Thursday 31 December 2015


2016, the year of the monkey.
The past year was even more productive. After a long hiatus, the new issue #12 of our magazine came out in June and the second "best-off", Extra #2, in November. We wanted to complete the new issue #13 by the end of this year but we could not have done so without compromising on the quality. So, better late and good than fast and mediocre. Our new deadline is before the Shizuoka show so stay tuned for a really good and surprising issue!
We were quite busy with this blog too with 165 posts (!!!) stabilizing the monthly number to 14. We hope you found many to your liking. Recently we are presenting short news clips from the NHK archive and we will continue to do so in the next year together with the usual assortment of subjects nobody else touches, like the gliders and the civilian aviation of Japan. No Pearl Harbor subjects here guys! We got positive feedback on the non-aviation related post so we will try to add one such post every month. 
Unfortunately this year was marked by the passing of our dearest friend and Arawasi member Mike Goodwin in March. We miss Mike a lot...
As always we would like to take this chance and say a HUUUUGE "thank you" to our good friends: James Boyd from down-under
Devlin Chouinard from Texas, USA
and Zygmunt Szeremeta from Poland.     
We wouldn't like to exclude ourselves so here's a photo I took on our train:
As always we would also like to thank everybody who left a comment:
Dave-obsessed David Brizzard, Harold K, Jan Kaňov, Peter Dasso, Fluffy, Pat D, Wind_Swords, Mat Kessler, Calin Ungureanu, The Kit Slayer, Jean Barby, fugaku, Hayabusa J-AIR, M Driskill, Ryan B., Rui Lérias, Luciano Gianfilippi, Lish, zmet3kk, gwetoyking, Charlee, Carlo, Rene de Koning, Bob Alford, GeeBee, Håkan, George Bryant, Dan Salamone, Derek Cooper, Alcides, Manuel Gil, Ruy Vieira, Nemisis Goosehabit, fe, emef, andorka555, John Godwin, rlucas, David Stanley, and Iskender.
We could not forget all those who contributed to our blog: Panagiotis Koubetsos-Greece for his amazing unrecognized models, Master Modeller Saitoh Hisao, Richard Holak, golden Alexandros Angelopoulos, Koh Tse Hsien, Andrey Temnyy, István Tekler, Jean Barby, Verena Wirnig, Nicolas Renoult, Mark Jahsan.
Thank you all. Hope to see more of your Japanese aircraft models this year too.
And finally a very warm and special grazie mille to Danilo Renzulli for his hospitality and friendship.
All the best for the new year to everybody. Let's hope 2016 is more productive, enjoyable and funny than 2015. And enjoy modelling!

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Collector's Items

Vintage and extremely rare kits recently on sale on the Japanese Ebay.
Do you have any information about them?
Fujimi, Kawasaki Ki-61 "Hien", 1:70
Fujimi, Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki", 1:70 
Sankyo, Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa", 1:150
Sankyo, Aichi E13A "Jake", 1:150
Sankyo, Yokosuka D4Y "Suisei", 1:150
Kogure, Mitsubishi A6M5, 1:48
Marusan, Aichi B7A "Ryusei", 1:100 
Nichimo, Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa", 1:120
Nichimo, Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate", 1:120
Nichimo, Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe", 1:120
Nitto, Nakajima C6N1 "Saiun", 1:75
YMC, Mitsubishi B2M, 1:100

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" - 1st Kokutai - video

A short part from the 1942 documentary "Umiwashi" (Sea Eagles) featuring Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" bombers getting maintained and their pilots just before leaving for another mission.
Of particular interest is the ground crew member painting the white outline on the fuselage hinomaru by hand.

While another one is painting the tail marking which is probably "Z-335". This means that the unit can be identified as the 1st Ku. The kokutai was organized in Kanoya on April 10, 1941 with one "rikko" (field attack) and one "kansen" (carrier fighter) unit. The 1st Ku relocated to Hankou on July 23 1941 from where they launched attacks against Chongqing and Chengdu until they returned to Japan on September 2, 1941. The documentary was shot during their Hankow days.
According to the narrator the ground crew is applying "make up" on the aircraft before departing for yet another mission.

Refueling the plane. Unfortunately the fuel track is not visible.
Gunners are cleaning and oiling their Type 92 Lewis machine guns. Note the Type 98 Reconnaissance Aircraft or Mitsubishi C5M in the background!
Today's "bento" (lunch box) for the crew includes:
1. "makizushi" with "asakusa nori", rice, shiitake mushrooms, kanpyo, oboro (mince fish and shrimps), greens and takenoko.
2. Japanese omelette
3. takuan
4. energy drink (milk, coffee, canned pineapple) and "energy candy". The "energy candy" had: glucose, butter, sugar, starch, yeast, flour, milk, lecithin, green tea and others.
5. Drink to be served upon return: fruit punch. 

Sunday 27 December 2015

Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki" - 87th Sentai - video

Yet another video from the NHK collection. The date of this one is July 27, 1944 and features Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki" of the 87th Sentai.
The narrator says:
"The day starts and ends with combat at the air base in the India-Burma border front. The pilot enjoys a modest and quick meal at the shadow of his beloved plane, during the short time between combat. There are no words to describe the hardship of the wild eagles flying in the areas where the enemy aircraft run wild. When the order to take off is given, the immediately respond and look for the enemy. Now in the India-Burma area it's the height of the rainy season and our fierce fight is becoming even more harder. On July 7 our Burma based air units attacked the enemy airfield of Myitkyina in North Burma. 23 P-40s, 16 transporters, a total of 39 enemy aircraft were destroyed.
When one unit returns from combat, immediately another unit is taking off and yet the faces of our courageous pilots are bright. Following fierce combat the wild eagle is talking dispassionately about his aerial encounter."    
The 87th Sentai relocated from Sumatra's Gelumbang airfield, 50km from Palembang, to Meiktila in Burma to support the Operation U-go, the attack against Manipur in India, on May 8, 1944. The unit suffered heavy casualties with six dead and 3/4 of their operational aircraft and returned to Sumatra on May 27 to refit and recuperate. So this video was probably shot either during the time in Burma or in Sumatra. Note the monkey!

Wednesday 23 December 2015

Yokosuka P1Y "Ginga" (Frances)

A December 28, 1944 video from the NHK collection excellently presenting a Yokosuka P1Y1 Model 11 "Ginga" (Frances).  The narator explains:
"In a Navy base somewhere in the Philippines, is our new attack bomber "Ginga". It seems that the enemy is looking for a place to use as their base and our new bomber is going to end all hopes for success. Today too, the maintenance is over and bombs are being loaded one after the other together with our strong feelings. All the preparations for attack are completed and our new bomber is taking off to attack the enemy positions, its supply lines and its ships."
The location is most probably the Clark airfield and the unit could be one of the attack units of the 762Ku. Note the 600 litre drop tanks under each wing.

Monday 21 December 2015

Collector's Items

Vintage and extremely rare kits recently on sale on the Japanese Ebay.
Do you have any information about them?
NBK, Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate", ?
Otaki, Kawasaki Ki-61 "Hien", 1:50
Kogure, Yokosuka D4Y2 "Judy", 1:40
Shizukyo, Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe", 1:50
MP, Aichi B7A2 "Ryusei", 1:50

Friday 18 December 2015

Tachikawa Ki-36 "Ida" - Unknown Unit - video

A small news clip from the NHK collection featuring Tachikawa Ki-36 "Ida" in the skies over North Manchuria in March 1942. The narrator explains how the ground and air forces of the Kwantung Army are doing their best to protect the northern borders of the Empire in harsh weather conditions.
Of particular interest is the small "chokyo" (direct cooperation) unit which carries a completely unknown tail marking that appears on this video for the first time. Note that some of the "Ida" have their tail wheel cover removed.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Collector's Items

Vintage and extremely rare kits recently on sale on the Japanese Ebay.
Do you have any information about them?
ATOM, Kawasaki Ki-61 "Hien", 1:48 
Bandai, Mitsubishi A6M5c Zero, 1:48
Hasegawa, Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete", 1:75
LS, Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero, 1:72
Marusan, Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah", 1:50
Marusan, Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate", 1:50
Marusan, Kawasaki Ki-45 "Toryu", 1:100
Odaka, Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero, 1:30
Otaki, Nakajima J1N "Gekko", ?
Otaki, Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero, 1:48

Monday 14 December 2015

Japanese Blackburn F.2 Lincock Mk.III

Two Blackburn F.2 Lincock Mk. III were imported by Mitsubishi in 1932 to be tested by the IJNAF. The aircraft exhibited good handling but performance left much to be desired for a fighter. One later became civilian with the civilian registration J-BEPG.

Sunday 13 December 2015

Visitors - Fairchild FC-2 in Japan

According to "Encyclopedia Vol. VI" in May 1928 Fairchild executive Robins and Captain Gebel (?) brought one Fairchild FC-2 to Japan and performed exhibition flights for the Army and the Navy (with floats) hoping to sell the type. The "Encyclopedia" does not mention anything more but according to "Nihon no Koku-shi" they were unsuccessful.  
Below are two photos from a vintage publication but I was unable to find any information regarding this sales pitch or the persons and the particular aircraft involved.
Interestingly an Army document dated May 1932 details a request to transfer a "Fairchild" aircraft currently located at the Shimoshizu Aviation School to Kwantung Army to be used as ambulance during the Manchurian Incident. An officer and an engineer were to be send to spend 90 days training with the type. The next Fairchild type of aircraft to arrive in Japan after the FC-2 was in 1933 when a Fairchild 22C-7b was brought over.
So what Fairchild aircraft was at Shimoshizu in 1932?   

Friday 11 December 2015

VIPS - Mitsubishi MC-20 - China Airways

In June 1941 Wang Jingwei, the head  of the collaborationist Reorganized National Government of China based in Nanjing, travelled to Japan to show his gratitude towards the government and the people of Japan for their support and strengthen the friendly relationship between the two governments. On June 13 departed from Nanjing and arrived in Shanghai the same day. In Nanjing airport bit him farewell General Itagaki Seishiro, who was chief of staff of the China Expeditionary Army at the time as well as other military and civilian officials. Together with Wang Jingwei travelled his Ministry of Finance Zhou Fohai, Propaganda Minister Lin Po-sheng, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Xu Liang and others.
The aircraft they flew with is a Mitsubishi MC-20 belonging to the China Airways Co., Ltd. and is registered C-5105. A very rare video featuring China Airways aircraft.
Upon arrival in Shanghai Wang was greeted by Consul General Horinouchi Kensuke and others and boarded the mail steamer Yawata Maru, later to become escort-carrier Unyo, where he was toasted by Admiral Shimada Shigetaro, serving as CIC of the China Area Fleet.
On the 14th at 11:00 Yawata Maru left Shanghai for Japan.     

Sunday 6 December 2015

Japanese Messerschmitt Bf 108 "Taifun" by Saitoh Hisao

Another Japanese civilian aviation posting today, this time a fantastic Japanese Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun by Master Modeller Saitoh Hisao, in 1:48 by Edward. The aircraft is the subject of an article featured in issue #12 of our magazine where we present for the very first time a photo of the "Olympic Taifun" in camo. The aircraft had the two rear seats replaced with extra fuel tanks and Saitoh-san modified the kit accordingly as well as using a propeller from a Fi156 Storch to represent the wooden Schwarz propeller installed on the Olympic Taifun. As always all the markings are masked and painted.