Tuesday 31 December 2019


2020, the year of the mouse

More than 120 posts this year. We hope you found at least some of them to your interest. 
You think we are slowing down after 8-9 years? We have just started!

Four modelling contests this year. We would like to thank everybody who participated, left comments and voted. We asked for your suggestions as to the theme of the next contest but nobody bothered to leave even one comment. It seems you got tired of them and therefore the next contest will be the final one.
The theme is "A6M2" and will start from January 15.

A special thank-you to everybody who contributed to this blog this year: Terry Jones, Harold K, Allan Jeffery, Jean Barby, Vladimir Martinicky, Jan Voorbij, Joe Falen, Jan Kanov, Michael Furry, Gary Wenko and Doug Beardsworth.

 And finally a HUGE "thank you" to our good friends:
Sinang Aribowo, James Boyd, Devlin Chouinard, Danilo Renzulli, Zygmunt Szeremeta and Eric Vogel.

 All the best for the new year to everybody out there.

Monday 30 December 2019

VIPs - Junkers Ju 86 - Manshu Koku K.K.

Apart from photos the "Asahi Shimbun" collection also includes videos. Below are stills from a video dated November 30, 1940 and the caption mentions: "Delegations arrive for signing of China-Japan Treaty Concerning Basic Relations in 1940".
The aircraft is a Junkers Ju 86 belonging to the Manshu Koku K.K. (Manchukuo Aviation Co., Ltd.) fleet. It's name was "Shoryu" (ascending dragon), written on the nose sides, and had the civilian registration M-222. A VERY rare footage of a MKKK Ju 86.
The politician that disembarks from the aircraft is Zang Shiyi, who was serving as ambassador of Manchukuo to the collaborationist Reorganized National Government of China headed by Wang Jingwei. On that day, Zang Shiyi signed for Manchukuo the Japan-Manchukuo-China joint declaration, in which the Wang Jingwei regime recognised the country. It was part of the Basic Treaty by which Japan recognised the Reorganised National Government.
HERE is the link for the complete video.

Note the letter "M" written on the wing and the hinomaru instead of the MKKK roundel.

Friday 27 December 2019

IJAAF & IJNAF photos & more

Photos of a drop tank recently on-sale on the Japanese ebay. The owner knew nothing about it, so no information from that end, except that it's 203cm long and 50cm wide. The tags could have shed more light but they are in bad condition and we can barely read some parts of them.
The top kanji in the circle reads "A" (as in Asia), the other reads "mokusei" (wooden). 

From the above tag we can only partially read the top inscription which says: "Gokoku No 4110 factory". "The term "gokoku" is associated with presentation aircraft in Manchuria, so perhaps this tank was manufactured there.
The other indication we can read is the "Weight: 19.6 kg".

Unfortunately we can read nothing on this tag.

After checking the drop tank designs of the IJNAF and IJAAF single engine fighters (Zero, "Raiden", "Shoki", "Hien" etc) it is safe for me to say that it's not a drop tank carried by one of them. Also, it's too long. My other thought is that it was probably used by a reconnaissance plane. It's too big for a "Babs" and too short for a "Myrt" (it's drop tank was 4 meters long) so my only other conclusion is that it could be a drop tank for a "Dinah".
If it's indeed an IJAAF drop tank, it offers a brilliant sample of the Army hairyokushoku standard paint. 
Any ideas?
By the way, it was sold for a mere 231,000Yen or 2,110$US.

Friday 20 December 2019

VIPs - Mitsubishi MC-20

Another photo from the "Asahi Shimbun" collection. On May 5, 1943, Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo landed in Nichols Field, an airfield south of Manila, for a state visit to the Philippines. On his right is General Wachi Takaji, Chief of Staff of the 14th Army responsible for the Philippines.
At least three Mitsubishi MC-20 transport aircraft are seen in the background. Unfortunately no tail markings are visible.

There is also a video from the NHK collection.

The Second Philippine Republic was established a few months later, on October 14, 1943, during the Japanese occupation.

Sunday 15 December 2019

IJAAF & IJNAF photos & more

Two photos from the "Asahi Shimbun" collection featuring the Nakajima G8N1 "Renzan" (Rita) captured at the end of the war and shipped back to the States for evaluation.

The caption of the first photo mentions:
This is the Japanese "Rita" bomber, St. Newark Air Base, where technicians are completing the job of overhauling it for its test flight to Wright Field, Ohio, on June 21st. The only four engine Japanese bomber in existence, the "Rita" was captured in Japan and shipped here. At Wright field engineers will conduct extensive tests on the bomber to see if the Japanese had any ideas that may be useful to our aircraft industry. 

The caption of the second photo mentions:
The only four-engined Japanese bomber in existence takes off from Newark Army Base with an American pilot at the controls. The plane, dubbed "Rita" by the Army Air Forces, is an experimental model that the Nips were never able to perfect for combat. Captured in Japan, the bomber was shipped to Newark, where American engineers studied it made it ready for the June 22nd test hop to Wright Field, Ohio. 

Friday 13 December 2019

Mitsubishi Ki-30 "Ann" by Terry Jones

AZ kit in 1/72.

Terry Jones
Ottawa, Canada


Sunday 8 December 2019

Heads up!

Harold K spotted a new release by Avi Models, AVI72009 Gasuden KR-1 "Chidori go" in 1/72. It's a "Limited edition with resin parts" and includes decals for a Japanese, registration J-BBJI, which belonged to the Nippon Koku Yuso Kenkyusho (Japan Air Transport Service) and another in the service of the Kaijo Keisatsu Koku Butai (Maritime Police Air Unit) of Manchukuo.
The MMPAU had three Gasuden "Chidori-go" in their fleet. Two with MMPAU serial numbers "KaiKei 12" and "KaiKei 13" were KR-1s and another, "Kai Kei 14", was a KR-2. More in our currently sold-out but soon-to-be-revised-and-republished "THE EAGLES OF MANCHUKUO, 1932-1945: An Illustrated History of the Civilian and Military Aviation", HERE.
The kit looks nice although I spotted a few small innacuracies.
I  think this is a future release as price is not mentioned in the AviModels site.
A very interesting and welcomed release, I guess they will do another one with floats, that I will try to get if the price is right (usually the AviModels kits are sold for crazy money in Japan) and I guess they will do another one with floats.
The Gasuden "Chidori-go" KR-1 & KR-2 will be covered in detail in our future magazine issue #15.
Thanks Harold!

Saturday 7 December 2019

IJAAF & IJNAF photos & more

This fantastic photo from the "Asahi Shimbun" collection features Type Otsu Model 1 reconnaissance aircraft, the Japanese produced Salmson 2A.2.
The photo was taken in Tokorozawa in September 1921 during the flight from Tokorozawa to Hsinking (present-day Changchun) in Manchuria. 
Note how clearly evident is the hairyokushoku (gray) of the fuselage compared to the metal of the engine cover in the front and the white tail. As has been mentioned before on this blog and will be presented in length in a forthcoming "Eagle Eye", the Japanese Salmson 2A.2 were never painted NMF like the Navy aircraft of that period, as some model kits suggest, but overall hairyokushoku

Wednesday 4 December 2019

IJAAF & IJNAF photos & more

Another photo from the "Asahi Shimbun" collection, this time featuring a Kawasaki Ki-61 "Hien" (Tony) at the end of the war.
I believe it belonged to the 244 Sentai and therefore the place should be Chofu airfield, their base in Tokyo. Of particular interest is the color of the drop tank. We have discussed in the past and refuted (give or take) the suggestion that they were not yellow but were painted gray (hairyokushoku). This one, though, is definitely neither gray nor yellow, considering the unpainted undersides of the aircraft and the skin tone of the child. Definitely not red either since it's completely different from the hinomaru. Could it be orange?

And here's another photo of the same aircraft, from the net.
Thank you guys for emailing it over.
This time the drop tanks look to be exactly the same color with the hinomaru.

"cheeshat" reminded us a past (2012!) posting of this blog with more on the 244 Sentai "88" "Hien", HERE.

Sunday 1 December 2019

Zero found in Papua New Guinea

A video I recently found HERE.
According to the text accompanying the video:

"Japanese zeroes were legendary for their role in the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. They became even more infamous after becoming the tool for kamikaze suicidal pilots during second world war. This Japanese Zero has a fascinating and mysterious history that has only recently come to light. The wreck of this plane was found in 2004 by a villager, William Nui, who was freediving for sea cucumbers to feed his family. When he saw it, he first thought it was the wreck of a small passenger plane that had been lost several days before after taking off from Hoskins Airport in Papua New Guinea. But when he dove again and inspected it closer, he saw that it was a much older wreck. He informed the local authorities and word spread to the ears of a man named Max Benjamin. Max runs the Walindi resort and dive operation. He dove on the wreck to investigate the mysterious discovery and learn more about it. He found it in remarkable condition, with no signs of combat damage or bullet holes. This suggests that the pilot was not shot down. The throttle lever and pitch control were in a position that suggested that the plane was likely running out of fuel and that the pilot had executed a controlled water landing, probably after becoming lost. Using the serial number of the plane and factual war records, Max learned that the plane had taken off from West New Britain on December 26th 1944, flown by Tomiharu Honda. Records show that planes making such emergency landings after running out of fuel were not uncommon in the Pacific during WWII. Honda was obviously a skilled pilot to conduct a water landing that placed him 50m (150 feet) from shore in an undamaged plane. Although the wreckage of the plane tells us the story of what happened to the pilot that day, what happened to him afterwards remains a mystery. Stories of the local villagers suggest that Honda was helped to the village of Talasea. While this may be true, cannibalism was still practiced in that time and some people believe that he may not have survived long after his landing. His fate remains unknown. This dive site and the history behind the wreck provide scuba divers with a fascinating place to explore. Walindi Resort and the MV FeBrina dive boat make this excursion regularly. The wreck is surprisingly intact, although corals and sponges are slowly taking over and the ocean is claiming the plane as her own. This plane had rested undiscovered at the bottom of the bay for almost 60 years."

Since the plane is not really part of the ecosystem, not much of marine life on it, I believe it should be raised and restored, not just left underwater for divers to cannibalise it until nothing's left of it.
What do you think?