Thursday 29 June 2023

IJAAF trainer "orange" & "orange/yellows" in general - pt.4

And here are the results of the final tests.
This time, I first applied pink surfacer on the wings of an old Hasegawa Zero, then painted the port wing in MrColor58 "orange yellow" and the starboard in Tamiya X-6 "orange".
You can clearly see the difference. 

The next image shows the port wing with heavily thinned Tamiya X-26 "clear orange" applied from a distance over MrColor58.
The starboard wing has averagely thinned MrColor58 airbrushed from a distance over Tamiya X-6.
As you can see in the result, the paints got closer. The only difference is that the X-26 gives more tonal variation and makes the overall surface more interesting.
I guess the same can be achieved with the 58-over-X-6 combination with some practice. It's important to apply the top coats from a distance otherwise you'll get too yellow or too orange spots.
Finally, I airbrushed, straight from the bottle (no thinner),  the "recently" released "orange" Shader by Mig-AMMO over MrColor58 (over pink surfacer).
Excellent results, similar to the Tamiya X-26 over MrColor58 combination. 
The Shader series is highly recommended. Every time I used the paints, I got great results with very little effort.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

IJAAF trainer "orange" & "orange/yellows" in general - pt.3

In this third set of tests, I first tried Tamiya X-26 "clear orange" over MrColor 58 on a pink surfacer.

The results were fantastic! The clear orange darkens the yellow and by giving sufficient depth, makes it interestingly vibrant.
Very lightly thinned X-26 gives more orange results but very heavily thinned X-26 makes the yellow more subtly orange while offering better control.
In the photo, the spoon on the left is 58 over pink surfacer, the middle is the same 58 with heavily thinned X-26, and on the right is again the same 58 with lightly thinned X-26.  
A most satisfactory test.

The next test came naturally. MrColor 58 over Tamiya X-6 applied on a pink surfacer.
Absolutely amazing! 58 was not heavily thinned but light passes were enough to brighten the orange and result in a pleasant orange/yellow (not a yellow/orange).
These two tests yielded the best results so far without paint mixes!
In the next post, I will try a couple more things and will test the paints on actual model kits.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

IJAAF trainer "orange" & "orange/yellows" in general - pt.2

In this second test, I tried to very roughly replicate the painting process of Japanese trainers and most IJNAF prototypes.
First, I airbrushed Tamiya XF-16 "flat aluminum" over two gray primed spoons to make their surfaces look like "metal".
XF-16 looked great over the gray primer after just one pass.
Then, I applied a coat of Tamiya XF-64 "red brown" to replicate the red/brown primer.

Finally, I airbrushed multiple coats of MrColor 58 and Tamiya X-6, unfortunately with exactly the same results with the "mahogany" primer.
The brown makes everything too dark and it shows through.
Only after many passes MrColor 58 started to look like yellow.
So, all in all, the "yellow/orange over dark bases" tests were all fails.

Monday 26 June 2023

IJAAF trainer "orange" & "orange/yellows" in general - pt.1

As you maybe remember I started last year a rather big project of no less than four Tachikawa Ki-9 "Akatonbo" (Spruce) trainers. In the meantime, I'm about to finish a couple of experimental projects, so I thought it would be a good time to experiment with various yellows and oranges. 

For the overall "trainer yellow/orange", I have written a small piece here. Pretty much the same applies to the IJAAF. 
There has been a suggestion that circulates a lot recently, that the IJAAF trainer color was the same with the IFF stripes. In my opinion, it was not.
IFF stripes were yellow/orange (yellow predominant), the IJAAF trainer color was orange/yellow (orange predominant).

In my quest to find appropriate finishes, I tested a few out-of-the-bottle "yellow" and "orange" paints to see how they look on various primers.
Below are the results of the first out-of-the-bottle test.

The Tamiya X-6 "orange" on the white MrHobby Surfacer needed a couple layers to look as it looks in the photo. 
On the pink Surfacer, it looked amazing after just one pass.
As you can see, on the gray, mahogany and black surfacers it looks horrible after more than three passes. Four passes on the black and it still looks like this.
In my opinion, it is too "orangy" for IJAAF trainer yellow. It's closer to IJNAF trainer orange and good for Japanese prototype aircraft.

MrColor 58 "orange yellow" & MrColor 109 "character yellow". Exactly the same results with the Tamiya paint. They look very good after a couple passes on a white surfacer, fantastic on a pink surfacer after just one pass and terrible on all other surfacers after multiple passes.
In my opinion, this is a spot-on color for IFF stripes but otherwise, too yellow and bright for IJAAF trainers.
In any case, if you're not crazy about "exact" colors (whatever that's supposed to mean), MrColor 58 and Tamiya X-6, as they are i.e. without any mixes, could pass for IJAAF trainer colors. 

After waiting 24 hours, I tried more passes on the dark failed surfacers. Perhaps there could be some difference. 
Unfortunately, after multiple passes, there is no real improvement in the gray, mahogany and black surfacers. They still come through the yellow and orange paint and the result looks either too dark or too deep an orange.
In other words, if you want to deepen the top yellow color using a dark primer, you'll get into trouble.

Monday 19 June 2023


A very limited number of copies of the following old, out-of-print and highly sought-after titles are NOW AVAILABLE on a SPECIAL SUMMER SALE!
The condition of all copies ranges from good to almost new.

The MARU MECHANIC SERIES from the 80s.
The following titles are available for 15$US each (postage not included). 

19. Kawanishi H8K "Emily"
21. Kawanishi N1K Shiden/Shiden-Kai "George"
23. Yokosuka P1Y Ginga "Frances"
28. Mitsubishi A5M "Claude"
30. Nakajima B6N Tenzan "Jill"
32. Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu "Peggy"
33. Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate "Frank"
35. Mitsubishi Ki-51 "Sonia"
36. Kawanishi E7K "Alf"

The following double titles are available for 17$US each. 

43. Mitsubishi J2M Raiden / Kawanishi N1K Shiden (Kai)
46. Yokosuka P1Y Ginga / Mitsubishi G4M
47. Nakajima B6N Tenzan / Nakajima B5N
49. Mitsubishi A5M / Nakajima Ki-27


KFI#42: Japanese Imperial Army/Navy Aircraft Color, Marking
A publication full of aircraft photos and color artwork that should not be missing from the libraries of Japanese aeroplane fans.
Price: 20$US (postage not included) GONE!

KFI#79 - Imperial Japanese Army Corps Documentary p.1
A book full of original photos of exceptional quality taken by the official photographer of the IJAAF.
Fighter and bomber units plus the best photographic record of the Army Para Corps.
Price: 25$US (postage not included)

KFI#80 - Imperial Japanese Army Corps Documentary p.2
The second part. Even more fantastic photos. Fighter and training units, plus photos of the Army Corps of Manchukuo
Price: 25$US (postage not included)

KFI#109 - "Umiwashi To Tomoni"
Dozens of photos of exceptional quality from the Enomoto collection, featuring Mitsubishi "Pete" and Aichi "Jake" floatplanes of the 902 Kokutai as well as Nakajima "Myrt" and Yokosuka "Frances" from the 762 Kokutai, and more! 
Price: 25$US (postage not included)

Only a few copies of the highly sought-after title "HONDO BOKU-SEN" (IJNAF part) by Watanabe Yoji with photo captions in Japanese and English are available for 25$US each (postage not included). 

Only ONE COMPLETE SET of all three volumes in almost new condition is available for 250$US POSTAGE INCLUDED! GONE!

Only ONE COMPLETE SET of all eight volumes is available for 250$US POSTAGE INCLUDED!
Vol.1 Mitsubishi
Vol. 2 Aichi

Vol. 4 Kawasaki
Vol. 3 Kawanishi

Vol. 5 Nakajima
Vol. 6 Imported/Captured/Evaluated

Vol. 7 Tachikawa/Yokosuka/Manpi

Vol. 8 Kyushu/Hitachi/Showa

Email us if you are interested at:
And don't forget to visit our online store:

Saturday 17 June 2023

Quiz #5 - answer

And the answer is: Zero.

The various details are way too similar to be something else.

The top right photo is from THIS blog with some fantastic photos of the Zero in the Imperial War Museum.
The "Pete" suggestion was interesting, but the pilot's foot pedals can be seen in the original photo and therefore it cannot be a two-seat aircraft.

Wednesday 7 June 2023

IJNAF aircraft and Oita - video

Another NARA video, in three parts, spotted in the "Showakan Digital Archive" by "Shu". For the full video check HERE.

The first video we posted begins with views of two destroyed hangars.
The location is Oita, in Kyushu, and the installations belonged to the 12 Navy Aviation Arsenal. 
The US soldier on the right driving a buldozer is collecting pieces of scrap metal including aircraft parts in big piles under these hangars. Meanwhile, other hangars in the background look to be in pretty pristine condition.

A mangled Zero cockpit.
Different propellers. 

And quite interestingly...
....a G4M "Betty" Model 22 tail.
The tail marking is rather unusual with the numbers up and down and the double hyphens. It was flown by the 951Ku. More about the unit: here and here.
According to "Betty" expert, "Sato-san", there are two possibilities regarding the significance of the  "-1-" in the tail marking: 1) the unit's main base of operations was Omura but it also had detachments in Korea, Shanghai and elsewhere. So, maybe the number represented one of these branches of the unit. For example, 1 for Omura, 2 for Korea etc. 2) The unit was mainly assigned to anti-submarine duties and had small sub-units equipped with various aircraft types, like floatplanes, Kyushu Q1W "Tokai", "Betty" and other types. So, perhaps the number indicated these various sub-units.
Yet another possibility is that it simply indicated the various chutai.
The particular aircraft was possibly brought to the 12 Aviation Arsenal either to be fixed or to be used as spare parts.  
Of particular interest is the red-brown primer and the green paint.
Another photo of the same aircraft, from a different angle, can be found in Osprey's "Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko...." p.95. 

Moving on, the second video features a number of concrete hangars, called "entaigo" in Japanese.
These were located in Oita airfield near the installations of the 12th Aviation Arsenal.
The 1945 map below shows exactly where the airfield with the two crossing runways was. 
The hangars in the stills were in number #3 in the map, and the 12th Aviation Arsenal is shown as the many small boxes (buildings) on the left side of the map, across the airfield.

This is how the area looks today in google map.

The Oita air base was established in December 1938, with the organization of the Oita Kokutai equipped with carrier fighters and attackers. On November 15, 1940, it was redesignated as a training kokutai but on March 15, 1944, the unit was disbanded and transferred to Tsukuba. 
Following this, a number of units were based in the airfield, like the 141Ku, the 331Ku and the 732Ku, under the 5th Air Fleet. 

The third video features completely wrecked aircraft.
A few Mitsubishi K3M "Pine" crew trainers, one with "オタ" tail marking.
Compare in the still below, the green of the Zero in the foreground and the yellow of its IFF stripe, with the green of the "Pine" and the trainer orange showing under the green camo.

Another mess of aircraft parts. Note the clearly blue fabric-covered ailerons and compare them with the green of the aircraft fuselage; maybe a Yokosuka D4Y "Suisei"?

Did this engine with the 4-blade propeller belong to a "Betty"?

How about this mysterious fuselage?

The very roughly treated fuselage in the foreground used to be a "Willow".
Note the NMF "Betty" nacelle behind it with the landing gear up in the sky.

Note the green of the camo in the rear fuselage and tail section of this wreck; maybe a "Shiden"...

...and the yellow of the IFF stripe in the foreground.

A "Kate" maybe?

Now things get more interesting. 
The high horizontal stabilizer and the tail wheel design indicate it's a Yokosuka P1Y "Ginga". How do you like the green of the camo? 
The tail marking is clearly visible, "762-12" and it shows that it belonged to the 762 Kokutai. More about the unit, here. Again, note the yellow-white numbers. Is there a yellow underline?

Now things get even more interesting.
Note the aircraft with the tail marking "24 222" in the background. Note that the number "24(?) is repeated on the fuselage hinomaru
Probably it belonged to the 524 Kokutai, a not-so-famous unit equipped with "Ginga". It was established on March 15, 1944, as a land-bomber unit, at Toyohashi Airfield, Aichi Prefecture but was later based in Misawa Airfield, Aomori Prefecture. It was nicknamed "Akebono Butai" (Daybreak Unit) and was to have as many as 48 aircraft in its strength. Actually, less than ten were operational. It was reorganized as 405 Attack Hikotai and was ordered to relocate to Miyazaki in Kyushu in early August 1944 but was only able to advance to Izumi, Kagoshima, by October 1944.
That's all I could find about the unit. No information beyond October 1944.

Moving on, another interesting fuselage. Can you identify the type?

Another 762Ku "Ginga" in much better condition. Tail marking, "762-36"?,  in white. Note the antennae on the fuselage side.

More wrecks. A "Judy" next to the above-mentioned 762Ku "Ginga". Note the difference in the green camo. Particularly intriguing are the markings on the "Ginga" flap.

Another mess of different aircraft wrecks with different greens.

A badly burned "Suisei" (Judy).

Probably another "Ginga" with the same flap markings.

And finally a "Val".

The video was shot by "Harry" Mimura from Toho.

Mimura Akira according to the Japanese Wikipedia:
"(January 6, 1901 - December 23, 1985) was a cinematographer and film director. He is one of the founders of Japanese film cameraman. He is known abroad as Harry Mimura.
His father was Rear Admiral Kinzaburo Mimura, who served as the captain of the battleship Kirishima and the battleship Hyuga. He as born in Etajima-cho, Aki-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture (now Etajima-shi). He graduated from Zushi Kaisei Junior High School in 1919 and went to the United States in September of the same year. After attending school in Seattle, he graduated from Nicholassen College Preparatory Course in Chicago in 1924. It is said that he decided to enter the film industry with the desire to ``become a cameraman and show Americans the true face of Japan'' in order to eradicate the anti-Japanese movement that was spreading across the United States.
In 1925, he studied film at the New York College of Photography, and from 1929 to 1934, he became the first Japanese to join the New York Photographers Union. At that time, it was extremely difficult for non-citizen Asians and Japanese to join the union. He worked as an assistant and learned photography techniques. He worked in "Hell's Angels" directed by Howard Hughes and starring Jean Harlow, "Trespasser" directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Gloria Swanson and took part in the shooting of about 60 films.
In 1934, he returned to Japan after he lost his job due to a union strike. In the same year, he joined PCL (the predecessor of Toho) as a cinematographer capable of using the new Mitchell camera. He was highly acclaimed for his new lighting methods and close-up shots that made actresses look beautiful. In 1936, when Toho was established, he became an exclusive photographer, but he was in charge of shooting many masterpieces and established a solid position as a top cameraman. 
He became popular for taking beautiful pictures of actresses, and there were many actresses who wanted Harry to take their pictures.   
He reported on the organization and movement of cinematographers in the American film industry and worked with Michio Aoikawa and Eiji Tsuburaya to organize a group of cinematographers in Japan.
In 1946, at the request of the Occupation Forces' Strategic Bombing Survey Team, he was the only Japanese to participate in the film crew of the U.S. Army after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, his hometown, and captured the unprecedented devastation in color film."

I would finally like to add that he was the photographer in the movie "Hawai Mare Oki Kaisen" (The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya) and we can see him in the photo below, behind the camera, during the shooting of the movie, in the machine gunner's position in a "Kate". 
He was also the photographer in the movie "Kato Hayabusa Sentotai".