Sunday, 2 December 2018

Wingsy 1/48 Mitsubishi Ki-51 Sonia

With special thanks to Dan Salamone and Chad Akins for their kind heads up about the forthcoming Wingsy 1/48 scale Mitsubishi Ki-51 Sonia, announced for January 2019 release. Sample sprue shots are shown below and pre-production CAD renders can be viewed here.

Splendid box art by Sergey Zoshchenko depicts a 1st Chutai Ki-51 of  Hiko Dai 27 Sentai with a very small pilot and an unusually complex camouflage scheme coming under fire from an AVG P-40.  This light bomber unit gradually converted to the Ki-51 from the Ki-32 in March 1941 and was active in the assault on Malaya, the Dutch East Indies and Burma.  The unit insignia on the fin and rudder combined the Japanese 'ni'  (二) for '2' in black with '7', the diagonal bar being painted in the Chutai colour. In addition to the tail insignia the 1st Chutai applied the representation of a swallow to the fuselage side, whilst the 2nd Chutai applied a stylised representation of the 'matoi' (纏), a battle standard or fireman's standard from the Edo period (as shown below), consisting of variously shaped heads, often with characters painted on them, and hanging strips.

The price is not revealed but Hannants have the Wingsy A5M kits at £36.99 (about US$47) so start saving or be prepared to wait for your Christmas present. The new Wingsy kit should eclipse the veteran and long-cherished Nichimo kit of currently uncertain availability. Japanese birds with spats seem to be the currently favoured flavour so let's hope someone, somewhere, is planning a 1/48 Ki-36/55 (but please let it not be a well known purveyor of limited run vinyl).  

Image credits: Box art and kit parts © 2018 Wingsy Kits; Matoi image via web


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Dead Design Resin for Tony and Claude

Dead Design Models have recently released high quality aftermarket resin sets for the Tamiya 1/72 Ki-61-I Tei and all versions of Fine Molds and Wingsy 1/48 A5M Claudes.  

Set RM72001 (shown above) provides a pair of Type II wooden drop tanks and wing racks to rectify the surprising ommission of those from Tamiya's Ki-61-I Tei kit. The pieces are very finely and delicately moulded in a grey-green resin, requiring care in separating them from their mould tabs, especially the racks.   

Set RM72002 (shown above) provides a set of separate replacement flight control surfaces for the same kit, consisting of a pair of ailerons, a pair of elevators and a rudder, all also neatly moulded in grey-green resin. Also included is a tiny sheet of aerodynamic hinge covers. 

Each 1/72 set retails for €5.76, about £5.13 or US$6.55.  

Set RM48001 (shown above) provides a set of replacement and correct flight control surfaces for all versions of the Fine Molds A5M2b (early and late) and A5M4 Claude kits, consisting of a pair of replacement ailerons, a pair of tailplanes with separate elevators and a rudder. Again these are exquisitely moulded in grey-green resin with beautifully rendered doped fabric and rib tape effect, especially on the rudder. 

Set RM48002 (shown above) is a similar set designed for all versions of the Wingsy A5M kits.  The dark staining on the parts seen in the image has been added to better illustrate their surface detail; the actual resin parts as sold are pure grey-green.  

Each 1/48 set retails for €7.68, about £6.84 or US$8.74. 

With special thanks to Jan of Dead Design Models for the review sets. 

Image credit: All © 2018 Dead Design Models

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Zegeye's AVI Models A5M1 in 1/72

This splendid looking Mitsubishi A5M1 was made by Zbyszek Malicki ('Zegeye') using the 1/72 AVI Models kit. He describes it as a short run kit with all the features of being short run but overall not bad. The plastic is rather soft, the internal details of the cockpit not very sharp and the kit needing some filler here and there.

Zbyszek added some details with Plastruct rod and fabricated the exhaust pipes from scratch as they are not included in the kit. He added a Yahu instrument panel which is almost invisible in the finished model. The model was painted with Gunze paints. All the markings were painted except for the tail code and small stencils which are the kit decals. The decals are very soft and thin, and must be applied gently. Zbyszek recommends not using any softener before the decals are in place and dry. He used SOL softener after the water on the model had evaporated, and from habit rather than a need. The decals seal very well without it.

It represents the aircraft of an unknown 12 Kokutai buntaicho in late 1937. 12 Ku's fighter hikotai re-equipped with the A5M during October and November 1937, operating from the newly captured airfield of Dajiaochang (which the Japanese called Daikojo) at Nanking (now Nanjing) from December of that year. Prior to re-equipment 12 Ku had operated the A4N from the airfield established by the Japanese on the golf course at the Kunda Textile Factory in Shanghai, on air defence and ground support sorties due to the limited range of that aircraft.   

This was the type of early A5M which featured - as models, no cgi then - in the 1977 Chinese movie 'Heroes of the Eastern Skies' (筧橋英烈傳). 

Image credits: All model pics © 2018 Zegeye; movie images web

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Tetsuya Inoue's Ki-61-II 'Bubbletop' Project in 1/48

At Tets Research Institute (reported here in June 2017 and March this year) Tetsuya Inoue has continued his awesome, painstaking and ultra-realistic 1/48 scale model engineering project with an update (and additional images) here. Tetsuya's work in recreating the propeller hub assembly (below) has to be seen to be believed.

Truly outstanding work.  With thanks to Tetsuya for sharing it with Aviation of Japan.

Image credits: All © 2018 Tetsuya Inoue and Tets Research Institute

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Pat Villareal's Hasegawa 1/48 Hayate

Courtesy of the good offices of AoJ Texas correspondent Mark Smith as go-between, Pat Villareal has kindly shared these images of his excellent Hasegawa 1/48 scale Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate 'Frank' model in natural metal plumage. The kit was won as a raffle prize in 2007 and tackled in a recent stash reduction exercise. Pat couldn't believe he had waited so long as he found it very detailed and a nice surprise to build. In his own words then.

"After market items used were from an Eduard photo-etch set.  Most of the photo-etch got installed but the instrument panel is box stock since I thought the details were better.  Scratch-built items are the antenna mast and pitot probe.  The antenna mast is made from a flattened paper clip (pounded on a hobby anvil) and shaped with a file.   The pitot probe is made from a straight pin filed down at the tip.  The gunsight was improved by cutting off the molded reflector plate and a plastic holographic sequin cut to shape and installed in its place.  I also added a reflective circular green optical lens on the upper surface of the sight using a hole punch to give it a little more interest.

"Hasegawa decided to engineer this kit using a lot of polycaps to install the fuel tanks, landing gear struts, wheels, fuel cooler and prop.  For the landing gear this resulted in a wobbly stance and was hard to align correctly.  So instead I decided to glue sprue into the polycap casing and then drilled out installation holes to match the struts.  That achieved a more conventional kit installation and a firmer stance. 

"The kit landing lights were extremely tiny and I considered them impractical for installation.  So I mixed 2-part clear epoxy and dabbed it into the light frame using a needle.  Once cured I painted them with Tamiya Clear Green and Red.  The results were much better than expected.

"Paints used were Model Master, Testors and Alclad with acrylics from Tamiya and Vallejo.  The plane was sprayed with Alclad Aluminum without primer, just straight onto the plastic.  However, I had to be very careful when filling seams since metallic finishes reveal every tiny flaw.   I brush shaded some panels with a cocktail of Future (Pledge - Revive It), water and different Vallejo paints (black, sienna, blue & sand) for color variation.

"Decals were from AeroMaster set 48-616 'Imperial Hayates Pt.II' and the color scheme represents an aircraft of the 2nd Chutai, Hiko Dai 73 Sentai  in the Philippines during 1944.  Micro Set and Sol were used in placing them and they reacted very well.  I did have to cut some relief holes for the upper markings to allow the aileron rods to protrude properly. Once the decals were cured I applied a coat of Future to protect them.  Then a few coats or Model Master clear flat lacquer in preparation for charcoal weathering.

"Hard to believe I started this hobby with just a basic cheap kit, tube glue with no paint.  And now building models has become an adventure in using a plethora of materials, tools and paints.  Reminds of the Talking Heads song, “Once in a Lifetime” . . . . with a little play on words:

You may find yourself sitting at a hobby table 
You may find yourself building a Tamiya Tomcat 
And you may find yourself installing photo etch parts 
You may find yourself painting with an Iwata airbrush 
With a lighted painting booth 
And you may ask yourself, well 
. . . . . . Letting the days go by . . . . . 

"Hmm, How did I get here???? Enjoy the pictures and “BUILD ON!” "

The 73rd was formed on the Hayate at Kita-Ise airfield south-west of Nagoya in May 1944 in preparation for the 3rd Phase reinforcement plan for the defence of the Philippines as part of the Hayate-heavy 21st Air Brigade with 72nd Sentai, the two Air Regiments of Hayate (1st and 2nd) to be be formed from the Akeno Army Aviation School and a heavy bomber regiment (3rd) from Hamamatsu Army Aviation School. There is a useful and illuminating history of this unit in Arawasi magazine Issue 10 of August 2008 although the 30th Fighter Group (第30戦闘飛行集団) to which it was eventually subordinated in the Philippines is incorrectly translated as 30th 'Combat Air Division' - 集 shû not shi 師!     
With special thanks to Pat Villareal for the images and build report and to Mark Smith for facilitating.

Image credits: All model photos © 2018 Pat Villareal; Aeromaster 48-616 image via web.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

New Fine Molds 1/48 'Babs' Variants Due in December

Fine Molds will release three new variants of their splendid 1/48th 'Babs' kit in December this year.  IJA Type 97 Model 1 'Tiger Troop' (above) features the early variant with markings options for two aircraft of Dokuritsu Hiko Dai 18 Chutai and what appears to be an aircraft of Kumagaya Army Aviation School.


In addition the famous civil 'Kamikaze' record-breaker will be released as a separate kit (above) with two versions of markings (below). 

Also, completing the trio,  the IJA Type 97 Model II '8th Squadron' kit (above) with markings for two different aircraft of Hiko Dai 8 Sentai.  Price of these kits direct from Japan will be about £21 each.

With thanks to Dan Salamone for the heads-up on these releases. 

Image credits:- All © 2018 Fine Molds, via HobbyLink Japan Ltd.