Wednesday 30 April 2014

Showa L2D (Douglas DC-3)

A photo from a vintage, December 1943, publication featuring Showa L2D (Douglas DC-3) under production. 

Monday 28 April 2014

Model Commentary #2e - Kawanishi N1K1-J "Shiden" / N1K2-J "Shiden-kai" & Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" IFF stripes

We conclude the first "Model Commentary" series with the IFF stripes of the last single-engine IJNAF fighters.

Kawanishi seems to have opted for very narrow IFF stripes for their fighters.
First Kawanishi N1K1-J "Shiden"

Kawanishi N1K2-J "Shiden-kai"

And finally Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden"

We should not forget that the purpose of the IFF stripes was to make the aircraft easily identifiable as friendly when approaching head-one when the national roundels were not that visible. Therefore thick and large IFF stripes were not necessary as long they covered sufficiently the wing leading edges and stood out.
All artwork by Devlin Chouinard, photos from NARA.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" - bibliography #2

Apart from the publications for modellers there are also a couple of very interesting books written by veterans or aviation historians.
"Ah, Hayate Sentotai" (Ah, "Hayate" Fighter Squadron)
Author: Shindo Tsuneemon
Published by Kojinsha; 1951
Shindo-san was born in December, 1905 and graduated from the Army Officer's Academy with the 36th class. In 1924 joined the balloon unit in Tokorozawa to become a pilot. Two years later he joined the aviation school in Tokorozawa and in 1935 became chutai commander with the 11th Sentai in Harbin. In 1941 he was promoted to commander of the 87th Sentai, participated in the fight for the Philippines in 1944 as commander of the 16 Hikodan (Air Brigade) and ended the war as instructor with the Akeno Army School with the rank of Lt Colonel. He passed away in 1976.
"Ah, Hayate Sentotai"  
reprint in small paperback by Kojinsha; 1996
"Sentoki Hayate" (Fighter "Hayate")
Author: Ikari Yoshiro
Published by Shirogane Shobo; 1976
From December 1942 Ikari-san served with the Army Aviation Technical Arsenal and his book details the development of the "Hayate" and the history of the units that flew the type.  
"Kessenki Hayate - Koku Gijutsu no Tatakai" (Combat Aircraft "Hayate" - The fight for aviation technology)
reprint in most parts of the previous book by Ikari-san in small paperback by Kojinsha; 1996
All the books are in Japanese and AFAIK none has been translated into English.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" - bibliography #1

There are not as many publications as you would expect dedicated to the "Hayate" in Japanese.
Here's a list.
 Famous Airplanes Of the World (FAOW): #8 (blue)
Published by Bunrindo; Oct. 1971
Authors: various, Illustrations: Hashimoto Kikuo
Pages: 60
Photos. Vintage: 53 b/w, modern: 10 b/w
Illustrations. Profiles: 16 colour; 16 b/w, drawings: 4-view plus one skeleton
FAOW #19
Published by Bunrindo; Nov. 1989
Authors: Akimoto Minoru, Nohara Shigeru, Illustrations: Nohara Shigeru
Pages: 90
Photos. Vintage: 121 b/w, modern: 50 b/w; 19 colour
Illustrations. Profiles: 16 colour; 18 b/w; drawings: 10 4-view, various types.
IN COMPARISON: The older, blue FAOW has worse overall printing quality and worse paper. Most of the photos are included in the new issue. The blue FAOW has only 23 photos that were not reproduced in the new one. Some are important, some not that much. Nevertheless, miraculously, the quality of the vast majority of the same photos is far better in the old FAOW!!! They are clearer and of bigger size. The photos in the new FAOW give the impression that were scanned from the old one! The profiles of Nohara Shigeru are good but leave much to be desired. On the other hand, the profiles of Hashimoto have this brilliant, shiny silver colour that looks and feels so close to the real thing. Something that no new edition has ever been able to reproduce. But the new issue has some very important photos and illustrations not included in the older edition, like the Hayate trainer and the night fighter.
Published by Ushio Shobo; Jan. 1978
Authors: Akimoto Minoru and others.
Pages: 44
Photos. Vintage: 6 b/w, modern: 58 b/w; 48 colour
Illustrations. Profiles: -, drawings: 39; 4-view in 1/50 scale, a/c manual, super detail colour illustration of the cockpit.

Published by Ushio Shobo; March 1982
Authors: Akimoto Minoru, Ikari Yoshio and others
Illustrations: Nohara Shigeru.
Pages: 82
Photos. Vintage: 20 b/w, modern: 80 b/w; 10 colour
Illustrations. Profiles: 8 colour, drawings: 70+; super detail 4-view in 1/50 scale, a/c manual, super detail colour illustration of the cockpit.
Extra features: MM#33 includes: article by Ikari Yoshio regarding the design and development of the a/c, interview with test pilot Igutsi (Inogutsi?), article by Izawa Yasuho on the combat action of the a/c in the China front with the 22nd Sentai, article by Oishi Sozo of the 47th Sentai and their Hayate, article by the maintenance group leader of the 47th Sentai Kariya on the performance of the a/c and finally article by Akimoto Minoru on the markings and operation history of the Ki-84.
IN COMPARISON: The MM#8 is based on the only known surviving Hayate in the world. All the photos included in the book, except the vintage ones, are of this plane showing in great detail various parts of the a/c. The colour photos are especially revealing and helpful although some of them show a quality of the '70s. Excellent cockpit colour illustrations and a few drawings from the Hayate manual. Very few of the photos of MM#8 are repeated in MM#33. I could locate just a couple. MM#33 has a lot more manual drawings and the photos that accompany them show how the real thing looks like. For this, a combination of modern and vintage photos is used which is overly very helpful to the modeller. Nohara's art is a lot better in the MM#33. All the illustrations of the MM#8 are included in the MM#33. So in conclusion, MM#8 is complimentary to MM#33, both issues giving an overall excellently documented, very detailed presentation of the airplane.
Both MM publications cannot be compared to the FAOWs. The FAOWs are mostly photo books with plenty of vintage photos while the MM are mostly technical books.

Published by Model Art; Dec. 1986
Authors: Nohara Shigeru and others
Pages: 158
Photos. Vintage: 51 b/w, modern: 230 b/w
Illustrations. Profiles: 32 colour, drawings: 41; 4-view in 1/48 scale, front view detail colour illustration of the cockpit, various parts.

Published by Model Art; June 1997
Authors: Nohara Shigeru
Pages: 166
Photos. Vintage: 80 b/w, modern: 101 b/w; 20 colour
Illustrations. Profiles: 33 colour; 11 b/w
Drawings: 69+; 4-view in 1/48 scale, a/c manual.
Extra features: both Model art issues include one page of colour chips each. Especially MA#283 includes 45 pages of "Modelling Hayate" and two interviews, one with IJA test pilot (LCDR) Aramaki and another with the maintenance group leader of the 47th Sentai Kariya.
IN COMPARISON: All the vintage photos of MA#283 are included in MA #493. Few of the modern photos can be found in both issues. When this is the case, they are usually of better quality in MA #493. But MA#283 has by far the highest number of photos compared to any other publication. Squeezed in size making it a crowded issue but VERY detailed. The colour photos of MA#493 are of better quality than any other publication although not as detailed as in MM#8. Comparing the vintage photos of MA#493 and the two FAOWs we can say that there are only very few (5-6) photos not found in the FAOW publications in MA#493. MA#493 includes some photos found only in FAOW#8 (not repeated in FAOW#19) and in general, the quality is similar to FAOW#8; a lot better than FAOW#19.
It is difficult to compare the MAs with the FAOWs and the MMs. We can say that they are a combination of both other publications but include some special features of their own (a/c manual, colour chips...) while having less vintage photos (compared to the FAOWs) and slightly less detailed presentation (compared to the MMs).
Published by Gakken; July 2004
Authors: various, Illustrations: various
Pages: 190
Photos. Vintage: 74 b/w, modern: -
Illustrations. Profiles: 66 colour; CGs: 7 (pages); drawings: 4-view in 1/48, plus 30 pages with 125 illustrations of the a/c manual.
Extra features: A reproduction of a vintage colour chart with the standard colours of the IJN & IJA a/c, as of Feb. 1945.
IN COMPARISON: Poor collection of vintage photographs, only four not included in any of the other publications. No highly detailed photos of the a/c except of a few b/w photos of the cockpit, no interviews, no modelling guides, nothing on the HA-45 Homare engine or the twin seat or the night version. BUT it has two extras that makes it a VERY worthwhile publication. First, is the vintage colour chart with the colour chips and the complete (?) maintenance manual. Regarding the maintenance manual, what was partially included in the MM#33 and MA#493 is (almost) all included here. There are also a few illustrations (I counted 4) that were included in the MA#493 and not in Gakken#46 which indicates that maybe the manual is not complete. Also, although these illustrations are highly detailed and extremely helpful, there is a problem with the size. They are simply too small! The reader needs either a magnifying glass or to scan these illustrations again. The MA#493 had them covering almost one page each AND photos to show the real thing. A plus feature of the Gakken#46 is the quality and number of the profiles. Excellent presentation, showing beautifully the various colour schemes and special features of each a/c. BUT, there are no profiles of those "Special Attack" units, especially the super cool "21" of the 57th Shinbu-tai. Absolutely no complains about the CGs. Unbelievable work! Just like the real thing. All in all, a good and helpful publication that compliments all the previous ones but would not stand on its own. This is not the definitive Ki-84 Hayate book, but a nice effort nonetheless.
Published by Dai Nippon Kaiga, 1999
Authors: Nohara Shigeru, Tanaka Masato
Pages: 76
Photos. Vintage: 25 b/w, 1 colour; modern: 167 colour
Illustrations. Profiles: 11 colour, drawings: 16 pages
IN COMPARISON: This is the most modeller-friendly publication of all. It includes a great collection of colour photographs of the only surviving "Hayate", detailing the aircraft better than any other publication. Very poor collection of vintage photos though and only a small sample of colour artwork.
NOTE: although all the other books are in Japanese, Aero Detail #24 is the only one with the Japanese text also translated into English.

TOTAL ASSESSMENT: Each of the above publications has some similar and some distinct features compared to the others. None can be called the "absolute" book on the Hayate. Their differences and weak points show with age. The overall publication quality is getting better with the passing of time (with the exception of FAOW #19) resulting in the incorporation of the latest technology (as in Gakken #46). Nevertheless the overall feeling is that actually there is not much out there regarding this very important airplane. With only one exception (MM #8) the majority of the material is repeated from one publication to the other, especially the vintage photos. So, from what is published so far, we can conclude that what is available on the Hayate are: a fairly limited number of vintage photos and a maintenance manual. Not much, isn't it.
Important note. The only in-print publications are FAOW#19 and Aero Detail #24. All others are out-of-print but available through our on-line store together with the in-print books. Please email us for availability and prices.

Jacob Terlouw sent over the cover of FAOW#148.

Friday 25 April 2014

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" - Akeno, 200 Sentai - "Hayate" song

In THIS NHK video link you can see a short clip featuring Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" and listen to the "Hayate" song.

The lyrics in Japanese, for those interested to sing along, are the following:

1. Tami ichioku no ikarimote
Sora kiru tsubasa surudokumo
Miyo dodo no seikujin
Shinshu okasu ano shuyoku ni
Idomu warera ga kessenki
Kamiwashi Hayate Sentotai

2. Banri no hado norikoete
Kyo yashikage ni ikoitsutsu
Minamijuji no hoshi no shita
Ware wa mitate no sakimori zoyo to
Kotou warera ga shinkoki
Rikuwashi Hayate Sentotai

3. Aiki o karite sukoru ni
Tsubasa aro koten mo
Nanzo saegiru waga ninmu
Teki kansen no mattadanaka ni
Isamu warera ga seieiki
Arawashi Hayate Sentotai

4. Isamizo kitae kitarinaba
Hana mo tsubomi yo isagiyoku
Otoko hatachi no hare no jin
Kidobutai o meido no tsure ni
Chiran warera ga tokkoki
Arawashi Hayate Sentotai

Our English translation is the following:

1. Gathering the anger of a hundred million people
Sharp wings cut the sky
Look! The noble aircraft that controls the sky.
The ugly enemy wings that invade the country of gods
And our aircraft that challenge them in the final decisive battle
God-eagles Hayate Fighter Squadron

2. Overcoming great obstacles (and flying) for a great distance
Today they take a rest under the shade of the palm trees
Under the Southern Cross
We become the shields that protect
An answer to the invading aircraft
Land-eagles Hayate Fighter Squadron

3. Flying with our beloved aircraft through squalls
The rough weather cleans our wings
Nothing can interrupt our mission
In the middle of the enemy fleet
Our elite aircraft (fly) in high spirits
Wild-eagles Hayate Fighter Squadron

4. Finished our training in high spirits
Young like buds (who haven't bloomed yet), but men enough
Still 20 years old but this is our battle
We will take the enemy combined fleet with us (to heaven)
Fallen like pedals in the wind, our special attack aircraft
Wild-eagles Hayate Fighter Squadron

Below are some stills from the clip.

All the aircraft belong to the Akeno Kyodo Hikoshidan (Akeno Instructor Air Division) from which the 200 Sentai was formed on October 12, 1944. It had six chutai with unit CO LtCl Takahashi Takeshi, the former 24th Sentai CO. The unit sub-commander was Major Sakagawa Toshio, former CO of the 25th Sentai and famous for his days in the China front.
It was supposed to be an elite unit, the first to be exclusively equipped with "Hayate". Nevertheless, three chutai commanders had experience only with other fighter aircraft types and apart from a few higher ranking officers all the pilots had no combat experience at all. Just when they finished their familiarisation with the new fighters, and before undergoing any combat training, the unit was ordered to advance to the Philippines. Chutai 1~4 departed on October 21 with 50 aircraft led by commander Takahashi. Many returned back to base and by October 23 only 12 managed to reach Luzon. The next day the remaining 35 aircraft took-off arriving in Sarabia base on Negros island. They participated in the battle of Leyte but most aircraft were lost due to technical troubles and the bad condition of the airfield. By the end of October although they claimed seven enemy planes shot down, 11 "Hayate" of the unit were lost to suicide attacks, leaving only nine aircraft in flyable condition. From November they joined the 22nd Sentai and continued participating in the battle of Leyte, attacked Tacloban airfield with "ta-dan" bombs and participated in the air defence of the Bacolod area. Although they lost a significant number of aircraft and personnel, the gains were minimal. From November 1st to 23rd, 19 aircraft were lost to suicide attacks and 35 planes were damaged beyond repair.   
On May 30, 1945 the unit was disbanded.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Nakajima E4N2 - Tateyama Ku

Another photo from a vintage publication featuring Type 90-2 Reconnaissance Seaplanes or Nakajima E4N2 belonging to Tateyama Ku. The seaplanes on the left are Type 90-3 or Kawanishi E5K1.

Saturday 19 April 2014

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

After the first unfortunate attempt (here) Argyris Giannetakis came back a few years later with better reference material and started a new "Shinden" this time more carefully and more meticulously. As I'm sure you will agree the work he has done so far is simply amazing. So here are a few photos and videos of his work. Enjoy.

Video #1

Friday 18 April 2014

Nakajima A2N1-3 Carrier Fighter - Hokoku #64

Hokoku number 64 was a Navy Type 90 Carrier Fighter or Nakajima A2N1-3 donated on June 17, 1934 by students of universities and colleges of technology from all over Japan.
Note the repetition of the hokoku inscription on the upper wing. 
No less than 39 Nakajima A2N were donated as hokoku, the first was #5 and the last was #84.

Hokoku aficionado Ed DeKiep sent us another photos of Hokoku#64.
Thank you Ed and sorry for the delay to post the image.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Nakajima A1N

A photo of a Navy Type 3 Carrier Fighter or Nakajima A1N. This one has the number 292 painted in white on the red tail and in black on the fuselage side. Unit unknown. Check HERE our older posting.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Model Commentary #2d - Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M "Zero" IFF stripes

We continue the series with the IFF stripes of the various Zero-sen types.
As we saw in the first part of the IFF stripe series, the official order to apply them was given on October 5, 1942, therefore all Zeros produced before that date should not have them. So, Pearl Harbor and Midway IFF stripes. Of course Zeros that were produced before that date but were still around had them applied at one stage or another, often (but not always) with a top green camouflage. This means they had them applied at a depot or a local unit level, therefore there shouldn't be any particular pattern to follow. In other words, don't expect front line A6M2s with green camo and perfect IFF stripes.
According to the production data featured in R. Mikesh's "Zero" (Motorbooks International, 1994) Mitsubishi produced A6M2 Model 21 until June 1942 while Nakajima until February 1943. This means that no Mitsubishi produced A6M2s should have a factory applied IFF stripe, while about 700-800 Nakajima built A6M2s should have the IFF applied at the factories.
According to Nohara Shigeru, early stripes were thicker than later ones. Although he does not identify the reason, I believe it was because some were applied at the depots and some at the factories.
There are not many photos of A6M2s with clear IFF stripes. Below is one example from a Japanese mainland based training unit and illustrations showing the difference between early and later types.

About half of Mitsubishi produced A6M3s (Nakajima didn't produce any) were delivered after October 1942, so expect some to have factory applied IFFs but be careful and closely check with your photographic sources whether your modelling subject has them or not.
Mitsubishi and Nakajima produced A6M5s. Nohara and AFAIK other Japanese researchers too, explain that Nakajima built A6M5a had thinner IFF stripes than those built by Mitsubishi. In fact on the Nakajima built ones the IFF stripe was a standard 105mm thick. I'm not sure whether this assertion is based on surviving official Nakajima regulations or on observations based on photos and possibly relics. Photos of A6M5 show a relative variety of thickness. We present below some photo samples and artwork of A6M5a and A6M5c wings.  

All artwork by Devlin Chouinard, photos from various Japanese publications (see forthcoming posting about Zero bibliography).