Sunday 21 December 2014


2015, the year of the sheep. 
The past year was fairly productive for Arawasi with our latest publication on the "Willow" coming out in May, more than 200 postings and a brand new quite surprising publication that we have almost finished but will come out early next year. Stay tuned!
We also travelled a lot, visited Athens, Vienna/Austria, Bali/Jakarta/Indonesia and met some good friends for the first time in person: Zygmunt, Bernhard and Verena. 
We would like to thank one more time the guys of IPMS Austria, Sinang Aribowo and Iwan Winarta from Indonesia for all their hospitality.
As always we would also like to thank everybody who left a comment: Alcides, Jean Barby, Peter Dasso, Harold K, Oleg Pegushin, Fluffy, Sosezi, Seawings, Bernhard, Scott, George Bryant, Devlin, David Brizzard, Jacob, Lish, Chuang Shyue Chou, Kalle Kindel, Andrey Temnyy, maxwgreen, Bob D., Jon Yuengling, Iskender, Ryan B, F_IV, fugaku, Hakan, GeeBee, Thomas Hall, Junchan and Panagiotis.
A special "thank you" should go to everybody who contributed to our blog: our good friends Devlin Chouinard and Zygmunt  Szeremeta, Panagiotis Koubetsos-Greece for his exquisite models, Bernhard Tomaschitz-Austria for his excellent Zoukei Mura "Raiden" presentation but also Samo Štempihar-Slovenija, Mark Jahsan-USA, Oleg Pegushin-Russia, István Tekler-Hungary, Kalle Kindel-Estonia, Vance Gilbert-USA, Andrey Temnyy-Kazakhstan, Jean Barby-France, Stefan Müller-Germany, Jacob Terlouw-Holland, Argyris Giannetakis-Greece, Vangelis Vassilopoulos-Greece, Chen Su-China, Igor Kabic-Canada, Andrei Kazinets-Belarus, Cameron Lohmann-USA and Fabrice Fanton - France. Aslo Dharshana Jayawardena from Sri Lanka,Vladimir Martinicky from Slovakia, Samuel Hui from Taiwan, Igor Lish and finaly Tanaka and Kojima-san from Japan.
We are off to another, rather long vacation to Greece and Rome/Italy and we will be back in January. Unfortunately no postings until then but you can reach us in our: address. 

Friday 19 December 2014

Model Commentary #4a - Choosing your next J. a/c model

Many years ago Japanese airplanes became my passion. One of the main reasons was that nobody in my home country, Greece, knew anything about them. British, German, Italian aircraft yes but not Japanese.
For many years we all Japanese plane modelers waited for a decent A6M2-K kit to finally come out. You can imagine my utter disappointment when I read a posting saying: “I got this new Hase A6M2-K kit but I’m thinking of turning it into a Pearl Harbor A6M2. Any suggestions?”
How about another posting I recently read: “I got this A6M2 kit and I’m going to make it into a seaplane with two floats.” Reply: “Are you sure?”, “Yes, yes I saw on the net that there was a twin-float version of the Zero”.
There are some well-known researchers out there who share the same passion and have spent a great amount of their time (and money) researching in depth the colours of J. planes. Imagine how they feel when they read this kind of exchange.
A: “I got a Zero kit and I want to build it as accurate as possible. Any suggestions about colours and paints?”
B: “Colours were such and such and the closest is a mix of this and that paints.”
A: “Hmmm I don’t want to do any mixes. How about the closest straight-from-the-bottle paint?”
B: “Ok. Mr Color XXX”
A: “You know, I don’t really want to buy any paints just for J. planes. What are the closest Luft paints to these colours. Humbrol if possible.”
It’s like sending an email to NASA with a request:
“Hi, I’m not particularly interested in astronomy but I have this school project about black holes I have to deliver. I found some photos on the net but would it possible to send me two pages with as much as possible information about black holes?”
So, what’s going on? Has the net made modelers lazy or is it that they don’t care about accuracy any more but are only interested in building fancy models, as some loudly declare? Personally I think it’s the luck of information. There are hundreds of extremely interesting and useful publications about J. planes, but they are all in Japanese. The past 15 years or so Arawasi has tried to help and create interest through our magazine and publications we continue to release. But unquestionably the net is a more direct medium to those modelers who just want a quick fix. We believe this blog is also creating interest and brings more people with the same passion together, while at the same time offers inspiration and useful advice.
The main problem starts with choosing a J. plane kit and this posting hopefully will help a bit.
Immediately after the war finally ended the Japanese military and the aviation companies thoroughly destroyed their archives burning the vast majority of their blueprints and detailed aircraft drawings. What has survived is mostly maintenance manuals. The occupying forces initially wanted to preserve a number of Japanese a/c types and bring to the US and UK the most interesting of them for evaluation. In the end only a small fraction survived over the years. So, contrary to other countries’ a/c where very detailed factory blueprints and surviving a/c are still available for anyone to examine, this is not the case with most Japanese types. And this means there are still great unknowns about for example the interiors of many of them. It also means that with the growing quality of models in recent years main companies like Hasegawa or Tamiya are reluctant to release a kit of a J. X-plane for example, when nothing is known about the cockpit of the plane. Some Eastern Europe model companies don’t mind that and prefer to release a kit with a very limited cockpit than not at all and then the modelers are left to search in vain for material if they want to add detail to their model. In the end they give up and build a Zero or a Me109 instead.
On top of that we all know how obsessive on certain subjects modelers from certain countries are. Modelers from the US mainly build Pearl Harbor, Midway and the occasional IJNAF Kamikaze plane. UK modelers focus on CBI, Australians on Papua/New Guinea…in general wherever the military forces of their countries fought at during the Pacific War. With such limited interest, understandable as it may be, it is rather unfair to claim that “Japanese a/c are boring. Green top, gray bottom. That’s all”.
And then occasionally there is the rather obnoxious modeler trying to press the subject “I want to build a PH Zero. Were there any that weren’t “gray”?
Again the problem starts with choosing a Japanese plane kit. I strongly believe that before purchasing a kit, the average modeler (not the more knowledgeable dedicated J. aviation fan) should first research and make up their mind about their subject and then go ahead and look for the best kit available. Not the other way around. You want to build a Zero? Fine. Do your research first, find which one you want to build and then go ahead and buy a good kit. Yes, occasionally you may find a cheap kit on special offer but consider this a quick, probably out-of-the-box built. Or a perhaps more interesting suggestion might be to get an after-market decal set and then build models based on the options they offer.
So let’s start this quick guide with the most popular subject, the Japanese Fighters of the Pacific War, excluding prototypes and X-planes. As with most IJNAF types flown during the Pacific War most of these planes sported typical green over gray paint job with few variations, consisting mostly of personal markings.
The IJNAF operated three single-engine land-based types. The “Zero”, the “Raiden” and the “Shiden/Shiden-kai”.

Mitsubishi A6M “Zero”

The most famous and the best documented of all Japanese a/c. Plenty of books (see 1, 2, 3, 4), a few surviving and restored a/c, plethora of on-line photos and material.
Most modeled subjects: Pearl Harbor and Nishizawa’s A6M3 (photo above).
More than enough high quality kits in every scale, decal options, after-market stuff around.
Check how beautiful this “boring” green over gray Zero by Master Modeler Nakata Hiroyuki is.
Mitsubishi J2M “Raiden” (Jack)

Only a handful of books are available (HERE) but they do cover the subject sufficiently enough for any modeler to create a really good model like those featured on this blog. Some really good kits around like the one from Zoukei Mura. We started covering the “Raiden” last year and we will continue with a lot more in 2015. Stay tuned!
As a modeling subject it offers limited paint options, prototype overall orange or gray and green over gray. Typical IJNAF markings with letters/numbers. Therefore the most modeled “Raiden” is the one flown by Lt.JG Aoki Yoshihiro
Kawanishi N1K “Shiden/Shiden-kai” (George)

The bibliography is even more sparse than that of the “Raiden” but again it is sufficient to build a decent model. There are some excellent immediately available models by Aoshima in 1/72 by Hasegawa and Tamiya in 1/48 and Hasegawa and Nichimo in 1/32. Although arguably the best single engine Navy fighter, it is the least modeled fighter of the three probably because the paint options are mostly green over gray.    
Hope this helped a little. And you know, if you leave a comment this posting can become even better! 
Next up: seaplane and night fighters
All photos from Wikipedia

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Kyushu J7W1 "Shinden" by Argyris Giannetakis Take #2d

After some months Argyris sent us more photos and videos of the progress he has made with his RC "Shinden". Enjoy!
Pt #1, Pt #2, Pt #3, Pt #4

Movie #1, Movie #2, Movie #3

Sunday 14 December 2014

Collector's Items

Vintage and rare kits recently on-sale on the Japanese Ebay.

Fujimi "Hien" - Metallic Series No. 6
Marusan "Hien" - Scale: 1/50
Midori "Hayabusa" - Scale: 1/60?
Otaki "Zero" - Scale: ?
Sankyo "Hayate" Peanuts Series No.7 - Scale: 1/150 
Rare Plane Vacforms Nakajima Type 91 - Scale: 1/72
Valhalla Nakajima Ki-8 - Scale: 1/72
Kawai Shokai "Zero" (munched by rodents) - Scale: 1/58
Marusan Mitsubishi 1MT1N - Scale: 1/50

Friday 12 December 2014

Mitsubishi A6M3 by Samo Štempihar

Mitsubishi A6M3 type 22 ZERO, 251st Flying Group Nap.1/C Nishizawa Hiroyoshi
Pacific May-July 1943 RABAUL
SWEET 1/144
The model is out of the box and painted with White Ensign colorcoats.
There are no major problems with the assembly only the propeller is too fragile and needs to be handled carefully.
Samo Štempihar - Ljubljana, SLOVENIJA

What a lovely tiny model! Thank you Samo for sharing.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Gliders & more

Two photos today of a Japanese glider designed and produced by "Nippon Kogata Hikoki KK" (Japan Small Aeroplane Co Ltd.), a rather obscure company that was founded in 1937 as "Nippon Kogata Hikoki Kenkyujo" (Japan Small Aeroplane Institute) and entered the stock market in 1939. It was founded by Yoshihara Seiji (?) and Baron Miyahara joined them in 1939, after quiting from Mitsubishi, designing various gliders until the end of the war.  
The glider in the photos is a Nippon "Otori" (Phoenix) Sailplane which, according to the "Baron Miyahara" book, was built in 1938 in response to a prototype order placed by the Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of Communications. Although sources are not clear it seems that only two "Otori" model gliders were produced while a second model "Otori2" had a round tail. It is not known exactly how many gliders of both models were produced.
The first photo features the very first prototype registered A-2001.
Of special interest are the two aircraft visible in the photo. On the right is Yokoso Navy Type 13 trainer, registered J-BNAB, in civilian use. In the background with the registration obscured is one of the two Gasuden KR-2 belonging to Yomiuri Shimbun, either the J-BACO which was given to the IJNAF in 1944 or the J-BACP which was found and burned at the end of the war by US forces in Tamagawa (?). 
The second photo below features A-2002, the second "Otori" model glider.
Span: 13.200m
Length: 6.400m
Height: 1.800m
Wing area: 13.160sqm
Weight (empty): 148.480kg
Weight (fully equipped): 234.000k    

Sunday 7 December 2014

Kawasaki Ki-48 "Sokei" (Lily) by Panagiotis Koubetsos WIP#2

Ηi all!
Here are some photos of the progress of my 1/48 type 99 "Sokei". I've concentrated my attention on the landing gear, flaps, the upper part of the fuselage and the construction of the inner and outer frames of the nose canopy.
Thanks for your attention,