Monday 4 February 2013

FAOW#153 Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber

FAOW#153, Bunrindo March, 2013, p. 88, photos: 111 b/w.
Illustrations: Watanabe Rikyu and K. Koizumi Productions.
Text: Akimoto Minoru, Torikai Tsuruo
Captions: Izawa Yasuho
Civilian chapter & photos: Yanagisawa Koji

Ten (!!!) years after the publication of the fabulous FAOW#98 on the Ki-67 "Hiryu", Bunrindo finally decided to release a new FAOW on one of the least covered Japanese twin-engine bombers; Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber or Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally".
I have mixed feelings about this publication. Starting positively, I'm happy that Bunrindo finally made a break from the Zero fighters and such to turn their attention to an overlooked subject like poor "Sally".
On the other hand, considering that the FAOW series relies heavily on the photo coverage of its subject I must admit that I was quite disappointed by this publication with the photo quality and quantity well below that of previous FAOWs. Simply put, although there are plenty of high quality photos from various Japanese sources available, 80% of the photos in this new FAOW are from vintage publications, unfortunately not that nicely reproduced. I spotted for example only one photo from the Kikuchi Collection. The artwork although not bad is too spartan for such a colourful aircraft. I mean...six flat side views..really? Where is the always amazing Watanabe Rikyu-san's fold-out?
All in all, a publication that seems to have been put together in haste. Perhaps somebody's preparing the release of a "Sally" kit?
Incidentally Maru Mechanic #29 (1981) is far better than FAOW#153. Although out-of-print, limited number of copies are available through our on-line store HERE.   
But staying positive, I have to admit that I don't feel bad about this FAOW since it means that the Eagle Eye we are preparing on the "Sally" will definitely be much much better!

So, yes, FAOW#153 is recommended because except for the old Maru Mechanic there is nothing else out there.


Panagiotis said...

Hi George,
Speaking of the Sally I'd like to ask if there's a 1/48 vac -or no- kit of this marvellous big bird..If not -as I guess-the same question goes for Helen or Peggy.

Arawasi said...

Hi Panagioti,
AFAIK the only Ki-21 1/48 kit was released by Raccoon Models. Resin with some metal parts and extremely difficult to find.

Panagiotis said...

If I find it, it'll definitely be a 'Betty' version of my IJAAF project plans!!