Monday 21 July 2014

Japanese What-ifs & Fantasy

I love experimental, what-if and fantasy aircraft especially if they have hinomaru!
A question was put forward on Britmodeller, here, "what is...what-if?". Answers were quite straightforward in their general inclusiveness and ambiguity. Here are some examples:
"its completely open ended because its often complete fantasy another good thing about whiff is you sidestep the rivet counters lol"
"Basically, anything you want that hasn't been designed or built by a recognised manufacturer."
"What if something was/is different to "reality". Can be as subtle or as ridiculous as you like. Got to town, knock yourself out, have fun. A bit like ...... ' counter factual'  !!!"
To tell you the truth I do not agree with these definitions. I think they give a good excuse once you've done various mistakes with your model, done no research, used wrong colours and markings, then to present your finished monstrosity as a "what-if". I had a similar conversation in a greek forum where some guy slapped any decals he could find (IJJAF, IJNAF & civilian) on an "Ida" (if I remember correctly) and then called it "what-if". Once I noted the mistakes his reply was "It's a what-if, I can do whatever I want".
The above attitude is apparently supported by this answer:
"by deffinition a make believe airplane cant be innacurate lol"
Personally I prefer what this guy wrote:
"i like my whifs to have some basis in reality or at least have some logic to the build..."
Since we have a special love for Japanese aircraft I feel really peeved, chafed, irked, nettled and vexed when I see really bizarre, wide of the mark and plainly wrong Japanese airplane models trying to pass themselves as "what-ifs". 
As I said I love whifers and fantasy models but I prefer to make a clear distinction between the two.
To me what-ifs are aircraft that could have been built, if the war had lasted longer for example. Luft '46 and Nipponki '46* fall under this category. Experimental planes in real combat colours is another example. Aircraft that could have been exchanged between the allied combatants or captured and put into use. Very advanced versions of real designs or even with various advanced or peculiar modifications.
But the important thing is that these models should follow the known painting and marking rules of the airforce they supposed to belong to. Otherwise they are either wrong or should be called "fantasy".
Let's see some examples.
First of all two side views done by our friend Devlin Chouinard of Raiden whifers.
A what-if the Army had used the Raiden in combat.
And what-if, somehow, it was exported to Germany during the War.
Note how possible and accurate are the markings and the paint job on both planes.

A funky Zero-sen model.

Here's an excellent what-if model called "Japanese 335: Ki-300 "Marlene" - Home Island Defense" found HERE. The paint job is perfect and all the markings are correct.

But how about this one called "244th Sentai Anteater"?     

This lovely little Kyushu Shinden whifer with a jet engine has very nice overall paint-job and fairly accurate markings.

On the other hand, although this one looks fancier and the modeler has put plenty of effort, I woud call it "fantasy" since the Japanese never used this kind of camo pattern even for IJAAF planes. It just doesn't look Japanese!

Similar problems with these two Kikka.

On the left, the markings and the camo are wrong for an IJAAF plane and on the right the paint-job for an IJNAF aircraft is also innacurate.
There is also a third category. The what-if/fantasy. Aircraft that never existed, they are completely the result of the modeler's imagination but they could have been built even by a stretch of the imagination.
Here's an amazing model called "The Big Fish". Brilliant in every respect. 

But how about this what-if/fantasy Japanese Mistel combo. Good concept but unfortunately the colours are just wrong.

So, yes, I do expect, as a matter of fact, demand to see accuracy in "what-if" models. Otherwise they should be called "fantasy". And I don't mean to take the fun and the creativity away. I would just like the modelers to show similar respect to the Japanese airplanes as they show to Luft, RAF or US plane subjects. Too much perhaps?
*Perhaps you have noticed that we use the term "Nipponki '46" (Japanese aircraft '46) because the previously used "hikoki '46" (aircraft '46) does not make any sense.


Harold K said...

"The Big Fish" is just wonderful!

We cannot speak of fantasy in this context without mentioning the work of Ronnie Oltshoorn.

Arawasi said...

Yes, Harold, I agree. Ronnie is indeed an excellent aviation artist.

D. Chouinard said...

Very cool models, I too like "The Big Fish".
My feelings about "what-if" models are that they must be based in some fact and be believable. Also, the combining of features, kits, and color schemes should look like a seamless unit. "The Big Fish" accomplishes this. There is an amazing amount of latitude, to be honest.
To open it up further, fantasy aircraft come next. Although this is a creative and open area, it pays to stay with the spirit of what you are building. If it's to be Japanese, then it should look Japanese.
"Cross-marking" as the Raiden illustration shows, can be done as well, as long as it is believable, and makes sense.
Like a good sci-fi movie, it has to make you believe that what is on the screen is possible.

Alright, have I said too much? :)

Alcides said...

I'm a fan of what-if and paper planes but I strongly agree the complementary details has to be as accurate as possible.
If I build let's say a Suzukaze 20 which is a fantasy I'd try the marks are real. So the plane looks like a possibility.
At least I like on that way.

Unknown said...

The left JNAF 'Kikka' is actually a JAAF Nakajima Ki-201