Friday 29 June 2012

Nakajima E4N1 by "Avion Road"

One of the two E4N1 prototypes that were built by Nakajima in December 1930 to replace the older Type 15 Rec. Seaplane was converted to a transport with two passengers after the design failed to meet the demands of the Navy. It was known as Giyu-11 after it was purchased by Kaibo Gikai in December 1934, a civilian non-profit volunteer association founded in 1922 dedicated to ensuring the safety of life and property at sea but also closely related to the Japanese Army and Navy. It flew on the Haneda (Tokyo), Shimizu  and Shimoda ( both in Shizuoka Prefecture) route by Tokyo Koku Yuso Kaisha. This small airline was founded in September 1928 by members of the Nihon Hiko Gakko to fly specifically on this route. By 1929 it had a twin seat Avro 504 and a Navy supplied Hansa Brandenburg single passenger floatplane. But most notably it was with this airline that Airgirls (present day cabin attendants) first flew in Japan in 1931.
Giyu-11 received the civilian registration J-BERG and was scrapped in 1936.

"Avion Road" shared again (here) with us photos of his marvelous model in 1/72, a resin kit by Choroszy Modelbud which according to the artist was of very high quality presenting no problems and was fun to build.

Thank you very much "Avion Road" for your contribution to our blog!

Monday 25 June 2012

Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" - 1081 Kokutai

In this NARA photo, a "Nell" belonging to the 1081st Kokutai is seen in Atsugi base after the end of the War. Tail marking is "ョE" (YoE), the unit tail code and a number I see as 910.

The 1081st Kokutai was organized on April 1st, 1944 when it's parent unit the 1001Ku, an airplane transport unit, became too big. 1081Ku was also an airplane transport unit and originally had Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" and G4M "Betty", 24 escort fighters and 24 carrier bombers. The unit's home base was Miho aifield in Totori Prefecture but it was also based in Atsugi. Originally belonged to the Yokosuka Chinjufu (Yokosuka Naval District, here) but from September 15, 1944 became part of the 101 Koku Sentai (Combined Fleet).
From July 15, 1945 survivors from the Philippines of the 1021Ku joined 1081Ku, but at the time there were no airplanes available for them.
Tokumu shoi (special ensign ) Oota Shoichi, who first conceived the "Ohka" flying bomb in June 1944, was a navigator with the 1081Ku.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Artist: Kaiho Hideichi

One of the most famous aviation artists in Japan is Kaiho Hideichi-san.
He was born in Tokyo on January 23, 1925 and joined IJAAF with the 13th class of the Shonen Hikohei (Youth Pilot) programme. He was a member of the famous 64th Sentai and participated in the defence of Japan in the final stages of the War; an experience that influenced him greatly.

Check these two links: Link One - Link Two for the very interesting story of Kaiho-san and B-29 pilot  Raymond "Hap" Halloran.

Kaiho-san on the left with Raymond "Hap" Halloran

After the War Kaiho-san became a Keirin (here) bicycle racer and later, after his retirement in 1962, a pilot instructor in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture.

His history as an artist starts before the War. At that time he used watercolours and won first prize in a Navy art competition. After the War he changed to oils and he became a major influence to many young Japanese aviation illustrators and artists. He passed away in 2004.

Small quiz: Can you identify the aircraft types and more importantly the units in the above paintings of Kaiho-san?

Thursday 21 June 2012

Kawasaki Type 88 Reconnaissance KDA-2

Two photos from vintage publications.
The top photo is of a Type 88 Reconnaissance under maintenance. The lower is a bit puzzling. Judging from the struts it's a recconassaince too but getting bombed-up.

As far as I know the only company that has released a model of the type is Choroszy Modelbud in 1/72.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah"

A couple photos from a vintage publication of a "Dinah"  probably belonging to the Shimoshizu Army Flying School.
In the second photo the landing gear is of a Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki".

Sunday 17 June 2012

Sasebo Kokutai #2, Mitsubishi F1M "Pete" by Pat Donahue

Pat Donahue sent us photos of his beautiful Hasegawa "Pete" in 1/48 based on the photo of the previous post. Enjoy!

Thank you Pat for your support.

Sasebo Kokutai #1, Mitsubishi F1M "Pete"

After the formation of Yokosuka Kokutai the Navy decided to continue its aviation expansion program. At the tip of the Nagasaki peninsula the shallows were landfilled and an airfield was created. Sasebo Kokutai was formed on December 1st, 1920 using the airfield for its base but since it was too short, land-based aircraft of the unit were actually based in Oomura. As a result SaseboKu became a primarily seaplane unit.
On December 15, 1944 local anti-submarine patrol units were incorporated in three big kokutai. West Japan became the responsibility of the 951st Kokutai which included SaseboKu, MaizuruKu, OkinawaKu, 453Ku, 256Ku and ChinkaiKu (responsible for the patrol of Korean peninsula and located in today's Jinhae-gu in S. Korea). The other big unit was the 903rd Ku which was responsible for East Japan and the Tokyo area. The last big kokutai was the 901st which was responsible for the mainland and the areas of Asia occupied by the Japanese Navy.
The NARA photo below taken at the end of the War shows a Mitsubishi F1M "Reikan" (Pete) with katakana "" (SA) on the tail, the SaseboKu unit marking but also the number 951 underneath denoting the 951Ku.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Nakajima A1N

One more photo from a vintage magazine of an A1N this time belonging to the Oomura Kokutai. Starting from September 3, 1932 and for six days, Navy manoeuvres were contacted in the sea area south of Osaka. Apart from the Navy fleet, air units also participated including Tateyama, Yokosuka, Sasebo and Oomura kokutais. This photo was taken in the Army training field of Osaka where 17 airplanes from Oomura Kokutai had gathered getting ready to participate in the manoeuvres.


Friday 15 June 2012

VIPs - DC3

Between June 26 and August 19, 1939 a long series of meetings took place between then British ambassador to Japan, Robert Craigie and the Japanese Government headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Arita Hachiro. The subject was the Tientsin Incident (here) and among those who participated were naturally Army commanders of the Japanese Army stationed in China. The photo below was taken at Haneda Airport on August 14, at 6:00am upon the return to China of the Army officers who participated in the meetings. Front row on the right sits Major General Muto Akira, next to him sits Lt Colonel Ota, while behind Muto sits Major Ota (Kempei) and next to him Major Miyamoto. They all wear Model 1938 service dress, field caps instead of peaked caps and Maj Gen Muto is wearing brown aiguillette indicating he is serving in the field while the other two are wearing gold, the usual formal color.
The airplane interior is of either a DC-2 or a DC-3. Any thoughts?

Our friend Iskender Mailibayev sent us the following comment:
I'm fairly sure it is a DC-3. As far as I know the standard DC-2 passenger cabin arrangement included rows of single seats on the left and right, divided by an aisle. DC-3 had its fuselage widened by 60+ cm. compared to DC-2, which allowed for 3 seats arrangement (2+1), and that's exactly what we see on this picture. 
Thank you very much Iskender! 

Scalefest 2012

Our good friend D. Chouinard sent us a photo report of the model show he recently attented.
Model show: "Scalefest 2012" was put on by the IPMS North Central Texas, on May 19, 2012, in Mesquite, Texas.
With such a small turn out for Japanese aircraft models, and nothing that really stood out, it's hard to say anything else. The two "what if" models seemed to stand out more than the "normal" J-planes on the tables.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Japanese Airfield Equipment #2

The IJAAF and the IJNAF used these wagons to carry around their heavier bombs. But they were mostly found in the bigger airfields of the homeland like the ones in the NARA photos below.

Found after the end of the War at the seaplane base in Otsu, capital of Shiga prefecture, next to lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan. The bottles in the foreground on the left wrapped with paper are somewhat of a mystery. Occasionally sake bottles are wrapped with paper like that but no idea what they are doing next to floatplanes and bomb wagons. *

This photo was taken in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture. Note the quite large bombs, probably 250kgs, and the concrete airplane shelters in the background.

*And now for the language/culture lesson of the day. In Japanese the word sake (pronounced "SA"-as in "SAmantha" and KE-as in "KEvin"; not as in "key") and osake (with the honorific "o") means any kind of alcoholic drink (whiskey, vodka etc). The word the Japanese use for the drink known to the Western World as sake, is nihonshu. Enjoy your sushi or sashimi with cold or hot nihonshu
My personal favorite is hirezake which Wikipedia describes as: The fins of the fish [Fugu or pufferfish: the well-known poisonous fish] are dried out completely, baked, and served in hot sake.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Nakajima A1N

The type was based on the Gloster Gamecock Gamber. There were two versions, the A1N1 had an air-cooled 420hp Jupiter VI, the A1N2 was equipped with a 460hp Kotobuki engine. A very successful fighter, saw major action during the Shanghai Incident of 1932. This particular airplane belongs to the Yokosuka Kokutai. More on the type HERE.

Monday 11 June 2012

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (Frank) by Joe Brown

Joe Brown from Canada shared with us photos of his lovely "Hayate". He explained:

"It's the Hasegawa kit in 1/48. It comes with deployed flaps but mine were damaged, so I raised them up and faired them in and rescribed the underside. Added eduard seatbelts. Other than that it's out of the box. The decals are from Aeromaster (48-623: 520 Temporary Interception Regiment). Painted with Polly Scale paints,  paint chipping done with a silver pencil."

Sunday 10 June 2012

Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily"

In the top photo, from a vintage publication, a Kawasaki Ki-48 of the Tokorozawa Rikugun Koku Seibi Gakko 所沢陸軍航空整備学校 (Army Maintenance School in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture) is having one of the propellers back on after a thorough engine check. In the second photo another "Lily" from the same school is undergoing engine maintenance. Note that the prop colors are different; all brown in the top photo, unpainted in the second.

The prop warning sign, in katakana, on the fuselage side reads "キケン" (kiken) meaning "danger".

Friday 8 June 2012

Zero-sen Model 21, 3rd Kokutai

Following the beginning of the Pacific War and starting from December 23, 1941, the 3rd Kokutai relocated to Davao in Mindanao island from its original base in Takao, Taiwan. Three weeks later the unit advanced to Manado on the Celebes in January 1942. This official IJNAF photo showing Zero Model 21s was taken in Manado during that period. Note the data stencil applied on the cowling side.

After the capture of Java, the 3rd Ku was stationed there to fight the remnants of the enemy forces and for air patrol. From April 1942 the main force of the 3rd relocated to Kupang airfield on Timor island. From there together with field attack units, they were engaged in raids against Australia's Port Darvin. The photo below was taken in Kupang.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Zero-sen maintenance

A series of photos from a 1944 magazine featuring maintenance group students practising on Zero-sen. Good reference for uniforms and ground equipment. Note the tool box in the first and last photo.