Friday, 20 April 2018

Artur Domanski's 1/32 A6M3 Model 22 Zero


This splendid model of an A6M3 Model 22 Zero was built from the Tamiya 1/32 kit by Artur Domanski and features a superb representation of the appearance of the original '6-171' as seen in a couple of well known images.  


The base coat amber grey colour was mixed from Gunze Mr Color C60 RLM 02 Gray and C366 Hemp in the ratio 51% + 49% respectively. The dark green field camouflage is Tamiya. The wear was reproduced with the maskol and salt technique.  The markings are a mix of hand painted and conventional wet transfer decals from HGW.


With special thanks to Artur for sharing these images with Aviation of Japan. More photos of this model can be viewed here at Artur's own blog Artro219 Modelling, together with many other impressive models demonstrating his skills.  


Image credit: All © 2018 Artur Domanski

Friday, 13 April 2018

Yahu Instrument Panels for Japanese Aircraft Models

Back in March 2014 the pre-painted 1/72 scale Ki-44 instrument panel manufactured by Yahu Models was featured. Since then their range of aircraft sets in the popular scales 1/72, 1/48, 1/32 and 1/24 has been prolific, incorporating both complete, ready to fit panels and set ups requiring sandwiching of photo-etch parts and film sheets for optional possibilities. Some panels, such as the Ki-44, are also available for assembly by the purchaser. Don't be put off by the colour instruction sheet images which sometimes appear online as the colours of the actual painted panels are very good indeed.


Set YMA7262 (shown above) is designed for the Nakajima-built A6M2 in 1/72 scale. It consists of a basic pre-painted and assembled panel together with a sheet of three additional instruments and can be configured to suit the Tamiya, Hasegawa, Fine Molds and Airfix kits. The paint on the panel is matched to Mr Color C127 Cockpit Colour Nakajima. YMA7255 is the requisite set for the Mitsubishi-built A6M2 (shown below) and panels are also available for the A6M3 and A6M5 in this scale. Again all retailing in the UK for £1.99 each which is less than a tin of Humbrol paint.


Set YMA7277 (shown above) is designed for the Mitsubishi A5M4 in 1/72 scale to fit both the Fujimi and Hobby Boss/Doyusha kits. Nichimo is not mentioned but I reckon this could be fitted if upgrading that veteran is desired. This set consists of a single, one piece painted panel requiring only a single instrument to be bent into position before fitting into the cockpit. Unpainted, sheet-based photo-etched assemblies can look really excellent when persevered with but some modellers do struggle with the folding and sandwich assembly in 1/72 scale so these sets are an excellent way to add extra detail without stress. For an open cockpit type like the A5M4 they are especially welcome and the set retails in the UK for only £1.99.
     

Set YMA7292 (shown above) is designed for the LS/Arii Mitsubishi Ki-15/C5M 'Babs' and again consists of a single pre-painted panel with the colour matched to Mr Color C126 Cockpit Colour Mitsubishi. That limits the options if it is desired to paint the rest of the cockpit in the blue-grey Army # 3 colour, and re-painting the tiny panel would be quite a challenge.  Mine will go into a C5M!


In 1/48 scale set YMA4826 (shown above) is designed for a Nakajima-built A6M2 using the Tamiya kit. This consists of a pre-painted panel and a sheet of additional pre-painted parts. The set for a Mitsubishi-built A6M2 also using the Tamiya kit is YMA4825.  


Set YML4801 (shown above) is designed for the Hasegawa E8N1/2 'Dave' floatplane and consists of five pre-painted parts for the pilot and observer cockpits which require sandwich assembly to create two panels and the observer's rear bulkead.


Set YMA4857 (shown above) is designed for the A5M2 using the Wingsy or Special Hobby kits and consists of a single pre-painted panel with an additional sheet of pre-painted instruments and parts for early and late variants as well as cockpit wall placards. In March this year sets were also released for the Ki-43-II as YMA4865 designed for the Hasegawa or Fine Molds kits and for the Ki-44 as YMA4868 designed for the Hasegawa or Arii kits.


In 1/32 scale sets are available for the Mitsubishi and Nakajima-built A6M2 designed for the Tamiya kit as YMA3224 (shown above incorrectly labelled for a Hasegawa kit and corrected on released sets) and YMA3234 respectively, as well as for the Hasegawa Ki-44 kit as YMA3230. Sets for the Trumpeter 1/24 A6M2 are also available for Mitsubishi or Nakajima-built variants as YMA2403 and YMA2406 respectively.   
 
The Yahu Models sets are little gems and highly recommended for all modellers, but especially those embarking on aftermarket detail additions for the first time. Hopefully more Japanese aircraft subjects will be forthcoming, encouraged by sales. The sets are available across the world from the retailers listed here. With special thanks to Urszula of Yahu Models for the review samples.

Image credits: All © 2018 Yahu Models


Thursday, 12 April 2018

New Fine Molds 'Babs' in 1/48!


Hat tip to Dan Salamone, who was first, for alerting me to this news, but thanks also to the others who wrote in. Following on from their Claudes, a new tool 'Babs' from Fine Molds in 1/48 scale. From the box art depicting a well-known Tainan-ku rikutei-tai air-to-air bomber, this hopefully first of a Babs family (?) is the IJN Mitsubishi C5M variant, the Type 98 Land-based Reconnaissance Aeroplane (Kyu-Hachi Shiki Rikujoh Teisatsu-ki - 九八式陸上偵察機, abbreviated as Kyu-Hachi Riku-tei - 九八陸偵). The new kit is scheduled for release in July and expect to pay about £20 (US$28) if bought direct from Japan. Hopefully this spad-tastic fad (with a Ki-51 due from Wingsy) might continue for us to eventually see a mainstream Ki-36/55 kit released in the same scale.  


Also due in July from Fine Molds is a mainstream 'modified' kit of Claude's predecessor, the Ka-14 in 1/72 scale, previously released only as a magazine special. This one with a new cowling but hopefully offering both in the kit.

Image credits: All box art © 2018 Fine Molds Corp.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Lifelike Decals Trio of A5M Sheets in 1/48


Definitely falling into the category of a Claudefest, Lifelike Decals have recently released three sets of decal sheets featuring no less than 38 different markings schemes in total for the iconic Claude, a veritable cornucopia of colour.


Set 48-053 Mitsubishi A5M Part 1 features 12 marking schemes, predominantly of A5M4 variants, as follows:-
  1. A5M2b early, 3-154, Houkoku-125 (Daiichi Sumitomo Go) of 12 Ku, Kong Da, China, 1938 - a closed canopy aircraft in silver and red with a camouflaged cowling. 
  2. A5M4, W-100 of Flight Commander, Soryu Fighter Group, probably Japan, December 1939 to early 1940 - in silver and red with black and white trim and black wheel spats.
  3. A5M4, W-107 of Soryu Fighter Group, Fall 1940 to Spring 1941 - in silver and red with narrow red fuselage band and yellow tail stripe.
  4. A5M4, 9-151 of Lt Motonari Suho, Buntaicho in 14 Ku, Naning, China, December 1939 to early 1940 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band.
  5. A5M4, K-112 of Kaga Fighter Group, South China Sea, late 1938 - in silver and red with blue fuselage band. This aircraft also has a red longitudinal fuselage stripe.
  6. A5M4 of Flight Commander of Akagi Fighter Group, Yokosuka, Japan, November 1939, possibly flown by Lt Cmdr Shogehachiro Tokoro - in silver and red with white trim
  7. A5M4, T-152 of Tsuiki Ku, Tsuiki, Autumn 1942 - in silver and red with blue fuselage band.
  8. A5M4, CII-102 of Hosho Fighter Group, April 1941 to March 1942 - in silver and red with red longitudinal fuselage stripe.
  9. A5M4, CI-106 'Iso' of Zuiho Fighter Group, Sasebo, March 1941 - in silver and red with yellow fuselage band and tail code. This aircraft also has a red longitudinal fuselage stripe and the white kanji character 'Iso' (磯) painted inside the fuselage Hinomaru.
  10. A5M4, ヨ-186 ('Yo'-186) flown by A1/c Hideo Oishi of Yokosuka Ku, Yokosuka, December 1939 in silver and red with white trim. 
  11. A5M4, 2タイ-103 ('Ta-i'-103) of Tainan Ku (2nd generation), Formosa, February 1944 to February 1945 - a training aircraft in dark green over grey-green.
  12. A5M4, カ-130 ('Ka'-130) of Kasumigaura Ku, Matsushima Detachment, Matsushima, January 1944 - another training aircraft in overall orange with a special rollover fairing fitted behind the cockpit. 
There are two sheets in this set, with one providing the various Hinomaru. As usual with Lifelike, each subject is described with a note clearly stating the reference sources and any elements of the markings which are deductive or speculative, together with a brief biography of the pilot where appropriate.


Set 48-054 Mitsubishi A5M Part 2 features 13 marking schemes, again predominantly A5M4 variants, as follows:-
  1. A5M2b late, 3-108, Houkoku-212 (Teikoku Selmei Go) flown by A1/c Kyosaku Aoki, 12 Ku, Anking, China, 1938 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band.
  2. A5M2b late, Houkoku-218 (Heihoku Kanri Go), probably 14 Ku, Sanzao Do, December 1938 to early 1940 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band. Unusually this aircraft has the Houkoku legend repeated across the fin and rudder.
  3. A5M2b late, 3-162 flown by A1/c Kezuo Tsunoda, 12 Ku, Anking, China, August 1938 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band and red wheel spats.
  4. A5M4, W-121, Houkoku-307 (Koku Keiki Go), Soryu Fighter Group, probably Japan, November 1939 - in silver and red with red fuselage band and diagonal blue and white fuselage band.
  5. A5M4, Houkoku-317(Miyagi Suisan Go), 14 Ku, Haikou, China, Autumn to early December 1939 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band and white tail stripes. Another aircraft with the Houkoku legend repeated across the fin and rudder.
  6. A5M4, 9-137, Houkoku-317 (Miyagi Suisen Go), 14 Ku, Nanning or Hankow, China, January to August 1940 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band and white tail stripes.
  7. A5M4, S-160, Houkoku-367 (Daini-Tokyo-Kamisho Go), Chitose Ku, Roi Island, October to November 1941 - in silver and red with blue and white tail stripes.  
  8. A5M4, S-153, Houkoku-373 (Isetan Go), Chitose Ku, Roi Island, October to November 1941 - in silver and red with broad blue fuselage band.
  9. A5M2b late, 9-176, 14 Ku, Nanning, China, December 1939 to January 1940 - in green and brown camouflage over silver with red tail. 
  10. A5M4, リ-114 ('Ri'-114), Houkoku-170 (No.32 Zennihon Go), Hyakurihara Ku, Hyakurihara, 1940-1941 - in silver and red with overpainted fuselage band.
  11. A5M4(?), ス-151 ('Su'-151), Suzuka Ku, Suzuka, 1940-1941 - in silver and red with non-standard red demarcation on tail.
  12. A5M4, G-102, Genzan Ku, probably Woosan, Korea, November 1940 to September 1941 - in silver and red.
  13. A5M4, オタ-163 ('O-ta'-163), Oita Ku, Oita, 1943 - in silver with red wheel spat flash and nose trim.
The two decal sheets included in this set and in the others are crisply printed for Lifelike by Microscale and both the register and colour saturation looks very good, with the correct colour red presented for the Hinomaru. The blue fuselage band on subject 8 must be painted on by the modeler but Lifelike provide silver panels as decals as well as positive and negative templates to mask and apply the Houkoku legend as desired - a nice touch.  
 
 
Set 48-055 Mitsubishi A5M Part 3 also features 13 marking schemes, again predominantly A5M4 variants, as follows:-
  1. A5M2b early, 3-155, Houkoku-126 (Daini Sumitomo Go), 12 Ku, Kong Da, China, 1938 - a closed canopy aircraft in green and brown camouflage over grey-green  with white fuselage band and tail code.
  2. A5M2b late, 10-113, Houkoku-188 (Daisan Chuugakusei Go) flown by A3/c Yukio Aiso, 15 Ku, Jiujiang, China, September to December 1938 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band.
  3. A5M4, W-101, Houkoku-260 (Fujisawa Go) flown by Lt Tamotsu Yokoyama of Soryu Fighter Group, Japan, November 1939 - in silver and red with red fuselage bands and Hinomaru flag (the Hinomaru for the flag is provided as a decal).
  4. A5M4, W-102, Houkoku-261 (Yoshida Go) flown by A1/c Matsuo Hagiri of Soryu Fighter Group, Japan, November 1939 - in silver and red with red fuselage band.
  5. A5M4, W-102, Houkoku-266 (Iwai Go) flown by A1/c Hideo Oishi of Soryu Fighter Group, Japan, November 1939 - in silver and red with red fuselage band.    
  6. A5M4, W-114 of Soryu Fighter Group, East China Sea, November 1938 - in silver and red with red fuselage band and diagonal black fuselage band (not supplied as a decal). 
  7. A5M4, VII-III, Houkoku-348 (Daini Jokyoin Go) of Soryu Fighter Group, Kasanohara, early 1941 - in silver and red with red and white fiselage band and diagonal blue fuselage band, wing stripes and wheel spat trim. The spats have to be painted but the white and blue edging is provided as decals with alternates designed to fit either the Fine Molds or Wingsy kits.  
  8. A5M4, VII-119, Houkoku-386 (Daiichi Fukui Orimono Go) of Soryu Fighter Group, Kasanohara, early 1941 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage band and white, blue edged fuselage band, wing stripes and wheel spat trim. The wheel spats are dealt with as for subject 7. 
  9. A5M4, Houkoku-278 (Osaka Gas Go), 14 Ku, Sanzao Dao or Haikou, China, Summer 1939 - in silver and red with red and white fuselage stripe and white tail stripes. The Houkoku legend is repeated across the fin and rudder. 
  10. A5M4, 9-158, Houkoku-278 (Osaka Gas Go), 14 Ku, Haikou, China, Summer 1939 - in silver and red with black and white fuselage band (provided as a decal).  
  11. A5M4, QI-107, Houkoku-295 Dainippon Moufo Go) of Soryu Fighter Group, Sanya, Hainan Island, September 1940 - in silver and red with red fuselage band.
  12. A5M4, M-103, Miho Ku, Miho, October 1943 to June 1945 - a training aircraft in silver and red.
  13. A5M4, カ-105 ('Ka'-105), Kasumigaura Ku, Kasumigaura, Autumn 1943 - another training aircraft in dark green over grey-green with white tail code.
Seven of the 13 subjects in this set of three sheets are for aircraft of the Soryu Fighter Group, including three very colourful examples. But on all the sheets some of the lesser known units are included which might otherwise be difficult to model. The attention to detail is shown by the alternative trim decals for the Fine Molds or Wingsy kits. The number of subjects provided suggests joint purchase and/or sharing to avoid waste but no doubt some Claude enthusiasts will invest in all the sheets for the sheer choice of subjects and the very useful reference notes. I hope that in due course we might also see them available in 1/72 scale.    


Lifelike's painstaking trio of decal sets is an excellent enhancement for the recently released Claude kits in 1/48 and highly recommended. With special thanks to Keishiro of Lifelike for these review samples. 

Image credits: All © 2017/12 & 2018 Lifelike Decals 

Monday, 2 April 2018

Congratulations Royal Air Force ~ 1918-2018


Congratulating the Royal Air Force on their Centenary today, as yesterday was Easter Sunday.

Never since English ships went out
To singe the beard of Spain,
Or English sea-dogs hunted death
Along the Spanish Main,
Never since Drake and Raleigh won
Our freedom of the seas,
Have sons of Britain dared and done
More valiantly than these.

Whether at midnight or at noon,
Through mist or open sky,
Eagles of freedom, all our hearts
Are up with you on high;
While Britain's mighty ghosts look down
From realms beyond the sun
And whisper, as their record pales,
Their breathless, deep, Well Done!

Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)
 
Image credit: English Electric via Sqn Ldr J S Millman MBE


Saturday, 31 March 2018

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


Since I blogged about 'Tets Research Institute' and the Ki-61-II 'Bubbletop' project of Tetsuya Inoue in June last year, he has been continuing to work his magic as a master modeler and miniature engineer. Bearing in mind the scale of his model - 1/48 - the painstaking work involved is nothing short of awesome. The latest progress is described and pictured here


Do visit Tetsuya's blog and prepare to be inspired and amazed, not just by the detail but by the absolutely convincing painting too. Did I mention the scale is 1/48? I have a sneaking suspicion that Tetsuya has a one and a half inch tall pilot waiting patiently in a dispersal hut to climb into this aircraft and test fly it when it is completed!




With special thanks to Tetsuya for kindly alerting me to the progress report on this project.

Image credits: All © 2018 Tetsuya Inoue