Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Rising Decals ~ Flight of No Return

This newly issued decal sheet from prolific Japanese subject producer Rising Decals presents a selection of markings for 12 different and colourful aircraft from the Army special attack units -  tokubetsu kōgeki tai 特別攻撃隊 or tokkōtai 特攻隊', as set RD72076 'Flight of No Return'. This sheet provides decals for the following subjects:-
  • Ki-45 Kai Hei of 8th Hakkô-tai 'Kinno-tai' - as flown by unit leader Lt Takumi Yamamoto with tail number '1' in an overall single colour scheme for which Rising suggest Gunze Mr Color 130 Drak Green (Kawasaki) or 304 Olive Drab or Dark Green prepared from a mix of
  • Ki-45 Kai Hei ditto but with tail number '9'
  • Ki-45 Kai Hei of 11th Hakkô-tai 'Kokok-tai' as flown by unit leader 1Lt Kyoichi Miura with tail number '1' in similar overall single colour scheme.
  • Ki-45 Kai Hei ditto but with tail number '10'
  • Ki-43-II of unknown tokko unit in solid dark green over natural metal with fuselage number '413' photographed at Chiran, Japan in April 1945
  • Ki-43-II of unknown tokko unit in mottled green over natural metal with red lightning flash on fuselage and rudder number '17'. The yellow tail insignia is similar to Hiko Dai 103 Sentai, a unit more usually associated with the Ki-84 Hayate but which reportedly used Hayabusa for training - and possibly special attack. 103 operated as part of the 3rd Attacking Group during the Okinawa operations, together with 65 and 66 Sentai and two other Shinbu-tai, sortying aircraft in special attacks against US surface units from Tokuno Shima on 29 March and 1 April 1945.  
  • Ki-43-II of 19th Shinbu-tai as flown by 2Lt Tadahiko Inoue in solid dark green over natural metal with tail number '82', at Chiran, Japan for Okinawa operations in April and May 1945  
  • Ki-84 of Hiko Dai 101 Sentai as flown by S/Sgt Nobuo Saito depicted in olive drab over grey-green with tail number '82'. This was another Hayate unit associated with special attacks during the Okinawa operations, forming the 2nd Attacking Group at Miyakanojo with 102 Sentai and two other Shinbu-tai. The finish on this aircraft was heavily worn, with large areas of complete paint loss, so it would make a challenging but interesting subject to model. 
  • Ki-84 of 197th Shinbu-tai 'Seiki-tai' in olive drab over grey-green at Kita ise in Spring 1945. This aircraft is distinguished by the large representation of Momotaro the Peach Boy on the fin and rudder. 
  • Ki-48-11 of 25th Makoto-hikotai in mottled green over grey-green at Jurinko (Shulinko), Taiwan in May 1945.
  • Ki-51 of unknown but presumed tokko unit photographed post-war at Omura with skull and crossbones on fin and rudder. The kanji characters 'Shidou' - (士道 - chivalry) on the tail are speculative. 
  • Ki-61-Ib of 56th Shinbu-tai as flown by 2Lr Ryoji Uehara in camouflage of dark green whorls over natural metal with white number '696' on nose, at Chofu in May 1945. 

This is an interesting sheet providing the opportunity to model several unusual subjects and to inspire further research into the operations of these, often enigmatic, special attack units. With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for this review sample.

 Hiko Dai 101 Sentai Ki-84 of S/Sgt N Saito (foreground) showing extensive paint wear

The Hakkô-tai (八絋隊 - eight directions unit, from Hakkō ichiu 'eight crown cords, one roof' a saying attributed to the Emperor Jinmu and interpreted by nationalist Chigaku Tanaka to mean Imperial rule divinely ordained to cover the whole world) were those special attack units organised in the Philippines by the 4th Air Army from 7 November 1944 to 13 January 1945. The Shinbu-tai (振武隊 - showing martial spirit unit) were special attack units organised in Japan under the 6th Air Army whilst the Makoto-hikotai (誠飛行隊 - fidelity/loyalty air unit) were special attack units operating under 8th Air Division command on Taiwan, both engaged in the Okinawa operations. 8th Air Division came under 1st Air Army (Japan) command. The 6th Air Army was formed on 26 December 1944 from the Air Training Army, sometimes referred to as the Air Instruction Army. It originally had three roles, the air defence of Japan, to attack US bases in the Marianas and to prepare for the defence of Japan against invasion by attacking the invasion forces. By February 1945 due to practical limitations its role had been reduced to providing a strategic reserve against enemy invasion task forces only. In March 1945 the 6th Air Army was temporarily deployed to the operational command of the IJN Combined Fleet for the defence of the Ryuku Islands (until July) and centralised its operations from Kyushu. Its provisional defence duties (against invasion task forces) in the Kanto sector were taken over by the newly established 30th Fighter Group (Dai 30 Sento Hiko Shudan - 第30戦闘飛行集団). 

As mentioned previously here 30th Fighter Group then came directly under General Defence Command and consisted (originally) of Hiko Dai 47 and 244 Sentai, the 18th, 19th, 25th, 45th and 47th Shinbu-tai, Shimoshizu Hikotai & Dokuritsu Hiko Dai 17 Chutai (those two units providing reconnaissance support), plus three guide bombers from Utsonomiya Air Instruction Division and two navigation air squads. In July 1945 when 6th Air Army reverted to the air defence of Japan role headquartered at Fukuoka it had about 1,000 special attack aircraft under command in various Shinbu-tai as well as the 30th Fighter Group which then consisted of Hiko Dai 59, 62 and 244 Sentai plus Dokuritsu Hiko Dai 17 Chutai. Other units under 6th Air Army command at that time were 11th Air Division with Hiko Dai 55, 56 and 246 Sentai, 12th Air Division with Hiko Dai 4, 47 and 71 Sentai, 100th Air Brigade with Hiko Dai 101 and 103 Sentai, and 7th & 21st Air Brigade HQs. In addition under direct 6th Air Army command were Hiko Dai 2, 60, 65, 66 & 110 Sentai, plus the whole of the 51st Air Instruction Division headquartered at Gifu.

Hiko Dai 62 Sentai might seem an odd addition to 30th Fighter Group but after returning to Japan from the Philippines in January 1945 it was designated as a tokko unit with specialised Ki-67 Sakura-dan and To-go (800 kg x 1 in bomb bay and 800 kg x 1 in fuselage) aircraft, participating in the Okinawa operations and incurring heavy losses. On 12 April 1945 Sentai Commander Maj Shozo Sawanobori was killed in a flying accident with 10 other Sentai personnel during a move from Nishi Tsukuba to Tachiarai whilst on board the 1st Chutai leader Capt Yasumasa Iwamoto's Ki-67. Maj Yuzaburo Ono became the unit commander until the end of the war.  

Image credits: Decal instructions and sheet © 2018 Rising Decal

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Otaki 1/48 Kawanishi N1K1-J Ko Shiden by Michael Thurow

The Aviation of Japan blog is 10 years old today and to mark the occasion it is a delight to present another splendid rejuvenation project of a classic kit by Michael Thurow. There is no cake or candles today but Michael more than provides the icing on the cake with his re-build treatment of this Otaki kit. Over to Michael:-

Kawanishi  N1K1-J Ko  Shiden  –  Otaki  1/48
by Michael Thurow

Phoenix from the Ashes

Otaki (now Arii) was one of my favourite kit manufacturers in my early 1/48 years – mainly because in the seventies not many firms offered a well-rounded selection of kits in this scale. Besides Monogram (for US planes) there were Fujimi, Nichimo, a few Tamiya and – Otaki. Consequently I still own a considerable collection of their models which I purchased in this period. My Kawanishi Shiden was originally built in 1988, and I must admit that I never much liked my work. The kit is one of the early Otaki products with only a few unsophisticated extras: a simple engine, a basic cockpit and poor detail. However, like most Otaki models, it exhibits superb accuracy in dimensions and shape.

To complete my trilogy of late-war IJN planes (after Raiden and Suisei) I decided to try a full overhaul of this venerable model, and in all modesty I'm very satisfied with the result. This is a summary of my work: 

A Kernel Renovation

After stripping, only the airframe survived, consisting of fuselage, wings, tailplane and cowling, albeit still in one piece - except for a detached cowling!

Front Section

The upper and lower intakes were cut open and received new strakes. I fabricated open cooling flaps and added Quickboost #48565 exhausts which needed some adjustment. Note also the small air scoop below the exhausts on the starboard side! The front cylinder row of a Vector resin #48-016 Nakajima Homare upgraded the model's engine and the spinner received larger holes and cuffs for the prop blades. I opened the oil cooler outlet under the fuselage and added a flap. All flaps were formed from thin cardboard as described in my Shoki build report. Finally I cut revised ventilation slots into the forward fuselage sides with a Dremel saw.

Cockpit Area
The Aires #4539 cockpit is an excellent aftermarket item. I just needed to extend the side walls which the Hasegawa kit, for which it was intended, obviously did not require. To remove the old kit’s cockpit through the front fuselage opening, however, was a lot of difficult work because the floor reached into the wing root. 

After successfully inserting the new cockpit structure I constructed a headrest from cardboard (open to the rear), covered it with adhesive foil to imitate laminated wood and modified the rear cockpit decking (the direction finder antenna seems to be missing on this particular plane – see original below). The canopy is the Squadron Vacuform # 9548. I could not resist the detailing bug and also added the hood opening handles cum cables.

Undercarriage Upgrade

This was the most demanding undertaking since the only aftermarket item available for replacing the archaic kit parts are Quickboost undercarriage covers.

First I bored out the wheel wells which are too shallow (a typical issue with Otaki kits) by using a core drill. The wing/fuselage joints got in the way and the drilling became quite brutal. The kit’s plastic is not very heat-resistant, so care was needed to avoid melting it. I built up new wheel bays referring to what rare pictures were available, then attached the inner wheel covers from the Quickboost #48592 set and added a home-made snap bracket.

Turning to the undercarriage struts my work became most enjoyable. The Shiden's struts had a contraction mechanism with hydraulic lines, valves, joints and rails, none of which are present on the simplified Otaki legs – obviously a feast for my detailing obsession. For modellers who consider such folly too time-consuming an aftermarket strut set should be made available. It would be worthwhile but also boring...

It remains to be mentioned that I also corrected the kit's odd tail gear with some scratch parts.

Underwing Components

I had built my 1988 model with extended landing flaps which I decided to keep but with some enhancement. This feature adds realism to the model since flaps tended to drop when the hydraulic pressure lessened after some time on the ground.

The next items on my list, Otaki's gun pods, were not bulbous enough. I wedged them wider at the top to form a trapezoid cross section. Surprisingly, thanks to superglue, the two halves didn't burst apart. I sanded the rear ends into shape and fabricated new barrel casings from unused 5 in. HVAR war heads. All four cannons are equipped with Air Master #48-021 metal gun barrels.

Last but not least I spent a couple of hours preparing attachment points for the 400 litre drop tank. I'm not sure if this addition makes the Shiden look any better - it rather emphasises the plane's stoutness. I might pass it on to an N1K2-J if I ever build one. Those who are familiar with this Otaki kit will detect other small embellishments that I have not listed here as I now want to share some thoughts about this specific aircraft.

Surrendered in the Philippines

201-53 was production number 5511 built in October 1944 at Kawanishi's Naruo plant and delivered to the 201st Kokutai in the Philippines. 201 Ku was a Zero unit – one of the first employed for suicide attacks. I could not determine why the unit received Shidens and how many. FAOW No.53 (p.44) assumes that they were replacement aircraft. Thorpe 1977 (p.39) states that the Shiden was assigned to the 1st Buntai 'to develop special attack tactics'. Nick Millman comments that surviving Shiden in the Philippines were used as Tokko escorts or fast recce so it is possible 201 Ku received some for that role. 201 Ku's personnel suffered complete annihilation in ground fighting after all aircraft had been lost or disabled. 201-53 was found by American troops at Clark Field at the end of 1944 and this little-used airplane was duly vandalised.

Questionable Colours

I used Colourcoats ACJ01 for the topside D1 Dark Green Black. This was the easy part. With regard to lower surface 'camouflage', different views are presented in publications and internet forums regarding the question of grey or silver? It may not be true for all Shiden but the underside of 201-53 appears to be natural metal. The underwing panels show different shades which is typical for natural metal surfaces. I took Tamiya PS12 spray colour and hand-brushed some panels with a thin layer of lighter or darker silver.

The colour of the control surfaces (ailerons and elevators) is even more controversial. Covered with fabric they would have been doped with either silver or grey varnish. Though silver seems more obvious I chose grey because the original colour looks quite lustreless. I worked on the hypothesis that these parts were manufactured by subcontractors who painted them according to IJN directive with J3 Ash Grey, maybe even consuming a stock of pre-fabricated N1K Kyofu parts. My decision to also finish the gun pods in grey colour is definitely speculative, again suggesting that they came from subcontractors. On very early specimens like pre-production machines the pods look more like natural metal but those are of a slightly different type with access doors on the outer rather than inner sides. The pods for series production appear very smooth, as though made of wood, which would support my theory. I scrutinized dozens of pictures to form this opinion but it may all be very simple, say silver. However, the variation of colours does make for a livelier looking model.

One final observation concerns the yellow wing leading edge stripes of 201-53. From a closer look it is apparent that the formerly narrow stripes were overpainted and broadened along the upper surface. A portion of the original (darker) stripe is still visible close to the wing root, on both sides of the airplane.

The Shiden is the last of three IJN warplanes that I wanted to create when I began two and a half years ago. They make a very nice collection but I have now had enough of dark greens and greys for a while. Colour needs to return to my modelling life and therefore I plan to indulge one of my other areas of interest - American fighters of the thirties. I hope to report back in a couple of years with a series of Ki-61/Ki-100 models.

Michael Thurow
March 2018

Kawanishi N1K Kyofu/'Rex' & Shiden/'George', Aircraft Profile No.213, Windsor
Kawanishi Navy Interceptor Fighter Shiden, Famous Airplanes of the World No.2, Tokyo, 1971
Nipponese Uniquity ... The Story of Kawanishi's Violet Lightning, Air Enthusiast Vol.4, Bromley, 1973
Japanese Navy Air Force Camouflage and Markings WWII, Donald W. Thorpe, Fallbrook, 1977
Kyofu, Shiden, Shiden Kai, Famous Airplanes of the World No.53, Tokyo, 1995
Shiden / Shiden-Kai, Mechanism of Military Aircraft No.1, Japan, 1999
Kawanishi N1K1-J / N1K2-J Shiden / Shiden-Kai, Gakken Vol.24, Tokyo, 2000
The Dark Green Paints of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force, Nicholas Millman, 2016
J2M Raiden and N1K1/2 Shiden/Shiden-Kai Aces, Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 129, Botley, 2016
N1K1-J Shiden Series - The Imperial Japanese Navy Interceptor, Model Graphix 232067, Tokyo, 2017

Wonderful! With very special thanks to Michael for sharing this excellent and most interesting project with Aviation of Japan.

Image Credits: All model pics © 2018 Michael Thurow; Box art © 1972 & 1975 Otaki Plastic Model

Friday, 16 March 2018

New Book ~ Japanese Anti-Submarine Aircraft of the Pacific War

I have just received especially welcome confirmation that this eagerly awaited and important book by Ryusuke Ishiguro and Tadeusz Januszewski. will now be published by MMP Books this Summer.

The Japanese Anti-Submarine aircraft of World War II are not well documented and this book is the first on the subject in the English language. Full details are provided for a wide selection of historic aircraft, both Navy and Army, and their fascinating colour schemes are illustrated in specially commissioned profiles. The featured aircraft are:

• Aichi E13A (Jake)
• Aichi H9A
• Kawanishi E7K (Alf)
• Kawanishi H6K (Mavis/Tillie)
• Kawanishi H8K (Emilly)
• Mitsubishi G3M (Nell)
• Mitsubishi G4M (Betty)
• Nakajima B5N (Kate)
• Nakajima B6N Tenzan (Jill)
• Kyushu Q1W Tokai (Lorna)
• Q1W1-K Tokai Ren
• Mitsubishi Q2M Taiyo
• Kyushu K11W Shiragiku
• Kyushu Q3W Nankai
• Kayaba Ka-Go
• Kokusai Ki-76 (Stella)
• Kobeseiko Te-Go
• Mitsubishi Ki-51 (Sonia)
• Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Helen)
• Tachikawa Ki-36 (Ida)
• Tachikawa Ki-54 (Hickory)

In A4 Softcover format (ISBN 978-83-65281-39-5). 

Excellent news!

Image credit: © 2018 MMP Books via Ryusuke Ishiguro

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

John Haas' 1/48 Ki-78 Project ~ Part Four

John Haas concludes his scratchbuilt Ki-78 project in 1/48 scale with these images of the completed model and his account of how all the pieces came together.  

First the canopy. John made several pieces, just to be sure, and indeed found that he needed three in order to make a good one. It is always a matter of inch and pinch to blend the canopy into the fuselage and it took two evenings of work before John was happy with the result.

With a sigh of relief  John went on to make some exhausts. A bit odd as the stubs were different. Why that was John doesn't know, but on his model they are different.

Then it was time to paint to model. John chose blue-grey, agreeing with suggestions at this blog about the colour. First  he applied a Polly-S Acryl Paint as a primer to check the surface for imperfections, etc. Then the final coat of blue-grey. It seemed to be similar to PRU-Blue but a bit lighter. Using Humbrol paints John mixed 87 Matt Steel Grey with a drop of 96 Matt RAF Blue and a dash of 76 Matt Uniform Green, then to finally lighten the mix a bit, he added some 64 Matt Light Grey. 

The next step  was the scribing of the panel lines in the paint. By this method very fine lines can be achieved but mistakes are difficult to repair!

By way of explanation for his colour choices, John had studied all the material he could find on the Internet and noted many differences in presentation. The paint schemes of model kits were often very different, for example the antiglare panel on the nose. John felt it was a darker blue-grey rather than black and in a matt finish, considering that infamous and sad photograph of the crushing of the poor plane. Then the filming (?) - markings, which he felt were black and white. For the propeller, John concluded that the front of the blades were natural metal with red warning stripes, and painted them dark brown on their rear.

The next step was to apply the decals. The roundels came from the spares box, whilst the black and white markings were a matter of carefully clipping old decal stripes. For the final details John made two balance-horns for the elevators from stretched sprue.  He also chose to give the model a slightly used look, adding some exhaust staining and a few panel lines with a black pencil. And the model was finally completed! John's conclusion about the whole project was that it can be done, but he has to improve the moulding process to achieve sharper edges. And especially heating the plastic sheet for moulding - that is the difficult trick. But as an experiment, the result was better then John had hoped for.

With special thanks to John for sharing this innovative and interesting project with Aviation of Japan, together with the images of his work-in-progress and completed model. John has also asked me to thank all those who have made kind comments throughout the project.

Image credits:- All © 2018 John Haas

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

AviS 1/72 Ki-10-I

With the imminent re-release of the AviS 1/72 kit of the Kawasaki Ki-10-I 'Perry' aficianado Ken Glass has kindly shared some observations about it, enhanced by images of a very finely finished example made by Alexey Klyuyev and shown here with his kind permission via Dmitry Korolkov and Alexander Sibirev. Alexey's full build article can be found here complete with nice clear sprue frame images, and there are other examples of his aircraft modelling skills here.

Ken writes: "I doubt that there has been any change to the original AviS tooling.  In March 2016 I made a basic comparison of the three 1/72 kits - AviS, ICM & Aviation Usk (AvUsk - later Xotic-72).  That effort was not really a kit review.  The AviS is arguably a best of three.  It looks most like a Ki-10 of the three when built up and has the characteristic down slope from the cockpit opening forward & aft which the ICM & AvUsk kits lack.  The AviS kit matches exactly the 1/72 Ki-10-I variant drawings in the 2007 Tenzan Publications monograph on the type by Tadeusz Januszewski and Zygmunt Szeremeta. 

"I now have an AviS kit fully prepared for pre-painting prior to assembly.  It has no major issues, but is definitely a limited run kit. Each part must be worked at the mating lands, to smooth and flatten them. The external surfaces of all parts will benefit from a light rubbing down with a very worn foam backed sanding pad or similar flexible abrasive film.  Some fine builds feature removal of the relief moulded slats at the radiator intake face and replacement with individual slats from strip stock. There is a span-wise raised line across the top and bottom surfaces of the lower wing, that is most likely  meant to represent the rear spar.  Both lower wing spars show up in the skeletal drawings in the Tenzan monograph, but those spar lines are not apparent in photos.  I recommend sanding them off as I plan to do for both the AviS and ICM kits.

"The kit has no locating pins.  That should not pose a problem and fuselage halves mate nicely with only a rubber band to hold them.  The locations for strut end placements are indicated by small indentations on the underside of the top wing, top of the lower wings & forward fuselage for the cabane strut lower ends. There are no placement marks for the landing gear struts. Since the AviS kit appears derivative from the ICM mouldings I suspect the strut lengths of the AviS kit may need adjustment as do those of the ICM kit.  I feel sure an AviS kit build would benefit from use of a jig for its wing placement.

"The carburetor intake trough should be drilled out at the intake face as it will show on the finished model.  The exhaust ports and cover strip depiction is a best in scale although the small indentations of the exhaust stubs would benefit from being drilling out.  The balloon tire option of the box art image is catered for.  There is no aftermarket photo-etch fret for the kit, but that included with the AvUsk kit can be adapted, the most important part being its instrument panel.  The box art shows placement for most of the flying wires, which are not provided in the kit.  Suitable photo-etch fret flying wires are available from Steelwork Models, run by Uwe Borcher in Berlin.  The modeler will have to provide the ‘broom handle’ stabilizers that ‘ride’ within the ‘X’ where the wing flying wires cross.  The cockpit has molded-in side wall detail, which appears a little soft.  Super detailers may want to remove those raised indications and replicate it using the 1/48 Fine Molds  kit as a guide.  But I think most modelers will be more than satisfied w/ cockpit internals as provided.  The windscreen treatment is the same as with the ICM kit - a small flat sheet of acetate, just like that provided for instrument panels, but with a printed outline of the framing.  It must be cut out, folded and affixed, probably with super glue.

"There are three markings options in the kit, the first being that of the box art and first Ki-10 ace Lt Kosuke Kawahara.  The katakana character 'ha' ハ for the rudder and three vertical rear fuselage bands are printed in red, which until recently I considered to be an error.  Since the April 1969 AirReview magazine Ki-10 article they have usually been shown as orange.  But the recent re-boxing of the ICM kit by Hasegawa also resorted to all red markings for Kawahara's aircraft. Even the spinner is shown as red in the AviS box art image but I have no doubt that at least is in error, as a red spinner denoted the 3rd Chutai of the 2nd Daitai - the former 9th Independent Flying Squadron.

"The second option is for Capt Tateo Kato, again with all red personal markings including the katakana rudder character 'ka' カ, except for white victory claim 'wing' markings. Kato's markings should be all orange, including the 'wing' victory markings, except for the 1st Chutai small red eagle.  The spinner caps for all three options should be orange, the 1st Chutai colour since some time at Tianjin, China during August and September 1937.  I speculate that prior to August the spinner cap colour and rudder katakana character could have been the Kelly green colour of the 4th Chutai of the 5th Rentai, from which the 2nd Daitai was formed in mid-July 1937.  If 2nd Daitai's 1st Chutai did use a Kelly green spinner cap colour then it did so for only a month or so at most.  

"Although not identified as such in the kit instructions the 3rd markings option, with white katakana character 'ta'タon the rudder is the aircraft of Sgt Maj Renpei Tanaka, (Ed. as Alexey's model depicts) one of the 2nd Daitai/64th Sentai top pilots, who had quite a career, if not a victory claim score.  He was there as wing man to many of the top scorers and in due course selected by 2nd Daitai-cho Maj Tamiya Teranishi to be his wing man."

With special thanks to Ken for providing these notes about the kit and to Alexey, Dmitry and Alexander for the images of Alexey's excellent model. The combination of both should prove useful to anyone embarking on a build of this kit or any other Ki-10 project.

Airframe Colours 

The Ki-10 was finished according to the 1936 IJAAF requirements. External fuselage surfaces were finished with a primer coat of # 3 Hai Ran Shoku (ash indigo colour - grey[ish] [dark] blue) paint for light metals, followed by an intermediate coat of # 17 Tan Sei Shoku (pale blue colour but in appearance a light blue-grey) and then an overall top coat of # 1 Hai Ryoku Shoku (ash green colour - grey-green) The latter two coats were carefully sanded and polished to achieve a smooth surface. The wings were clear doped and the # 1 grey green colour applied. Photographs reveal no apparent difference between the appearance of the painted and doped parts of the airframe although one or two show an overall finish which appears distinctly darker than the grey green. The interior was finished in a single coat of the # 3 colour without the need for first applying a clear coating to the metal which had previously been specified. 

There is no close match to the # 3 colour in FS 595. The colour is more greyish than FS 35045 but more blueish than FS 36076. In Methuen it is around 21 F 3-4 - dark blueish grey/dark blue. RAL 5008 Graublau is a little darker and RAL 7026 Granitgrau a little too greyish and not quite blue enough. Humbrol 77 Matt Navy Blue is ok as an approximate match. Revell 69 Granite Grey (which is equivalent to RAL 7026) is a good basis for the colour, but needs lightening slightly and a dab of blue. Vallejo Model Color 816 Luftwaffe Uniform WWII is matched to RAL 5008 whilst their 964 ‘Field Blue’ is lighter and perhaps more suitable for such small scale interiors.

Image credits: Box art © 2018 AviS via Alexey Klyuyev; all model photographs © 2018 Alexey Klyuyev

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Imminent & Missed New Releases in 1/72 ~ Aircraft Kits

Due in March is Tamiya's new tool Kawasaki Ki-61-I Tei with two markings options for 244th Sentai commander Kobayashi's '24' and an aircraft of 19 Hiko Sentai.  About £8.50 direct from Japan - and probably a lot more if you buy it in the UK.  

Also due in March RS Models Nakajima Ki-67 with a couple of 'what-if' options, one more probable than the other. About £16 (€22) direct from RS. A Ki-67-II is also forthcoming. Both kits have splendid box art.  

Due this month is AviS Ki-10-I. Not sure if this is a straight re-issue of their previously released limited run kit or incorporates any improvements/changes. About £13.50 direct from Japan. 

Also due this month is a re-issue of the neat resin Platz Ki-78 Kensan with a "Girls und Panzer" anime makeover. But pricey at about £45 direct from Japan. The real Ki-78 in two guises can be also be made from the kit and decals are by Cartograf.  

I missed this Hasegawa re-release of their Mitsubishi G4M2 as a Philippines campaign Limited Edition kit. It was out last month and already showing as 'Backordered' at HLJ. About £17.50 direct from Japan but around £40 in the UK (if you can find one).  

Same deal with the Hasegawa S2F-1 (S-2A) Tracker in JMSDF guise also released last month. About £14.45 direct from Japan and £35 in UK. 

The Brengun Yokosuka MXY7 Model 11 Ohka was due out at the end of January but still showing as 'Order Stop' at HLJ. About £10 from Japan. This kit is all plastic with an injected moulded canopy, trestle stand and decals for three options. An obvious partnership arises!

AZ Models Nakajima Type 91 in Kwangsi Air Force guise is also due and 'Order Stop'. About £15 from Japan and £12 in UK.

If I've missed any other important Japanese aircraft kits in 1/72 please drop me a line to let me know, thanks!

Image credits: All box art © 2018 Tamiya, RS Models, AviS, Platz, Hasegawa, Brengun & AZ Models via HobbyLink Japan