Sunday 30 November 2014

Mitsubishi (Nakajima) Zero-sen - Bibliography #4

While most of the publications in the previous posts are out-of-print there are a number of very good Japanese publications currently in-print.
The first Gakken publication on the Zero in their "Taiheiyo Senshi Sirizu" (Pacific War History Series) was released in September 1996 and was number #12. 190 pages detailing the history and development of the Zero with 86 b/w photos, the MM cockpit illustrations by Takani-san, a splendid fold-out colour illustration of Zero Ace Tanimizu Takeo by Watanabe Rikyu and various other detailed illustrations. A first effort by Gakken, different than all the others focusing more on the historical aspect of the Zero than satisfying the modellers' needs.  

In November 2001 Gakken released their second book on the Zero, number #33. 181 pages with 62 vintage photos, nine very cool in flight photos of restored Zero plus 16 of Zeros in museums, 12 CG illustrations by Hosaka Muneo & Harada Keiji plus three pages of illustrations by Ibukuro Toyohiko. There is a most interesting fold-out with drawings detailing the fuselage changes of the 12-shi Carrier Fighter and MOST IMPORTANTLY a reproduction and short analysis of the "Kenkyu Jiken Seiseki Hokoku - Kugiho 0266 - Zero-shiki Kansen Meisai ni Kansuru Kenkyu" (Research Test Record Report - Navy Research Arsenal Report No 0266 - Report about the Camouflage of  Type Zero Carrier Fighter) of February 1942 with the original colour chips. AFAIK this is a source highly overlooked by Zero colour experts who greatly rely on photocopies of photocopies...but I may be wrong. ALSO IMPORTANTLY this publication includes a report by Komine Bunzo on the final Zero Model, the A6M8 or an A6M5 variant, with an original factory illustration showing the cowling with the protruding scoop. This illustration is always very conveniently forgotten when some talk about how model companies are duped by "fake" photos. Just sayin'...  
The third Zero publication by Gakken was released in August 2003 as a special edition entitled "Zero-Sen Perfect Guide". Another historical publication with plenty of photos and illustrations detailing the various Zero models but of little use to non-Japanese speaking modellers. 
In December 1999 Kojinsha released one the best Zero publications, of excellent printing quality full of vintage photos called simply "Zero Fighter". It has 168 pages, 211 vintage b/w photos and 21 colour photos of a/c in museums. Although less exhausting than the FAOWs regarding the number of photos, their printing quality is much higher and there are a few photos never published anywhere else. Modellers with only passing interest might not be that satisfied though as it offers nothing else but high quality photos. 
Bunrindo came back in 2008 with a publication called "Nihon Kaigun Zero-shiki Kanjo Sentoki" (Japanese Navy Type Zero Carrier Fighter). It includes most of the material in the 1995 Green Arrow publication minus the numerous colour photos. More technical, a little bit about colour, not so many vintage photos...It wouldn't be necessary but for the immediate availability as, AFAIK, is in-print and much easier to find than the Green Arrow. 
The majority of the Green Arrow colour photos though were included in the smaller size "ZERO Fighter Watching" by Kojinsha in 2005.   
Finally the publication with the most original and photo exhausting collection was originally published by Bunkeishunju in 2001 as a h/b and again in 2013. Title: "Tatakau Zero Sen" (Fighting Zero Fighter) 192 pages, only one name: Watanabe Yoji. Check HERE for more.  

In conclusion, for an average modeller with only passing interest, I would recommend the "Zero Fighter Watching" because it's cheap, handy and detailed enough (combine it with the "In Action"). For a skilled modeller on the other hand MA#847 (Profile #12) and MA#857 (Profile #13) are good enough and add FAOW Special #6 for more vintage reference photos. If the modeller is more demanding and is looking for more original subjects, "Tatakau Zero-sen" provides plenty of inspiration.
I hope this presentation helped. Feel free to ask clarifying questions and leave comments telling us what you think about these books if you have any of them. 

Mitsubishi (Nakajima) Zero-sen - Bibliography #3

In March 1977 Ushio Shobo released Maru Mechanic #3. It is a very early effort with only 42 pages drawings and colour illustrations by Ikematsu Hitoshi and the well-known brilliant cockpit illustrations by Takani Yoshiyuki.  
The second number on the Zero in the Maru Mechanic series was released in January 1979 and was number #14. 102 pages full of photos of restored aircraft, some in colour. 
The two publications were combined in the Extra #1 released in 1980 with 196 pages and extra material like b/w vintage photos. 
The Maru Mechanic publications are too old and have been surpassed by other more modern publications.
One of the least known outside Japan publications was released in December 1998 by Hara Shobo and was entitled "Zero Kanjo Sentoki Zumen-shu" (Type Zero Carrier Fighter Illustrated). It includes in excellent replication with many fold-outs the "Kenkyu Jiken Seiseki Hokoku - Kugiho 01323 - Zero-shiki Kansen Zumen-shu-sei" (Research Test Record Report - Navy Research Arsenal Report No01323 - Type Zero Carrier Fighter Illustration Compilation) of September 3, 1941 with 94 highly detailed drawings of the various Model 21 parts. 
Apart from the FAOW series Bunrindo released in August 1990 Koku Fan Illustrated Number #53 (KFI#53). It had 176 pages, 206 b/w vintage photos, 34 photos of restored aircraft of which nine in colour, 10 pages with colour illustrations by Nohara Shigeru, 29 pages of b/w drawings detailing the various Zero Models and most interestingly there is a 14-page section with IJNAF aces that flew the Zero written by Osuo Kazuhiko. Although old is one of my most favourite publications on the Zero as a photographic reference.    
In 1993 Dai Nippon Kaiga released Aero Detail #7 which still is one of the most useful publications on the Zero for modellers outside Japan since it is also in English. It has 84 pages and one fold-out with 197 photos, most in colour, of restored a/c showing in great detail the various parts of the Zero, 38 vintage b/w photos, 12 pages of colour illustrations (most now outdated) by Nohara accompanied by 15 pages of detailed drawings in 1/48.  
Green Arrow released their "Zero Fighter Illustrated" in December 1995 in h/b. It is basically a very similar with the "Aero Detail #7" publication but greatly expanded. 236 pages including most of the technical illustrations of the Hara Shobo publication, all the detailed drawings by Nohara, 391 (!) photos of restored a/c most in colour and of the best ever quality detailing from various angles all the Zero details, 21 vintage photos and 35 pages of colour illustrations by Nohara with various colour schemes and markings. Although all in Japanese, this is the most useful publication to a modeller that has never been surpassed by any publication so far that shows that the publisher was not stingy at all about the quality. 
All the above publications are out-of-print (AFAIK, although I'm not sure about Aero Detail #7). The most useful and the ones that no Zero modeller should miss are KFI#53 and the Green Arrow for their excellent collection of vintage and modern photos.
Both are available on-demand from our on-line store.

Friday 28 November 2014

Mitsubishi (Nakajima) Zero-sen - Bibliography #2

The first Model Art special dedicated to the Zero was released in December 1984 and was number #242. It had 156 pages, 114 black/white photos, plus five in colour of restored aircraft and many b/w and colour of models. The photos although many are rather small but show in great detail various areas of the type and are a combination of vintage and photos of restored aircraft. There are many drawings and colour illustrations by Nohara Shigeru similar to those found in the "In Action" series and a set of brilliant fold-out detailed drawings in 1/48 by Watanabe Rikyu. There are also 43 pages with photos and articles about the various Zero models that were available at the time and how to improve them. Finally there are 13 pages with b/w illustrations about the Zero units and their tail markings as well as colour chips for the very first time, plus an interview with "Rikko" pilot Inada Shoji and Zero-sen pilot Yanagiya Kenji.
An overall excellent first effort that was most helpful to modellers at the time. Unfortunately the printing quality and much of the information is now outdated. 
The next Model Art special was number #323 and was released four years later in December 1988. It had 166 pages, only 34 vintage photos, a small number of colour illustrations by Nohara and the Watanabe fold-outs of MA"242. This special focused though on the reprint of the whole Zero manual and was accompanied by many b/w photos of restored aircraft to show how the illustrations corresponded to the real thing. No modelling stuff or colour chips. 
Model Art #518, released in July 1998, was mostly dedicated to the modelling of the Zero but also included multi-view drawings in 1/48 by Nohara and 77 pages showing the various models in detail accompanied by about two dozen vintage photos. 
All the above titles are long out-of-print and not particularly necessary to modellers with only passing interesting in Japanese aircraft.
In June 2012 the best Model Art publication on the A6M2, A6M2b, A6M2-N and A6M2-K was released. It was number #847 and Profile #12. It was first reviewed on this blog HERE
 And finally the latest Model Art publication was released in November 2012 as number #857, Profile #13 and covered the A6M3, A6M5, A6M7 and A6M8. Again it was reviewed on our blog HERE.

Profiles #12 & #13 are IN-PRINT (available through our on-line store, HERE) and are highly recommended to modellers who want to get only one or two books on the Zero. They offer good, detailed coverage of all the models, plus some captions are translated in English.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Mitsubishi (Nakajima) Zero-sen - Bibliography #1

We promised this subject some time ago so here it goes.
From the hundreds of books published about the Zero in Japanese we present and "evaluate" those that would be the most useful to the modellers. So, no autobiographies of Zero pilots or purely historical books about the development of the aircraft.
First up is the "Famous Airplanes of the World" (FAOW) series published by Bunrindo
The very first one was published in January 1969 and was Number #10 in the series. The cover is rough "white", 66 pages, all black/white with no color illustrations. There are 89 photos, mostly of the A6M2 and A6M3, five photos of the A6M2-K trainer and only two of the A6M2-N seaplane. There are also eight pages with technical drawings by illustrator Hashi Kiichi. A very early effort by Bunrindo. 
Our friend Jacob Terlouw sent us an alternative cover version from his collection.
Thank you Jacob.

The next number was published in October 1974, was number #54 in the "blue cover" series and focused mainly on the Models 52-63. There are 75 photos, six in colour of restored aircraft, eight of the A6M2-K (the same with the previous #10 and more), six of the A6M2-N different than those in #10. There are colour illustrations by Hashimoto Kikuo an article by veteran pilot Abe Masaharu who flew the A6M5 with the 304 hikotai of the Atsugi Ku, a short article about the "Reppu" and others. Not all the photos of #10 are in this one and the opposite. 
In June 1974 Bunrindo released a new number in their new series with the new cover. It was number #10 and focused mainly on the A6M2 Models 11-22. There are 59 black/white photos some never reprinted in any other previous or future publication. For those who have this one, check the photos on pages 9, 22 lower, 39 top right and the fantastic photo on p. 42 top. There are a few colour illustrations, this time by Hasegawa Ichiro.  
In October of the same year they released their number #54 focusing on the Models 52-63. It is a reprint of their previous #10 of June 1974 with the only difference the colour photos in the middle pages and the illustrations by Hasegawa Ichiro, instead of Hashimoto-san.   
The first number in their well-known "red/black cover" series was released in July 1987. It was number #5 focusing on Models 11-21 with 135 black/white photos and colour illustrations by Nohara Shigeru. 21 photos of A6M2-N and 13 of the A6M2-K trainer are included. The original blueprints of Models 11-21 are included but the reproductions are fairly poor.
Many of the photos were never included in the previous publications. 
Number #9 was released in March 1988 and covered Models 22-63. There are 161 photos, 20 of them in colour of restored aircraft. Unfortunately most of the black/white photos are too dark. Much more material than before is included and the series is finally reaching the well-known Bunrindo quality.  
The last number dedicated to the Models 11-21 was released in November 1995 as number #55 and is the best of all on these models. There are 153 photos, 18 of them in colour, eight of the A6M2-K and nine of the A6M2-N. All of them are more brightly printed but many of them are too small compared to their larger print in previous releases. Illustrations are again created by Nohara Shigeru, completely different from the previous and no manuals are included. 
The last number on the Models 22-63 was released in January 1996 as number #56. 145 photos, 16 in colour, all of excellent quality. 
All the above publications are long out-of-print but limited numbers are available from our on-line shop. The very early releases are not particularly useful to modellers compared with the high number of photos and the higher quality of numbers #55 and #56.

Bunrindo decided to re-release #55 and #56 in one FAOW Special volume, number #6 in September 2012. It includes 298 photos, 38 of them in colour, eight of the colour photos are vintage. All the photos are of the very best quality; big and clear enough. There are colour illustrations by Nohara Shigeru and Watanabe Rikyu and all in all is the very best Bunrindo publication on the Zero so far. It is very useful to any modeller and highly recommended. It should not be missing from any library of Japanese aviation enthusiasts and perhaps most importantly it is IN-PRINT, and ofcourse available from our on-line store.

ALWAYS keep in mind that all the above publications are in Japanese only but especially Special #6 is invaluable for the collection of photographs.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

A6M3 by Oleg Pegushin

Oleg Pegushin sent us photo of his latest built; an A6M3. He is from Russia and a Zero modelling enthusiast. It's the Tamiya kit, built straight out-of-a-box with rising decals for Houkoku being the only aftermarket used. All insignia are painted using masks.

Thank you Oleg for the contribution and kind words about our blog and we hope to see more of your Zero models.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Visitors - The French Female Connection

After quite some time, here's another post in the "visitors" series. This time of a French aviatrix, Maryse Hilsz, who visited Japan twice.
Born in Levallois-Perret on March 7, 1903, this pioneer of French aviation specialised in parachuting. From 1922 to 1929, she made 112 jumps including 20 in tandem, during 61 air shows in France, Belgium and Germany.
In 1930, she flew solo from Paris to Saigon in her Moth-Morane. In 1932, accompanied by her mechanic, she added the return flight from Paris to Madagascar to her list of achievements.
On August 19, 1932, she broke the women's altitude record in the Morane "Jockey", achieving 9781 metres at Villacoublay. Subsequent to this performance, she presented our best prototypes in the capitals of Europe and set a new altitude record of 11265 metres on June 17, 1935 in the Morane "Saulnier".
She won the Hélène-Boucher Cup twice: in 1935, in "Paris-Cannes", with an average of 277.263kph and again in 1936 in a Caudron Rafale at 366.760kph.
Maryse Hislz was the first woman pilot in the Air Force and was appointed second lieutenant with the "GLAM" Ministry Air Liaison Group in Villacoublay. On January 30, 1946, her GLAM Sibel 204 ran into bad weather and crashed near Bourg-en-Bresse, above Moulin-Le-Pont (Ain), having broken up in flight. Maryse Hilsz was killed in the accident.
Maryse Hilsz was made Officer of the French Legion of Honour in 1937 and received the Aeronautics Medal posthumously for her outstanding service to both civil and military aviation.
(source for the above short bio, here)
The first time she reached Tokyo was in 1933 arriving on April 16 flying a Farman F.291 named "Joé II" and registered F-ALUI. She was the first female pilot to ever visit Tokyo. Check HERE for more about her aircraft (in French). 
The second time was a year later arriving in Tokyo on March 6, 1934. This time she flew a Breguet 27S called "Joé III" registered F-AKFM.
Below is a letter regarding the second flight of Ms. Hylze sent by the French ambassador to Tokyo at the time, Fernard Pila, to Hirota Koki who was serving as Foreign Minister at the time.
Perhaps our French speaking readers can sent over a translation.
The photo below was taken on March 16. On that day Ms. Hylze took two maiko working in Shimbashi for a 15 minute flight over Tokyo. On the left is her flight engineer René Prax. A beautiful photo combining the modern independent woman in the face of Ms. Hylze and the traditional Japanese female in their kimono and marumage hairstyle*.

And finally, HERE is a video I found on the net showing a ceremony paying homage to Ms. Hylze.
*An amazing illustration by Shimura Tatsumi showing the hairstyle.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" by Mark Jahsan WIP#5

This update is about buttoning up the fuselage and joining the pieces. The Mavis cockpit is a bit unusual being raised stations over a central walkway. The good part for me was being able to install it after all the sanding and filling was done- I rinsed it a lot in the utility sink to try to keep it clean.

Pretty simplistic but it fills the space and not much will be seen.

Here you can see the reason for the high cockpit sidewalls, as well as the tabs front and rear for support and alignment. I prefer epoxy for attaching vac clears- I have fewer mistakes than with superglue, and it leaves a little time for adjustments.
Then three applications of putty, progressively thinner, using finer grades of sandpaper:

The green will be the “interior” of the frame, here it’s also the primer. Same procedure for the tail and waist blisters:

Then the wing was prepped. I laid out where the struts and wires will run, marked and cut it all out:

Usually airplanes will have a pass through spar, so construction is hang the spar first, then the wings can be attached and the tail aligned off of it. Obviously not an option here.
So I simply turned it over and built it upside down:

Same procedure to make the struts, aluminum tubing between two pieces of wood, compressed in a vise to an oval shape, then cut to length and ends crimped.
I used thirty minute epoxy and let it set for about twenty minutes, then flipped it over and did some adjusting to the alignment, then hit it with some superglue to stabilize it until final set.
Then it’s just build each strut, twelve more of them, not counting the ones for the floats!

So here’s where she sits now:

I’ll hit each joint with some epoxy, both for strength and because it settles into a nice fairing shape if you’re careful. It will also be the attachment for the “X” wire bracing.
Still a long way to go, but the end is in sight...

Thursday 20 November 2014