Monday 31 December 2012


Only a few hours left here in cold Tokyo for 2012, year of the Dragon, to wave us goodbye and 2013, year of the Snake, to greet us.
More than 200 posts this past year. Not bad, right? We hope you enjoyed visiting our blog and rest assured we will do our best the next year. We are also feveresly working on new Arawasi publications due this forthcoming year.
We would also like to thank all our  visitors who left almost 300 comments and showed us how much they like our blog as well as helping out with their corrections, contributions and participation. So, once more a big thank you to: Harold, Devlin, Pano, Sinang, Jacob, Mark, Thilo, Luigi, Hub, Kalle, Ronnie, Luca, AJay, Iskender, Vangeli, Joe, Ed, Alexandro, Ilia, Bill, Jean, Pat and James. Also Nagai-san, Kumagai-san, Takizawa-san, Saito-san, Yokokawa-san and "Avion Road".


Sunday 30 December 2012

Mitsubishi A5M4-K - #3 Artwork

Our good friend Zygmunt Szeremeta is honouring us with two samples of his artwork made specially for our blog. 
Dziękuję Zygmunt.

"オタ-409 (OTa-409)" belonging to the Oita Ku in standard overall trainer orange paint and black cowling extending to the forward cockpit. Something went wrong and the upper parts of the landing gear covers were removed. The A6M2-K Zero trainers carried similar paintwork when coming out of the factory. We opted for a softer trainer orange instead of a pure dark orange or a yellow.

"オタ-406 (OTa-406)" another Oita Ku "Claude" trainer with green paint applied on the top surfaces for camouflage. There is only one monochrome photo of this particular plane and as I'm sure you know well it's rather difficult to tell colours from b/w photos. But let's give it a try. In the standard factory finish the black anti-glare paint extended to the forward cockpit. When these trainer aircraft were later camouflaged with green paint it would have been extremely tedious to overpaint the orange colour right next to the curvy black line and therefore the common practise was to paint everything green until the cowling. There was also no point to overpaint the cowling green.
In the overall orange aircraft the tail marking was usually, if not always, black. Overpainting this and keeping the black digits would also have been too troublesome. Much easier to overpaint everything and then apply the marking again. In this case we opted for red instead of black, which is also possible.  

Saturday 29 December 2012

Mitsubishi A5M4-K - #2 Kits & Models

Classic Airframes is the only company that has released an A5M4-K in 1/48, AFAIK.
Check HERE for a review by Hyperscale's own Brett Green

In 1/72 there is only the Choroszy Modelbud resin kit.

And in 1/144 there is the kit released by A&W.

Take a look HERE for an excellent model by Martin Sokolowski.

And HERE for a detailed review and model built by John C. Valo.

Friday 28 December 2012

Mitsubishi A5M4-K - 二式練習用戦闘機 #1 Photos

A line-up of Type 2 Fighter Trainers or Mitsubishi A5M4-K, the trainer version of "Claude", getting ready for take-off. Unit unknown but maybe Oita Ku.

Below is a series of very interesting captions from a short film from Critical PastHERE, shot at Omura airfield in Nagasaki Prefecture after the end of the War. Omura Ku was one of the units that flew the A5M4-K and considering that only 20 "Claude" trainers were ever produced then just to see a number of aircraft of this type in one base and in one clip is something really exciting. Not to mention we get some intriguing hints on the overall color of IJNAF trainers.  

Unfortunately in this caption the tail marking of the overall orange-yellow A5M4-K is not discernible but Omura Ku used the katakana "オ" (O) for their tail marking. Note the overall color. Any ideas about the aircraft type on the ground in front of the trainer?

In this caption a "Claude" fighter is visible on the right side of the caption. It's tail marking seems to have four digits, possibly "オ116". Compare the overall green of the "Claude" with the green of the aircraft next to it on the left.

Next to the "Claude" in the above caption is another A5M fighter but with what looks like an orange replacement rudder from a trainer and a tail number "??06". Both fighters have suffered a lot of weathering and no signs of red-brown primer are visible under the top color. 

On the left side of the entaigo (the concrete shelter) and before moving to the right in the above captions, some more interesting aircraft are visible. In the foreground is a Type 90 Crew-Trainer or Mitsubishi K3M1 "Pine". It has green upper surfaces but if you look closely you will notice orange on the tail and, even more interestingly, the fuselage hinomaru surround looks also to be orange. Notice the yellow IFF stripe on the wing edge but surprisingly the wing undersurfaces look to be gray. So we can conclude that the fuselage overall color was originally trainer orange and was overpainted with green but what about the wing?
Behind the mysterious "Pine", to the right side of the caption, is another A5M4-K. This one has been haphazardly camouflaged with green paint and the tail marking from what we can make out appears to be "?124"; the first digit could be "オ". Note that the tail marking is applied parallel to the ground not the plane's centerline and that it's also in white suggesting that it was applied at a later date after the green camouflage. 
Don't forget to check the movie in the link above and as always feel free to comment.

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Hansa Brandenburg W29 by Thilo-Arndt Möller Pt. 3

Thilo finished his Hansa! Enjoy the brilliant photos below.
He said:
"Now, the Hansa is finished and ready for the maiden flight. Yesterday I did the last steps. At the moment I am not sure when the first test flight will be. There is a small waterplane meeting in January. It depends on the weather. Otherwise in spring. In the end the weight is as I expected 2150g.
Thank you very much for your support.
I wish you and the Arawasi team happy holidays and the best for the next year!"

Thank you too Thilo for sharing your work with us. Glad to be of help. Wishing you all the best for the new year and good luck with the first flight!

Check HERE1 and HERE2 for Thilo's in-progress photos and reports. 

Sunday 23 December 2012

Breaking News

A bomb that was found in Hitachi city, Ibaraki Prefecture on December 6 at a Hitachi company factory during construction work, was successfully defused this morning by JSDF. The bomb was believed to have be dropped by US forces around the end of the War and weighed about one ton. 1,600 people were evacuated as a precaution.
Check this link for a video.

Vintage magazine cover

The cover of March 15, 1944 issue of  "Shashin Shuho" (Photo Weekly News) is offering an excellent frontal view of a Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lilly" revealing the exact shape of the nose. A good reference we hope for the AZModel kit in 1/48.
According to the caption: "Women are more and more involved in the production of aircraft as these girls in a Kawasaki factory testify. Who would have thought that women would participate in the assembly of the smallest to the largest part of an aircraft? But indeed that's what they do at an equal level with men. So take this opportunity and join the aircraft production."

Saturday 22 December 2012

Aichi D1A "Susie"

Since probably the world didn't end yesterday, here are two photos from a vintage publication of Navy Type 94/96 Carrier Bombers or Aichi D1A. 
The date is September 19, 1937. At 08:00 of that morning a large group of Japanese aircraft gathered over the skies of Shanghai and proceeded for a massive bombing of Nanking and Canton. For more information on the exciting aerial events of that day do visit Håkan's brilliant site HERE.
The tail marking "T" indicates that they belong to the 13th Kokutai. According to Håkan
"The 13th Kokutai was formed from the Omura Kokutai on 11 July. It was equipped with twelve Type 96 carrier fighters (Mitsubishi A5M), six Type 96 carrier bombers (Aichi D1A2) and twelve Type 96 carrier attack aircraft (Yokosuka B4Y1)."

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Aichi E16A "Zuiun" (Paul) - #4 - Artwork

Beautiful "Zuiun" artwork by Japanese artist Nagai Atsuo (nag), member of Japan Aeronautic Association, born 1956 in Tokyo.

Nagai-san is using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop but his CG creations are made as if by hand using pencil and brush.
Below is another sample of his brilliant work.

Don't forget to visit his homepage, nag's Gallery, for more.
Thank you very much Nagai-san for your contribution to our blog.
nagさん うちのブログへのご協力ありがとうございます。

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Aichi E16A "Zuiun" (Paul) - #3 - Kits and modeling stuff

Aoshima *1 

Miyazawa (resin)

Fujimi C14 with catapult
Fujimi C14


Fujimi C31
Fujimi C30
Special Hobby
After-market canopy masking by
Bad Man for the Fujimi kits
FToys *2
FToys *2
After-market decals for the FToys kit by MYK Design

*1 - "Early 1960s Japanese kit with high gloss box top and very collectible box art. Wings fold and has options of two different (open or closed) windshields. Model is made to be motorized. Includes wiring, display stand and clear battery box. As with most all early Japanese motorized kits, the motor/battery box was not included for customs/import reasons. "(From here) Bad kit with plenty of pimples. 

*2 - FToys have released four Zuiun versions pre-painted and ready-to-assemble
in their "Seaplane Collection 2" series. 

*3 - As far as I know there has never been released any Zuiun kit in larger scale. Correct?

Monday 17 December 2012

Aichi E16A "Zuiun" (Paul) - #2 - Photos

A series of stills from a very short news film.
The location is Cavite Harbor in the Philippines, near Manila.

The "Zuiun" above with the tail number 634-27 belongs to the 634 Ku which advanced to Cavite on October 22, 1944 to participate in the Philippine Campaign.

Until this still at least 6-7 "Zuiun" can be seen getting ready for operations. Apart from the 634-27 they carry tail markings not clearly visible.

Installing a 250kg bomb under the fuselage.

Pilot's ready for take-off. Note the white lines on the cockpit sides to assist with bombing.

The seaplane is pushed into the water by the ground crew finally revealing it's tail marking; O-06. The larger dive-break openings indicate that it's an early production model.
It has not been confirmed which unit carried this tail marking. But in Cavite at that time together with the 634Ku were elements of the 801Ku and the Reconnaissance 301 Hikotai. The latter was organised in Yokosuka on July 10, 1944 with 24 "Zuiun" of which 18 were operational and six spare, and a number of Aichi E13A "Jake". The unit advanced to Cavite on October 24-25, 1944 and left on January 13, 1945. In the top and third photo of this series at least two more "Zuiun" can be seen with what looks like an O on their tails. In the top photo the tail marking could be O-16 and in the third is probably the O-06.


And a photo from NARA of a "Zuiun" found at the end of the War at lake Biwa with a number of Yokosuka K5Y2 floatplanes in the background. 634Ku but the whole tail marking has been erased. 

Aichi E16A "Zuiun" (Paul) - #1 - Translations

From FAOW 47 (Bunrindo, 1994)
Aichi E16A "Zuiun"
P.8 - Reconnaissance Seaplane "Zuiun" (E16A)
Top: 634 Navy Kokutai 1944
Middle left side: Yokosuka Ku 1944
Middle right side: Upper, under surfaces painting pattern
Bottom: Kitaura Navy Ku 1941-1945
P.71 - Reconnaissance Seaplane "Zuiun"
Upper: In 1944, the Kaigun Koku Gizutsu-sho (Navy Aviation Technical Arsenal) received the early production "Zuiun" Model 11, "KO- A23". Overall painting was gray or prototype orange yellow. The front float strut has the dive brakes in open position. This plane’s triangular deep cut at the back seat window’s rear edge was changed later on production aircraft.
Lower: Floating in Kasumigaura, a "Zuiun" Model 11 belonging to the Yokosuka Ku marked "YO-53". One of the early production machines has a standard back seat rear window but it doesn’t have holes on the dive brakes of the front float strut. Although there were seaplanes facilities in Yokosuka base, later in the war, many other types of aircraft were stationed there, so the lack of space required the relocation of seaplanes like the "Zuiun" or the Type 0 Recconnaissance Seaplane to Kasumigaura.
P.72 - Upper and lower: A half-finished "Zuiun" Model 11 at the factory of Aichi Kokuki. It shows the complicated character of this plane, which apart from the large main floats, it had good overall shape not unlike a fighter aircraft. The decision of the IJNAF to adopt a seaplane at a time, August 1943, when daytime operations by seaplanes were impossible shows the superficial way of thinking of the Navy.
P.73 - Upper: Photo of a "Zuiun" Model 11, belonging to the 634 Ku taken at the moment of launching from the catapult of the carrier battleship "Hyuga" in the Setonai Sea, on June 23, 1944. In order to supplement the losses of regular fighters, there was a plan the carrier battleships "Ise" and "Hyuga" to carry 14 and 8 "Zuiun" respectively (plus eight for "Ise" and 14 for "Hyuga" Yokosuka D4Y "Suisei"). The 634 Ku was created for this reason. This photo was taken during the first time training took place on both ships. But, in the end, both battleships didn’t see action carrying the aircraft, so the 634 Ku converted to a land based seaplane unit.
Lower: This photo was taken on September 1944 over the Setonai sea during hard training, after "Hyuga" and "Ise" decommissioned the aircraft and the 634 Ku became a land-based unit, before advancing to the Philippines. While in general "Zuiun" photos are rare, there is no other showing that many planes together. The tail number of the aircraft in the foreground is "634-78" (white).
P.74 - Top: A "Zuiun" Model 11with the tail number "634-77", belonging to the 634 Ku, is standing in front of a hangar of the Kure seaplane base. Although difficult to see from the angle of this photo, in another photo taken from a more to the left angle, we can see that this plane doesn’t have the usual round, long shaped, five openings at the dive brakes but has instead many small and big round shaped openings.
Middle: Photo taken in October 1944, at the Cavite naval base of Luzon island in the Philippines, of a "Zuiun" Model 11 with the markings "634-87", belonging to the 634 Ku after its advance there. That unit was active mainly against strategic points of the U.S. forces on Leyte island, Mindoro island etc., performing night bombing missions. These missions with difficult visual confirmation of the target and small numbers of participating planes in the sorties, didn't have any significant results. 
Lower: A "Zuiun" Model 11, marked "801-120" belonging to the 302 Reconnaissance Hikotai of the 801 Ku, is seen standing by the sand beach of the Genkai base of the island of Kyushu, early 1945. When the War started, the Yokohama Ku was equipped with Type 2 Flying Boats (Kawanishi H8K "Emily"). On November 1, 1942 the unit was renamed 801 Ku and from the main base in the mainland, detachment units were dispatched to various places for patrol, reconnaissance missions etc. On November 1944, a 2-seat seaplane reconnaissance unit, on January 1945 a field attack unit, on February of the same year a fleet reconnaissance unit, were deployed in succession, reaching a total number of almost 100 planes, making it a really big Kokutai.
The "Zuiun" unit was deployed for night bombing during the Okinawa fighting.
P75 - Photo taken near the end of the War in June-July 1945, of "Zuiun" Model 11s belonging to the 302 Reconnaissance Hikotai, lying on the Sakurajima seaplane base of Kagoshima, getting ready for the decisive battle of the mainland. The photo at the top shows seapllanes being refueled on the beach and the lower photo shows seaplanes during engine trial runs while being heavily camouflaged. The 302 Reconnaissance was organized towards the end of 1944, equipped with "Zuiun" and type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplanes and advanced to Ibusuki, Hakata and Kagoshima on Kyushu island, to participate in the battle for Okinawa. The end of the war, found the unit in Sakurajima base.
P76 - Upper: A "Zuiun" Model 11 belonging to the Yokosuka Ku, marked "YO-218" is seen in Kasumigaura seaplane base. The wing loading of 142.8 kg/m2, was a good point of this type, with good taking-off and landing ability. To improve the air combat performance, double throttle flaps were adopte as well as "small" and combat flaps. On the wing root a fillet was installed to secure a steady air flow. The projections on the wing undersides, are attachments for small bombs.
Lower Photo: A "Zuiun" belonging to the Kitaura Ku, return to it's base, close to Kasumigaura East in Ibaraki prefecture. In April 1942, the Kitaura detachment unit became independent from the Kasumigaura Ku and becoming a Kokutai was charged with pilot training until it was disbanded, in May 1945. During the battle for Okinawa, the 1 Kaitai (?) Kamikaze special attack unit was organized, with Sub-Lieutenant Miyamura Seichi and 18 others. Immediately after that, the unit was disbanded. 
NOTE: in MA 458 (IJN Kamikaze units) although the operations and aircraft of the Kaitai are mentioned, there is no reference to "Zuiun" seaplanes.
P77 - A "Zuiun" Model 11, marked "634-16", originally belonging to the 634 Ku, captured by the U.S. forces in the Philippines was transported to the States for evaluation. Apart from the rear part of the engine, it is in generally good condition. In the top photo, we can see the plane’s side shape, the front strut of the float and the double throttle flap for example. In the lower photo, we can see the way the wing folded. To move the seaplane around it was placed on the trolley of an Aichi M6A "Seiran". Although the U.S. force’s official evaluation is not known, I believe the plane’s overall performance and tactical value was not that satisfactory to them. 

From Model Art #565 (Model Art, 2000)
P.13 - Aichi Reconnaissance Seaplane "Zuiun" (E16A)
Top: 634 Navy Ku, 1944, Kure base 
Middle: Standard painting of the plane´s upper and lower surfaces
Bottom: Yokosuka Ku, 1944, Kasumigaura
P.94 - Upper: same photo as of FAOW’s p.70. Caption almost the same.
P.95 - Upper: A just finished, early production "Zuiun" Model 11 at the Aichi Kokuki factory. On the front struts of the floats, the dive brakes don’t have openings yet. Lower: Almost same caption as of FAOW’s p.73 upper photo. Only extra, catapult: Kure system no.2 type 5
P.96 - Upper: Almost same caption as of FAOW’s p.74, top photo. 
Middle: Almost same caption as of "Broken Wings of the Samurai", p. 107 upper. Only additions, photo taken two months after the end of the War (Oct. 1945), "Zuiun" seaplanes were taken out of the lake and were scrapped/burned. 
Lower (captions for photos of p. 97): Almost same caption as of FAOW’s p. 77. Only addition, the four projections under the wing in the top photo were added by US forces for transport purposes. Photo taken in Sasebo, Kyushu. 

From Model Art #439 (Model Art, 1994)
Photo captions of pages 128, 129: same as of FAOW p. 73, 74. 
Since planes, generally, don’t fly on their own, here’s some information about "Zuiun" pilots.
Nakajima Hiroshi. Although a generally unknown air observer, Nakajima Hiroshi received the Tokubetsu Koro-sho (special distinguished service medal), flying with a "Zuiun". He saw active service especially during the battle of Philippines, after his 634 Ku advanced there, performing night bombing missions over Tacloban airfield, from base of Cavite. His pilot was Miyamoto Heijiro.
Miyamoto Heijiro. Born Dec. 10, 1921 at Hiroshima. Joined the Navy Academy in Dec. 1939, joined the Kasumigaura Ku in Jan. 1943 and finished training a year later. Before joining the 301 Hikotai of the newly organised 634 Ku, in July 1944 he trained with "Zuiun" at Yokosuka Ku. For night operations he trained at Kagoshima prefecture’s Ibusuki base. In October of the same year advanced to Cavite base to participate in the battle of the Philippines. 
His deeds (in short): 
Dec. 26, over San Jose north airfield, shot down an enemy night fighter, then spotted enemy PT boats, machine gunned four of them, then threw a flare to be spotted by friendly ships. Dec. 30, found enemy middle size transports, north of Ilin island, attacked one of them with his 250 kg. bomb, capsizing it. 
During the battle of Okinawa, March 29 1945, spotted one battleship, one cruiser, and seven destroyers. Hit the battleship with his two 60 kg. bombs. 
April 20, spotted two large size destroyers, sunk one of them with his 250 kg. bomb. May 20, South of Iejima, spotted destroyers protecting a group of transports, sunk one middle size transport. 
May 23, north of Iejima spotted a large force consisting of one group of two battleships and about 10 other ships and another group eight destroyers protecting 50 (fifty) other ships. Came under heavy A/A fire and his observer, Nakajima Hiroshi was injured. Nevertheless, he flew through the barrage, attacked and sunk a destroyer. He was recommended by the 634 Ku commander Emura but during patrol around the Okinawa area, June 26 1945, he didn’t return.
Combat record:
Nov 22, 23 - Tacloban night attack: 
Nov 25 - Manila East, Lamon bay, reconnaissance patrol of enemy fleet
Nov 26 - Leyte bay, enemy transport group attack
Nov 29 - Off Bohol east, Canigao straight north, PT boats attack
Dec 11, 12 - Leyte west beach, enemy unit attack
Dec 15 - Panay sea and around Panay island, enemy unit attack
Dec 21 - Off San Jose, attacked enemy ships
Dec 26 - Off San Jose, evening reconnaissance and north airfield attack
Dec 29, 30 & Jan 2- Off San Jose, enemy transport group attack
January 13 - Relocated from Kanakao to Taiwan East Harbor
January 26 & Feb 7 - Patrol South Taiwan during Nango operation.
March 27 - Relocated to Koniya
March 29 twice, 31, April 4, 7, 20, 28, 30, May 6, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20, 23 - Okinawa area, enemy fleet attack 
April 5 - Okierabujima area, enemy fleet attack 
April 7, 20, 28 - Okinawa area, enemy fleet attack 
April 28 - Nabejima south beach patrol
April 30, May 6, 7, 10, 13, 17, 20, 23 - Okinawa area, enemy fleet attack
June 11 - Relocated to Sakurajima
Failed to return on June 26