Wednesday 29 July 2015

Aviation Pageant

On June 5, 1937 an "Aviation Pageant" took place in Tokyo's Haneda airfield.
No less than 21 Type 95-3 Trainers or Tachikawa Ki-17s flew overhead forming in katakana "トーコーロ” (TO-KO-RO), the first "letters of the Tokorozawa Aviation School they belonged to.  
On the airfield a wonderful variation of civilian and military aircraft types as well as gliders were shown in front of the ecstatic crowd. In the foreground four Ki-17s can be seen lined up with most interesting tail markings consisting of hinomaru and different lines in red and white. In front of them from left to right is a Mitsubishi "Hinazuru" (Airspeed Envoy) registered J-BAOS belonging to Dai Nippon Koku (Great Japan Airlines); three different gliders, one primer, one secondary and one soarer; "Kamikaze" the famous Mitsubishi "Karigane" registered J-BAAI belonging to Asahi Shimbun; next is a Mitsubishi Type "Hato" based on the Army Type 92 Reconnaissance or Mitsubishi 2MR8 registered J-AARA (check HERE); a Nippi NH-1 "Hibari", the Japanese produced Pou-du-Ciel, of unknown registry; and in the background is another civilian Mitsubishi "Karigane" but although the register is not entirely clear it could be "Asakaze", J-BAAL.
Both photos are from a vintage publication.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Japanese Savoia-Marchetti S.62

In 1932 the IJNAF purchased one Savoia-Marchetti S.62 from Italy to test it as a long range flying boat. In 1936 following completion of the Navy evaluation and testing, the flying boat was disposed to Nihon Koku Yuso Kenkyujo (Japan Aviation Transport Institute) receiving the civilian registration J-BBWI. It was remodelled and scheduled to participate in 1937, in the 15-year celebrations since the founding of the Kenkyujo by flying from Osaka to Thailand but the plan did not materialise. It was used in sea rescue and fish spotting.
Below a rather rare photo from a vintage, April 1937, publication with the flying boat in front of the Kenkyujo hangar. 

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Kawasaki Ki-48 "Sokei" (Lily) by Panagiotis Koubetsos WIP#3

Hi guys!
Here are some photos of the finished jungle, groundwork, the bicycle and the Isuzu fuel truck, which in this case will be carrying water instead, hence the kanji "水" (mizu-water) painted on the tank. The Ki-48 model plane keeps giving me some headaches but I think I'll get through it and I'll come back with the photos of the finished model.

Monday 20 July 2015

Japanese Douglas DC-5

In this posting of a vintage photo a few days ago I was wondering about the type of aircraft in the background and there were a few very good suggestions; thank you guys. Well, personally I think it's the captured Douglas DC-5. According to Wikipedia:
A dozen DC-5s were completed. The first two initially flew the Paramaribo-Curaçao route, and the other two operated from Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia). Three aircraft were used for the 1942 evacuation of civilians from Java to Australia, during which PK-ADA was damaged in an air strike by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force at Batavia Kemajoran Airport on February 9, 1942 and it was abandoned. Japanese forces captured PK-ADA, subsequently repaired and tested it at Tachikawa Airfield and Haneda Airport during 1943. This DC-5, painted in camouflage with Japanese Imperial Army Air Force markings, was later used as a transport in the Japanese Home Islands.
Here's a photo from the Wiki entry:

And here's another one from a vintage publication.
"Classic" sent over more info:
The DC-5 was flown to Tachikawa Air Force Base, Japan by Huruo Odagiri. Test flown by Japanese Air Technical Intelligence Group.
During the next two years the aircraft was extensively flight tested and the Japanese were particularly interested in the wing slots, dihedral tailplane and the relationship of the design to the Douglas A-20. Apparently, results of these tests were disappointing to the Japapense, who expected it to compare with the DC-3.
Served as experimental transport and radio-navigation trainer.
Thanks a lot "Classic".

Sunday 19 July 2015

VIPs - Franco-Thai War peace conference

According to Wikipedia, here:
"The Franco-Thai War (October 1940–May 9, 1941) was fought between Thailand (Siam) and France over certain areas of French Indochina that had once belonged to Thailand."
"Japan stepped in to mediate the conflict. A Japanese-sponsored "Conference for the Cessation of Hostilities" was held at Saigon and preliminary documents for a cease-fire between the governments of Marshal Philippe Pétain's France and the Kingdom of Siam were signed aboard the cruiser Natori on January 31, 1941, and a general armistice had been arranged to go into effect at 10:00 hours on January 28. On May 9 a peace treaty was signed in Tokyo, with the French being coerced by the Japanese to relinquish their hold on the disputed border territories."
What Wiki does not mention is another conference that took place in Tokyo on February 7, 1941. Two days earlier, on February 5, a Thai delegation headed by Prince Wan Waithayakon arrived in Tokyo's Haneda airport aboard "Isokaze" (ocean wind) J-BJOD the civilian transport version of Mitsubishi G3M and was greeted by Thai expats. Stills below are from an NHK news reel, from HERE

Note the "air girl" talking to the
pilot in the background
The next day the French five member delegation headed by Georges Gautier, Secretary-General to the French High Commission in Indochina, arrived on a Douglas DC-3 named "Kusunoki" (camphor tree) and registered J-BHOS.


The February 7 conference was held at the official residence of the Japanese prime minister of the time Prince Konoe Fumimaro and the Japanese delegation was headed by Foreign Minister at the time, Matsuoka Yosuke.  

Saturday 18 July 2015

Mitsubishi "Karigane"

A photo from a vintage publication featuring three Mitsubishi Type "Karigane" (wild goose), the civilian version of the Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance or Ki-15. From left to right:
"Kamikaze" J-BAAI, the record breaking aircraft with green camouflage in this photo.
"Asakaze" J-BAAL (morning wind)
"Sachikaze" (lucky wind).
At some point Asahi Shimbun gave "Asakaze" on loan to the IJNAF and received "Sachikaze" instead with no civilian registration. This photo is most interesting as it shows all of them together. 

Friday 17 July 2015

Mitsubishi G3M "Nell"

A bunch of Type 96 Land-based Attack Aircraft or Mitsubishi G3M “Nell” photos today from a vintage publication. Most aircraft appear to be G3M2 Model 22. Note that although the tail markings are censored the armament of the 20mm cannon in the dorsal turret position and the 7.7 machine guns in the dorsal turret and side blisters are not.  

Sunday 12 July 2015

Vintage Ad - Asahi Shimbun Air Fleet

The "Asahi Shimbun" ad from a vintage publication below features a very interesting photo with some aircraft from the newspaper's fleet and their names.
From right to left:
"Asagumo" (morning cloud) - Mitsubishi MC-20 - J-BAAP
"Asanagi" (morning calmness) - Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" - J-BAAS
"Kisaragi" (old name for "February") - Tachikawa Ki-36 "Ida" - J-BAAR
"Amakaze" (heavenly wind) - Mitsubishi Ki-15-II - J-BAAO 
"Shiokaze" (salty sea wind) - Severski 2PA-B3 - J-BAAN
"Umikaze" (sea wind) - Severski 2PA-B3 - J-BAAQ
"Asakaze" (morning wind) - Mitsubishi Ki-15-I - J-BAAL

Saturday 4 July 2015

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

IJNAF Reconnaissance Aircraft. Although various types were used in the reconnaissance role the dedicated types were basically two: the Mitsubishi C6M "Babs" and the Nakajima C6N "Saiun" (Myrt). "Babs" is one of the most favourite Japanese a/c types after the Zero so we will discuss here what's out there and include the IJAAF Ki-15 too. Please remember that experimentals and prototypes are not included yet.
Mitsubishi C6M & Ki-15 "Babs"
A beautiful type with lines more of a racer, "Babs" stands out as one of the best Japanese aircraft of the '30s. Unfortunately except for the "Kamikaze-go" we discussed in the past here there are relatively few "Babs" photos and material available. For example, no blueprints or maintenance manuals have survived the war and therefore many areas of the aircraft, the cockpit in particular, are unknown. This naturally prevents the bigger model companies to release a "Babs" model in larger scales, 1/48 or 1/32, even though it is quite certain that such a kit would sell well. So modellers are basically left with models in the 1/72 scale.
The old LS kits are the only ones relatively easy to locate. Slightly deeply engraved with very sparse cockpit and thick canopy they are nevertheless a great joy to build.
Below is a brilliant LS IJNAF C5M1 from here.
And here's a very cool LS Ki-15 by Vic Scheuerman (although I think the fuselage arrow is yellow instead of red).
Hasegawa has also released a very limited number of kits. The oldest box below.

So, although "Babs" is very interesting as a subject there are limited options in small scales and none whatsoever in larger.

Nakajima C6N "Saiun" (Myrt)
Although the fastest carrier based type of the IJNAF, Saiun was put into service for only about a year and all of them were finished in the typical IJNAF paint job, green-top, unpainted or gray - bottom. Very very few options regarding interesting markings.
There is one old Fujimi kit with very shallow engraved lines and a recent Sword in 1/72. The Aoshima kit is not even worth mentioning.

In 1/48 there are many options since Hasegawa has released a few very nice kits in this scale.
In conclusion, although Saiun is indeed a very beautiful aircraft, it offers very limited paint and marking options.