Friday, 29 July 2022

Rising Decals Zero Pt.V

Another bumper Japanese subject decal set from Rising Decals in the form of RD72100, Part V in their series of 1/72 sheets for the Zero and offering no less than 24 markings options. This set includes the following subjects:-

  • A6M2 early Model 11 s/n 807 '3-112' of 12 Ku, China in 1941 - depicted in two-tone grey but the colours are not specified. This aircraft has an impressive tail fin scoreboard claiming 28 victories and was flown by various pilots
  • A6M2 early Model 11 '3-177' of 12 Ku, China, 1941 - depicted as above and said to be one of the first Zero fighters to arrive in China during July 1940
  • A6M2 early Model 11 '3-173' of 12 Ku, China, 1941 - depicted as above, and aircraft with 14 victory marks on the fin but without a fuselage band
  • A6M2 late Model 11 '3-143' of 12 Ku, China, 1941- depicted as above, an aircraft flown by 18 victory ace PO3c Masayuki Nakase and displaying three victory marks on the fin for his 26 May 1941 sortie against Nanning
  • A6M2 late Model 11 '3-141' of 12 Ku, China, 1941 - depicted as above and flown by Lt Minoru Suzuki on the 26 May sortie with two fuselage bands, either blue or red with both options included on the sheet
  • A6M2 mod-production Model 11 '3-138' (not 148) of 12 Ku, China, 1941, depicted as above with two victory marks on the fin representing the claims of 16 victory ace PO3c Kunimori Nakakariya during the 26 May sortie
The six subjects above provide a good representation for the Zero fighter's significant debut over China. The two-tone appearance is mentioned but a reason for it is not suggested. The question of red or blue fuselage bands is perennial and there is some belief that both colours were used to denote different Hikotai (or other sub-formations) within the Kokutai. Successive Japanese editions of Hata & Izawa's IJN Fighter Units and Aces have a cover painting by R Watanabe said to depict the 26 May 1941 mission against Nanning, and that 3-138 was being flown  by Kunimori Nakakariya whilst 3-143 was being flown by Masayuki Nakase. Nakakariya survived the war and was one of the sources consulted by Hata & Izawa. Those two aircraft, in the foreground, are depicted with blue fuselage bands, whilst a formation of Zeros flying further ahead in the background of the painting show red fuselage bands. That accords to some extent with testimony from Tetsuzo Iwamoto. He stated that at the time of the big raid on Hankow on 29 April 1938 in which he took part, the aircraft of 1st Hikotai had their fixed undercarriage covers painted red, while those of 2nd Hikotai were painted blue. Osamu Tagaya, to whom I am very grateful for an illuminating 2017 email discussion about this subject, suggested that although photo evidence shows that the practice of painting the undercarriage covers was later discontinued, that basic system of colour differentiation continued, and was revived in the form of fuselage bands at some point, and carried through into the A6M phase. He noted, however, that the then latest Japanese edition of H&I had colour profiles of Zeros 3-112, 3-141, 3-182 and 3-183, all with blue fuselage bands. He suggested that the colour of the bands may have depended on the number of aircraft available and whether only one or two Hikotai of aircraft were operational. The 26 May 1941 mission was flown with 20 aircraft with a No.1 Sentoki-tai (fighter unit) consisting of nine aircraft, and a No. 2 Sentoki-tai of 11 aircraft. Nakakariya is listed under No. 2 Sentoki-tai. This gives some credence to Watanabe's artwork depicting Nakakariya's Zero with a blue band and is also consistent with Iwamoto's testimony for the 29 April 1938 mission during the Type 96 Kansen period that 1st Hikotai had red undercarriages and 2nd Hikotai had blue. Watanabe's painting is a single picture that wraps around both front and back cover of the books, thus giving the impression that the blue-banded formation and the red-banded aircraft in the forward distance are part of one large group.  However the kodochosho records that the two formations flew separately in two waves, with No. 1 Sentoki-tai taking off at 1000 hrs and No. 2 sortying one hour later.

That red and blue digression aside, the decal options continue with:-

  • A6M2 Model 21 'AI-I06' of Kaga in April 1942  - depicted in overall light grey with twin red fuselage bands and Houkoku No.532 presentation legend
  • A6M2 Model 21 'II-II6' of 22 Koku Sentai Shireibu Fuzoku Sentokitai, Indo-China, 1941 - depicted in overall light grey with narrow blue and red fuselage bands and two white fin strips. An interesting choice and welcome provision to model an aircraft from this unit
  • A6M2 Model 21 'カ-103' (Ka-103) of Kasumigahara Ku - depicted in overall light grey with red leading edge IFF strips (not included). Another welcome choice, but FWIW I believe that this aircraft may have been re-painted overall yellow to comply with official requirements for training aircraft. Naval General Staff Order No.162 of 21 August 1942 ‘Army-Navy Agreement With Regard To Distinguishing Markings For Friendly Military Airplanes’ instructed that 'Trainers and experimental airplanes will be painted yellow colour (黄色 - ou-shoku)'. This continued the requirement of Directive 8777 of 29 December 1938 for the exterior painting of trainer aircraft which specified the colour as tou-ou-shoku (橙黄色) - literally orange yellow colour. Army trainers were yellow so whether the August 1942 instruction implied a change to align with those is unknown.   In September 1942 the Gunyoki Mikata Shikibetsu ni Kansuru Kai Rikugun Chuo Kyotei (‘Navy Army Central Accord Regarding Identification of Friendly Military Aircraft’) formalised this requirement to require aircraft to be painted overall yellow colour 'where feasable'.  Was Ka-103 a fighter trainer or being used for experimental purposes?
  • A6M3 Model 32 'タイ-180' (Tai-180) of Tainan Ku (II), Tainan, Formosa (Taiwan) in September 1944 - in dark green over grey with non standard camouflage demarcation and fuselage legend for 18 victory ace WO Takeo Tanimizu. The only 'Hamp' subject on this sheet but an interesting choice
  • A6M2 Model 21 '81-1183' of 381 Ku at Sorong in May 1944 - in dark green over grey with Houkoku 'Seram No.1' presentation legend. Noted as carrying two Type 99 bombs this Nakajima-built aircraft has a grey tail fin and wing tips which were theatre identification markings
  • A6M2 Model 21 'S-171' of Chitose Ku, Wake Island, April 1942 - in overall amber grey with Houkoku No.437 presentation legend. Flown by 16 victory ace PO3c Hideo Watanabe and another interesting choice   
  • A6M2 Model 21 '741-37' of 12 Koku Kantai HQ Fighter Unit at Matsuyama, Japan in March 1944 - in dark green over grey with red-tipped spinner, twin yellow fuselage bands and diagonal white bands on the upper and lower surfaces of wings. This Mitsubishi-built Zero is an intriguing and interesting choice
  • A6M2 Model 21 'X2-113' of 202 Ku at Kendari, Celebes, in May 1943 - in overall amber grey with red fuselage band. 
  • A6M2 Model 21 '43-179' of 343 Ku at Tinian, April 1944 - a Nakajima-built Zero in dark green over grey with two diagonal white fuselage bands.  
These nine subjects represent excellent and interesting choices to model Zeros operating in less well known areas and with some unusual unit identities. 

The remaining nine subjects are all A6M5 Model 52 subjects as follows:- 

  • A6M5c Model 52c '252-166' of 304 Hikotai, 252 Ku at Koriyama, Japan, August 1945 - in dark green over grey - a Nakajima-built Zero flown by Lt Saburo Abe who made one of the last IJN victory claims on 14 August 1945. Despite the caption this was Abe's regular aircraft by his own account, but it was unserviceable on that day and so he was flying the aircraft of Lt Yutake Morioka instead
  • A6M5b Model 52b 嵐-37 (Arashi-37) of 221 Ku, Kasanohara, Japan, January 1944 - a Nakajima-built Zero in dark green over grey. The tail marking Arashi (Storm, tempest, hullabaloo, uproar, winds of change) was used only for a brief period but offers an attractive alternative to the all numeral tailcodes
  • A6M5a Model 52 a s/n 4685 '43-118' of 343 Ku, Guam, June 1945 - a Mitsubishi-built Zero in dark green over grey with a light coloured replacement (?) starboard wing tip
  • A6M5 Model 52 '163-62' of 163 Hikotai, 634 Ku, Tokushima, Japan, September 1944 - a Nakajima-built Zero in dark green over grey. 
  • A6M5b Model 52b '中-132' (Chuu-132) of Chushi Ku, Shanghai, China, January 1945 - a Nakajima-built Zero in dark green over grey. Chushi Ku operated various models of Zero and Raiden 
  • A6M5c Model 52c '03-79' of 203 Ku, Omura, Japan August 1945 - in dark green over grey. A Nakajima-built Zero with evidence of previous ownership beneath the tail code. Both tail codes are included 
  • A6M5 Model 52 of 407 Hikotai, 361 Ku, Kagoshima, Japan, April 1944 - in dark green over grey. A Nakajima-built Zero with the character Akira (晃) probably the pilot's name - on the tail fin and no unit code.
  • A6M5a Model 52a '653-141' of 165 Hikotai, 653 Ku, Oita, Japan, October 1944 - a Mitsubishi-built Zero in dark green over grey. 165 Hikotai was a fighter-bomber unit
  • A6M5 Model 52 'B1-26' of 381 Ku, Singapore, August 1945 - in dark green over grey with non standard camouflage demarcation and lower undercarriage leg cover removed


This a most interesting and useful super set for 1/72 scale Zero modellers featuring a number of more unusual subjects. The inclusion of alternative decals for the blue or red fuselage bands is a nice touch and there are several additional and very welcome captions providing general information about colour schemes.  Rising Decals sets are out of stock quite quickly so apologies for any frustration this late review may cause. Hopefully Rising will offer second editions of some of the more popular sets. As with the Shiden and Shiden-kai set this one is remarkable value. As well as covering some of the recent Zero kits in this scale the sheet will be applicable to older kits, especially where the kit decals have not survived. It is highly recommended. 

With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review set and to Osamu Tagaya for his valuable comments regarding the question of 12 Ku fuselage band colour.

Image credit: All images © 2022 Rising Decals

Saturday, 16 July 2022

Rising Decals 1/72 Shiden & Shiden-kai

Rising Decals latest set RD72101 for the Shiden and Shiden-kai offers markings for no less than 22 schemes in 1/72 scale. The schemes included for Shiden are as follows:-

  • N1K1-J 'Tsu-3' of Tsukuba Ku, Tsukuba, Japan, January 1945 - in D1, described as Ryokushoku (Dark Green), over silver colour (natural metal). However Ryokushoku means simply green colour. In 1942 D1 was officially described as No-ryoku-kokushoku (Deep Green(ish) Black colour) but in the Proposal for revisions of aircraft planning procedures issued by IJN HQ in March 1944 it was described as An-ryokushoku (Dark Green colour). On the subject of Shiden and Shiden-kai colours see also the 2010 blog article on the subject here.
  • N1K1-J 'Yo-168' of Yokosuka Ku, Yolosuka, Japan, August 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal).
  • N1K1-J '762-56' attributed to 762 Ku, Tokunoshima, Japan 1945 - the upper surface colour is not specified but depicted similarly to the other subjects whilst undersurfaces are silver (natural metal). The unit identity is speculative based on partial photographs and film. The Shiden equipped 701 Hikotai was transferred on paper to 762 Ku and was one of three Shiden Hikotai operating as a combined force over Leyte at the end of 1944 with tail codes variously seen and depicted. '762-56' was also the featured option in a 2011 special edition of the Hasegawa 1/48 N1K1-Ja kit. See also Pacific Wrecks for colour photo of '2-56' mentioned in the decal notes. Tokunoshima is an island south-west of Kyushu in the Amami archipelago of southern Satsunan Islands, Kagoshima Prefecture. An Army airfield, Asama, was constructed on the island during 1944 and served as a staging base for special attackers during the Okinawa campaign.  
  • N1K1-J '341-6 s' of 402 Hikotai 341 Ku found at Clark Field, Philippines in January 1945  - the upper surface colour is not specified but depicted similarly to the other subjects whilst undersurfaces are silver (natural metal). Colour photographs of this aircraft exist and it has been suggested that the '6' might be 'S'. 
  • N1K1-J '341S-23' of 402 Hikotai, 341 Ku found at Clark Field, Philippines in January 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal).
  • N1K1-J '341-56 A' attributed to 701 Hikotai, 341 Ku found at Clark Field, Philippines in January 1945 - D1 over silver (natural metal).
  • N1K1-J '341-16 S' attributed to 402 Hikotai, 341 Ku - in D1 over silver (natural metal).
  • N1K1Jb 'Ge-1174' of Genzan Ku , Kasumigaura, Japan, late 1944 - the colours are specified in plan view as D1 over silver (natural metal) with aluminium doped ailerons.
  • N1K1-Jb '210-149' of 210 Ku Tokushima, Japan, 1944 - the colours are specified in plan view as D1 over silver (natural metal) with aluminium doped ailerons. Both latter Shiden have a small circle containing a character above the tail code. The character was usually the first kanji of the pilot's name with the circle indicating an officer pilot and a triangle symbol an NCO pilot. Enlisted pilots simply had the kanji character without a symbol. The symbols and characters were usually applied for specific sorties corresponding to the assigned aircraft number on the missions board and were applied in a removable white medium. 


The schemes included for Shiden-kai are as follows:-
  • N1K2-J 'A 342-15' of 301 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Matsuuama, Japan, April 1945, attributed to Lt Naoshi Kanno - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with grey painted drop tank and white number '15' applied to the fuselage hinomaru. This aircraft is depicted with twin oblique fuselage bands in yellow.
  • As above but with the addition of five victory markings in two optional styles and the hinomaru number removed but still faintly visible.
  • N1K2-J 'B 343-30' of 407 Hikotai, 343 Ku attributed to Lt Yoshihige Hayashi - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with grey painted drop tank and remains of white number '30' applied to the fuselage hinomaru faintly visible. This aircraft is depicted with twin oblique fuselage bands in white.
  • N1K2-J 'A 343-11' of 301 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Matsuyama, Japan, March 1945, attributed to CPO Shoichi Sugita and Lt Naoshi Kanno - in D1 over silver (natural metal) and remains of white number '11' applied to the fuselage hinomaru faintly visible. This aircraft is depicted with a single oblique fuselage band in yellow and victory markings depicted on the starboard fuselage side , referencing from a photograph in the book 'Genda's Blade' by Henry Sakaida and Koji Takaki, the best English language reference to the operations and aircraft of 343 Ku. 
  • N1K2-J 'A 343-11' of 301 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Kanoya, Japan in early April 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with grey painted drop tank and white number '11' applied to the fuselage hinomaru. Attributed to CPO Shoichi Sugita this aircraft differs from the previous in having the smaller tail fin.
  • N1K2-J 'A 343-17' of 301 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Matsuyama, Japan in January 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with remains of white number '17' applied to the fuselage hinomaru faintly visible. 
  • N1K2-J 'B 343-17' of 407 Hikotai, 343 Ku, attributed to Lt Ikuhi Matsumura and CPO Hisamitsu Watanabe - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with remains of white number '17' applied to the fuselage hinomaru faintly visible and three victory markings on the starboard side. 
  • N1K2-J 'C 343-45' of 701 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Omura, Japan in May 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with twin oblique fuselage bands in optional white or red colour. This aircraft is depicted armed with aerial rocket bombs and is attributed to Lt Takashi Oshibuchi the 701 Hikotai leader.  
  • N1K2-J 'B 343-20' of 407 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Matsuyama, Japan in March 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal) and white number '20' applied to the fuselage hinomaru. The caption makes note of the small yellow rectangle on the tail fin containing the names of two ground crew assigned to this aircraft and speculates on the purpose of the white numbers. They were usually applied for example for carrier landing trials to monitor individual performance during training.
  • N1K2-J 'A 343-06' of 301 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Omura, Japan, in August 1945 - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with remains of white number '06' applied to the fuselage hinomaru faintly visible and a single oblique fuselage band depicted in yellow.  
  • N1K2-J 'B 343-03' of 407 Hikotai, 343 Ku at Omura, Japan, in April 1945, attributed WO Hiroshi Ohara - in D1 over silver (natural metal) with grey painted drop tank and white number '06' applied to the fuselage hinomaru.  A single fuselage band in white is depicted near the tail with optional decals for an oblique or chevron style.
  • N1K2-J 'Yo-157' of Yokosuka Ku at Yokosuka, Japan in August 1945 - In D1 over silver (natural metal) with yellow horizontal tail stripe and depicted with a white diagonal 'arrow' applied to the fin and rudder behind the tail code.
  • N1K2-J 'Yo-104' of Yokosuka Ku at Yokosuka, Japan, in February, 1945, attributed to WO Kaneyoshi Mutoh - In D1 over silver (natural metal) with yellow horizontal tail stripe.


This is a bumper set of decals for 1/72 Shiden and Shiden-kai fans offering many good subjects with plenty of optional choices to address issues of uncertainty or controversy. The set offers remarkable value at £12.30 (from Hannants in UK) for a set which might easily have been released as two separate sheets at comparable price. The set is even cheaper from HLJ but alas currently out of stock. Aftermarket decal sheets are just one aspect of the hobby which have proliferated in recent years and in many cases have shown extraordinary price inflation. Rising Decals are to be congratulated for their approach of offering quality decals of interesting Japanese types at attractive cost and presentation.  


With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review set.

Image credit: All © 2022 Rising Decals

Sunday, 10 July 2022

Woody Kubacki's 1/48 Mitsubishi Raiden Duo # 2


Woody Dubacki's second Raiden model, also made from the Hasegawa 1/48 scale kit, represents 中-181 (Chuu-181) a J2M5 of the less well-known China-based  Chuushi (or Chushi 中支 - Central China) Ku. That unit was established in the Navy reorganisations of 10 July 1944, and was formed on 20 February 1945. It was under the direct control of the China Area Fleet, based in the Shanghai area and also operated some late model Zeros. At the end of the war, the commander was Umezaki Unosuke and the Hikotaicho was Masao Omiya. Woody describes his project as follows:-

'The build was almost exactly the same as the J2M3, mostly out of the box save for adding some wires, adding or moving levers and parachute loop, cockpit vent, belts and a scratchbuilt radio.  Rivets were added by digitizing a 3 view plan, merging it with the kit's 3 view in the instructions, then designing rivet templates and cutting them on my Cameo 4.

'Paints were AK Real Colors and Mr Color, with a custom mix for the olive grey undersides of 3 parts AK RC 301 RAF Hemp to 2 parts Mr Color C60 RLM02 Grey.  The paint was chipped and weathered to match the existing photos of the aircraft, although weathering was toned down to represent an operational aircraft.

'This was a very interesting build, especially the research and my conclusion that the aircraft number was in fact 181, and not 191, as previously thought.'


With very special thanks to Woody for sharing these images of another superbly realised Raiden model, and especially welcome for representing one of the lesser known and China-based units. 

Image credit: All © 2022 Woody Kubacki

Saturday, 9 July 2022

Woody Kubacki's 1/48 Mitsubishi Raiden Duo # 1

Following up on the Rising Decals Raiden sheet it is a real pleasure to share these images of Woody Kubacki's superb 1/48 models of Mitsubishi Raiden, built from the Hasegawa kits. First up is his J2M3 Raiden of 332 Ku. Woody provided details of his project as follows:-

'The cockpit was detailed with additional wire and levers and the radio was scratchbuilt as I believe that the kit radio was far too small.

'The kit went together fairly well, with most of the filling and sanding required to fit the upper decking to the fuselage (there is a seam most leave but it has to be filled) and the front cowl. I decided to rivet the entire plane and designed templates for each line, cutting them out on my Cameo 4 cutter. The model was primed in Gunze Mr.Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black, selected areas were sprayed with Mr Color C8 silver, and then hairspray to represent chipping, black base and top coat. The masks for the markings were also designed and cut on my Cameo 4, leaving only three decals to apply.

'The model represents an aircraft from the 332 Kokutai sometime in 1945. I don't know much about the history of the plane or who flew it, but I do have one photo of it, with two pilots (clearly friends) in front of it. Actually, their comraderie and anonymity is what drew me to this particular aircraft.

'The model was painted with AK Real Colors (Mitsubishi interior colour, D2, Olive grey (mixed with 10% white) and Mr Color paints then weathered with various oils.  During my research for this build, I noticed that despite many Raiden having chipped or flaking paint, the overall finish was fairly glossy, and that is what I attempted to achieve.'

Woody's attention to detail is very impressive, based on his extensive and careful study of photographs and film. Close examination of the model photos will repay appreciation for his work (click on the images and then re-open them in a new tab or screen to enlarge them to full size). 

332 Ku was established in August 1944 under Cdr Takeo Shibata for the air defence of the Kure area, Japan with a mixed complement of Zero fighters, Raiden and Gekko night fighters. A Zero contingent under Ltjg Susumu Takeda departed to the Philippines in November of that year and in Japan the unit also became responsible for defending the Hanshin area, a detachment of Zeros and Raiden moving to Naruo whilst the Gekko contingent moved to Itami. On 22 December 1944 CPO Akeshi Ochi claimed the the first B-29 of the unit flying Raiden 32-101 and was presented with a bottle of whisky by Cdr Shibata. In February 1945 Cdr Katsutoshi Yagi took command of the unit. 

When the B-29 force began bombing Kyushu during the Okinawa campaign 17 Raiden of the unit under the command of Lt Kohei Nakajima moved to Kanoya to form a combined air defence force with 20 Raiden of 302 Ku under Lt Susumu Itoh and 7 Raiden of 352 Ku under Lt Yoshihiro Aoki as the Tatsumaki (竜巻 - Tornado) group, operating from the end of April to 12 May 1945. Subsequently the unit was re-organised with a planned strength of 48 Raiden and 24 Gekko. Ensign Susumu Ishihara was a notable veteran pilot who served in 332 Ku from its establishment until war's end flying both Zero and Raiden against the B-29 with officially recognised claims for 16 victories (including previous claims with Tainan, 582, 204 and 202 Ku) but was reputed to have achieved more than 30 in total. 

With special thanks to Woody for sharing these images of his superbly convincing Raiden model.

Image credit: All photos © 2022 Woody Kubacki 

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Raiden from Rising

RD72099 is one of three splendid Rising Decals sheets for IJN fighters in 1/72 scale with markings for eight Mitsubishi Raiden subjects as follows:-

  • J2M3 Model 21 '3525-50' of 352 Ku at Omura in March 1945 - a speculative depiction of an aircraft with a large yellow lightning flash on the fuselage in D1 Deep Green Black over J3 Grey. The suggested paint for the upper surface Mr Color 124 Dark Green (Mitsubishi) is closer to D2 Green Black but lighter and greener. Mr Color 35 IJN Grey (Mitsubishi) is suggested for the under surface colour and this is the current 'go to' fad in Japan supposed to represent J3 Hai iro. However Mr Color 35 is a blueish grey - a Munsell B - Blue - and not the supposedly 'neutral grey' of J3, which is, er, not a neutral grey of pure black and white anyway but a Munsell GY - Green Yellow! The original paint was a 'warm', slightly yellowish grey similar to RAL 7034 Gelbgrau (Yellow grey) which chalked with exposure to an appearance similar to FS 36307. J3/2-6 is also close to FS 36307, thus whatever your paint poison all bets should be covered, so don't let Facebook grind you down.     
  • J2M6 Model 31 '352-18' of 352 Ku in Japan, 1945 - D1 over J3
  • J2M3 Model 21 '02-615' of 602nd Hikotai, 381 Ku at Balipapan, Autumn 1944  - D1 over J3. The tail code is depicted as yellow but could have been white and both options are usefully included on the sheet. Raiden is most often associated with the air defence of Japan so subjects representing units operating elsewhere, as in this case for defence of the Borneo oil facilities, are especially welcome.  
  • J2M3 Model 21 'B1-01' of 381 Ku at Singapore, 1945 - D1 over J3. This aircraft was subsequently test flown by ATAIU-SEA with RAF markings. 
  • J2M2 Model 11 '32-101' of 332 Ku at Naruo, Japan in 1944 - D1 over J3. Flown by CPO Akeshi Ochi on 22 December 1944 to claim the unit's first B-29. The white borders of the upper wing and fuselage hinomaru have been over painted in dark green or black.  
  • J2M2 Model 11 '81-101' of 381 Ku at Nagoya, Japan in September 1945 - D1 over J3. An aircraft which had been returned to the Mitsubishi factory for evaluation due to technical problems 
  • J2M3 Model 21 '81-124' of 381 Ku in the Philippines, late 1944 - D1 over J3. 
  • J2M2 'YoC-104' of 301 Ku at Oppama, Japan, December 1943 - overall orange-yellow. A 14-Shi interceptor trial aircraft.


Recommended kits are Sword and Hasegawa, the latter a J2M3 from 1977 but with engraved panel lines and still intermittently available, also in combi special editions from time to time. Sword offered three Raiden kits: the J2M3 Model 21 from 2011; the J2M5/6 Model 33/31 from 2012; and the J2M2 Model 11 Late Version from 2015, although all now seem hard to find. No doubt these decals could also be adapted for the old Tamiya and Nichimo kits for some upgraded retro modelling. Raiden is seemingly a 'marmite' subject, either strongly liked or disliked, and true enough schemes and markings for the type offer little variety. However this set offers something different from the classic and well-known 302 Ku schemes, some of which feature on Rising sheet RD72094 here. The 381 Ku examples are especially welcome but sadly Raiden subjects from the China-based units are conspicuous by their absence.  Maybe next time . . . 

With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review sheet and apologies for the delay in presenting it. Late to the party as usual. 

Image credit: All © 2022 Rising Decals  

Thursday, 2 June 2022

More John Haas Magic Part Two


Here, later than planned, is the second part of John Haas' wonderful scratch build of the Navy Type 10 Carrier Reconnaissance Aircraft, Mitsubishi 2MR1 in 1/48 scale. Over to John for his build report then.

'Firstly, I would like to thank all the members for their nice comments after Part One. Now my model was more or less complete, the rigging between the wings, undercarriage and tail feathers were in place, so it was time to do some more painting.

'I always use an undercoat of Polly S Acryl dark green first, then a final coat of JNAF dark green. The sides of the fuselage were left unpainted to avoid any damaged through handling as you can see on the first pictures. All painting was done with a brush as it is hardly possible to tape and spray these biplane models without damage. Only on the wing leading edges I used a small piece of tape to get a straight line between the green and grey. The engine panels and the radiator were painted silver, with a drawing pencil, I added some accents for the louvres and panel lines.

'Now I could start with some smaller details. First I made a scarff- ring for the second cockpit. Again I had to use photos of other aircraft; I modified a leftover Vickers MG from a Roden RAF Be-2C; and Francillon's book was a great help in this.

'The next step was the aileron and rudder cables and their levers. On the wings they are placed over the Hinomaru, so I used some decals from the spare box and placed them on the wings. The rudder cables were a bit more complicated, first I had to paint the fuselage in green, then wait a few days, and yes: ....watching the paint dry....:-)

'After the fuselage Hinomaru, I could start the tricky job of getting the rudder cables in the right place. A lot of patience was required here, as there were only very small spots to apply the CA glue. And those cables, you want them straight and tight. I had to print the white squere with black number on the rudder on my PC.

'Now the end was in sight, I added a small indentification plate on the left side of the fuselage and as finishing touch, a small wind driven generator was placed between the undercarriage legs. The rigging of the undercarriage was made of stretched sprue. So finally my model was finished. I hope you enjoy the pictures ! After taking the final photographs, I dicovered a loose aileron- cable on the upper left wing! That's fixed now....(smile).'

With special thanks to John for sharing the details and images of his impressive scratch build and for his patience in waiting for them to appear here.

Image credit: All photos © 2022 John Haas