Monday 7 July 2008

Early Hayabusa Colours ~ Part 2

Another 50th Sentai Oscar was brought down almost intact near Chittagong five days after the loss of S/N 422. Sgt Maj Chikashi Kotanigawa was flying S/N 402 in a low level pursuit of the Hurricanes of Flt Lt G J C Hogan and P/O Gray together with other Oscars when it is believed he accidentally hit a tree and was forced down, the aircraft belly-landing in a small field beside the Sangu River, half a mile south-east of Ramu village in the Chittagong hill tracts. 

S/N 402 was manufactured in the same month as 422, April 1942, but its colour scheme does not appear to be identical. It was a 2nd Chutai machine and was the subject of a detailed description in EAI 2/3 recorded by Sqn Ldr Browne. The aircraft was described as "Dark matt olive green sides and upper surfaces, shiny grey under surfaces".

A piece of extant rudder fabric has been matched visually to FS 34095, appearing lighter and more olive than the fabric from 422. This colour is very close to RAL 6003 Olivegrün (olive green), for which there is a Revell semi-gloss enamel hobby paint # 361. The "browner" appearance of the Kotanigawa rudder may be due to a number of factors, including the ageing or ultra-violet exposure of the original paint as the fabric has been displayed under glass but exposed for many years. It may also have been replaced or re-painted following repair or refurbishment.

It is still greener than Thorpe's A2 Olive Green and closer to JAAF paint standard # 21 'Midori iro'.

Unlike S/N 422, Kotanigawa's aircraft appeared to have the undersurfaces painted a pale blue-grey colour. The original small plain fuselage Hinomaru had been modified to display a white border 2.75 inches wide. The profile shows the aircraft as described and photographed at the time. The variegation is deliberate. I was mindful not just of the different tones apparent in the photograph but of the emphasis of a former 64th Sentai pilot who told me that not only did the shade of dark green vary from aircraft to aircraft but even on the same aircraft due to fading, wear and repairs.

The large central chip displays a gradient of the 402 and 422 fabric colours, together with Thorpe's A1 Dark Green and A2 Olive Green for comparison purposes.

Images credit: Profile painting and rendered colour chips © Straggler 2008

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