Monday, 30 July 2012

Quiz

The May 1940 issue of a Japanese magazine featured the following quiz.
What means of transportation does this imposing "room" belong to?
a. flying boat
b. airship
c. electric locomotive
d. aircraft

What do you think? Can you also guess the type?

昭和15年5月の雑誌に、こんなクイズがありました。

おそろしく堂々とした部屋ですが何の運転室だかお分かりの方はいますか?

イ)飛行艇
ロ)飛行船
ハ)電気機関車
ニ)飛行機

どう思いますか?そして、機種はわかりますか?

Friday, 27 July 2012

"NEW" decals by "Max Models" & "Rising Decals"

That's right, "Dying Sun" sheets 1 & 2 are now available again. With the full cooperation of Mirek at Rising Decals, I've released "Dying Sun" Pt. 1 & 2 in 1/72 scale. I've always loved these sheets, and never had the opportunity to buy Part 2 before it went OOP. So after asking several times over the years I finally asked him if I could release them under my label, with appropriate credit to him of course. Much to my surprise, and pleasure, he agreed! So here they are. And yes, if these do well enough, I'll ask him if I can do the same with the 1/48 sheets.
Mike Moore























The decals are now available through Arawasi. Price for each set is $US14.00 including postage. You can order your set by emailing us to this address: arawasiorder@arawasi.jp

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Nakajima C6N "Saiun" (Myrt) by Panagiotis Koubetsos

This is my finished 1/48 Hasegawa Nakajima "Saiun" model, depicting the first prototype just a few weeks before her maiden flight on 15 May, 1943. Many thanks to my good on-line friend George Eleftheriou whose help and support during the build was more than valuable.
Cheers, Panagiotis Koubetsos

 











Vidi well, my fellow modellers. Vidi well!!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mitsubishi G3M (Nell) / 九六式陸上攻撃機

Here's one more "Nell" photo from a vintage magazine undergoing maintenance.
Model 22, G3M2-b. Nice details of the engine and the prop.

昭南の海軍航空廠にて働く現地人少年工

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Mitsubishi G3M (Nell) / 九六式陸上攻撃機

A rather interesting photo, if you know your Nell, from a vintage magazine.
The prop sans spinner and the long cowling air intake indicates that this is either a Model 21 G3M2-a with the two retractable turrets or a Model 22 G3M2-b with the big "turtle back" turret without spinners. Possibly Genzan or Mihoro Kokutais (date and location unknown).
Note the combination of two 60kg and one 250kg bombs and the 2-tone top camouflage. Quite puzzling is the way the fuselage Hinomaru looks as if the lower part has faded or is washed-out.

前線基地にて敵軍港爆撃に勇躍出発せんとする海鷲

Here's a close-up of the bombs. Emilio in his comment was wright, the 60kg bombs are indeed three. According to FAOW#91, p. 28 this configuration (3X60kg, 1 or 2X250kg) was common during operations in the China theatre. Note their different colours.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Accidents

August 24, 1938. An Hanriot HTD24 (or HD-14) belonging to the Nihon Hiko Gakko (Japan Flying School), registered J-BIDH, took-off from Tokyo's Haneda airport on a training flight with Fujita Toshio (instructor) and Ito Fumizo (pupil).
A short time later a Fokker Super Universal belonging to the Nippon Koku Yuso, registered J-BJDO, also took-off from Haneda on a training flight with Aoki Ryosaku, Sakai Tadashi and Tanaka Haruo; all pilots with the Hui-t'ung Aviation Company, soon to become China Airways Co. Ltd.
At 08:00 the skies above Oomori, a part of Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward, bear witness to the unfortunate collision of the two aircraft.


The Hanriot (photo above) fell on the entrance and bathroom of a Geisha house called "Shinman" while the Super Universal (photo below) crashed on the premises of "Yamamoto Tekojyo" (Yamamoto Screw Factory). Immediately about 100 factory workers and staff gathered around trying to help but the fuel tanks of the aircraft exploded engulfing everything in a big fire resulting in the destruction of the "Yamamoto Factory" as well as the nearby "Yamasawa Factory" and a number of surrounding houses.


Some sources mention that the number of the dead was 45 with 106 injured including nine factory workers, while other sources bring the number of the dead to no less than 82. All pilots unfortunately also perished in this tragic accident.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Nipponki '46: TTomcat Collection

TTomcat shared with our blog some of his very interesting what-if "Nipponki '46" models.

Just finished this today! (13/7/2012) Its far from perfect. I got an old beat up 1/32 109 that was missing the cowling and canopy. A big restoration project ensued but I soon ran out of steam and could not figure out what to do after stripping the paint. I didn't want to take parts from another fresh 109 to make it work and I didn't want to cast anything either. I planned to make it a Radial for some time but then realized that a P-38 prop and spinner from another project fit the bill, and the "Mike" was back on! So I used styrene to bolster and cover the gaps and used a 1/48 Raiden canopy cut to fit. (radians have big canopies so its not too small for 1/32) The wash on the underside is not that hot, it was still flat and not glossed so when I washed it stayed!!  Used fine sand paper to get some of it off. Its painted with Rattle bombs.  Finished with some pastels and the decals came from the spares box. SWMBO helped me apply them because she is the best!
So the "Mighty Mike" is finished. Its kind of odd looking, I can't decide if it looks like a LaGG or P-40 or Ki-61 or 109... I do like it though. It sure looks Japanese to me! TTomcat

Bought this B-17F from Cliffy B and I noted that this old 1/72 Revell kit really does not look like a B-17  :blink: So I cut out sections of the wings to save shelf space (for the back story it is meant to make it faster!) Lengthened the engine nacelles with 1/48 F-14 Exhausts (which also added some much needed detail) And then cut the fronts off of the 1/48 engine faces for the spinners on the props. The tail fins are from an old and busted 1/48 A-10. It was supposed to be a quick project but like all my builds took longer than expected! TTomcat

 
 I think I can imagine what the "color police" is already thinking.
For the Lag-Hien: There should have been yellow IFF stripes, the camo is not very correct and the unit marking should be on the tail instead of the fuselage side.
For the Jyubakugekiki: The overall colors looks deliciously chocolat, the IFF stripes are positioned wrong and the tail marking is incorrect...
BUT personally I like very much both ideas! and what's more important than anyone's opinion it seems that TTomcat really enjoyed building these models. So instead of nagging let's see your more "accurate" what-if models. 
Thank you very much TTomcat for your kind words and contributions.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Nakajima Ki-27 "Kyu Nana Sen" (Nate) - 九七式戦闘機

"Promising Heavy Industry of Manchukuo"

"The spirit of the factory workers will fly together with the soon-to-be-ready aircraft in the South"


"The wings are lining up ready to fly from the Manchurian skies to the front"

Patriotic uplifting captions with these vintage photos, from a September 22, 1943 magazine, offering good views of "Nates" during factory production. The location is probably the Harbin plant of Manshu Hikoki Seizo K.K. (Manchurian Aircraft Manufacturing Co., Ltd. or Manpi).   

Vintage magazine cover

Shukan Shokokumin, December 1943
The artist is Mukai Junkichi and the title is "Air battle (Shoki Suicide attack)". Google the name of the artist!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Yokosuka K5Y1 "Akatonbo" (Willow) - 九三式中間練習機

A busy May 1938 day in Kasumigaura Kokutai. The "Akatonbo" are leaving the hangars en masse taking advantage of the clear skies.
Apart from the uniforms of the ground crew members and the pilots, of interest is the color of the trainers. Silver overall with red tails with the tail code repeated on the fuselage side in black as well as the top of the top wing and the bottom of the bottom wing. Curiously the "Willow" with the registration "カ (KA)-726" does not seem to have Hinomaru on the top wing and the tail code looks to be yellow.
Note how clean the planes are indicating perhaps a new batch.
An alternative and colorful solution if you want to avoid the "yellow-orange" vs "orange-yellow" "debate".


Monday, 16 July 2012

Mitsubishi G4M "Hamaki" (Betty) Cockpit - 一式陸上攻撃機 コックピット

A rather interesting photo from a vintage magazine showing the cockpit of a Mitsubishi G4M. Of interest is the puzzling box behind the co-pilots seat on the port side. We think it's an intercom box. Check p. 96 of "Japanese Aircraft Equipment" by R. Mikesh. The navigator seems to have the microphone on.


昔の雑誌からの一式陸攻の写真です。
面白いところは、左舷副操縦席の後ろについている箱状の装置です。インターホンだと思うのですが、どう思いますか?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate" (Frank) 52nd Sentai - 中島 四式戦闘機 「疾風」 52戦隊

The tail marking of the 52nd Sentai was based on the Latin numeral for 5 "V" placed sideways with a "2" integrated. Artwork: Devlin Chouinard.

The unit was organised on April 28, 1944 in Osaka and was equipped exclusively with Nakajima Ki-84 "Hayate". All unit pilots were fresh from the Army aviation schools and even the high ranking officers had no fighter airplane training but were brought in from other specialities (bomber, reconnaissance etc). From May 5, the unit was based in Ashiya airfield in North Kyushu spending most of their time training and performing local air defence duties.
On the same date the unit was organised, a higher formation the 16th Hikodan Shireibu (HQ Air Brigade) was also organised including the 51st and 52nd Sentai. Since the 52nd didn't have any officers to actually train the pilots, the CO of the 16th HS Lt. Colonel Shindo Tsuneemon took over training of the young pilots.
From June of the same year B-29 raids commenced in N. Kyushu. During an August 20 air raid, 15 planes took-off and managed to shoot down one bomber. The same night there was another raid and the unit took-off but didn't spot the enemy and during the difficult night landing Sentai CO Major Uchinori Takayuki and wing commander Captain Awane Itsuo lost their lives.

In September the unit received orders to advance to the Philippines which they did on September 26 with about 40 aircraft in the unit's strength. On September 29 after various accidents and misfortunes they finally arrived in Luzon's Del Carmen airfield where they came under the 4th Kokugun, 2nd Hikoshidan (4th Army, 2nd Air Division).
On October 15, 1944 US carrier aircraft attacked the Manila area and the unit took-off to intercept. Sentai Commander Sawayama Yoshitaka and pilot M. Sgt Takahashi Takeo claimed one each with the rest of the unit claiming eight enemy aircraft shot down.
During the afternoon of the same day, the whole 16th Hikodan took-off to escort the IJN flying in the East as as 500km over the sea, something unusual and extremely dangerous for IJAAF planes and pilots. The whole unit fought with the enemy claiming 15 planes hot down with the loss of seven of their own. Shindo shot down one. The drop tank of one pilot of the 3rd Chutai, Sgt Morisawa, suddenly fell off leaving him without any return fuel left. He decided to return to the battle scene alone and crash on an enemy warship.

The unit continued daily intercepts in the Manila and Clark areas fighting hard, downing enemy aircraft but also loosing many of their own. By October 23 the unit was left with only eight aircraft. On October 24 the Hikodan with about ten planes advanced to Saravia airfield on Negros island.
 On October 26 a report came in that at Tackloban airfield there were more than 100 enemy planes. The 52nd received orders to attack with Ta-Dan incendiary bombs. Eleven planes took-off and dive bombing from 5000 meters managed to destroy more than half of the aircraft on the ground loosing four of their own.

By November 5 1944, the unit was left with no aircraft. On November 10 the unit was unable to use Saravia airfield and returned to Luzon. Three days later Sentai Commander Sawayama, the Commander of the 51st Sentai and other survivors took a transport to fly back to Luzon but they were probably shot down and were lost.
On November 21st, the 16th Hikodan received an order to return to homeland and by December 10 the unit managed to return to Shimodate, Ibaraki Prefecture, where it was reorganised with new pilots and aircraft, becoming responsible for the air defence of Tokyo.

52nd Sentai "Hayate" wrecked at the end of the War. NARA.

On February 16 and 17, US carrier aircraft attacked the Kanto area (here) and the unit managed to shoot down more than ten aircraft loosing a number of their own.
On May 19 a most unfortunate and rather bizarre incident occurred. The 16th Hikodan received orders to reconnoitre the Izu Penninsula area looking for enemy planes. More than 30 Hayate from the 52nd took off from Shimodate and failing to spot any enemy planes tried to land at Akeno. From the 30 aircraft only one (!!!) managed to land in Akeno due to mishaps. The very high rate of accidents made the CO furious but also showed the precarious condition the Hayate were at that stage of the War.

Another 52nd Sentai "Hayate" at the end of the War most probably found in Chofu airfield. NARA

On June 10 B-29s attacked the Kanto area but this time they were escorted by P-51s and although the unit claimed three enemy a/c shot down they lost three of their own too. The final base of the unit was Chofu airfield from July 1945 until the end of the War when the unit had 30 planes and corresponding number of pilots.
On August 24 the unit made their last flight and four days later held an end-of-the-War ceremony.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Mitsubishi F1M "Reikan" (Pete) - Nakajima E8N (Dave)

A photo from a vintage magazine. A Mitsubishi F1M and a Nakajima E8N right before taking off on another mission somewhere in the South Pacific.
I have not seen many photos of Daves operating in the S. Pacific from seaplane bases or islands. From warships yes, from islands not many.

From the hills in the background location seems likely Malaguna Beach, Simpson Harbor, Rabaul. Luca Ruffato


出撃準備に忙しい海鷲の勇士たち

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Just back from Yogya after an excellent but regretably short 5-day trip. We had a fantastic time thanks to the amazing hospitality of our friend Sinang Aribowo (MATUR NUWUN!!!) who showed us around not only the most enjoyable Dirgantara Mandala Museum where a Mitsubishi Ki-51 (Sonia) and a Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" reside (photo below) but also around Yogya where we had the privilege to sample some of the most exotic and delectable food ever. If in Indonesia do not forget to try the flavoursome "SOP KAKI KAMBING"*.


Special Terima Kasih to Iwan Winarta. We'll see you in Jakarta!

*(Goat Legs Soup) eyes, testicles, brain, butt, leg, gut, hooves of goat, mixed with strong spices, coconut milk, clove and more.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Vintage magazine cover

Off to Yogyakarta/Indonesia as of tomorrow. Back on Wednesday. See you then!!
明日からインドネシアのジョグジャカルタに旅行です。水曜日に帰ってきます。


Domei Graph - September 1942 

Aleutians 1942 - アリューシャン 昭和17年

In May 1942, the Toko Kokutai, a front line flying boat patrol unit, participated in the campaign to capture the Aleutians with four aircraft.
By June 8 the islands of Attu and Kiska were captured by the Japanese and since there were no airfields, seaplane tenders Kimikawa and Kamikawa Maru arrived to offer air cover. The next day six Toko-ku flying boats arrived in Kiska.
On July 5 a small seaplane fighter unit was organised within Yokosuka-ku by Lt Yamada with six A6M2-Ns. The unit advanced to the Aleutians on board seaplane tender Chiyoda and became part of the Toko-ku, which in the meantime had taken over patrols over Kiska from the Kimikawa & Kamikawa Maru aircraft.
On August 5, 1942 the six seaplane fighters led by Lt Yamada became independent forming the 5th Kokutai.
On August 14 and again on the 31st, Kimikawa Maru brought five+five Aichi E13A1 "Sanzasuitei" (Jake) which from September 4 started patrols in the area.
On September 25, Kimikawa Maru brought more reinforcements, five A6M2-N and two E13A1.
On November 1, 1942 5th Kokutai changed its name to 452-Ku.

The photos below, from vintage magazines, were taken between August and December 1942.

An excellent photo showing an A6M2-N under maintenance. The tail marking is censored but the letter "R" is visible. Before becoming independent the A6M2-Ns of the 5th Kokutai carried the tail marking "D" denoting the Toko-ku. From August 5, the marking changed to "R". From the beginning of 1943 the tail marking changed again to "MI". Note the Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" in the background.

 Two more "Rufe" of the 5th under canvas covers protecting the more sensitive parts of the aircraft from the elements.

 "Umi no Arawasitachi" (Sea Wild Eagles), as the original caption calls them, spend their time playing quoits, "wanage" in Japanese. In the background is a "Rufe" and a "Jake". Note the twin binoculars made by "Nippon Kogaku Kogyo" (present day "Nikon") and what looks like a bullhorn on the left.
憩いのひと時、手製の輪投げ遊びに我を忘れる海の荒鷲達

Final instructions before taking off from Kiska island on another patrol mission.

低くたれ込めた雲をつき今朝も哨戒に出発する戦友を見送る地上勤務員は、やはり元気で帰れと叫ばずにはいられない。

Lunch time in Kiska. The pilots are wearing winter Type 17 (1942) one-piece flying suit and although the kanji are not clear enough the pot in the foreground is probably a "hango" (here).