Saturday 31 August 2019

Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe" by JanVoorbij

Nakajima A6M2-N Type 2, recce plane and fighter of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 934th Kokutai, based at Halong seaplane base, Ambon Island, Dutch East Indies, September 1943 (Hasegawa - No. AP153 - 1:72).
The fuel truck is an Isuzu TX-40, like the "Rufe", from another Hasegawa kit. The same goes for the personnel and the oil drums.
- Jan Voorbij -


Friday 30 August 2019

Heads up!

For the latest issue of "Avions" - September/October issue - featuring a quite interesting article by Bernard Baeza with profiles by Thierry Dekker entitled: "La Chasse De L'Armee Imperial Japonaise Aux Philippines" (The Fighters of the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines). 

Thursday 29 August 2019

IJAAF & IJNAF photos & more

As before, two more photos from the 15th Naval Construction Battalion book. I left the original captions on.
First up is a very well-known Mitsubishi "Betty". Wiki explains:
Japanese Surrender Delegation
On 19 August 1945, two B-25Js of the 345th Bombardment Group and 80th Fighter Squadron P-38 Lightnings escorted two Japanese Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" bombers. The Japanese aircraft carried a delegation from Tokyo en route to Manila to meet General MacArthur's staff to work out details of the surrender.
The Betty bombers were painted white with green crosses on the wings, fuselage and vertical tail surface and use the call signs Bataan I and Bataan II. After the delegation landed at Ie Shima, they boarded a C-54 Skymaster and were flown to Manila. After the meeting, they returned to Ie Shima. One of the two Bettys crashed on its way back to Japan out of fuel, due to an incorrect conversion of litres to gallons when the bombers were refuelled. The crew were helped by a local fisherman and returned to Tokyo by train.
More photos can be found HERE and a much more detailed description of the events can be found in Giuseppe "Joe" Picarella's book "Japanese Experimental Transport Aircraft of the Pacific War"
The second photo though is often misidentified as showing the above-mentioned Japanese delegation. They are actually members of the Japanese delegation that signed the surrender of Ryukyu Islands on September 7, 1945. But more about this in our forthcoming book, here...
...which gives me the chance for an update.
We started to put together all the material we had gathered over the years last summer and we were hoping to finish the publication in 6-8 months. We were planning to include only a summary of the history of each sentai and at that time the deadline seemed workable. Unfortunately for the deadline and fortunately for us and our readers, we came upon a treasure trove of material we never thought could be available or even existed; official unit histories. While checking online in the inter-library database we discovered only one copy of the official history of the 60th Sentai in a library in...Germany! We were disappointed but kept working with what we had. During a visit to the Aviation Library in Tokyo and while checking in the civilian aviation section...VOILA! a copy of the 60 Sentai history book, not registered in their online catalogue.
This discovery opened new possibilities and within two months we were able to locate unit histories of most of the jubakutai (heavy bomber units) flying "Sally" and BR.20 bombers. We are now very close to finishing the "In-Action" part of our new Eagle Eye which will include a VERY detailed account of ALL the sentai equipped with Ki-21s and BR.20s, with A LOT of original material, veteran accounts and more. Unfortunately, the text of the whole chapter is at the moment running at 90 pages, more than the whole Eagle Eye #2 which means this one is gonna be a BIG one.
We're now working 24/7 to finish it by the end of the year. So, stay tuned!

Wednesday 28 August 2019

What-if Nipponki '46: "Shusui" on catapult

A rather interesting small model in 1/72 was recently on-sale on the Japanese Ebay. A Mitsubishi J8M2 "Shusui" placed on a catapult. The modeler wrote he was inspired by a Japanese novel mentioning that such a configuration was tested on the carrier "Shinano". Considering the very short flight time, only 2 and half minutes, it could be useful as an interceptor but taking off from an aircraft carrier? To intercept what? Dive or torpedo bombers? And then landing with her sledge on the carrier deck? Hmmm....
The "Kikka" could have been more suitable as a carrier fighter and bomber.

Saturday 24 August 2019

IJAAF & IJNAF photos

Two more photos from the 15th Naval Construction Battalion book. The caption offer no information but I think they were taken in the Yontan (Yomitan) airfield in Okinawa.
The first features a  Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" (Oscar) in pretty bad condition.
No unit marking is visible on the tail but you can see the white band on the fuselage.
The second features a Mitsubishi G3M "Nell", most probably a Model 22, in even worse condition.

The tail is missing so the unit can't be identified at this stage but note the white "C" on the fuselage and the antenna for the anti-submarine "jikitanshiki".  

Wednesday 21 August 2019

2019 US IPMS Nationals @ Chattanooga TN

Visit the blog of Allan "The Kit Slayer" Jeffery HERE for many more photos! Thanks a lot Allan!

Manshu Ki-98 in 1/48, Raccoon Models


Sunday 18 August 2019

Japanese Focke-Wulf Fw 190 #3

Following parts #1 and #2  Joe Falen send over a heads-up saying:

"I was looking through some WWII American unit histories online and came across this picture you might be interested in the 15th Naval Construction Battalion book that was published shortly after the war. It shows a disassembled Fw190 in a hangar at Tachikawa. It doesn't appear that there are any national insignia on fuselage. I saw your article about the Fw190A-5 that was tested in Japan, and hopefully this sheds more light on the fate of this aircraft. What type of aircraft is in the foreground with the FW190?"
"There are some other interesting images in the book, including some wind tunnel models at Tachikawa."
Thank you so much Joe! Great FW190 photo! It seems there is no tail marking and no clear fuselage hinomaru. If you know the answer to Joe's question leave a comment.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 012 - DEREK COOPER

Here are some photos of my Mitsubishi Ki-30 "Ann" as captured and flown by the Chinese Communists (continuing my penchant for Japanese aircraft in non-Japanese markings). The kit is AZ Model's 1/72 offering, and the decals were included in the kit.
The kit is typical short-run and needs some work to achieve a presentable result. In particular, I added landing lights in the wing leading edges, navigation lights to the wingtips and hollowed-out the exhausts. Also, although not visible in my photos, I added a transparency to the bomb-aimer's window in the fuselage underside, which is simply left as a big hole in the kit. I did not find the cockpit transparency to be a particularly good fit, but that may just have been due to my lack of modelling skills.
According to Wikipedia, the Chinese Communists operated three captured Ki-30s as trainers, and Kecay's publication "Japanese Aircraft in Foreign Service - Volume 1" contains what is claimed to be the only known photograph of one. Not unexpectedly, the photo is of poor quality and it is virtually impossible to ascertain the exact pattern of the camouflage. This leads me to believe that the profile contained in that publication, and indeed the colour scheme proposed in AZ Model's kit, are best guesses and may simply be an indication of the general type of camo scheme that was actually applied to the aircraft. Rightly or wrongly, I decided to follows Kecay's example (with a few alterations) because it contains some nice weathering.
I did not know whether or not to put yellow IFF strips on the wing leading edges. Kecay shows these, but AZ Model's kit does not. I guess it depends at what stage the aircraft was actually captured by the Chinese. Given the early style of camo scheme, I decided to leave them off. I also chickened out of trying to stick the aerial mast to the cockpit canopy because it would probably have been very prone to breaking off. In any event, I can see no evidence for the presence of the mast in Kecay's photo (but I freely admit that this may just be wishful thinking!).

Derek Cooper - England

Monday 12 August 2019

Questions - IJAAF 1 Sentai

Japanese aircraft modeler Georges Vanhove asked:
"Today I am on a Ki-43 /1.
The scheme I chose is for the plane of Major Kinshiro Takeda of 1st Sentai, 3rd Chutai at Hanoï in October 1943.
Depending on the sources the plane is given as either in brown or army Green ....
Do you have any clear information that CAN clarify the matter???"
Here's a photo of the "Hayabusa" of Major Takeda, commander of the 1st Sentai from Sept 1940 until March 1943 from the collection of Mainichi Shimbun via Aireview.
Nohara Shigeru has depicted this aircraft in Model #395 as below: 
The same photo is featured in FAOW #13 and according to the caption: "This photo was taken in Hanoi airfield featuring a "Hayabusa" Model 1 Hei. The plane belongs to the commander of the 1st Sentai Takeda Kinshiro. Aikoku #710 Teikoku Seimei Dai 2 Go (Imperial Insurance 2nd)." The insurance company was founded in 1888 and is, today, one of the oldest and largest insurers in Japan changing its name to "Asahi Life" in 1947.
The MA#395 caption says that the photo was taken in October 1942 in Hanoi.
The 1 Sentai, equipped with Ki-27 "Nate" fighters was in May 1942 in Burma (Myanmar) taking part in the air defence of Rangoon. On May 16 departed Mingaladon airfield, Rangoon and went to Akeno in Japan to change to "Hayabusa". On July 22, the change was completed as was their training with the new fighters and on August 2 returned to Palembang for air defence duties. Beginning of October, 1942 the unit relocated to French Indochina, first in Da Nang then in Hanoi. On October 25 took part in the attack against Mengzi, a city in the southeast of Yunnan province, China,  then relocated to Singapore for air defence duties. On September 24, US bombers attacked Hanoi and the unit became part of the 21 Dokuritsu Hikotai again with air defence duties. In the middle of November became part of 12 Hikodan and was assigned to the South Pacific reaching Truk on January 4. At that time the unit had 49 pilots, 37 fighters and 61 spare (WOW!). On January 9 relocated to Rabaul with 33 "Hayabusa" fighters and took part in missions against bases in Papua/New Guinea.
Our old friend Fuku argued in his site (here) that at that time the unit used a two-tone camo of brown and green. Also, that if the a/c belonged to the sentai commander, it should have the rudder painted in blue indicating the headquarter's chutai. That it's painted yellow with 3 white stripes indicates that the particular a/c belonged to the 3rd Chutai, and therefore maybe to another pilot. Also, that it should have IFF stripes on the wing's leading edge as these became standard around that time.  
Below is an illustration with the suggested camo scheme.
Personally I think the photo is very clear and the top color is very uniform without anything to suggest the presence of a second color. Also, I don't see any IFF stripe, either on the wing root or the wheel covers. I'm not so sure about the spinner color. It could be either yellow or white. I would lean towards yellow since the chutai color was often repeated there. The props of these early "Hayabusa" were most often silver front with black in the rear. So I would disagree with both illustrations there. Note how well painted the aircraft is with weathering only on the wing root where the pilot stepped to get into the cockpit. Remember that the unit was equipped with very new "Hayabusa" fighters when they went to Vietnam.
Here's a nice model built by Scott VanAken.
My objections would be:
1. the front of the prop should be silver, not white.
2. spinner more probable to be yellow instead of white.
3. wheel covers not green
4. underside color "hairyokushoku", not unpainted silver. 
5. top wing hinomaru without white surrounds 
In the comments section there is an interesting debate whether the photo above was taken in Vietnam or Palembang.
Will Silk also mentioned that:
According to Arco Aircam Aviation Series No. 15 (Bueschel 1970), color plate A1 identifies a "Ki 43 Ia, 1st Air Combat Regiment, 1st Company, 3rd Squadron, aircraft no. 3, Burma, Dutch East Indies, Summer 1942". The top color is clearly dark green with three red stripes in a chevron pattern aft canopy wrapping around the fuselage. A white combat stripe appears immediately before the tail section. The rudder is red with three white horizontal stripes. Spinner appears as dark green, same color as the fuselage. Undersides are listed as being "standard pale gray" in color. No leading edge yellow identification stripes are depicted.

One thing leads to another so....the markings mentioned in the Aircam publication refer to the photo below.
  It's an official Army news photo (from the Arawasi collection) taken while the 1st Sentai was in Akeno, Japan. Not in "French Indo-China early in 1942" as the Schiffer publication on the "Hayabusa" says. According to Japanese sources, these markings were not "officially" adopted by the unit but were applied specially for the photo shoot with the news reporter. AFTER Palembang the unit removed these marking and kept only the rudder color  to indicate each chutai and the white stripes on the rudder to indicate different a/c within each chutai. The white fuselage band(s) near the tail also indicate different a/c.
So the whole marking combination of Takeda's a/c could mean: yellow rudder = 3rd Chutai, 2 white fuselage bands = 2 Hentai, 3 white bands on the rudder = MA#395 says 1st a/c or it could mean 3rd a/c. 
I believe this information offers further proof that the photo of Takeda's (?) plane was taken in Vietnam.

Monday 5 August 2019

Japanese Aircraft Online Model Contest 012 - MICHAEL THUROW

Michael Thurow’s Kugisho D4Y3 Suisei - 1/48 Fine Molds

My contest entry represents the late D4Y3 variant of Yokosuka's scout bomber with a Mitsubishi Kinsei 14-cylinder radial in place of the earlier Daimler-Benz in-line derivative. リ-266 belonged to the Hyakuri Kokutai, an operational training unit. It was involved in at least one combat mission in November 1944 flown by Lt(jg) Kiyoshi Arasu.
The Fine Molds kit turned out to be less satisfactory than I had expected. A number of adjustments were necessary and I used available after-market items to upgrade the model. My build report with details is published HERE in two parts.
Thanks for your expert judgement. It is very welcome.
Michael Thurow - Germany