko unit leaders as well as training themselves in suicide attacks, occasionally employing borrowed Navy vessels, getting ready for the final battle for Japan mainland.

The actual rebuttal to the Watanabe/Naito article came with the January 2001, no. 577, issue of Koku Fan magazine, in an article written again by Watanabe Yoji accompanied by a new illustration courtesy of Watanabe Rikyu.
The story goes that Watanabe Rikyu met Naito two years after the end of the war in the Tokyo company they both worked. A common question at that time was "so, what did you do during the war?" and when they both found out that they were graduates of the same Shonen Hikohei class became good friends. Naito was a particularly kind, friendly and easy going individual and over a few drinks they shared wartime stories in the local izakaya. Many years later when Watanabe was beginning his new career as illustrator, he remembered these friendly discussions he had with Naito and decided to put together an article. He contacted Naito, got the okay and the article materialized in print. It should be noted that Watanabe was not a historian and did not confirm Naito's story.
As mentioned above when that first article came out it made waves among surviving 1 RenHi veterans who protested that the "Hayate" with the kill markings was not Naito's but definitely Kurai's. The family of the later even had a piece of the uniform sleeve with the kill markings. As a Class 15 graduate, Naito started training in the 1 RenHi from the end of December 1944 so it is unthinkable that he was able to shoot down B-29s in January or even February. One member of the 15 Class from December 10 until February 1945 had flown 34 times with a "Nate" for a total of five hours 20 minutes flight time. From January 24 he started training with twin-seat "Hayate", seven times take off and landing and from March 11 started training with a single  seat "Hayate" completing the same training as the first entry (flying 24 times for a total of about six hours). The earlier graduates of that second entry were 30 students who left the school on March 25, the last students graduating by May.
From the second entry only five remained in the school as assistant trainers. Their names: Corporals Ogawa and Fukushima from the 14th Class, Corporals Kondo and Miyagi from the 14 Otsu Class and heicho Kato from the 15th Class. These pilots did not see any combat with the 1 RenHi. As you can see Corporal Naito is not among them. The 15 Class students were indeed assigned to be trained with the instructors of the 1st Chutai led by Kurai, so until Kurai's death Naito possibly trained with him but he was merely a student, not a member of any "520 Rinji Boku Sentai". Naito graduated from the 1 RenHi some time between March and May and until that time it is absolutely impossible to have had his "own" "Hayate" with his personal marking of a "hare". Unfortunately it is not known exactly when Naito graduated and where was next assigned.   
On top of this, none of the veteran maintenance crew remember any "hare" or wheel covers in some red or other color.
Significantly, AFAIK, Naito's "hare" "Hayate" has not appeared in any other Japanese publication, except for that old Aireview article.
The Koku Fan article featured corrected artwork by Watanabe Rikyu.

All credit for the above information should go to the veterans of the 1st RenHi and to Watanabe Yoji who actually did the research; we only gathered the material and did the translations.

It is beyond bizzare that a serious company like Tamiya continues to this day to release the same old kit with the same decals and wrong instructions, here

A few words about the hinomaru with the square white surrounds. The square surrounds were not standard and very very few Japanese aircraft had them. Up until the time when official instructions were given to camouflage some of the aircraft when they left the factories, these were usually painted in overall hairyokushoku or NMF with hinomaru without white surrounds. When these aircraft were camouflaged at the depots or at unit level, the ground crew used some kind of stencil (paper, cardboard, cloth or whatever was available) to cover and protect the hinomaru so that it didn't get dirty from the camouflage paint (keep that in mind with your "Hien"). When the officials orders were given to apply camouflage to the aircraft at the factory level, they started applying white circles surrounding the hinomaru, this becoming official. At the unit level, it was next to impossible to paint a perfect white circle around the pre-existing hinomaru and instead opted for the easier white square. This though was too conspicuous to enemy planes and was not widely adopted. It is more common to low level ground attack aircraft like "Sonia" or "Ida" where they wouldn't like their own troops to shoot them.
The two chutai of the 1st RenHi could be considered homeland defence units so it is possible that a few "Hayate" flown by the instructors had white bands, not squares, around their hinomaru but there are no photos to confirm this.  

The "Hayate" of Corporal Kuroiwa will be dealt with next.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Mitsubishi A6M2 Tinian Kokutai by Jean Barby

Here are photos of my latest work. An A6M2 from the Tinian Kokutai based in Lae in May 42. I have been inspire by the excellent book «Eagles of the southern skies», a must read day to day account of the struggle in New-Guinea skies. The black stripe is for the 4th Chutai, and the plane has been donated to the Navy by private donators. I have done all the markings using my silhouette portrait so NO decals there. The Ameiro varnish is home made: 60% Gunze h-70 RLM02, 35% of Sail color and 5% of white. Cockpit is from SBS and the model is from Hasegawa fully riveted.
Allez les Bleus!

Monday, 9 July 2018

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (Frank) - Decals and markings pt. 2 - 104 Sentai

The next aircraft is number 2 in the Tamiya instructions, "plane belonging to the 1st Unit of the 104th Air Group  (1945. Anshan airfield in South Machuria (sic))"
We have discussed the history of this unit in an older posting, HERE, so we will see here the various problems arising from these two very well known and ostensibly "easy" photos which are the source for the Tamiya suggestion.
Photo Credit: "Japanese Military Aircraft Illustrated Vol. 1",
Photo Credit: "Gakken #46"

First of all, although both photos were taken at the same place and time, the various sources do not seem to agree where these two photos were actually taken. Aerodetail for example agrees with Tamiya and mentions that the aircraft in the photos were in "Anshan A/B Manchuria" while others like Revi mention "photographed by a military doctor at Ota which was the factory airfield of Nakajima".
The older FAOW#148 (1985) says "Anshan", the later FAOW#19(1989) and Model Art#493 says Ota and Gakken #46 also agrees. I too believe these two photos were taken at Ota. According to Gakken these "Hayate" from the 104 were returned to Nakajima a few days before the end of the war; the exact reason and the details are unknown. They could not have been flown after the end of the war as all flights of Japanese aircraft were explicitely forbiden by the Allies; anything bearing hinomaru would have been shot down.
The overall NMF "Hayate" of the Tamiya instructions was a Ki-84 Otsu with 2X20mm Ho-5 cannons in the fuselage and a slightly larger gas exit right behind the top engine exhaust.
According to Gakken, NMF "Hayate" were sometimes obtained by units when pilots went to the Nakajima factories and got the planes before even having been test flown, as we saw with the 102 Sentai in another posting.  
Let's see now how this particular aircraft has been depicted by artists starting with the Bunrindo publication.
The silver looks absolutely amazing in these old publications but the colors of the various markings are more psychedelic than accurate.
Nohara Shigeru in the Aerodetail publication offers a more accurate depiction.
Nevertheless he hasn't noticed that the wing tip is in red, something quite clear in the photo.
Katabuchi Sunao in Gakken is much better. Note that the radio mast behind the canopy is correctly portrayed in dark color both below and above; a detail not immediately clear in the Tamiya instructions. 
The Kagero illustrator (Arkadiusz Wrobel?) follows the example of Gakken but the colors as they look in print are too lifeless and drab for my taste. Notice that the caption says "Anshan".
I would disagree with the last two illustrators regarding the color of the spinner, though. On closer inspection it looks to be painted in exactly the same color of the propeller, i.e. green.
Therefore, in my opinion, all the above artists got something wrong with this aircraft.
Devlin Chouinard didn't miss the chance to send artwork that is the most accurate I've seen.
Note that the fabric surfaces are a dull gray as an aircraft without a proper paint job would look like. It is of interest that fabric surfaces on the NMF "Hayate" show very slight color difference with the metal surfaces suggesting that they were not painted hairyokushoku as on "Hayabusa".   

Let's turn our attention to the other aircraft in the two photos.
The Gakken and Kagero illustrations are very accurate in every respect including the yellow wing tip.
Nevertheless my most favorite illustration is by Zdeněk Macháček (thank you Peter) and can be found in the book "Japanese WWII Aircraft in Color (Volume 1)" by Martin Ferkl and published by REVI in 2006. A very very highly recommended publication in every respect including the decals.
While the "Hayate" in most units were called by the last digits of their serial number (ex. "today I'll fly the 46"), most, if not all, the planes of the 104 Sentai got a certain name. There were three "tai" (sub-units?) within the 104. The 3rd Tai used one or two kanji to name their planes relative to the hometown names of the pilots. The 1st and 2nd Tai used one kanji
On the fuselage of the second "Hayate", in "olive drab", two kanji can be seen on the fuselage side under the canopy, 益城, and they read "Mashiki", a town in Kumamoto Prefecture, here, the birthplace of the pilot.
According to Gakken the NMF "Hayate" probably had the kanji , "Hajime" (meaning start, beginning or the first name of the pilot) written on the fuselage. Other 104 "Hayate" with one kanji had names like "Red", "Blue" and others.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (Frank) - Decals and markings pt. 1 - 11 Sentai

In this series of postings we will examine the various decals available for "Hayate" kits and see how accurate they are.
We will start with the Tamiya kit options and first of all the 11th Sentai "46".
Here's the Tamiya recommendation:
Sky Models decals recommends:
 The particular aircraft is a quite famous one. It belonged to the 2nd Chutai of the 11th Sentai and was captured by US forces at Clark airfield, Luzon Island, Philippines. There are four USAAF photos I am aware of, below are three of them. 
The unit was established in June 1932 as 11 Daitai and was initially equipped with Nakajima Ko.4, Nakajima Type 91 and Kawasaki Type 92 fighters. They became 11th Rentai in December 1935, then 11th Sentai in August 1938, changed to Nakajima Ki-27 "Nate" fighters and saw plenty of action in Nomonhan and China. They were re-equipped with Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" (Oscar) in August 1942 seeing action in the Solomons and New Guinea and finally got their first "Hayate" in March 1944 at Tokorozawa. On May 12 the unit came under the 2nd Hikoshidan and by the end of the month had 54 "Hayate" in their strength but more than 30 pilots were not yet trained with the new fighter. There were also maintenance problems with not enough spare parts, heavily oil leaking engines, high fuel temperatures, problems with ignition plugs and more.  
On September 15 US forces landed at Palau and Halmahera islands and so an attack against the Philippines became imminent. Therefore the unit on October 2 relocated to Yilan in Taiwan with 40 fighters. Their main job was air defence but on October 12 there was big air battle and the unit lost the sentai commander Major Kanaya, two chutai commanders and many pilots of middle skill. One pilot, LT Shishimoto Hironojo (an 11 Sentai ace with seven kills and seven probables who survived the war), was hit by enemy fighters, bailed out with his parachute and was attacked by the enemy. Major Kanaya tried to help him and that's when he was lost.

The book: "The Second World War in the Air: The Story of Air Combat in Every Theatre of World War II" by Merfyn Bourne mentions:
As a preliminary to the invasion of the Philippines a major air attack on Formosa was planned. This would serve the double purpose of neutralizing the largest Japanese base in the area and at the same time suggesting that the island was to be the target of the next American strategic move though, in truth, the real identity of the next target was by now pretty clear.
From 12th to 14th October 1944 the aircraft of the U.S. 3rd Fleet pounded the airfields and docks of Formosa and B-29 bombers based in China joined in. After an administrative reorganization the 3rd Fleet under Admiral Marc Mitscher was now the carrier striking force of the U.S. Navy, though it still came under the authority of 5th Fleet of Admiral Spruance. It now comprised 17 aircraft carriers with numerous escorting ships and over 1,000 aircraft. As a preliminary to the Formosa raids the fleet had made air attacks on Okinawa and Luzon Island in the Philippines but the three days at Formosa were the centre-piece of the softening-up campaign. The Japanese Navy had 350 aircraft on Formosa but many more on Luzon, Okinawa and Kyushu, the homeland's southernmost island. In all there were perhaps 1,000 aircraft able to join in the battle. They were sent against 3rd Fleet in wave after wave but their efforts were fruitless. 500 Japanese planes were shot down or destroyed on the ground but the Americans lost only 125. The carriers Franklin and Hancock both suffered damage and the cruisers Canberra and Houston were more heavily hit but no ship was sunk. Admiral Fukudome, who commanded the Japanese air forces on Formosa commented that his planes were like 'so many eggs thrown against the stone wall of indomitable enemy formations.'

While the unit was trying to gain it's strength in Taiwan, orders arrived to participate in the battle for the Philippines and on October 22 seven aircraft advanced to Malcat airfield, south of Clark airfield, in Luzon Island. The next day five or four of these aircraft together with 10 aircraft from the 1st Sentai relocated to Lipa, and on the 24th they participated in the 1st Leyte massive attack with bombers from the 3rd Sentai. All the 3rd Sentai aircraft were lost and most of the rest received heavy damage. The remaining 10 pilots of the 11 Sentai returned to Malcat, left their aircraft there and returned to Japan mainland reaching Shimodate, Ibaraki Prefecture, by transport on November 4. While in Malcat the pilots were joined by the new sentai commander Major Mizoguchi who travelled with them back to Japan.
The unit was reorganized and managed to have 40 aircraft in its strength but also had many pilot of low skill and flying experience. This became evident when on December 7 the unit left Japan to return to the Philippines. Due to many emergency landings only half the aircraft managed to reach Porac airfield on December 17. By that time the US forces had established air supremacy and the first operation the 11th took part in was on December 18 against the airfield of San Jose and enemy ships. On that day Capt Kawagoe failed to return and the next day again during an attack against San Jose, the commander of 3rd chutai, Ikeda, shot down two enemy aircraft but himself failed to return. On December 20, the 11 Sentai escorted "toko" aircraft which managed to sink one transport and set on fire another. Following this the unit was busy with air defence and night attack duties sustaining heavy casualties.
On December 24, more than 30 US bombers attacked Clark airfield and the 12th Hikodan, of which the 11th Sentai was part of, together with the 22nd Hikodan were ordered to intercept but managed to put together only about 28 aircraft. According to one source the 12 Hikodan had only six operational aircraft. On January 9, 1945 when US forces landed on Lingayen Gulf there were no more operational aircraft left. The unit returned to Taiwan on January 14 and then on March 1 back to Shimodate, then on to Takahagi, Saitama Prefecture where they were training when the war ended. At that time the unit was equipped with about 40 "Hayate".   
According to Gakken#46, "Hayate" "46" was sent to the 11th in the Philippines after the time the unit had returned to Japan to recuperate in the end of October, beginning of November 1944.
According to Katagiri Hiroshi in MA#283, though, the aircraft arrived to the Philippines in the middle of December 1944 when the 11th returned there and was captured by US forces the same month. It is said that the name Lt Hirokawa was somewhere written on this plane. 
Serial number was "1146" (therefore the "46" on the tail) and the aircraft was first evaluated by TAIU receiving the code "S17" then sent to the US finally reaching the Chiran Peace Museum in the mid-1990s. It is the only surviving "Hayate" in the world.
Although Tamiya recommends "dark green" for the upper color, "46" has been depicted by artists sometimes with green, sometimes with "olive drab" or "brown" top.
FAOW#19, 1989, illustration: Nohara Shigeru 
Model Art #493, 1997, illustration: Nohara Shigeru
Gakken #46, 2004, illustration: Katabuchi Sunao
Illustration: Imai Kunitaka, 2006,
from the book below

It is very difficult to tell color from the available photos above. Very often these are reproduced in publications as very dark suggesting a darker, maybe green, top color.
According to Gakken #46 the first "Hayate" were delivered NMF from the Nakajima factories with anti-glare in front of the canopy, red warning lines on the wings and hinomaru without white surrounds. The characteristic of these early "Hayate" was the drop-tank under the fuselage; no drop tank attachments under the wings. These NMF aircraft often received green camouflage on their upper surfaces.
Furthermore, as early as August and as late as October 1944 the units started receiving new "Hayate", with drop-tank attachments under the wings, and with new official paintjob of "olive drab" (kimidori 7go or yellow-green number 7) top, "gray" (hairyokushoku or gray green) bottom. 
The "46" is thought to be produced in November 1944 therefore it would fall in the "olive drab"/"gray" group indicated by the drop-tank attachments under the wings but also the yellow warning lines on the upper surfaces of the wings.
Although the 1st Chutai of the 11th Sentai had the "denko" (lightning) tail marking in white, the 2nd Chutai in red with white surround and the 3rd Chutai in yellow with white surround, I have found no mention anywhere that the color of the tail marking was repeated on the spinner. Therefore the red spinner suggested by Tamiya or the red-brown suggested by Sky Models are at least dubious. The propeller looks to be in the standard green with yellow tips and warnings but interestingly the yellow tips are repeated in the rear too.  
Note the excessive dirt on the wheel covers and that the top color is repeated on the wing edges of the under-surfaces, a most unusual feature for a "Hayate".
Hasegawa has released a kit of the "46" with bombs under the wings. Not strange considering the unit was involved in night attack missions but the box cover illustration shows the a/c in green top (I don't know what color is recommended in the instructions).

MYK Design decals have included "46" in their "Southern & Continental Front" decal set, code 72044, in 1/72 but I don't have it and don't know how they have depicted it.
In conclusion, I would say that the illustration by Katabuchi-san in Gakken #46 is the most accurate depiction of this "Hayate". 
If you know of more decals or kits with the "46" drop us an email.
Below is a video, from HERE, of Japanese aircraft captured in the Philippines including the two "Hayate" that were captured and evaluated.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 008 - And the winner is....

 who gets a copy of the latest issue of Arawasi magazine, an Arawasi decal set AND one Fine Molds kit (you all know which!), free of any charge, courtesy of Arawasi.
Thank you all for participating, voting and your contributions of any kind.
The theme for the next online model contest is IJAAF & IJNAF Special Attack Units (Kamikaze) and will start after the Mundial is over! (here's your chance to leave a comment with the team you support or anything related)

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 008 - GEORGE ELEFTHERIOU

Here's my entry for the contest. Tamiya in 1/48.
 I would like to say a few words about this kit and the challenges it presented from a beginner modeler's perspective like the one I am. I wouldn't normally bother with an old kit (like I did here) but since Tamiya decided to re-issue the same old crap with their beautiful Kurogane and modelers still struggle with it, I feel a detailed review is in order.
"Wind Sword" and "Toryu" already commented that it's a 1/50 (at least some parts) kit with most panel lines raised and only a few (the wing cannon access panels and around the cowling) engraved. The fit is okay at most places except for the wing root area. Any effort to fix the gaps will probably result in loosing the raised panel lines. I used fuselage halves from 2 different kits and they didn't fit exactly resulting in more sanding and more raised panel lines lost.
The cockpit is very basic. The application of the decal set for the instrument panel was bizarre. Tamiya instructions call for the decal to be cut in two and then applied to each fuselage half.
No reason to do that. Just cut the decal in the shape of the instrument panel, (don't remove the decal in water, leave it on the paper) and stick it directly on one fuselage half .
But the worst of all is the canopy which is given in 3 separate pieces. The front and middle fit okay but the rear is a joke and the result is a very weird looking canopy. Choosing to have the canopy open will result in showing the poor cockpit. I checked various on-line videos showing canopy masking techniques and tried a couple, especially the "masking tape - mechanical pencil - cut masking tape to shape" but nothing worked due to very shallow canopy frame lines. I opted for gradually masking one frame line at a time for the middle and rear parts and toothpick for the front. The masking worked well, the toothpick less so, again due to shallow frame lines.
The landing gear is not bad but the wheel covers are way too thick and trimmed mine to satisfaction. I used stretched sprue for the break line; I should have used fishing line which is more flexible to curve. Didn't bother to follow the instruction to glue the landing gear in the "correct angle".
The wing cannons and pitot tube are really silly but a minor frustration.
The decal set now. 
Depending on the age of the particular kit you may get hinomaru in different reds. In the old set above their more bright red, in the newer set below (the ones I used on my model) they are much darker. In my opinion neither shades of red are satisfying.
The Tamiya decals (even the new ones) and the old "Aeromaster" and "Super Scale" (more below) give hinomaru surrounded by white squares. Check here why this is inaccurate. In any case the Tamiya hinomaru decals I used are too thick, that's why the radio access panel on the port side of the fuselage is not visible.
As you can see the Tamiya decal set does not help with the various red or white lines on the wings of the Hayate. I used the ones provided by the "Aeromaster" set which was designed for the Tamiya kit although they are not complete (various panel lines are missing) and I ended up having different yellow for the IFF stripes (which I painted) and different for the panels. Furthermore, one part of the radio line is connected to the fuselage right where the starboard hinomaru is. So you will have to pierce the decal and pass the line through. I forgot this detail and didn't want to risk ruining the decal, so the line was wrongly placed on the fuselage beyond the hinomaru.  
The propeller is another area where the decal set is a let-down. Tamiya provides decals for only the interior yellow marks. I painted the rest of the yellow lines but I ended up with different yellows. The instructions call for the rear of the propeller blades to be painted red brown. AFAIK the propeller blades were green front and back. Hasegawa recommends MrColor #319.
I didn't have this paint around so I lightened up MrColor #129 (Dark Green Nakajima). I'm not at all unhappy with the result.
I painted my model using Hasegawa's instructions, top MrColor #304, bottom MrColor #128.


The antiglare is MrColor #125.

For the cockpit I tried to understand what "aircraft colour & paint guru" Nick Millman says in his blog but I got more confused than enlightened (my fault ofcourse) so I painted the cockpit with MrColor #130.
I'm happy with the result and the cockpit interior is barely visible so I won't lose any sleep if the color is not accurate. I did the wheel wells silver. In all the photos they look bright, so definitely not aotake. They could be the same with the wing underside color or maybe not.

I wanted to do the "90" "Hayate" of the 102 Sentai as seen in the photo HERE. There are no decals for this specific aircraft in 1/48. Lifelike in their first "Hayate" set do give 102 Sentai tail marking with red over white surround. The white surround could be used but then you will have to find a number "90" from somewhere else. Also it is doubtful the decals would fit the Tamiya kit and I don't see any reason to waste such fine decals on the Tamiya kit; better to be put them to use with the Hasegawa kit. And so, for the very first time, I decided to paint and mask the tail marking. I printed the photo, D. Chouinard sent over artwork but somehow the correct shape of the tail marking with the pointy rear ends didn't register in my head and instead I did the "official" version. I found number "90" decals from the old Nichimo IJAAF "Akatonbo" kit in 1/48 but were too thin and the white "90" doesn't stand out as it should. So, I'm fairly happy with my first homemade tail markings but, damn, I screwed up the correct shape. That should teach me not to work on 6 different "Hayate" model projects and an article at the same time.