Monday, 10 February 2020

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

John Haas continues to share the kit-less creation of his prodigious, peachy and pioneering 'Patsy' in 1/48 scale (no less). Part One can be found here.  In his own words then.

"First I would like to thank all the readers for their kind comments ! The fuselage and wing were ready for joining. The first thing to do was to cut the completed single piece wing into two halves. I then drilled four holes in them to fit some lengths of metal pin (large paperclips work fine here) to make a solid connection to the fuselage. Those massive wing halves are quite heavy!

"The next step was to fabricate two engines and their nacelles. Fortunately I had some leftover pieces of very fine grain wood, which is excellent material for making round parts. I have no lathe so everything has to be done by hand with much filing and sanding. It was also a challenge to make the two streamline fairings on the top of the wings. Really a trial and error job to get it right.

"But at this stage we were getting somewhere. The main parts came together and it really started to look like a Patsy. After checking all the connections and puttying with grey paint, it was time for the smaller parts.

"The spinners are made from some drop tanks and luckily this time I a found two main wheels of an old F-111 in the spares box which were just the right size! I even found a Lightning nosewheel which after some modification fitted as the tailwheel. The undercarriage legs had to be sturdy, so they are made out of two sizes of aluminium tubing with some plastic details.

"Then I had to make some more engine parts, two cooling fans, cowling gills, wheel doors and after much studying of the photographs I figured out what the exhausts should look like. And finally followed an exercise in patience, filing and sanding eight propeller blades.

"Up to the next work-in-progress report - part three!"

With special thanks to John for sharing this wonderful example of expert scratch-building. Those two engine cowlings and nacelles in wood - made without a lathe - are masterpieces in their own right!

Image credit: Heading photo US Army via Wiki; All build photos © 2020 John Haas


Saturday, 1 February 2020

Kyofus at Surabaya 1945-46

In response to the recent feature on Zegeye's Kyofu Model and discussion of the Kyofus operated by 936 Ku and the 22nd Special Base Force in the East Indies, Jacob Terlouw has kindly shared these interesting photos and useful information.

Photo # 1 Aerial View of Kyofu at Surabaya - note paint wear on wing roots

Photo # 2 - note missing (?) rear transparency and white 'patch' at rear of cockpit. Is this the modified access door?

From Jacob: "No doubt- at least three N1K1's were found at Surabaya at the end of the war, at the end of 1946 one was shipped aboard the carrier Karel Doorman-1 to the Netherlands along with an Aichi E13A1b (Jake). In the spring of 1947 they arrived in Amsterdam. When taken aboard in Surabaya they sported AURI markings - as almost all Japanese planes left at Surabaya, why the planes were re-painted with Hinomarus I can only guess. The fate of these planes is not exactly known- I think the Rex went to the Technical University at Delft but the fate of the Jake was probably serving as a target for shooting practice! Nothing of both planes remains. There is one thing I saw on the few photos of the Rex's - all three of them had the early type exhausts - just like the prototype."

Photo # 3 Carrier Karel Doorman-1 

Photo #  4 Carrier Karel Doorman-1 

 Photo # 5 Jake and Rex on Karel Doorman-1

One of these Kyofu (see Photo # 2 above) has a rectangular white looking 'patch' near the cockpit, and a similarly shaped 'patch' is also seen on the rear fuselage of another Aichi Jake at Surabaya (not shown), positioned by the rear crew position. Is this the access door made to adapt Kyofu # 21 as a two seater?

 Photo # 6 Kyofu A1-105 on Karel Doorman-1

The Kyofu on the deck of the carrier (above) displays the tail code 'A1-105', identifying it as an aircraft of 936 Ku, part of the 13th Air Fleet, 10th (South West) Area Fleet. The alloted aircraft numbers for the East Indies Detached Unit were reportedly 61-100 so this particularly aircraft appears supernumerary to that. The main unit, based at Singapore and Penang, used white for tail codes (1-30) but the detached units (Indo-China, 31-60, and East Indies) used colours at the discretion of the commanding officer.  

  Photo # 7 Kyofu at Penang, 1946

The photo above is marked on the back as being taken at Penang. Malaya in April 1946 and notes that this seaplane was 'supposed to be the fastest in the world'. Pity the tail markings, if any, are not visible!

With special thanks to Jacob for sharing these photos and information.

Image credits: Heading art © 1995 Hasegawa Corporation; Photo 1 Royal Institute for the Tropics & Ethnic Studies, Holland; Photos 3-5 E. Beekman, Stenen Hooft Amsterdam; Photo 2 via Jacob Terlouw; Photos 6-7 Jacob Terlouw  

Friday, 31 January 2020

Alvaro's Illustrated Zeke

Alvaro César who in August 2013 kindly shared images of his superb build of the Tamiya 1/48 A6M3 Model 22 Zero, has now shared his accomplished and evocative pencil illustration of a pair of A6M2 Zeros from the IJN carrier Zuikaku. EII-102 was flown by F1c Tetsuzo Iwamoto on CAP from Zuikaku during the Pearl Harbor strike. At that time Iwamoto was already an ace from the China campaign with 14 claimed victories and was to make further claims as a carrier pilot over Ceylon and during the Battle of the Coral Sea. After a spell instructing in Japan he returned to operations and fought from Rabaul to Okinawa achieving an estimated 80 victories. He survived the war but died from blood poisoning in 1954.

With thanks to Alvaro for kindly sharing this illustration with Aviation of Japan.

Image credit: © 2020 Alvaro César

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Zero Interior Colours

Way back in June 2008 a schematic of colours from reported values for  Zero interior colours was blogged here and one of those, a rather unusual brush painted light tan hue seen in the cockpits of two A6M3 aircraft, a Model 32 and 22, had been measured by Robert C Mikesh as Munsell 3.2 Y 7.6/3.5, the closest FS equivalent being 33578. This colour is identified as N38 in his 'Japanese Aircraft Interiors 1940-1945' (Monogram Aviation Publications 2000). Ichiro Hasegawa had also reported a matt yellow, similar to this colour, as being seen in the cockpit of an A6M2 aircraft. 

Now Ryan Toews has very kindly shared valuable additional information and photographs from his own recent observations about this unusual colour to suggest that it is anomalous. Ryan  has commented as follows:-

"Last September 23rd (2019) I spent the day at Legend Flyers in Everett WA. My primary purpose was to check the progress of their reconstruction of A6M3 Model 32 c/n 3148, but I found  in their collection of artifacts what I identified as most likely to be parts of two separate A6M3 Model 22 forward fuselage sections. (Images 01 [heading photo] and 02). Note, though, that these artifacts could also be from late Type 32s or very early Type 52s.

 Image 02
 "What was interesting was the “light tan” coloured cockpit interior paint on both cockpit sidewalls. I thought immediately of your 2008 description of this colour. However, when this paint was buffed down it revealed that the light tan colouration was actually a result of paint oxidation. (Images 03 and 04 – note that both of these images are from components found on the cockpit seen in Image 02) The paint in fact was a mid-green shade. I suspect that in better light and some additional removal of the oxidized paint the colour would fall into the same shade of green found on other Mitsubishi Zero interiors.

 Image 03

 "I suspect Mikesh’s earlier observations on this paint did not include him buffing down the surface. The existence of this light tan shade in at least two different cockpits would seem to indicate the degradation of the original paint is not uncommon, but the original shade was actually consistent with Mitsubishi’s usage of a darker green interior paint."

Image 04

The official IJN cockpit interior colour was the greyish green M0/M1 and it now seems probable that most recorded variations in hue from this colour standard are due to manufacturer batch differences, photo-chemical colour shifts or age-related degredation of the exposed or protected paint strata (and not easy to determine which is which!). A yellowing or browning of the paint binder would shift the hue towards more olive green and paint surfaces protected from exposure to UV light could be expected to darken. The vehicle in the wartime paint was not very stable, but inconsistently so, and although the rate of colour shift cannot be determined Ichiro Hasegawa's observation suggests that it could have been quite rapid, at least in terms of the duration of the war. However, in general terms, the Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green colour intended for IJN aircraft is a tad too green compared to the M0/M1 standard which is around Munsell 7.5 GY 5/2 and/or FS 24226 in appearance.  

With special thanks to Ryan for sharing his revelatory observations and photos. The original June 2008 blog will be amended to link to this one.

Image credit: All photos © 2020 Ryan Toews

Monday, 27 January 2020

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

It is always a privilege to be able to share here the wonderful 1/48 scale aircraft models hand crafted by John Haas. His latest project to build a Ki-74 follows on from the Flying Review magazine retrospective feature on the type posted her last August. In John's own words then:

 "I always have had an interest in lesser known, exotic aircraft and the Tachikawa Ki-74 is no exception. To build a model you need good drawings. It took a long time before at last I found a rather good 3-view drawing as a starting point. Compaired with photographs, there are some minor differences.

"So I printed the drawings in 1/48 and started carving the fuselage in wood. I planned to make some vacuform sections for the cockpit and nose sections, to install some interior details later. I had some concern about blending the large 'bathtub ' with the fuselage belly but that worked out well.

"It involved a lot of work, to remove wood sections from the fuselage and replace them with the vacuum formed plastic parts, in the same time building the inner cockpit details.

"After this most importent and difficult chapter, I made the tail feathers. For those I also used plastic sheet. I find it easier this way, than to use some solid plastic or wood.

"Next major work, the wing. Fortunately I made quite a lot of them, so this was more or less a routine job. It always is a dusty business, shaving, carving and sanding. 
"I painted the fuselage and the wing in a neutral grey to check for any bad spots." 

To be continued in Part Two. 

Image credits: Heading photo US Army via Wiki; all build photos © 2020 John Haas


Thursday, 16 January 2020

Zegeye's 1/72 Kyofu 'Rex' Floatplane-Fighter

These kindly shared images of Zegeye's (Zbyszek Malicki) very impressive 1/72 Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu (強風 - Strong Wind), Allied code name 'Rex', built from the excellent Hasegawa kit of 1995 vintage, are a reminder that the third intended part of the Shiden-kai, Shiden & Kyofu Colours series of articles (from 2010!), concerned with the exterior colours of this floatplane fighter, was never posted. An omission to be rectified. . .

The model was built straight from the box and Zegeye chose Kawanish Green from the now defunct Aeromaster paints range for the upper surface and Gunze IJN Gray from their 'C' range for the under surface. The kit decals were used, representing an 'early type' aircraft of some distinction from the 22nd Special Base Force (特別根拠地隊 - Tokubetsu-konkyo-chitai) at Balikpapan, Borneo in 1945 (although the kit instructions state Surabaya, Java) with its distinctive blue tail code. The 22nd Special Base Force was part of the 2nd Southern Expeditionary Fleet and consisted mainly of sub-chasers and patrol boats with a guard force and port affairs department. Special Base Forces assigned to Guard Districts and Fleets were similar to IJN Base Forces but were primarily tactical rather than administrative in function, usually located at Fleet HQs or in forward areas.  The commander of the 22nd Lt Masaharu Nishiwaki was a floatplane pilot himself and in early January 1945 he arranged to obtain and operate Kyofu aircraft left behind at Surabaya by 934 Ku when it was disbanded in March 1944. 934 Ku originally had nine of the type on strength (in addition to the A6M2-N) and three serviceable examples were collected and used by the 22nd from Balikpapan on patrol and interception duties. 

 The Kyofus engaged Allied bombers on several occasions, claiming damage but without confirmation of any 'kills'. Two of the aircraft were subsequently destroyed by Allied strafing and the survivor 022-121, the subject of Zegeye's model and the Hasegawa kit, was then converted at the Surabaya depot into a two-seater for use on liaison duties between the two locations. After the evacuation of Balikpapan the 22nd air echelon moved to Jakarta and in July 1945 was consolidated with 936 Ku. From there the two seat Kyofu survivor was used to fly medical supplies to beleagured units still in Borneo, Flyer 1/C Tokujo Nakanishi earning an individual citation for successfully completing this sortie in stages, landing on a river in the dark and overcoming engine problems on the return flight.  It is possible that this particular aircraft survived to be photographed post-war at Surabaya (?) in Indonesian markings.

The Hasegawa Kyofu kit was also released in separate 'late type' (Sasebo Ku) with individual exhaust outlets and 'prototype' versions in 1996, with an added 'Aquarama' water display base in 1997 (which is a rare gem), as a 'combo' kit with the Nakajima A6M2-N 'Rufe' in 2012 (Sasebo Ku and prototype), in an 'early/late type' combo in 2013 (Otsu and Sasebo Ku) and as another Rufe combo for 934 Ku in 2015.    

With special thanks to Zbyszek for kindly sharing these images of his model with Aviation of Japan.

Image credit: All © 2020 Zbyszek Malicki