Monday, 6 April 2020

Francesco Borraccino's Jinrai Zero


Francesco Borraccino has kindly shared these images and build details of his 1/72 Nakajima-built A6M5 Zero built from the Hasegawa 'Eien No Zero' limited edition kit. The model represents an aircraft of 721 Ku known as the Jinrai (神雷 - God's Thunder) unit from their role as carriers and escorts for the Ohka rocket propelled, piloted bomb.    


The model was built from the box with only the addition of an Eduard IJN seat belt and landing gear hydraulic cables from lead wire. In addition an Eduard canopy mask was used. 


Paints used were AK Real Colors for D1 and J3, with minimal weathering but the drop tank finished to represent slightly fresher paint. Cockpit interior is Tamiya XF-71 with a Gunze yellow mix for the wing leading edge IFF strips. The prop assembly was painted with a mix of Gunze H406 Chocolate Brown and H462 Black Brown. 


721 Ku was established in October 1944 with Mitsubishi G4M2 Rikko 'Betty' bombers equipped to carry the Ohka rocket bombs for air release from 16-18,000 feet and within 20 km of enemy naval vessels. Sento 306 Hikotai (S-306), an existing squadron which had been engaged in air defence at Yap, was to provide escort to the bombers with 48 Zero fighters. However to increase the escort strength an additional two fighter Hikotai, S-305 and S-307, were subsequently assigned to the Kokutai. 


During the Kokutai's training period in Japan the fighter units were engaged in air defence sorties against US carrier attacks with significant losses so that when 721 Ku made its first Ohka sortie with 18 Rikko on 21 March 1945 only 19 Zeros of S-306 were operational. The disastrous loss of all the Rikkos on that mission has tended to overshadow subsequent Ohka successes such as the serious damage to the battleship USS West Virginia off Okinawa on 1 April 1945 and the sinking of the destroyer USS Mannert L Abele on 12 April. The interception of the rocket bomb carriers at distances of 50 to 100 miles from the fleet resulted in most Ohka attacks being made against the picket ships and destroyer screens rather than aircraft carriers and other large vessels. 


The original Rikko component of 721 Ku was Kougeki Dai 711 Hikotai (攻撃第711飛行隊 - 711th Attack Squadron, abbreviated K-711) and was led on 21 March 1945 by Lt Cdr Goro Nonaka who perished in the attack. Some Rikko of this unit wore standard dark green over grey finish (721-306), some were painted overall in dark green (721-308) whilst others had their under surfaces painted matt black for dawn and dusk sorties (721-328).      


With special thanks to Francesco for kindly sharing these images and the details of his build, to Keishiro Nagao of Lifelike Decals for kindly assisting with the Japanese terminology and to Dr Yasuho Izawa for kindly providing an English translation of his book 'Rikko & Ginga' containing details of 721 Ku organisation and operations. 

Reference: 'Rikko & Ginga' by Yasuho Izawa; 'Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces' by Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa & Christopher Shores (Grub Street, 2011) 
Image credit: All © 2020 Francesco Borraccino

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Ki-74 'Patsy' in 1/48 by John Haas ~ Part Four


John Haas presents the fourth and final part of his magnificent scratch build Ki-74 'Patsy' project in 1/48 scale. Links to previous instalments: Part One, Part Two and Part Three. In his own words, the finale then:-

'On Finals'

'So finally I arrived at the last chapter of this modelling history. In Part Three I had airbrushed the upper surface in the final JAAF olive green. Now the underside had to be painted in light grey. It was difficult to tape everything for airbrushing so I chose simple brushing by hand. I only taped the edges and everything went well.


'After the paint had dryed I airbrushed a coat of Acryl based satin varnish to obtain a nice even finish. Now it was time for the last details, to paint the wheel wells and undercarriage doors in Aotake. I made my own kind of Aotake by first applying aluminium then over that a coat of metallic green, and finally a wash of dark blue to highlight more details. Finally I applied some panel lines with a black pencil.


'The hinomaru came from the spare decal box. Next were the navigation lights, so back to a study of the photographs and, as I had indeed discovered with other planes, some extended onto the wing upper surface.


'Almost there; glazing the porthole windows. I don't use Micro Krystal Klear as I found a better Dutch alternative - a universal household glue called Velpon, almost as clear but much stronger and easier to use for large windows. The final detail; the wireless atenna - a piece of clear stretched  sprue did the trick - and finally complete!


'I omitted any squadron markings, etc. Firstly I did not find them on the photographs and secondly I like to keep my models mostly in a rather clean finish, just as if rolled out of the factory. This was a long and sometimes complicated build, but I learned some new tricks along the way.'


With very special thanks to John for sharing the ups and downs of this exacting project as well as the work in progress and final images of the wonderful model which resulted - and which began life as pieces of wood!

Image credit: All © 2020 John Haas

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Dead Design Delivers The Goodies ~ 1/72 scale


Dead Design Models are no less prolific in the 'divine' scale, with canopy masks released for new and old 1/72 Japanese aircraft kits as follows:-

  • VM72060  Canopy masks (shown above) for the Fujimi Aichi E16A Zuiun 'Paul' kit, including masks for both cockpit transparencies and for the beaching dolly wheel hubs. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.15 (approximately £5.66 Sterling or US$6.65).
  • VM72061 Canopy masks (shown above) for the Fujimi Aichi E11A 'Laura' kit, including masks for the cockpit transparency, bow machine gun and fuselage transparencies. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.15 (approximately £5.66 Sterling or US$6.65).
  • VM72076 Canopy masks (shown above) for all LS/Arii Mitsubishi Ki-15 I/II 'Babs' kits, including main cockpit transparency, fuselage side and ventral transparencies, landing light transparency and main wheel hub. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.15 (approximately £5.66 Sterling or US$6.65).
  • VM72077 Canopy masks (shown above) for all LS/Arii Mitsubishi Ki-15 'Kamikaze' kits, including main cockpit transparency, fuselage side and ventral transparencies, landing light transparency and main wheel hub. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.15 (approximately £5.66 Sterling or US$6.65).
  • VM72078 Canopy masks for the Clear Prop! Models Mitsubishi A5M2b Late 'Claude' kit, including masks for main wheel hubs.This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)
  • VM72079 Canopy masks (shown above) for the Clear Prop! Models Mitsubishi Ki-51 'Sonia' kit, including masks for both types of canopy, fuselage side and ventral transparencies, landing light transparencies, navigation lights and main wheel hubs. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.15 (approximately £5.73 Sterling or US$6.61)
  • VM72082 Canopy masks for the Academy/Minicraft Mitsubishi A6M5c Zero kit, including main wheel hubs. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)

In addition several sets of national insignia and markings masks have been released as follows:-
  • VM72083 for Clear Prop! Models Mitsubishi Ki-51 'Sonia' kit, includes tail markings for Hokota Army Flying School. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)
  • VM72084 for the the Hasegawa Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu 'Rex' kits, includes tail codes for two Sasebo ku aircraft. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)
  • VM72085  for the Fujimi D4Y Suisei 'Judy' kits, for thin white bordered hinomaru, including elevator drift markings. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)
  • VM72086 for the Fujimi D4Y Suisei 'Judy' kits, with plain hinomaru, including elevator drift markings. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)
  • VM72087 for the Fujimi Aichi E16A Zuiun 'Paul' kits. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)  
  • VM72088 for the Fujimi Aichi E11A 'Laura' kits (shown above), including three different tail codes. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13)  

Optical illusion masks for control surfaces have been released for the following kits. Prices vary from €3.84 (approximately £3.58 Sterling or US$4.13) to €4.99 (approximately £4.64 Sterling or US$5.36) :-
  • SM72008 Clear Prop! Models Mitsubishi A5M 'Claude' 
  • SM72009 Clear Prop! Models Mitsubishi Ki-51 'Sonia'
  • SM72010 Hasegawa Mitsubishi Ki-51 'Sonia'
  • SM72011 Fine Molds Mitsubishi A6M2b Model 21 Zero
  • SM72012 Fine Molds Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32 Zero
  • SM72013 Fine Molds Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero
  • SM72014 Fine Molds Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero
  • SM72015 Fujimi Tachikawa Ki-36/55 'Ida' (shown above)
  • SM72016 Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M2b Model 21 Zero
  • SM72017 Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32 Zero
  • SM72018 Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero
  • SM72019 Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero
  • SM72020 Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu 'Nick'
  • SM72024 Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2a/b Model 11/21 Zero
  • SM72025 Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32 Zero
  • SM72026 Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero
  • SM72027 Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M5a/b/c Model 52 Zero
With thanks to Jan of Dead Design Models for this information. The fact that Dead Design Models include sets for the older kits is much appreciated. The Fujimi Aichi E11A 'Laura' kit (box art shown as heading image) is due for re-release next month.

Image credit: Heading box art of Aichi E11A 'Laura' © 2020 Fujimi Mokei Co., Ltd via Hobby Search; All others © 2020 Dead Design Models

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Dead Design Delivers The Goodies ~ 1/48 scale ~ Addenda


A few items were ommitted in yesterday's mega listing of Dead Design Models goodies. It is easier to include those in a new blog than add them to the existing one as formatting the spacing in Blogger is a nightmare of trial and error! 


Set CM48012 (shown above) provides a vacform canopy and paint masks  for the Hasegawa (ex-Mania) Nakajima Ki-27 kit Ko (early) version. The canopy is moulded in seperate sections for easy removal from the riser, and consists of windscreen, sliding hood and rear fairing.  The set includes masks for the main wheel hubs. The set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.92 (approximately £6.36 Sterling or US$7.40).


Set CM48013 (shown above)  provides a vacform canopy and paint masks  for the Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-27 kit Otsu (later) version. The canopy is moulded in seperate sections for easy removal from the riser, and consists of windscreen, sliding hood and rear fairing.  The set includes masks for the main wheel hubs. The set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.92 (approximately £6.36 Sterling or US$7.40).


Set VM48046 (shown above) provides paint masks only for the Hasegawa Aichi B7A2 Ryusei 'Grace' kits for the canopy and all wheel hubs. The set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.92 (approximately £6.36 Sterling or US$7.40).   


Set VM48074 (shown above) provides paint masks only for both types of canopies in the Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-27 'Nate' kit. The set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.15 (approximately £5.65 Sterling or US$6.58).  

For those interested in the original Mania version of the Hasegawa Ki-27 kit or planning to build any of the many releases there is an excellent retrospective and build at the Replica in Scale blog, which includes some really useful heads ups and tips for building too. The kit was featured here too but in much less detail.  

Image credit: Heading image © 1975 Mania Hobby; All others © 2020 Dead Design Models

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Dead Design Delivers The Goodies ~ 1/48 scale

The prolific Dead Design Models continues the release of vac form canopies and paint masks for Japanese aircraft kits, new and old, in 1/48 and 1/72 scales. 


Beginning with 1/48 scale releases set CM48003 provides a vacform canopy and spray masks for the Fine Molds Mitsubishi Ki-15 'Kamikaze' kit. The canopy is moulded in five sections for easy removal from the riser and for display with the windscreen, pilot's canopy, centre section, observer's canopy and rear section as separate parts. This set also includes spray masks for the canopy, all types of side windows, the ventral window, landing light transparency and main wheel hubs. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €9.61 (approximately £8.85 Sterling or US$10.30).


Set CM48006 (shown above) is designed for  the Hasegawa B6N1/2 Tenzan 'Jill' kits. The vacform canopy is moulded in separate sections for easier removal from the riser, consisting of the windscreen, pilot's sliding hood, centre section, commander's sliding hood, rear fairing and two observer/gunner sliding hoods for easier removing from the riser. The set includes paint masks for the canopy, pilots bulkhead, ventral and side windows, plus main and tail wheel hubs. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €9.61 (approximately £8.85 Sterling or US$10.30).


Set CM48009 (shown above) is designed for that venerable veteran the Nichimo Mitsubishi Ki-51 'Sonia'. The vacform canopy is in separate sections as for the Ki-15 and also importantly corrects the kit's simplified and short rear section. This set includes paint masks for the canopy, ventral windows and main wheel hubs. A most commendable aspect of Dead Design's designs is their attention to improving and upgrading older kits which many modellers will still have in the stash. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €7.68 (approximately £7 Sterling or US$8.22).


Set CM48010 (shown above) will provide the Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-100 'Ko' (razorback) kit with a vacform canopy split into windscreen, sliding canopy and rear fairing sections, as well as paint masks for the canopy, landing light transparency and main wheel hubs.  This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.92 (approximately £6.36 Sterling or US$7.40).


Set CM48011 (shown above)has similar provision for the Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-100 'Otsu' (bubbletop) kit. This set retails direct from Dead Design at €6.92 (approximately £6.36 Sterling or US$7.40).

VM48051 for Nichimo Ki-43-1

 VM48055 for Tamiya A6M3/5 New Mould Kits

The following sets provide paint masks only for the kits as described (click links for prices which vary) :-
  • VM48025 Canopy mask for the Nichimo Nakajima B5N1/2 kit, including masks for all transparencies and main wheel hubs
  • VM48031 Canopy mask for the Nichimo Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu kit, including masks for all transparencies and all wheel hubs
  • VM48050 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu kit, with masks for open or closed canopies, side windows and landing light transparency  
  • VM48051 Canopy mask for the Nichimo Nakajima Ki-43-I Hayabusa kit, including masks for all transparencies and main wheel hubs
  • VM48052 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden kits, including masks for the armoured glass and all wheel hubs
  • VM48053 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Mitsubishi J2M5/6 Raiden kits, including masks for the armoured glass and all wheel hubs
  • VM48055 Canopy mask for the Tamiya new mould (post 2008) Mitsubishi A6M3/5 Reisen kits, including masks for cockpit floor transparency and main wheel hubs
  • VM48056 Canopy Mask for all Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M1/2a Model 11 Reisen kits including prototype and including masks for all wheel hubs 
  • VM48057 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2b/3/5 Model 21, 22, 32, 52a, b. c, kits, including masks for all wheel hubs 
  • VM48058 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2-K Reisen Trainer kits, including masks for main wheel hubs
  • VM48059 Canopy mask for the Tamiya old mould (pre 2008) A6M2/3/5 Reisen kits and Nakajima A6M2-N Suisen kits, including masks for open or closed canopies and main wheel hubs
  • VM48060 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M5c/7/8 Reisen kits, including masks for armoured glass, fuselage window and all wheel hubs 
  • VM48061 Canopy mask for the Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen Nightfighter kits, including windscreen mounted gunsight and all wheel hubs

VM48068 National Insignia masksfor Fine Molds D4Y - plain hinomaru
VM48062 National Insignia masks for Hasegawa Ki-43-1
 
The following sets provide masks for national insignia and other markings:-
  • VM48054 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Tamiya Kawasaki Ki-61-1d Hien kit
  • VM48062 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-43-1 Hayabusa kits, including mask for 50th Sentai fuselage lightning flash
  • VM48063 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-43-II/III Hayabusa kits, including mask for 64th Sentai arrow tail marking
  • VM48064 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Fine Molds Nakajima Ki-43-II/III Hayabusa kits, including mask for 33rd Sentai tail marking
  • VM48065 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu kits, including mask for 53rd Sentai tail marking
  • VM48066 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Hasegawa Ki-61/Ki-100 kits, including mask for 56th Sentai tail marking
  • VM48067 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Fine Molds D4Y Suisei kits, including masks for white bordered hinomaru, wind drift and dive bombing indication markings
  • VM48068 National insignia etc masks to replace decals for the Fine Molds D4Y Suisei kits, including masks for unbordered hinomaru, wind drift and dive bombing indication markings

 SM48006 Optical Illusion masks for Fine Molds A5M family

The following sets are optical illusion masks for control surfaces, prices vary from €4.99 to €5.76 (approximately £4.58-5.29 and US$ 5.34-6.16):-
  • SM48005 for Wingsy Mitsubishi A5M 'Claude' kits
  • SM48006 for Fine Molds Mitsubishi A5M 'Claude' kits
  • SM48007 for Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2a/b Model 11/21 kits
  • SM48008 for Hasegawa Mitsubishi  A6M3 Model 32 kits
  • SM48009 for Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 kits
  • SM48010 for Hasegawa A6M5a/b/c.2-K Model 52 (early wing sprue 'C')
  • SM48011 for Tamiya A6M3 Model 22 
  • SM48018 for Tamiya A6M5 Model 52
  • SM48019 for Hasegawa A6M5c/7 Model 52c/63
The heading photo shows the effect of using the optical illusion mask on an aileron. Instructions for using these innovative masks can be found at the Dead Design website here.

With special thanks to Jan of Dead Design Models for providing this information.

Image credit: All images © 2020 Dead Design Models