Monday 24 May 2021

Nakajima J9N2-S "Kikka" by Dizzyfugu

1:72 Nakajima J9N2-S “Kikka” (橘花), aircraft “(51-)03” of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s 251st Kokutai; Kumamoto airfield (Kyushu, Japan), early 1946 (Whif/modified AZ Models kit)

The kit and its assembly:
This is a J9N two-seater from AZ Models – it is the trainer boxing but converted into a fictional night fighter. The AZ Models kit is a simple affair, but that's also its problem. In the box things look quite good, detail level is on par with a classic Matchbox kit. But unlike a Matchbox kit, the AZ Models offering does not go together well. I had to fight everywhere with poor fit, lack of locator pins, ejection marks, anything a short run model kit can throw at you! What worked surprisingly well was the clear IP canopy, though, which I cut into five sections for an optional open display. However, I am not certain if the kit’s designers had put some brain into their work because the canopy’s segmentation becomes more and more dubious the further you go backwards: the rear hatch is only pygmy size at best!
Personal mods include a slightly changed armament, with one nose gun deleted and faired over with a piece of styrene sheet, while the leftover gun was moved to the left flank, firing obliquely. I initially considered a central position behind the canopy but rejected this because of CoG reasons. Then I planned to mount it directly behind the 2nd seat, so that the barrel would protrude through the canopy’s last segment, but this appeared unrealistic because the (utterly tiny) sliding canopy for the rear crewman could not have been opened anymore? Finally, I settled for the offset position in the aircraft’s flanks, partly inspired by “Schräge Musik” arrangements on some German Fw 190 night fighters. The antenna array comes from a Jadar Model PE set for Italeri’s Me 210s – chosen on the basis of descriptions of the FD-2 radar that was used on other Japanese night fighters of the late WWII era.

Painting and markings:
This became rather lusterless, with the intention of a realistic look and feel for this what-if model. Many late IJN night fighters carried a uniform dark green livery with minimalistic, toned-down markings, including hinomaru without a white high-contrast edge. Just the yellow ID bands on the wings’ leading edges were retained.
For this scheme the model received an overall basis coat of Humbrol 75 (Bronze Green), later treated with a black ink washing, post-shaded with lighter shades of dark green (including Humbrol 116 and Revell 67) and some dry-brushed aluminum. The only colorful highlight is a red fin tip (Humbrol 19) and a thin red stripe underneath (decal). The yellow and white ID bands were created with generic decal material (TL Modellbau).
The cockpit interior was painted in a yellowish-green primer (trying to simulate a typical “bamboo” shade that was used in some late-war IJN cockpits), while the landing gear wells were painted in aodake iro, a clear bluish protective lacquer. The landing gear struts themselves became semi-matt black.
The markings are fictional and were puzzled together from various sources. The hinomaru came from the AZ Models’ Kikka single seater sheet (it offers six roundels w/o white edge), the tactical code on the fin was created with red numbers from a Fujimi Aichi B7A2 Ryusei. Stencils and victory markings come from a PrintScale 1:72 Mitsubishi J2M sheet.
Finally, the simple model received a coat of matt acrylic varnish and some grinded graphite around the jet exhausts and the gun nozzles.

- Dizzyfugu - 

Sunday 23 May 2021

Tachikawa Ki-54 "Hickory"

Two photos today from the Arawasi collection featuring Tachikawa Ki-54 "Hickory" trainers.
First up is a Ki-54Koh belonging to the "Rikugun Koku Tsushin Gakko" (Army Aviation Communication School). More about the school, here.

The second photo is a very often reproduced one featuring a Ki-54Otsu but here you can find it in better quality.
There is a "Sally" bomber in the background on the right and the other aircraft has tail marking indicating that it belonged to the "Mito Rikugun Hiko Gakko" (IJAAF Aviation School in Mito). So probably this "Hickory" belonged to the same school too.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Japanese Ryan NYP

In 1927 Osaka Mainichi Shimbun purchased a sample, the 11th aircraft of the newspaper, and received the civilian register J-BACC. It was employed as a communications aircraft until 1937.
On April 27, 1928, pilot Haneta Fumio loaded the plane with enough gasoline for a 20h flight and took off from Kakamigahara airfield, Gifu Prefecture, at 05:02. He flew in an eastern direction, over Hamamatsu, Hakone, Tokorozawa, Sendai, then turned south, Tokyo, Shizuoka, Osaka, then continued until Takamatsu, and finally returned to Osaka where he landed at the Army parade grounds, at 18:25. He flew for 13h23min, a distance of 2,100km, a record flight. He wanted to fly for more and had enough fuel, but at that time night landings were extremely dangerous. So, basically he flew from early in the morning until darkness fell.

Here's a close-up on the tail marking.

Below are two photos from Model Art 420 and Nihon Koku-shi, showing the Ryan in its later overall scheme, which was, purpotedly, brown around the cowling with light blue fuselage. 

Thursday 13 May 2021

Japanese Airspeed Envoy #2

Photos today of Japanese Airspeed Envoys. Check part #1 for more general information.

J-BDBO, was imported by Mitsubishi, AS.6A, C/n 42, Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engines. Operated by Nippon Koku Yuso (NKYKK) from Osaka airport, seen in the photo.
On September 18, 1935, it was based in Kwantung and changed its registration to J-EDBO.

J-BDCO, has a similar history with the aircraft above and also operated from Osaka. AS.6, C/n 43, Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engines, original British register was G-ADCC.
Was based in Kwantung from the same date as J-BDBO and changed registration to J-EDCO.

A colorized version of the same photo.
J-BDAO, was again one of the six aircraft imported by Mitsubishi. AS.6, C/n 38, Wolseley Aries Mk.III engines.
Was roginally based in Tokyo, but moved to Kwantung and changed registration to J-EDAO.
It is a more colourful Envoy with the red line on the fuselage sides.

J-BAOS, was built by Mitsubishi, C/n 8, Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engines. It was operated by NKYKK and was originally based in Tokyo.
Flew in the Seoul - Chongjin line from October 1 until November 30, 1938 and changed registration to J-DAOS.  

Our friend Jacob Terlouw sent over a colorized postcard of J-BAOS from his private collection. Thanks!
Photo taken at Tokyo's Haneda airport. In the background are hangars of NKYKK. Note the airline logo and the "air girl" posing next to the aircraft. 

In case you didn't know, back then, the female flight crew members in Japan were called "air girls". Personally, I think it's far cuter and relatable than the horribly impersonal "flight / cabin attendant" (a person who attends, takes care of the flight or the cabin; not the passengers) or "stewardess" (in-flight female waiter). Even the British "air host / hostess" is far far better.
In modern Japanese the formal and official word is "客室乗務員"(kyakushitsujomuin), a mouthful that nobody in their right mind would ever use, especially in an emergency case. So the american "キャビンアテンダント" (kyabin atendanto) is the most common.
In Greek it's "αεροσυνοδός" (aerosinodos) that can be translated as "air escort" (the person who escorts the passengers during their flight). Sounds quite okay in Greek but very creepy in English.
How are the "air hostesses" called in your language?

Sunday 9 May 2021

Heads Up!

Heads Up! first from our friend Jan Kanov for two new releases from RS Models, both in 1:72.

including markings for J-BDEO

including markings for J-BACC

Thank you also to our friend Harold K for reminding us the forthcoming release of Tachikawa Ki-54 "Hickory" from Special Hobby, also in 1/72.