Saturday 29 October 2016

Bougainville trip Pt.2

Our good friend Eric Vogel sent over more photos from his trip to the Bougainville and Rabaul area.
Some pictures taken on the tiny island called Sohano Island, located close to Buka Town, the northern part of Bougainville. As suggested, this looks like a "Pete ".

All I can say about the Kokopo Museum is that the plane and most of the parts are collected from the plantations surrounding Rabaul. There was no more information available other than what was shown on the small signs near the parts and in most cases there were no signs at all.

Thank you so very much Eric for the excellent photos!!!

Saturday 22 October 2016

Kawasaki Ki-61-II Kai "Hien" (Tony) by Jean Barby

This is my latest work. The model is the RS Ki-61-II Kai from RS in 1/48 with the Brengun photoetch and a Falcon canopy. It depicts one of the few of those models which reached the front line in July '45. The 56th Sentai being the only unit known to have used this fighter. The camo is in yellow green#7, a shade close to US Olive Drab which could fade in many different spectrums.


Thursday 13 October 2016

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 002 - "DIZZYFUGU"

Nakajima Ki-104-Ic "黒の尾/Kurono-o" (Candice)
Aircraft "2" of 3rd Imperial Japanese Army Air Force Headquarter Flight, May 1945 (Whif/Kitbashing), Scale: 1/72

Nothing you see here is real, even though the conversion or the presented background story might be based historical facts. BEWARE!
Some background:
The Nakajima Ki-104 was a further development of the Ki-87; the latter was a Japanese high-altitude fighter-interceptor of World War II, a single seat, exhaust-driven turbo-supercharged engined, low-wing monoplane with a conventional undercarriage.
The Ki-87 was one of several designs of various manufacturers developed in response to American B-29 Superfortress raids on the Home Islands. The Ki-87 followed up on earlier research by Nakajima and the Technical Division of Imperial Army Headquarters into boosting a large radial engine with an exhaust-driven turbo-supercharger, which had begun in 1942, well before the B-29 raids began.
The efforts of the Technical Division of Imperial Army Headquarters eventually culminated into the high-performance, tandem-engine Tachikawa Ki-94-I, while the Ki-87 under the lead of Kunihiro Aoki was developed as a fall-back project, using less stringent requirements.
Nakajima started in July 1943 with the construction of three prototypes, to be completed between November 1944 and January 1945, and seven pre-production aircraft, to be delivered by April 1945.
The Technical Division of Imperial Army Headquarters made itself felt during the development of the Ki-87 prototype when they insisted upon placing the turbo-supercharger in the rear-fuselage, and from the sixth prototype the Nakajima fighter was to have that arrangement. Construction was further delayed due to problems with the electrical undercarriage and the turbo-supercharger itself. As a consequence, the first Ki-87 prototype was not completed until February 1945; it first flew in April, but only five test flights were completed.
A further variant, the Ki-87-II, powered by a 3,000 hp Nakajima Ha217 (Ha-46) engine and with the turbo-supercharger in the same position as the P-47 Thunderbolt. Due to the long development period of the Ki-87, several major structural changes were made, too, that eventually changed the aircraft so much that it received a new, separate kitai number and became the Ki-104.
Kunihiro Aoki's new design was approved by the Koku Hombu, and an order was placed for one static test airframe, three prototypes, and eighteen pre-production aircraft. Only 2 prototypes were built in the event; the first was equipped with a single 1,895 kW (2,541 hp) Nakajima Ha219 [Ha-44] engine, driving a 4-blade, but the second one received the stronger Nakajima Ha217 (Ha-46) and a 6-blade propeller.
The pre-production machines (Ki-104-I or -Tei) were all produced with Ha217 engines, but featured various four-bladed propeller (-a, -b) designs as well as the new 6-blade propeller (-c). Compared to the prototypes, armament was beefed up from a pair of 20mm Ho-5 and a pair of 30mm Ho-155-I cannons in the wings to four of the new, more compact Ho-155-II cannons (originally designed for the unsuccessful Ki-102 assault aircraft  and optimized for wing installation).
All pre-production Ki-104-Is were allocated to an independent IJA Headquarter Flight where they were tested alongside established fighters in the defence of the Tokyo region. Based on this 3rd Independent Flight's unit marking, a completely black tail with the unit's emblem, the Ki-104s were unofficially called Ic '黒の尾'/'Kurono-o', which literally means "Black Tail".
The first operational Ki-104s  reached this unit in spring 1945 and saw limited use against the incoming streams of B-29 bombers (2 unconfirmed downings in the Tokyo region). After these initial contacts that left a serious impression the new type received the USAF code name "Candice", but the hostilities' soon end however stopped any further work and serial production. No Ki-104 survived the war.

General characteristics:
    Crew: 1
    Length: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
    Wingspan: 14 m (45 ft 11 in)
    Height: 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
    Wing area: 28 m² (301.388 ft²)
    Airfoil: Tatsuo Hasegawa airfoil
    Empty weight: 4,637 kg (10,337 lb)
    Loaded weight: 6.450 kg (14.220 lb)
    1× Nakajima Ha219 [Ha-44-12] 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 1,835 kW (2,461 hp)
    Maximum speed: 712 km/h (385 kn, 443 mph)
    Cruise speed: 440 km/h (237 kn, 273 mph)
    Range: 2,100 km (1,305 mi)
    Service ceiling: 14,680 m (48,170 ft)
    Wing loading: 230.4 kg/m² (47.2 lb/ft²)
    Power/mass: 0.28 kW/kg (0.17 hp/lb)
    Climb to 5,000 m (16,400 ft): 5 min 9 sec;
    Climb to 10,000 m (32,800 ft): 17 min 38 sec;
    Climb to 13,000 m (42,640 ft): 21 min 03 sec
    4× 30 mm (1.18 in) Ho-155-II cannons in the wings
    Underwing hardpoints and centerline pylon for up to 3× 250 kg (551 lb) bombs
    or a single 300l drop tank under the fuselage

The kit and its assembly:
This whif is the result of many ideas and occasions. First of all, I had a leftover six-blade propeller from a Hasegawa J7W Shinden in stock. Then I recently had an eye on kits of late Japanese high altitude fighters with turbosuperchargers, like the Ki-91-II or the Ki-106. These are available from RS Models, but rare and rather costly. And I wondered how a P-47 might look like without its deep belly? All this was finally thrown into a big idea stew, and the Ki-104 is the home-made hardware result!
As a side note: the Ki-104 was a real IJA project, AFAIK based/related to the Tachikawa Ki-94-I twin-boom/push-pull high altitude fighter, a re-worked, more conventional design. Information is sparse and it never reached any hardware stage and remained a paper project as the Rikugun Kogiken Ki-104; I just "revived" the number for my whif, but maybe the real Ki-104 could have looked like it... ;-)
The kit is a bashing of various parts and pieces:
- Fuselage and wing roots from an Academy P-47-25
- Wings from an Ark Model Supermarine Attacker (ex Novo)
- Tail fin is a modified part of a Matchbox Ju 188 stabilizer
- The stabilizers are outer sections from a Matchbox Douglas F3D Skyknight
- Cowling comes from an ART Model Grumman F8F Bearcat, the engine was scratched
- Propeller from a Hasegawa J7W Shinden
- Main wheels from a Matchbox F6F Hellcat
My choice fell onto the Academy Thunderbolt because it has engraved panel lines, offers the bubble canopy as well as good fit and detail. The belly duct had simply been sliced off, and the opening later faired over with styrene sheet and putty.
The Bearcat cowling was chosen because it had very good fitting width in order to match with the P-47 fuselage, and it turned out to be a very good choice - even though I had to add a dorsal connection, a simple styrene wedge, to create a good profile.
Inside, the engine consists of a reversed Hobby Boss F6F engine, with a fan dummy that covers any view on non-existent interior details... A styrene tube was added, into which a metal axis can be inserted. The latter holds the propeller, so that it can spin with little hindrance.
The Attacker wings were chosen because of their "modern" laminar profile - the Novo kit is horrible, but acceptable for donations. And the risen panel lines and rivets should later do great work during the weathering process... OOB, the Attacker wings had too little span for the big P-47, so I decided to mount the Thunderbolt's OOB wings and cut them at a suitable point: maybe 0.5", just where the large wheel fairings for the main landing gear ends.
The intersection with the Attacker wings is almost perfect in depth and width, relatively little putty work was necessary. I just had to cut out new landing gear well parts.
With the new wing shape, the tail surfaces had to be changed accordingly, with parts from a Matchbox Skyknight and a highly modified piece from a Matchbox Ju 188 stabilizer.
The OOB cockpit and landing gear was retained, I just replaced the main wheels with slightly more delicate alternatives from a Matchbox F6F Hellcat.
Once the basic bodywork was done I added the exhaust arrangement under the fuselage; the outlets are oil cooler parts from a Fw 190A, the air scoop once belonged to a Martin Marauder and the long ducts are actually HO scale roof rails. The oil cooler under the engine comes from a Hobby Boss La-7.
Pretty wild mix, but it works surprisingly well!


Painting and markings:
Even though this was supposed to become a late WWII IJA fighter, I did neither want the stereotype NMF look nor the classic green/grey livery or a respective mottled scheme. What I finally settled upon, though, took a long while to manifest, and it looks ...odd.
I wanted a camouflage scheme, but none of the more exotic real world options was fine for me; there had been fighters with black upper surfaces, bright blue ones, or blue mottle on top of NMF. But all this did not convince me, and I eventually created an experimental scheme. And the paint was supposed to look heavily worn, as if the paint had been applied directly onto the bare metal, without primer, so that it chips and flakes off easily.
The tones were supposed to be suitable for high altitudes, but not the classic IJA colors - nothing even close. eventually I came up with an all-around turquoise green (ModelMaster Fulcrum Grey Green) plus a pale grey-green (ModelMaster RAF Dark Slate Grey) as contrast for the upper sides. Sick combination, yes, esp. with the Aluminum shining through, which was applied first as a kind of acrylic primer. The camouflage paint was carefully brushed on top of that, with panel-wise strokes from back to front. Tedious, but effective.
The black tail was applied similarly, it is a free interpretation of real IJA markings; for instance, the 244th Sentai aircraft bore all-red tail sections. Black is an uncommon color, but since I wanted to create fictional squadron markings, too, this was a suitable concept. And it looks cool and mysterious...
The cockpit interior was painted with Aodake Iro (Modelmaster), the section behind the pilot's seat and where the sliding canopy moves on the outside, were painted with IJA Dark Green - just an odd idea. In front of the cockpit a black anti glare panel was added. The landing gear and the respective wells were painted with Steel Metallizer (just to set them apart from the lighter Aluminum all around). The propeller was painted in reddish brown tones, the spinner in Humbrol 160 and the blades in 173.
After this basic painting the kit received a black ink wash, and decals were applied. These were taken from various aftermarket sheets, including generic, white and yellow sheet for the Home Defence markings on wings and fuselage, the white fuselage trim or the yellow ID markings on the wings' leading edges.
As next step the complete kit was carefully wet-sanded, primarily from front to back, so that more of the aluminum primer showed through, the decals (esp. the Hinomaru) were worn out and the camouflage paint on top lost some of its hard edges.
The sanding residues had to be cleaned away thoroughly (with a soft toothbrush and lots of water), and then, repairs, e .g. where the bare plastic came through, as well as extra effects with dry-painted, lighter camouflage tones were done. Final cosmetics also include oil and dirt stains with Tamiya"Smoke", also applied by brush.
Once everything was dry and clean (despite the kit's look), everything was sealed under a coat of varnish - a 3:1 mix of matt and gloss Revell Acrylics.
A complex and lengthy painting process, but I think the effort paid out because the procedure mimics the structure and look of a worn paint job instead of trying to look like it when you paint a cammo scheme and add metal effects "on top". This works for small chips, but not for the flaked look I had been looking for.
"DIZZYFUGU"  -  Germany

Sunday 9 October 2016

Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" - Milne Bay - Video

The previous video from the NHK collection we uploaded was dated May 25, 1943 and featured Mitsubishi G4M1 "Rikko" (Betty) participating in the "Operation I-Go". Today's clip, dated May 11, 1943, details the bombing attack on Milne Bay that took place on April 14, 1943. According to the narration the IJNAF Air Bomber Units sunk 11 transports and shot down more than 50 enemy aircraft and as a result "the enemy base is under the control of the Japanese Navy". Total war propaganda BS ofcourse but let's see what actually happened on that day from various sources.
First of all on-line sources in English don't agree on the number of Japanese aircraft that took part in the attack. 
Pacific Wrecks, here, mentions very little:
April 14, 1943
(IJN) Aproximatly 100 Japanese aircraft (another account reports 40 bombers and 30 Zeros) attack No. 3 Strip (Turnbull) near Milne Bay. The Allies claim two bombers, two dive bombers and two zeros destroyed, for the loss of one P-40, 2 crash landed and four damaged.
Wikipedia in the I-Go entry mentions:
On 14 April 1943, the Japanese launched an attack against Milne Bay with 188 aircraft. Twenty-four Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk 1As intercepted the attacking force, resulting in seven Japanese and three Allied aircraft shot down. The Dutch cargo ship Van Heemskerk was hit by several bombs, which set it ablaze and was beached. The British cargo ship Gorgon also suffered a number of hits by bombs and was set on fire, however these were later extinguished. Near misses damaged the Dutch cargo ship Van Outhoorn and the Australian minesweepers HMAS Wagga and Kapunda. Four Allied servicemen and 12 merchant seaman were killed in the air raid, with 68 injured.
This page has an excellent account of the attack from the Allied side.
The usually extremely reliable Japanese Wikipedia puts everything in order from the Japanese side and mentions that there were two forces with two targets, Milne Bay and "Rabi airfield" which Pacific Wrecks identify as Turnbull Airfield.
Y1 Force included land-based units split into:
A) Attack: 26 "Betty" bombers from the 705Ku with 11 "Betty" from the 751Ku,
B) Escort: 21 Zero fighters from the 204Ku with 17 Zero from the 253Ku and 18 Zero from the 582Ku.
Y2 Force included carrier-based units split into:
A) Air Cover: Zuikaku Unit contributed 23 Zero and the Zuiho Unit 15 Zero,
B) Attack: Hiyo Unit with 12 Type 99 Dive Bombers or Aichi D3A "Val" and Junyo Unit with 11 "Val",
C) Escort: Hiyo Unit had 20 Zero and Junyo Unit 17 Zero.
The "Betty" units attacked Milne Bay and Rabi East airfield from 11:35 until 11:50.
751Ku attacked ships at Milne Bay but hit no targets.
705Ku was intercepted by enemy fighters over Milne Bay and instead attacked Rabi Airfield.
The Carrier Bomber units of Junyo and Hiyo attacked successfully ships in the Milne Bay and returned to their ships around 15:00.
Japanese losses were: ZeroX4, "Val"X3, "Betty"X4
According to the fabulous book "1shiki Rikko Senshi" (War History of Type 1 Field Attacker) by Sato Nobuhiko, published by Kojinsha, on April 14, 26 aircraft from the 705Ku commanded by the newly arrived LtCom Miyauchi took off at 08:55 from Vunakanau Airfield. They were accompanied by 17 aircraft from the 751Ku, escorted by 56 Zero-sen and arrived at 11:20 over Milne Bay. They were intercepted by about 40 P-40, P-39 and P-38, broke formation and picked targets at random. The loses were three aircraft with 22 crew members dead, three seriously and one lightly injured. Enemy loses were 29 fighter aircraft shot down, four transports sunk, four ships damaged and the airfield installations were seriously damaged.
The 705Ku "Betty" bombers returned to Vunakanau at 14:15. 
Apparently the Japanese sources do not agree on the number of "Betty" bombers from the 751Ku that participated in the attack. An on-line 751Ku history mentions 18 "Betty" that took-off from Kawieng.
Osprey's "Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko "Betty" Units  of World War 2" offers a few more details about the "Betty" units on that day and mentions that the a/c from the 705Ku were 26 and the a/c from the 751 were 17.
The "Betty" bombers in the video belong to the 705Ku. Note the brilliant part where the waist machine gunners and the tail gunner handling the 20mm cannon are shown.

Monday 3 October 2016

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 002 - JAN GOORMANS

An absolutely brilliant what-if Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" in BAF colors, Hasegawa 1/32, by Jan Goormans from Belgium

Sunday 2 October 2016

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 002

ARAWASI would like to invite you to our 2nd online model contest.

CLICK: Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 002  TO SEE ALL THE ENTRIES.

Theme: What-ifs & Fantasy in any scale
Submissions: Send as many photos as you like of your model and accompanying information to or At the very least please send: your name and country, model scale and kit maker. Your entry will be posted within 24 hours. You can enter the contest with more than one model in any scale.
Voting: you can vote for each model from 1 to 5 either by leaving a comment on each entry or by sending an email to the above addresses. No anonymous votes will be taken into account (nicknames are ok). The model with the most points wins.
Deadline: December 15  
Prizes: The winner (or winners) will receive a book and a model from our on-line store, free of any charge, courtesy of Arawasi.
The theme for the next online model contest is "Civilian Aviation" and will start from January 2017.