Sunday 31 August 2014

Mitsubishi J2M3 "Raiden" (Jack) by Bernhard Tomaschitz - WIP#3

This is the third part of building SWS J2M3 "Raiden" and I'll be working on steps 3.2G to 3.2K.
The main parts are the instrument panel, control instruments like the throttle and the radio equipment. I encountered zero difficulties during the building process of the plastic parts and everything is absolutely straightforward. 
I had issues with the photo-etched parts though. Their instructions is virtually a collection of errors. Some plastic parts like C-48 on page 1of 4 top row right hand drawing, necessary for the etched parts, are not there. The instruction drawing for the bending and the installation of levers second row 1 of 4 left hand is unfortunately misleading. If you decide to follow the instructions, the levers part 18 and 19 will overlap. There should be no 90° angle, a 60° would be just fine and they should be bent according to MA#470 p. 19 top right.  I did not use the etched parts number 49 and 37, because I was very uncomfortable with the fit of clear parts due to a past regrettable experience I do not intend to go through again.

A major irritation is the fact that the photo-etched part instructions are not in some sort of meaningful order, but actually in total disorder and therefore it is easy to forget parts or actions like grinding. They broke my concentration and gave up. I'm thinking about not using photo-etched parts anymore. I feel it's a waste of energy and money. Not to mention you may end up ruining the kit.
The wonderful SWS kit, takes you smoothly through all the steps. The assembly of the front panel frame is great. So I was able to install the instrument panel on the fuselage later on as shown in the photos. The design of every part is just a dream. I would advice you to avoid at all costs to use the interior photo-etched parts. This would annoy you building the kit.
The painting instructions are good and together with my reference from MA#470 and "SWS concept note" I was able to make good progress.

Saturday 30 August 2014

Tsukuba Kaigun Kokutai Kinenkan #3

In a separate room next to the Zero relic there is a collection of very interesting relics.
In one cabinet there are some Zero instrument panel samples from the collection of Nakamura-san.
Check HERE for his site and here for some more detailed photos.

On the other side there are some pieces from the collection of Kojima-san. Starting with half a Manshu Ki-76 propeller!

Followed by a Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" tire.

The inscription reads: "日本タイヤ株式会社 NO" (Nippon Taiya Kabushiki Gaisha NO - Nippon Tire Co. Ltd.)

"常用内圧 4.5 kg/cm2 " (Joyo naiatsu -regular internal pressure)  "6層" (6so - 6 ply rating)

"昭和18年12月製" (Showa 18nen 12gatsusei - manufactured December 1943)

And finally a beautiful Nakajima Ki-27 "Nate" wheel. Note the colours!!!

Friday 29 August 2014

Tsukuba Kaigun Kokutai Kinenkan #2

Right after the entrance and inside the small theatre room the tail section of a Zero is on display.

It's a Nakajima built early A6M2 Model 21, indicated by a stencil with a partial manufacturer's date with the first number being "3". It was also carrier based since the arrester hook mounting is still there but from some point probably operated from a land base either from Rabaul, Balalae or Buin. It was in New Zealand for many years and now rests in a private collection in Osaka. The exterior surface colour is gone but the red-brown primer is visible everywhere. There are small patches of metallic blue green in the interior surfaces but apart from the colours the relic is a major detail treasure trove. If you ever have the chance to see it from up close you will be able to discover hundreds of small details revealing incredibly detailed craftsmanship that would certainly require many many hours of work. The beautiful esthetically and aerodynamically perfect lines of all the exterior surfaces is a pleasure to the eye and personally I felt that building a model in 1/72, with just an empty plastic cone in the rear, of such an incredibly detailed aircraft is actually an insult to the designers and the factory workers. 

Apart from the Zero relic, in the same room, there is a 13mm Type 3 machine cannon, installed on the port wing of Model 62 Zeros, and a   are two cannons and a 20mm Type 99 2Go Model 4 cannon and a number of instruments.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Tsukuba Kaigun Kokutai Kinenkan #1

In modern Japan there are very few locations with remains from the War. The only original installation in good condition is located in Tomobe (present day Kasama city), Ibaraki prefecture. From 1934 and for the duration of the Pacific War it was the headquarters initially of the Kasumigaura Kokutai branch, from 1938 of the Tsukuba Ku and from 1944 of the fighter training unit of the Oita Ku.
We visited the location last week invited by aviation researcher and collector Kojima-san who informed us that the building is scheduled to be demolished in the near future and therefore a collective effort has begun to save it. To support his effort, collectors from all over Japan have contributed aircraft relics from their private collections and have filled most of the rooms of the building with priceless and most interesting relics which we will present little by little. 
The official site of the project, HERE
To visit the place you need to take the fast and comfortable "Fresh Hitachi" train of the Joban line from Ueno station. It takes about an hour and the one-way ticket costs 3,300Yen (about $US35). From the station you need to take a taxi for the 10 minute ride. The entrance ticket is 500Yen (about $US6).  
The building was recently used during the shooting of the movie "Eternal Zero" and a few rooms still have the furniture of the movie sets giving a most realistic, if not eerie atmosphere .

Unfortunately the future of the building is very bleak and the whole exhibition will be there until March. So if you are thinking of visiting the location, hurry up! Note that on the way to Tomobe, the train stops at Tsuchiura where the JIETAI Ordnance School is located with a number of Japanese WWII tanks and more.
We would like to thank Kanazawa-san, a member of the preservation project,  for his impeccable hospitality.

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Gliders - Meiji Shrine Competition

One of the "classic" tourist locations of Tokyo is Meiji Jingu (Meiji Shrine).  
In December 1942 the 13th Meiji Shrine National Training Games were held. Among the various sports a glider competition was also held for the third consecutive year with groups from all over Japan. 
In the photo below representatives of the glider groups parade in the "Meiji Jingu Gaien Kyogijo".

The parade was followed by a visit to Meiji Shrine.

The glider contest took place in the central glider field of Dai Nippon Hiko Kyokai (Grate Japan Aviation Society) in Ishioka city, Ibaraki prefecture. On November 1st, the chairman of the Games, HIH Prince Mikasa-no-miya, visited the glider field with his wife and wished all the glider pilots the best and to become soon "Wild Eagles".

The programme started with the primary gliders.
Note mount Tsukuba in the background.

Then it was time for the secondary.

And finally the soarers.