Monday, 31 August 2009

Aichi M6A1 Seiran Colours

This schematic on the subject of Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Navy Experimental 17-Shi Special Attack Aeroplane) colours was prepared in response to a private request and may be shared here. The colours are as measured and recorded on the surviving NASM example by Robert C Mikesh and documented in his article 'Japanese Aircraft Colors at NASM' which appeared in Vol.3 No.1 of the Asahi Journal and also in the Seiran feature of his book 'Japanese Aircraft Interiors 1940-1945' (Monogram Aviation Publications, 2000).

Regarding the interior colours Mr Mikesh noted that they predominantly approximated the Thorpe identified colour N2 which has been matched to Munsell value 10 G 3/2 (see Thorpe Colour Table).

In his monograph on this type in the Monogram Close-Up series published as #13 'Aichi M6A1 Seiran' (Monogram Aviation Publications, 1975), Mr Mikesh identified the upper surfaces as being 'Dark Green' Munsell 10G 3/2 with the lower surfaces as 'Light Grey' Munsell N 7.5 and the interior as 'Olive Green' Munsell 10 Y 4/4. The latter value Munsell 10 Y 4/4 is the colour identified as N5 'Light Olive Green' by Thorpe.

Mr Mikesh also authored two earlier booklets on the subject of Japanese interior colours in the Monogram Close-Up series as #14 and #15 respectively, 'Japanese Cockpit Interiors', Parts 1 and 2, (Monogram Aviation Publications, 1976). In this publication he identifies Munsell 10 G 3/2 as 'Exterior Navy Green' and notes that there is no close FS 595b equivalent to it. The closest is actually 34058 @ 3.99 but it is too blueish in appearance (a value of 2.0 or less equals a close match).

An excellent account of the last operational use of Seiran may be found in 'I-400 Japan's Secret Aircraft-Carrying Submarine - Objective Panama Canal' by Henry Sakaida, Gary Nila and Koji Takaki (Hikoki Publications, 2006). The type is also covered in Ryusuke Ishiguru and Tadeusz Januszewski's superb 'Japanese Special Attack Aircraft & Flying Bombs' (Mushroom Model Publications, 2009) reviewed here.

Image credits: Seiran colour photograph Mark H Brown/USAFA via author; Rendered colour chips © 2009 Straggler incorporating original Kariki 117 paint standard plates.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Nick,

Thanks for the summary.

Regards,
Ken Glass

Brian @ ECD said...

Hi Nick,
Thanks for another fine post. I've always admired the crisp clarity of the color photo you posted.
However, I've also wondered what type of a/c is immediately behind the Seiran. That solid canopy fairing is perplexing. Any thoughts?

Thanks as always,
Brian Wiedemann

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Hi Ken & Brian

Thanks for the comments.

Brian, without checking the details I've always assumed that the aircraft behind the Seiran is a Judy converted nightfighter(?).

Kind regards
Nick

Dan said...

Hi Nick,
As always, a wonderful and informative post. This will help me someday finish the Tamiya Seiran that I started many years ago.....and I am very pleased at the interior color I chose at the time too.

Is there any way of knowing what tail code this particular Seiran wore? I'm guessing it was probably the prototype seen in other images but one never knows....
Dan

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Hi Dan

Thanks. I'm afraid I don't know the tail code, if any. The only information I have from the Asahi Journal article is that the s/n was 816 and that it was assembled at the 21st Naval Air Arsenal during April 1945.

Colour photographs of the aircraft at NAS Alameda in Monogram Close-Up 13 appear to show neither a tail code nor any evidence of one being painted out. In that publication the aircraft is also identified as being "Gokoku 1600228".

The tail code shown in the colour plate in the book is 'K6-01' and is explained as being the operational training code for the 'Seiran Corps' - 'K' for 'Kogeki' (Attack) and '6' for the 6th Fleet. IJN pilot Ichiro Naito and Flight Officer Tokunaga, both serving on the I-400 class with the Seiran Corps, are quoted as confirming that '631' for the 631st Ku would probably not have been painted on the tail due to the utmost secrecy of the unit. The two tail code numbers depicted in the book, 'K6-01' and K6-03', are qualified as being hypothetical.

A photograph of two Seiran on the deck of an I-400 plainly shows that the aircraft have tail codes but is not clear enough to discern what they are. I haven't trawled Henry Sakaida's book or the Arawasi magazines to see if there is any more information therein but in the meantime hopefully others may chip in with more data on the question of tail codes.

Kind regards
Nick

Dan said...

Thanks Nick, I'll have to dig through what I have as well (I've been guilty of forgetting I have the same references you mention)....

BTW, I like the brown color of the prop blades...no "brick red" there.

Dan

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Hi Dan

" . . . I like the brown color of the prop blades...no "brick red" there."

No indeed. It is a dark mahogany brown with lustre. The flat "brick red" finish seen on so many models seems to have become another unquestioned modelling convention.

All the best
Nick

Massimo Giugnoli said...

Hi is possible orange color for undersurface or is shading of the photo ?
Thanks, Massimo.