Sunday 30 September 2012

Manga - "The Cockpit" #1

Staying home and getting tortured by typhoon No. 17, "Jelawat" decided to upload a U-Tube video featuring a part of one of the most important manga, "The Cockpit".
I hope you'll excuse us for any mistakes in the translation.

0:12-August 6, 1945...0:38-Today's escort includes "Shiden", right?...0:41-There are 40 fighters, of them 16 are "Shiden"...0:44-"Shiden" has short range so it's actually an interceptor. Until we reach our target only 24 "Rei-sen" will be escorting us...0:54-So, are they going to protect until we launch the "Ohka"?..1:03-Again? Sometimes the engine is coughing...1:07-You can't help it. Parts of the latest planes are built by junior-high and girl students...1:12-(joke difficult to translate...)And they're using pots and pans...1:21-Compared to the tin Tanks, the planes are much better...1:27-They should apologise to the soldiers for building this kind of Tanks. I wonder what the designer of the "Ohka" had in mind...1:35-I studied rocket engineering so I understand. The engineer who made him design it must have been very sorrowful. So, if they were actually going to build it at the very least it should have very high performance. Sorrowful, sorrowful...anyhow somobody has to get in the cockpit and if you fly it, there is no return...2:07-Eh, the "Shiden" are dropping their extra fuel tanks...2:10-Are they going back?..2:12-If they don't get back they won't have enough fuel...2:21-No, they just threw them away because they're empty...2:27-Enemy unit, north direction, 30 degrees, altitude 4,000, spotted. Ship protecting fighter units take-off immediately...2:36-They came, crazy bastards. Shoot them all down...2:56-Are you getting in already?..3:00-It's my coffin, I want to get used to it...3:20-Poor Nogami inside such a tight place, can you hear me?..3:25-The difference with the "1shiki Rikko" (Betty) is that I'm alone so I'm comfortable...3:29-I see. Hang in there...3:31-Thank you, LTJG Yamaoka..3:52-The enemy!..3:54-Right upper side, 30 degrees, enemy planes. All planes get into battle formation...4:00-Enemy fighters on the left upper side. They are coming down from the sun...4:05-Go! Shoot down the crazies...4:10-Dive and loop!..4:17-They shot the commander's plane...4:52-Get away! Fly under the cloud shadow...4:55-We can't get rid off one of them...4:56-Shake it off no matter what...5:03-You can't get away from me...5:07-Our right wing is shot...5:08-Damn, we lose fuel...5:22-Lieutenant, release me. You'll become lighter...5:25-Stupid! Not yet. Only when we see the enemy ships...5:31-He's coming again!..5:32-Coming, coming, coming!..5:38-Enough. Release me quickly...5:42-We're still flying...5:44-RELEASE ME!..5:50-Cherry blossom, finished off...5:53-Albert, right side up enemy planes...6:06-I see the enemy...6:08-Thank you. That's enough. Thank you...6:13-Nogami, I'm leaving it to you...6:31-There he goes. He switched his rocket on...6:38-Sorry...6:41-One enemy rocket plane approaching...6:44-What? Cherry blossom, the human bomb...6:57-No good. It's too fast...7:38-Damn. Broke the sound barrier. What's that? From the Japanese plane? A photo with a woman with a koto* on her back? Crazy!..8:00-Captain sudden message. Right now the atomic bomb has been dropped on Hiroshima ...8:13-Everybody's crazy. The enemy. Us. Everybody's crazy.
8:38-The history of the human guided bomb was a short lived vain dream. In the Pacific the "Ohka" units spilled their blood. What is left now is big nuclear missiles. The nuclear bombs are waiting to ruin the world and...they don't have a heart (spirit).
9:12-April 1961, first flight to space...July 1969, man on the moon.

For more about the story check HERE.


Thursday 27 September 2012

Nakajima B6N "Tenzan" (Jill)

A NARA photo featuring in the foreground a Nakajima B6N "Tenzan" (Jill) found in Atsugi base, Kanagawa Prefecure, at the end of the war. It is equipped with H-6 ASV Radar as can be testified by the "Yagi-type" antennae. The unit marking has been overpainted and therefore is unknown. Probably a visiting airplane. In the background there are Zero-sen, Raiden and other aircraft belonging to the 302 Kokutai.

During our 2008 holiday trip to the paradise called Ogasawara or Bonin islands (HERE) we discovered that right in front of the pension we were staying there was the wheel-cover of a "Tenzan". It turned out to belong to one of the two aircraft of its type that were operated by the 903rd Kokutai.

It was in the sea surrounding the islands that former US President George H. W. Bush crash-landed and was subsequently rescued by a US submarine.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Accidents - IJAAF 3rd Rentai

On March 25, 1936 around 14:00, a Kawasaki KDA-2 (Type 88 Reconnaissance) experienced engine trouble while flying over Osaka, Minami-Kawachi-gun (South Kawachi District), Furuichi-machi (Furuichi city). Unfortunately both pilots perished when the aircraft crashed.
Furuichi-machi no longer exists but was generally in the area of Osaka's Habikino (here).
According to the caption the aircraft belonged to the "Yokaichi Hiko Rentai". Yokaichi was an airfield in Shiga Prefecture that officially started its opperations on January 11, 1922 and was the home of IJAAF's 3rd Daitai. In 1925 the unit was renamed to 3rd Rentai and had two Fighter and one Reconnaissance Chutai with a total of about 50 aircraft in its strength. The aircraft in the photo belonged to the Reconnaissance Chutai. In 1938 the unit was renamed the 3rd Sentai and was reorganised as a bomber unit.
Note the three red bands on the vertical but also on the horizontal tail surfaces; a very early IJAAF unit marking. Photo from a vintage publication.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete" by Panagiotis Koubetsos

After completing his breath-taking "Saiun" (HERE) Panagiotis Koubetsos already started doing his magic again working on a Hasegawa "Reikan". 

Visit and follow this Hyperscale link (HERE) for plenty of photos and an excellent presentation.

Monday 24 September 2012

Artist - Kumagai Hidehiro (EI)

We are very proud to feature on our blog samples of the exquisite aviation CG artwork of artist and illustrator Kumagai "EI" Hidehiro. Born in 1950 and working freelance since 1985 his work can be found in dozens of Japanese publications including history, law, economics but also hobby.
Visit he site HERE for more.

Friday 21 September 2012

Mitsubishi G3M "Nell"

A photo from a vintage publication taken somewhere in the South Pacific.
A Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" getting refuelled before a mission while another one in the background is just taking off.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Visitors - The "Czecho-Slovakian" connection

Two photos from a vintage publication; "AsahiGraph" September 14, 1927 . Original article captions.

"Czecho-Slovakian plane, piloted by Lieut. Colonel Skala arrived at Tokorozawa Army aerodrome on September 4. The picture shows the airman with mechanic Taufer being greeted at the aerodrome. Mr. Svagrovsky, Czecho-Slovakian Minister, is seen with the airman."

"The Czecho-Slovakian airman, Lieut.-Colonel Skala, is seen exchanging greeting with general Shirakawa, War Minister and Admiral Okada, Navy Minister when a welcome luncheon was given in his honour at the Imperial Hotel, September 5. M. Taufer, mechanic, is seen in the centre."

Miroslav Kárník of RISING DECALS sent us the following information:
The flight from Praha (Prague) to Tokyo (cicra 23,000km) was undertaken by pplk. Jaroslav Skála and mechanic Matej Taufer with Czech bomber/scout aircraft Letov Š-16 in 1927. In the attached links you can see some photos of the aircraft, a map of the flight and more.
Fragment (tail fin) of the aircraft is on display in the Museum of Flight in Praha (Prague) - Kbely - link for photos here. Link with details about the flight here. Link about the aircraft, here. Video from Czech TV about the flight, here.
Letov Š-16 is probably one of only two Czech pre-war aircraft that flew to Japan. The next aircraft was Zlin Z-XII (here). The other pre-war Czech aircraft with hinomaru was Avia Ba-33 (here) but it flew only in China, not in Japan.

Thank you very much Mirek and Peter for the additional interesting information.

Our friend Yokokawa Yuichi with the fantastic blog (HERE) sent us today one more photo (from here) of the arrival of Skála/Taufer in Tokorozawa.

We also discovered one more photo in our vintage publication archives.

Harold K:
George, from the photos of the rudder in the Praha-Kbely museum, can you translate for us the Japanese inscriptions on it?
Mukden is present day Shenyang in NE China. Pyongyang and Daegu are in North and South Korea respectively. Half of the last name is hidden. The visible part could be read as "Tokoro". HTH. 

Yokokawa-san sent us some more information regarding locations and dates (thank you very much).
27/8/1927 from Mukden to a location north of Sonchon
27/8/1927 Pyongyang
01/9/1927 Pyongyang → Daegu  
03/9/1927 Daegu → Osaka 
04/9/1927 Osaka → Tokorozawa
12/9/1927 Tokorozawa → Okayama
14/9/1927 Okayama → Daegu → Pyongyang
15/9/1927 Pyongyang → Mukden 

Tuesday 18 September 2012

"Der Adler" Photos

A set of photos from a April 10, 1941 issue of the Luftwaffe-wartime magazine "Der Adler", courtesy of our friend Jacob Terlouw.

Kawasaki Ki-32 "Mary" belonging to the Mito Rikugun Hiko Gakko (Mito Army Aviation School). Katakana "RE" on the tail above the school marking.

Radio position of a Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally". The radio is a Type 94 Hi Mk.2.

IJAAF 7.7mm Te-4 flexible machine gun.

IJAAF maintenance students servicing an engine under the watchful eye of an instructor, third from the left.

Thank you very much Jacob for the interesting photos.

Monday 17 September 2012

IJNAF equipment

A photo from a vintage magazine with the dorsal turret machine gunner of a G3M "Nell" scanning the horizon with a pair of binoculars. IJNAF binoculars were made by various companies like "Tokyo Shibaura Denki KK" (present day Toshiba), "Nippon Kogaku Kogyo KK" (present day Nikon), "Tomioka Kogaku Kikai Seizo-Sho" (present day Kyocera Optec) and others.

Saturday 15 September 2012


Bunrindo just released a new publication on their FAOW Special Edition Series; Number #6 on the Type Zero Carrier Fighter. 208pages, 300 photos of which 38 in colour. 15 colour illustrations. All in Japanese.

Overall: A rehash of previous material. After Maru and Model Art now it's Bunrindo's turn to reprint old stuff for new modelers (Gakken to follow?). Our Model Art review (here) is pretty much valid for this one too. VERY poor coverage of the A6M2-N and A6M2-K and no colour illustrations of either models. Only exception the half a dozen colour illustrations by Master Watanabe Rikyu thoughtlessly and disrespectfully placed between pages with the horrible "valley" destroying the beauty of the artwork.
Very disappointing publication...It seems that the Japanese publishers have totally lost touch with their audience who are thirsty for new books on previously untouched subjects. No books even on other Navy or Army fighters but instead they keep releasing books on the Zero again and again while at the same time complain there is no interest. Duh! No interesting books, no interest.
Get this one only if you have just discovered that the Japanese Navy had a fighter called "Zero".

Thursday 13 September 2012

"SuperCon 2012"

IPMS Fort Worth Scale Modelers
"SuperCon 2012"
September 8th, 2012

This year's "supercon" was a reasonably good show for the J-aircraft enthusiast, turnout was good, and the number of models sporting the hinomaru was larger than last year. Of special note was the large scale J2M Raiden and the J7W Shinden, but also a fine example of a Toryu in 1/48 scale. There was a very fine model of the IJN carrier Akagi on the tables as well. Good work by all!

Thanks to the Fort Worth IPMS for a good show.
Devlin Chouinard

Thank you D. for the excellent report and photos.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Hiro Kosho H3H1

A photo of a Japanese X-plane today, the Hiro Kosho H3H1. Only one was completed on January 26, 1931 with a maiden flight taking place the next day. From May 11 of the same year it was given to Yokosuka-Ku for evaluation where problems with the elevator, the directional stability and engine cooling resulted in constant modifications. Unfortunately the problems were not rectified and the type was not officially adopted by the Navy but instead the Kawanishi H3K1 was preferred. It was the first all-metal large size aircraft built by Japan and the first Navy aircraft to feature a tail gun position and could carry a bombload of one ton. It was used as a testbed for the Mitsubishi Shinten 950hp engine and the only aicraft we could locate with this engine was the Yokosuka (Kokusho) H5Y1 flying boat. In 1934 the flying boat staff of Hiro transferred to Yokosuka (Kokusho) and it was them who were responsible for the H5Y1.

 Postcard from the Arawasi Collection

Sunday 9 September 2012

Hansa Brandenburg W29 by Thilo-Arndt Möller Pt. 1

Some months ago I started building a Hansa Branderburg W29. I was looking for information and drawings on the net and found that there was an article on the Japanese Hansa Type in an Arawasi magazine issue. I bought the Sept-Dec 2007, issue 7, and...I changed my mind. I decided to build the colourful Japanese J-BAWI Hansa.
Below are some photos on my in-progress model. As you can see there is a lot of work to be done. At the moment I'm working on the frames of the floats.
It will be an electric powered RC model. The wingspan is 1550mm and the weight should be about 2100gr.
I will keep you updated for any progress I make.
Thilo-Arndt Möller - Rostock, Germany

More information and photos today from the artist.
Ok, here are some more information.
My Hansa is a "classical" construction. For the fuselage I use 3 mm plywood for the frames and 1,5 mm balsa for covering. The floats are made of 3 mm balsa frames and 2 mm balsa for covering. To make the floats waterproof I will use a cover of thin (25 g/m2) fibreglass. Steel and carbon fibre tube are used for the float rack. This materials are connected with high strength 0,3 mm fishing line and epoxy clue.
The wing has a carbon fibre tube as a spar and 2 mm balsa rips.
Wing and stabilizer will be covered in an old-fashioned way. I use Japanese tissue paper (12 or 18 gram) and chipping paint (I am not sure if is this the right translation...).
Here are some new pics. You can see parts of the rack, the stabilizer with the starting covering and the forward fuselage with some holes for the dummy motor.

Oh my goodness!!! What an amazing model!!!
Yes, Thilo-A. Please do keep us updated!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

BREAKING NEWS - Tachikawa Ki-54 trainer is recovered!!!!

A Tachikawa Ki-54 trainer has been pulled out of Lake Towada where it had been resting for more than 69 years thanks to the efforts of the volunteers of Aomori-ken Koku Kyokai (Aviation Association of Aomori Prefecture).
The plane made an emergency landing on September 27, 1943 due to engine trouble on her way to Hachinohe airfield, Aomori prefecture, from Noshiro airfield, Akita prefecture. There were four passengers. One was saved by a fisherman but the other three were lost. Their bodies were not found in the wreck.
The plane was first discovered two years ago by a marine research company but the first effort for recovery was unsuccessful because half of one of the wings was buried in the mud. During the second successful recovery the plane was split in three, main wing, nose around the cockpit and rear fuselage but all in all the recovery team is confident it will be successfully restored.

The 38th Sentai was organised in April 1943 from the 1st Chutai of the 3rd Sentai. From March 1942 until June the 3rd Sentai was based in Hachinohe airfield and then relocated to Hokkaido.

A last set of photos, from HERE. The aircraft will be moved next week to Misawa Aviation and Science Museum pending restoration. We hope to visit it for a very close inspection and we will definitely keep you informed through our blog.

Notice the interior color!

Notice the "blue" color of the flaps.

Source here. Note the interior green and possibly the dark brown primer in the windows.

Photos below, coutresy of Mr. Oota Hiroyuki, from HERE.

One of the two Hitachi Ha-13Ko engines.

Tail marking: 38th Sentai