Sunday 14 June 2009

Aichi D4Y "Judy" Tailfin

From Ken Glass come two splendid photographs of a surviving Aichi D4Y tailfin photographed on a sunny day in August 1997.

The large photograph may be particularly useful to modellers contemplating weathering techniques on IJN warplane replicas as it reveals the way the red-brown primer is visible and the fairly minimal scratching to the bare metal. Shown next to the fin is a sheet of Munsell colour samples, painted not printed, for comparison. These samples are as listed in Robert C Mikesh's book 'Moonlight Interceptor' about the J1N1. Ken estimated 10 GY 2/2 as being the chip closest to the appearance of the paint surface which equates to Thorpe's N1, the closest FS 595b value being 14056 @ 1.10 (a value of 2.0 or less = a close match).

The tailfin was retrieved by the present owner from a scrap heap in Connecticut in the late 1940's. Much of the fin's present damage is visible in two photographs of the complete aircraft as captured in New Guinea in 1944. These images were published in a 1970's issue of the Japanese Koku Fan magazine. The unit code is '01-070' only partially applied on both sides of the fin, handbrushed in a single layer of white paint. Its appearance is streaky and lacking complete coverage.

This artifact is known to Mr Mikesh who has examined a small inspection port cover from the port side. The assessment of a match to N1 is confirmed in a letter from Mr Mikesh to the owner. A previous posting about D4Y interior colours may be found here.

The photographs were taken using Fuji 100 ASA colour film at f16 and 1/30 sec exposure.

Images credit: © 2009 Ken Glass


Anonymous said...

Hello Nick,

For anyone interested, the January, 1971 issue of Koku-Fan magazine, pages 60-65, had an 8 photo spread on the D4Y Judy, two of which were complete airframe images of 01-070. I remember a third image of the plane being presented in another Japanese language publication, perhaps an FAOW on the Judy series.

Ken Glass

Anonymous said...

I'll leave a comment not about the Glass photo(s) but about the trainer experimental "orange" etc you've been discussing.
The painting instructions of the Willow say that the top coat of the aircraft should be "daidai" iro.
Not "tooshoku" or "kiiro".
"Daidaiiro" is translated as orange in every Japanese-English dictionary. Not "yellow".

The colour I see is an "orange-yellow" to differentiate it from the "yellow" of the IFF stripes. If you want to call it "yellow", that's up to you but I hope you'll excuse me if I object.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks for that information, Anonymous. It is very useful and you are quite correct about the translation of daidai iro.

Kind regards

Anonymous said...

One more comment if I may.
The more than a dozen IJNAF veterans I've talk to about trainers call the colour either "kiiro" or "orenji" (orange) making no distinction between the two as is common with most Japanese. They also say that the trainers as shown in models or art depictions are too clean and too bright. The trainers got dirty all over the place very easily and the overall colour faded very quickly.

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for another most interesting and useful comment. The descriptions "kiiri" (yellow) and "orenji" (presumably orange) highlight the difficulties in assessing and describing these colours which I explained in the discussion at

This colour space is very relative to juxtaposition against a darker, more reddish orange or to a lighter, more lemon yellow, the appearance "shifting" to more yellow looking or to more orange looking respectively.

The lack of consistency in colour terminology in official Japanese documents is one of the many challenges facing researchers attempting to link extant surface colouring to original colour standards.

Kind regards

Bernard said...

Very Interesting photo! The color looks really dark green.I wonder if the plane numbers on the tail are known?