Friday 31 December 2021


2022, the year of the tiger

The zodiac sign Tiger is a symbol of strength, exorcising evils, and braveness. 
What better occasion to feature a photo of the "Tora-butai" with their tail marking of a tiger that can go as far as 1000 Ri and always come back.

So, another Covid year is behind us. We managed to finish our new Eagle Eye #3 on the Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" and the Fiat BR.20 in hinomaru. The reaction of all those who got the publication in their hands was more than enthusiastic. We couldn't be happier to hear you liked our effort. And this release ties well with the forthcoming "Sally" kits.

Uncertain what the new year will bring, but we have at least two projects on the way scheduled for 2022. The first is a secret surprise, the other a new issue of our magazine.

This blog was iddle for a while when we were working to finish the new EE, but rest assured we are here, alive and kicking. Unfortunately, very very few friends contributed this year. We hope you are all healthy and still interested in the Japanese aircraft and aviation.

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

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

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Forthcoming releases! "Sally" in 1/72 & 1/48 and a new "Hickory"

Just saw that ICM and Special Hobby are releasing Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" kits in 1/72 and ICM in 1/48 too!!!!
Here are some images from the Special Hobby site. From the images it seems they are working on Model 1 and Model 2 variants.
The above is the cockpit. At first glance I can say that the machine guns are completely wrong. They are IJNAF Type 92 flexible. Absolutely never instaled on any "Sally". Did they copy them from the MPM or the Revell kits?
The above are the vertical tail surfaces for the Model 1 & 2. For the Model 2 are incorrect.

The above is the side views from the Model 2. The window opening next to the fuselage door on the port side looks to be the same with the Model 1; actually it wasn't. Also, if they are going to do proper Model 2s, the window should not be there. So, they'll have to redesign it and also provide the option to cover it.

Will keep you posted ofcourse for any new developments. 
But for the momment, FINALLY the release of these models in both scales is absolutely amazing news! EAT IT TAMIGAWA!

Also, Special Hobby announced they're releasing a new version of their Tachikawa Ki-54. It's the Otsu with the gunner turrets. 

In the kit box illustration, the machine guns look again like IJNAF Type 92 flexible. As before, completely wrong. 
Modellers who care about accuracy will have great difficulty to find IJAAF Te-4 machine guns to replace them.

The decal set is for at least two (they say three) subjects. One or two from the Mito school and another from the 16th Kyoiku Hikotai we first presented here. By the way, in case you doubt the accuracy of Kaiho-san's artwork, it would be helpful to know that the artist was in constant direct contact with veteran associations who directly commissioned his artwork and provided him with all the information. In the very rare cases he has made a mistake (usually in labeling the correct aircraft model featured in the artwork) he has appologized and corrected the mistake in public because immediately veterans had pointed out the inaccuracy. As a result, Kaiho-san's artwork is one of the most accurate ever!

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Heads Up! - Mitsubishi Ki-30 "Ann" by AZ Model

 AZ Model have released two new Mitsubishi Ki-30 "Ann" kits, one titled "Ki-30 Ann in Asian Sky (sic)"...

and another "Ki-30 Ann At War"

I haven't received any review samples from the company so I can't comment at this time about the quality, accuracy etc of the kits. I would say the blue underside of the 10th Sentai sample is highly suspicious. There was also no "Toyooka Shikan Gakko". The correct designation is "Rikugun Koku Shikan Gakko" which can be translated as "Army Air Academy" or "Army Aviation Officers School". It was established on December 10, 1938, in Toyooka, present-day Iruma), Saitama Prefecture.
But overall, interesting and very welcomed releases on a VERY overlooked subject with interesting paint jobs and tail markings.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Heads Up! - "Pacific Profiles Vol.5" by M.J. Claringbould

"Pacific Profiles Volume five - Japanese Navy Zero Fighters (land-based) New Guinea and the Solomons 1942-1944" by Michael John Claringbould with Ed DeKiep & Ryan Toews, published by Avonmore Books
120 pages, 62 photos of which 10 in colour, 101 profiles all in colour!

Illustrated by unit are abundant examples of varied markings, tail codes, leadership hallmarks and camouflage schemes which appeared on the thirteen Air Groups (Kokutai) operating in the theatre from February 1942 to February 1944. Each of the 101 profiles is supported by primary source material including colour photos, Japanese records, POW interrogations, technical reports, post-war wreck examinations and Allied intelligence summaries. These are accompanied by brief histories of each unit and notes on the changing nature of each unit's markings.
Never before have such accurate profiles been presented. Past errors are corrected, and many new markings including hokoku (patriotic) Kanji are presented for the first time. 

A quite interesting publication, very helpful and inspiring, especially for modellers.
Thank you MC for the sample copy.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily" #10 - 8 Sentai

A news clip today from the NHK collection, dated December 7, 1943, featuring "Lilys" from the 8th Sentai on a mission in Burma.

The clip starts with a "Toryu", the protruding cannon on the nose indicates that it's probably a Ki-45Kai-Hei with a Ho-203, 37mm cannon.

Then a number of 8 Sentai "Lilys" take off.
The first "Lily" has a roughly applied red sentai marking and two dark bands above it; freshly applied red or blue? In the first still they look like they are having white surrounds, in the second they dissapear completely, in the third they look without surrounds. 

Another "Lily" shows the extra machine guns on the nose
The different camouflage pattern and two white bands above the red sentai marking on the tail.

A third "Lily" sports a completely different camouflage with a solid dark top paint, much darker than the green applied on the aircraft above.
Note that all "Lilys" have their canopy frames un-camouflaged, in their original hairyokushoku paint.
This third "Lily" has three white bands above the red tail marking.

The clip most probably refers to a November 29 mission against the Allied airfield in Agartala.
According to Japanese sources, on that day, nine "Lilys" from the 8th Sentai together with 12 "Hayabusa" from the 33rd Sentai and 16 "Hayabusa" of the 50th Sentai, gathered over Meiktila east airfield at 17:35 and headed to Agartala. The Japanese bomber crews claimed five aircraft parked on the airfield burned down. The escort fighters got caught in an air battle with the intercepting Hurricanes. The 33 Sentai claimed two hurricanes shot down, while the 50 Sentai claimed one more Hurricane shot down. On the return flight back to base, one "Lily" from the 8th Sentai, flown by Sgt Maj Nakajima, that was lagging behind, was attacked by enemy fighters and was shot down.

C. Shores in his "Air War over Burma" mentions that:

Monday, 29 November 1943
Japanese raiders were back over the Arakan, 12 Ki 48s escorted by nine Ki 43s drawn from the 33rd and 50th Sentais, raiding Agartala, where 31 Squadron’s detachment’s office was destroyed. Hurricanes of 60, 67, 146, 258 and 261 Squadron scrambled, together with 12 Spitfires of 615 Squadron. 67 Squadron’s 14 Hurricanes were attacked out of the sun, although Sgt Wogencroft was able to claim one Ki 43 damaged. Plt Off Carroll of 615 Squadron claimed one Ki 48 probably destroyed and a fighter damaged, while other pilots from this unit claimed damage to three more fighters. Twelve more Hurricanes from 261 Squadron failed to make contact. 33rd Sentai pilots claimed three victories here, and the 50th Sentai one more, but one Ki 48 of the 8th Sentai flown by Sgt Maj Hirotsugu Nakajima failed to return.

Friday 10 December 2021

Kawasaki Ki-45 "Toryu" by Kevin Lawton

Nichimo 1/48 Ki-45 kit. Paint is Tamiya acrylic, kit decals (while home defense bands are painted), EZ line was used for the radio antenna.

Sunday 5 December 2021

Jihočeský Kapr 2021

Our good friend Jan Kanov reported:
Last Saturday I was at a competition exhibition of plastic models in our regional city of České Budějovice. A beautiful event and one of the few that has received permission to host.
Lots of beautiful models. 

Many more photos can be found HERE.