Thursday 29 April 2021

302 Kokutai - Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" (Jack) - video Pt.1

The last video in the NHK news series features the 302 Kokutai (San Maru Futa Kokutai) of the IJNAF and the Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" fighters they flew. We present the video in two parts due to size limitations.

The video starts:
"The "Raiden" Flighter Unit of the "Sea Wild Eagles" spread their wings over the mainland, shooting down an uncountable number of B-29s"

Then it follows with the "Raiden" song. Here are the lyrics in Japanese, Romaji and our English translation. 

呼べよ瑞雲 富士に射す
Yobeyo Zuiun  Fuji ni sasu 
Call the Auspicious Cloud, wrapped around Fuji-san

旭陽浴びて 羽ばたけば
Kyokuyo abite  Habatakeba
Bathe in the sunshine, flap your wings

醜夷の翼 挑むとも
Shuui no tsubasa Idomu tomo
Challenge the ugly wings of the enemy

皇土守らん 若桜
Kodo mamoran  Wakazakura
Protect our Imperial land, young cherry blossoms

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

全機進発 振る旗は
Zenki shinpai  Furu hata wa
All the aircraft are taking off, waving flags

興廃懸けし Z旗ぞ
Kohai kakeshi Z-ki zo
The rise and fall of the Z-flag

撃墜マーク 輝かし
Gekitsui maaku  Kagayakashi
Kill markings shine

疾風をまいて 征く愛機
Hayate o maite  Yuku aiki
Throwing up a gale of wind,  (our) beloved fighters take off  

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera  Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

見たり敵曳く 飛行機雲
Mitari teki hiku  Hikoki gumo
Looking at the contrails of the enemy airplanes

巻雲裂きて 益荒男が
Kenun sakite  Masurao ga
Rip the cirrus clouds, brave men 

まなじり高く 襲いゆき
Manajiri takaku  Osoi yuki
In high spirits, we attack the enemy

衝くは疾風か  稲妻か
Tsuku wa Hayate ka  Inazuma ka
Hitting like a gale or thunder

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

弾幕衝いて 突撃す
Danmaku tsuite  Totsugeki su
Oppose a barrage, attack

降下反転 必殺の
Koka hanten  Hissatsu no
Dive and turn over, (strike a) deadly blow

機銃轟然 火を吐けば 
Kiju sozen  Hi wo hakeba
The roaring machine gun, spitting fire

燃えて墜ち行く ボーイング
Moete ochiyuku  Boingu
Shooting down burning Boeings

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

At 0:30 we can see a J2M3 Model 21 with tail marking "ヨD - 1164". The particular aircraft was flown by NAP1/C Sasazawa Hitoshi when the 302Ku was based in Kanoya. On April 28-29 shot down one B-29 and damaged four more. It made an emergency landing in Miyazaki base, Miyazaki Prefecture, and was damaged beyond repair. 
The kanji under the tail marking was the name of the maintenance group leader responsible for this aircraft.

The life vest of a pilot, probably NAP1/C Murakami ? and under it says "Raiden".

At 01:04 the shout "KEREI!" (salute!) can be heard, followed by "NAORE!" (at ease!)...

...and Hikotai-cho (unit leader) LT Yamada Kushichiro, calls the pilots and is giving a speech:
"The mission of our fighter unit is extremely important. We have to protect the industrial areas that manufacture aircraft, weapons, ammunition, the transportation network and the warehouses that store them. We have to protect these places from the bombing of the enemy. This is our mission now. Therefore, everyone must do their outmost to knock down all our enemies, flying these brilliant "Raiden" aircraft."

Yamada Kushichiro was orginally a floatplane pilot who flew "Rufe" during the Aleutian Campaign and shot down one P-38, check HERE.
He is the pilot in this photo, from KFI#96, and he's sometimes mistaken for a non-Japanese.

Sunday 25 April 2021

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate", 58th Shimbu-tai by Danilo Renzulli

This is the classic 1/72 Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-84 still holds well despite its age - at least in terms of construction and proper fit. The model depicts a subject from the 58th Shimbu-tai and has suffered from some issues with its finish due to the poor quality of more recent Humbrol paints so I had to remove the paint while trying to preserve the interiors arranged with CMK cockpit set and Yahu instrument panel. The original canopy has been replaced by the excellent one from Rob Taurus. The built-in gills have been carved out  and replaced with ones coming from a Tamiya F4U kit adding new exhaust stacks from plasticard rods. The u/c legs received the break lines using copper wire and tiny strappings made out of thin aluminium sheet. The landing light resulted somewhat messy as I missed to note it has been surprisingly ignored in this model - when I realized it I had to arrange something well after having already sprayed the olive-brown. The model has been duly riveted although little is visible after primer and paint coats.
After spraying the Tamiya primer I tried to replicate the elusive olive brown finish with a mix of Mr. Color paints over locally applied Alclad aluminium masked with the "salt tecnique" to obtain some chipping effects. The tail insignia and numeral are the kind present of Michael Furry (laser cut masks) and George Eleftheriou (decals). Hinomaru have been sprayed with the help of Maketar masks. I didn't apply any final varnish on the model. I added the position lights using small drops of coloured Crystal Clear and added a new pitot tube made out of telescopic brass tube 0.5 to 0.3mm. Finally, for the first time I used small disc masks to paint the wheels discs. The mask was obtained by using a punch of proper diameter from a set I recently purchased on Amazon site. I suggest the use of these punches as they come in a kit of sizes from 0.5 to 6mm that turn very useful under several respects i.e cutting small disc masks, rear view mirrors, landing lights, inspection doors, ect. - I even obtain the microscopic glass for aiming device - These punches can be used with materials such as paper, thin plastic or aluminium sheet, frisket, Bare-Metal foil, etc. One thing has been left unfinished - the wheel wells colour as I didn't decide yet which colour I have to finish them (silver, aotake, ect...?). 
Suggestions are welcome, thank you.

- Danilo Renzulli -

Sunday 4 April 2021

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #56 - junkyard #1 - video

The video today, from HERE, features a lot of Japanese airplanes all together in a junkyard at the end of the war.

The few clear stills don't reveal many details about the tail markings etc.

Thursday 1 April 2021

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #55 - "Akatonbo", "Tabby" & more - video

The video today, from HERE, features an "Akatonbo", a "Tabby" and a bunch of other aircraft found derelict at the end of the war. 

Let's start with the Tachikawa Ki-9 "Akatonbo" (Spruce).

You notice ofcourse the two numbers on the fuselage, probably "109 - 05". This, in connection with the existence of a drum barrel inside the rear cockpit of the "Spruce" in the previous post, clearly indicates that these are aircraft that were to be used in suicide missions. Some of the well-known "Spruce" in this photo.
Released by RS Models in 1/72.

You can also see a beautiful model by Zbyszek Malicki on our blog, here.

I had a conversation with a modeler a few years back about these particular "Spruce" and I insisted that based on logic, the undersurfaces of the wings should not be painted green as the rest of the top camouflage. No reason to camouflage these areas, waste of paint etc. Apparently the video proves that I was wrong. The undersurfaces of the wings are indeed painted green as is the rest of the fuselage. I couldn't find our conversation, so if you are reading this, please leave a comment or send me an email to apologize in person too.
Note, from the previous post, that these "Spruce" have hiragana on their cowling rings. This would indicate that they originally belonged to the Tachiarai school, which had this practice based on the "I-RO-HA" system to differentiate the individual aircraft.  

The video next moves on to show a white Showa L2D "Tabby" with green crosses. Location unknown.

Finally, there is one ex-civilian type, note the black-white-black fuselage band at a quite weird place (before the fuselage hinomaru)...

...and more derelict aircraft among them a "Dinah".