Sunday 31 December 2023


2024, the year of the dragon
The Dragon, "Tatsu", is the fifth animal in the zodiac chart. A symbol of strength, energy, and mystery. It is known for its grandeur, with a presence that is felt by all around them.
It is said that the dragon comes later in the zodiac than many other animals because it stopped on the way to help others. 
Dragons are revered as water gods across Japan, and traditional festivals in farming communities have called on them as rainmakers in dry weather.
They often appear with water flowing from their mouths at temizuya (or chōzuya), where visitors to Shintō shrines purify themselves by washing their hands.

Dragons can also be found in Japanese proverbs like these:

竜頭蛇尾—Ryūtō dabi. "Dragon head, snake tail" describes something that initially appears wonderful or amazing, but ends disappointingly.

画竜点睛を欠く—Garyō tensei o kaku. "Draw a dragon without marking in the eye" means to fail to carry through a work to the end by omitting an essential finishing touch.

龍のひげをなでる—Ryū no hige o naderu. "To stroke a dragon’s beard" is to perform a reckless action.

2023 and the pandemic are finally behind us. Humanity had nothing more creative to do than continue the war in Ukraine and undergo the indiscriminate slaughter in and around Gaza. And this madness is expected to continue in 2024 as well.

It seems that the Arawasi facebook page continues to attract more attention than this blog but I'm starting to find the process of posting on both media rather tedious. No worries though, this blog will continue for the foreseeable future.
As for new releases, they have been taking more effort and money than we had anticipated so there are delays. But in 2024 we are committed to releasing at least two publications; the reprint of our "Eagles of Manchukuo" book, expanded and corrected, and a brand new release the details of which we prefer to keep as a surprise.

As always, a HUGE "thank you" to our good friends:
Sinang Aribowo, James Boyd, Devlin Chouinard, Jan Kaňov, Zygmunt Szeremeta, Eric Vogel as well as Kevin Bade, Jean Barby and Harold K.

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

Friday 29 December 2023

Sasebo Kokutai Modelling

 Let's see what Sasebo Kokutai kits and after-market decal options have been released.

Let's start with the "Kyofu". All images from Scalemates unless otherwise indicated.
Hasegawa has released kit No. 51337 in 1/72 and includes decals for one seaplane.
From the Hasegawa instruction sheet.

Rising Decals has released a highly recommended after-market decal set on the type in 1/72.
The set includes decals for the "サ 951-12" we stumbled on in the previous post.

Tamiya has released kit No. 61036 in 1/48 with decals for two seaplanes.

The only after-market decal set that has ever been released in 1/48, is from the rather obscure Japanese Wingart. We used to sell these very interesting decal sets ages ago... (Wingart images: Arawasi)
As you can see plenty of Sasebo and 951 Kokutai seaplane options.

Next up is the Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe".
Hasegawa has released kit No. 00969 in 1/72 which includes three kits, two "Kyofu" and one "Rufe" with SaseboKu decals.

Print Scale has released a conversion set in 1/72 for the Airfix A6M2 Zero to remodel it into a "Rufe".
And the decal set includes decals for one SaseboKu seaplane.

Hasegawa has also released kit No. 07510 in 1/48 with decals for two seaplanes.

"Ropos Models" has released an after-market decal set in 1/48 for the "Rufe" which includes one SaseboKu seaplane. PLEASE, DO NOT paint your "Rufe" models orange with red cowlings!!! Looks very unusual but historically it's completely BS. "Rufes" left the Nakajima factory painted as fighters and did not change their overall color when assigned to trainer units.

Mitsubishi F1M ""Pete" is next.
Fujimi has released a series of kits in 1/72 but AFAIK only kit No. 72195 includes decals for a SaseboKu seaplane.

Hasegawa has released kit No. 19196 in 1/48.
It includes decals for one Sasebo/951Ku seaplane, "サ 951-8" that was featured in one of the photos of the previous post. (images of the Hasegawa kit from here)

As for the Aichi E13A "Jake" I know of no releases in 1/48 with SaseboKu decals. In 1/72, there is the ancient Hasegawa kit and thankfully Rising Decals has released this most interesting decal set which includes the "サ 951-47" we spotted in the photos of the previous post.

Rising Decals has also released this set for one of the "Jakes" featured in the photos of the previous post, with multiple exhausts and anti-submarine radar. A very interesting subject indeed.

Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf"
Avi Models is the only maker that has released a kit in 1/72 of this greatly overlooked seaplane model and includes decals for one Sasebo/951Ku seaplane. The Hasegawa kit in 1/72 is E7K1. I've never seen photos of E7K1s with SaseboKu markings.

Last but not least, I'd like to draw your attention to this exquisite and very highly recommended Rising Decals set in 1/72 which features decals for three types of IJNAF seaplanes, "Rufe", "Pete" and "Jake" including some from the Sasebo/951Ku.

Leave comments if you know of more releases of Sasebo Kokutai seaplanes we've missed or if you've tried any of the above releases or even if you've built any kits on this subject.

Wednesday 27 December 2023


Stills from the previously uploaded videos.
The aircraft with the yellow "T-53" tail marking is an Aichi H9A1 Training Flying Boat that was flown by the Takuma Kokutai as indicated by the letter "T", a marking that was adopted by the unit from April 1945. The unit was organized on June 1, 1943, at Takuma Base in Kagawa Prefecture, tasked with the training of seaplane and flying boat crews. In the beginning, the unit was to have 12 "Jake" and 48 training flying boats but in reality, as only about two dozen H9A1s were ever built, the unit only had a handful of them and a few "Mavis" and "Emily" flying boats. By 1945 the need for flying boats was eclipsed and the unit disbanded on April 25, 1945, came under the 5th Koku Kantai (Air Fleet), organized seaplane suicide units and, with flying boats from the 802, 851 and other Kokutai, engaged in night patrols in the Okinawa area.

The aircraft with the "951-?" on the tail is a Kawanishi N1K1 "Kyofu" (Rex) belonging to the 951 Kokutai. On December 15, 1944 local anti-submarine patrol units were incorporated in three big kokutai. West Japan became the responsibility of the 951st Kokutai which included SaseboKu, MaizuruKu, OkinawaKu, 453Ku, 256Ku and ChinkaiKu (responsible for the patrol of Korean peninsula and located in today's Jinhae-gu in S. Korea). The headquarters of the 951Ku was in Sasebo and small units were dispatched to various locations. Initially, the unit was equipped with a large variety of aircraft types but from July 1, 1945, it became an exclusively seaplane reconnaissance unit. The tail marking of the unit was the "951" and the aircraft based in Sasebo included a katakana "サ" (Sa). Note that the aircraft undersides are not NMF but IJNAF hairyokushoku (gray green).

The floatplane that looks to be gray with only green around the fuselage hinomaru is a Mitsubishi A6M2-N "Rufe".

The floatplane at the top of the pile missing parts of the canopy is an Aichi E16A "Zuiun" (Paul).

The aircraft in the background with the red tail marking is an Aichi E13A "Jake". The tail marking is not clear but it's either "KEB-22" which means it belonged to the 931 Kokutai or "KEA"-22" which would mean it was flown by the 901 Kokutai. The "K" of the marking came from the Japanese word "kaijo" (coastal), the "E" from the English "Escort" and the third letter denoted the various units. They were assigned to anti-submarine patrol duties.

In this and the previous still, the other aircraft with a visible tail marking in red is also an Aichi E13A "Jake". Tail marking is "951-47" and belonged to the 951 Kokutai.

Note the float in the foreground with the brown and green camouflage belonging to a Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf". Although it has a white band in the front of the float, it has two white bands in the rear. These bands would indicate where the floatplane would land on the beach trolley attachment points, therefore the two in the rear are quite unusual and they might be a special marking within the unit.

Only the skeleton of a Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf" remains.

The wing on the left pointing to the sky belongs to a Mitsubishi F1M2 "Pete".

We first saw the F1Ms and other seaplanes of the SaseboKu here.
The NARA photo below features at least three Aichi E13A "Jake" seaplanes and one Kawanishi E7K2 "Alf".
A closeup reveals that all these seaplanes belonged to the 951 Kokutai. Of particular interest is the "Jake" on the right with tail marking "サ 951-47".
It's the same "Jake" that can be seen in one of the stills above. So we can safely conclude that at least some of the seaplanes seen in the previous photos that were found in the Sasebo base, were later piled up at the Sasebo airfield and were burned by the flamethrower Sherman tank. Isn't it great to get some sort of closure about the fate of various aircraft seen in photos?

Last but not least, here's a color photo from the Ethell collection showing the Sasebo Kokutai seaplanes getting burned, as we saw in the video. Very interestingly, the tail marking of the "Rufe" is visible but I can't discern it from the low-quality copy of the photo. Leave a comment if you know.

Update: Mirek from Rising Decals informed us that the tail marking of the Rufe is "サ 951-10". That would really make for an interesting "Rufe" model, wouldn't you agree?
Thanks Mirek! 

Tuesday 26 December 2023


The fate of some Japanese seaplanes at the end of WWII. NARA video.



Monday 11 December 2023


"Kawasaki Ki-61-II Kai Hien 6117 Uncovered"
is a recently released publication that covers extensively the restoration of the specific aircraft offering a plethora of information on the type. Plus it has the best available copy of the IJNAF color standards, a.k.a. Kariki 117.
The text is in Japanese AND ENGLISH!
Size is 257 × 280 mm, 304 pages full of photos and illustrations.
The "coffee table" book is big and heavy but of the highest quality and should not be missing from the libraries of all Japanese aviation fans.
It also makes for a perfect holiday present and we offer only limited numbers for $US110 including postage.
Send payment with the delivery address to our PayPal address: 
and we will ship the book within 48 hours.
Or email us:
This offer ends on January 1st, 2024.

Saturday 9 December 2023

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" by Jean Barby

Here is the ICM Ki-21 in 48th. First many thanks for the great Arawasi book on the bird, it was more than useful. I have used the plan to do the riveting job, long, boring but, in the end rewarding. The model is good, correct in dimensions, and full of details invisible once the fuselage is closed. The large amount of transparencies requires masks, there is a pattern in the instructions, which I did scan and print on my Silhouette. Plastic is very fragile and many small parts were replaced with evergreen rods. With a plane this size, working with sub-assemblies is a must. The fit is very good so no trouble there. I would have preferred a Ki-21-2, with the Ha-104 engines, streamlined engine covers, and dorsal turret. They wore interesting camos. Searching my books I found what I was looking for in the Pacific Profiles Vol 2 from J. Claringbould, with a model 1 used as transport by the 14th Hiko Sentai based at Rapopo in March 43. Of course, I did all the markings with masks including the 14th Sentai tail marking. The whole plane was painted Grey-Green and randomly covered with green mottle on the ground. On to the pics now (the plane is large and my photo studio is small, so I do apologize for the quality of the pics).