Friday 25 February 2022

Ukraine & Mini Art - What-if Japanese Focke-Wulf Triebflügel

During these difficult times our support and thoughts are with our friends and fellow modellers from Ukraine. We hope you are all safe and well and that the ordeal your country is going through is over soon. Peace, freedom and democracy will ultimately prevail over aggression and tyranny.

Below is a rather interesting what-if kit I missed when it first came out. A Japanese Focke-Wulf Triebflügel in 1:35 release from Mini Art from Ukraine. All images from the site of Mini Art.

Monday 21 February 2022

Nieuport 81 - Munesato Etsutaro

A very rare photo today I spotted on the Japanese ebay. It features a Nieuport 81 registered J-BAAF and belonging to the "1st Aviation School" of Munesato Etsutaro, seen in the photo in pilot's uniform. 

Munesato Etsutaro was born in 1886 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He became interested in aviation from 1909, and two years later designed his own amphibian aircraft. From 1917 until 1921 he was chief engineer at Akabane Aeroplane Manufacturing Works and after this went under, he started his own flying school. On May 1923, opened the "1st Aviation School" at an airfield that bore his name, at Ushioda, Kanagawa Prefecture (present-day part of Tsurumi Ward). 
A local newspaper reported:
“At Ushioda City, a licence was issued to teach new pilots how to fly. On April 28, 1923, at 10:45, pilot Okura Seizo flew for about nine minutes to an altitude of over 200 meters with an Avro 80hp, before landing. Then, with pilot Kamei he took turns to fly the aircraft either solo or together. At 11:56 these first flights of the school were concluded.”
The "1st Aviation School" had seven aircraft and usually about 15 trainees. In addition to the training, the general public could enjoy a tour over Yokohama for a fee of 15 yen. One of the more famous students of the school was 19-year-old Kibe Shigeno, the second female aviator in Japan.
The land for the school airfield was obtained for free on a 3-year lease, so in February 1926, the school relocated to Funabashi in Chiba prefecture. On May 2, 1934, Munesato passed away from illness, aged 48. At the time of his death, there were nine students, making a total of 50 students who graduated from his school.
His wife, Sono, took over and continued to be involved in aviation matters until the school was taken over by the military in 1939.

The photo was taken during the Yamagata City Industrial Exhibition on Sept 10, 1927. The inscription under the top wing reads “Yamagata-shi SangyoHaku” (Yamagata City Industrial Exhibition). The particular aircraft was built under licence by Mitsubishi, s/n 527, had a Le Rhône 9J engine, and was damaged beyond repair on March 16, 1929.

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Bob Mikesh

 NASM Curator, Author, USAF Pilot Bob Mikesh has passed away.

The official message from Chris Mikesh, Bob's son:

"Hi All,

 "I have the sad news of telling the modeling community of another MIA.  My Father, Robert C. Mikesh, passed away this morning, one week short of his 95th birthday.

"He served as an Air Force Pilot for 22 Years.  Was decorated in Korea flying B-26s ('Monie' often modeled) and later in Vietnam flying Forward Air Control in O-2s (2 tours).  His flying career included: T-6, B-25, T-11, C-47, B-26 (Douglas), T-33, F-100, A-1E, O-1, O-2, B-57A, B, C, & E versions, Cessna 150,172, 182, & 337 - just to name a few.  On retiring he became a Curator at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for 20+ years. His "collection" included the most historically significant aircraft in the world - and he got to play with all of them (so did I occasionally)!  In that time he wrote many notable books like Japanese Aircraft Interiors, B-57 Canberra, Flying Dragons, Japanese Aircraft Equipment, Excalibur III, Broken Wings of the Samurai, and Zero Fighter - just to name a few among his numerous articles.

"He was an avid model builder - both flying and static since he was 7.  Many of his models are on display in the Ottumwa (Iowa) Airpower Museum, Smithsonian, and National Museum of the USAF.  Most if not all are scratch built-in numerous scales. During WWII, he built 1/32 scale Stearman N2Ss for graduating pilots at NAS Ottumwa - each with their soloed serial number (only $5.00 each). I have many models including a Betty Bomber in white with green surrender crosses.  Unique to this model is that the clear parts are made from the clear plexi from the real plane! (Documented). He produced many other unique aircraft models also.

"Not everyone could have a career in aviation like my Dad.  In aviation circles, he is probably the most envied man in the world. Our family will miss his caring and humor, but I know he is without pain and regret.  Revelation 21:4 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

 "God bless you guys - I'll stay in touch.

  "Chris Mikesh"

Thursday 10 February 2022

Heads up! - Kawanishi E7K1 & E7K2 "Alf" by AVI Models in 1/72

I haven't received any review samples from the company so I can't comment at this time on the quality, accuracy etc of the kits.
Thank you Danilo and David for the "heads-up".

Sunday 6 February 2022

A6M3 Mod 22a, 582 Ku by Jean Barby

Here is my Tamiya 1/48th A6M3 Mod 22a from the 582 Ku while based in Buin. The 22a model is often mistaken for the early Model 52, of which it differs from the wing span. I riveted the whole plane, used a Rob taurus canopy and mixed decals and masks for the markings of Chutaicho Lt-commander Shindo Saburo during the I-Go operation. Paints are from Mr Color and MRP range, guns from the Master range.

- Jean Barby -