Tuesday 23 November 2010

Kamikaze "Babs" in Warpaint

Correspondent José very kindly sent a link to this blog with some fascinating images of Japanese aircraft, including this one of the pioneering Mitsubishi Karigane "Kamikaze" in wartime camouflage. At first glance it appears to have been spray-painted in an overall dark colour but look more closely and the low contrast demarcation of two colours can be discerned. The "Kamikaze" name and Asahi--Shimbum flag appear not to have been masked but just loosely sprayed around leaving them on the varnished natural metal of the original airframe. The white (?) senchi hiyoshiki "war front" stripe is marked in a forward position immediately behind the Hinomaru and as seen in other images of this type

Fortunately for posterity the interior of "Kamikaze" was drawn and described for 'Flight' magazine whilst the aircraft was at Croydon. It may prove useful if and when that 1/48th kit finally appears. 

Other details to note in the photograph are the dropped, centrally located flap and the lowered footstep. The blue trim on the original "Kamikaze" is often depicted as rather bright but this contemporary model, albeit age degraded and darkened, suggests something perhaps a little deeper and more typically "dull" of the blue paints of the 1930's, towards an indigo.  

Unfortunately I don't know the identity of the Japanese modeller responsible for the gem below but I think he - or perhaps she - has done a very good job of interpreting the blue. The rendered chips are drawn from a variety of published sources but I think them still too bright and "purple" (it's a Munsell thing). The recent Hasegawa "dual combo" kit suggests the very bright and I think unlikely blue of GSI Creos "Mr Color" #65.

Monochrome photographs of "Kamikaze" are ambiguous, showing both "light" and "dark" shades for the blue. 

Image credits: 零戦落穂ひろい (http://blog.goo.ne.jp/summer-ochibo) via El Hangar de TJ blogspot; © Flight/Aeroplane; Authors Collection; Internet Unknown; Rendered chips © 2010 Straggler

Friday 19 November 2010

JASIG Corner Bulletin # 6 ~ SMW 2010 Part Two

More pics from Scale Model World at Telford. Above Andy Binks receiving his award for the Shinmeiwa model from JASIG Leader (or should that be Buntaicho) Gary Wenko. Unless you know the kit the extent of work and improvement demonstrated in this model can be under-appreciated. It was first released in the UK in mid-1971 for the then princely sum of £3.75 and is of the same generation as the heavily rivetted, dark green plastic "Betty", "Mavis" and "Emily".

A closer look at Peter Starkings superb Ki-3, from a Choroszy Modelbud resin kit in 1/48th scale.

And a selection of other Japanese aircraft models displayed on the stand or seen in the halls.

1/32nd Japanese Army Air Force Sopwith Pup  

1/72nd IJN Mitsubishi G4M2 "Betty"

1/72nd IJN "Mavis" Flying Boat

1/32nd Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien "Tony"

1/72nd Balsa solid model Mitsubishi A4M4 "Claude"

1/72nd JASDF Phantom

Another JASDF Phantom in 1/144th - a lifetime could be spent modelling the different schemes 

And another in 1/48th!

A 1/48th JASDF Kawasaki Trainer

A splendid 1/48th JASDF T-33

A 1/48th Shinden What-If (No - not that one!)

Colourful helicopters in 1/48th too

A 1/48th Piasecki Hou-Ou ほうおう

Nice to see a Japanese civil type - DH Heron in 1/144th

Aichi D3A1 "Val" in 1/144th

1/48th Kawasaki Ki-48 "Lily"

1/72nd Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu "Nick" with Toyota Starting Truck

1/48th JASDF F-15

Anigrand 1/144th resin "Liz"

That's all, folks!

Thursday 18 November 2010

JASIG Corner Bulletin # 6 ~ SMW 2010 Part One

The IPMS UK Scale Model World was held at the Telford International Centre on Saturday and Sunday, 13 & 14 November this year.  All I can say is WOW!  What a feast.  IPMS UK has got it right, a magnificent balance of branch displays, special interest groups, international IPMS group participants, vendors with everything from books, kits to resin conversions, old and new.  It was packed and the whole weekend was like drinking from a fire hose.  Scale Model World has truly become a celebration of our hobby.

Our own display was quite striking and only made possible by the folks who brought models to display:  Bill Anderson, Paul Bebbington, Julien Dixon, John Drummond,  Frank Hayes, Ian Jackson, Peter James, Peter Starkings, and Glenn Wilson.   We had a number of splendid compliments and many enquiries about the aircraft displayed on the table.

The 1940 part of the display was quite successful and well supported.  The modern era part of our stand prompted many questions too, with some fine jets and helicopters on show.

We awarded two trophies again this year:  a silver plated tray for Szymon Grzywocz, for the best model of a Japanese Aviation subject in the formal competition, who won with a 1/48th scale Nakajima Ki-84 (Frank).  Szymon is from Poland and a fantastic modeller.  Our second award, the Meisei trophy, awarded in remembrance of one of our SIG members, Dennis Earth, went to Andy Binks for the best model of a Japanese aviation subject in the halls.  He won with a beautiful 1/72nd scale Shinmeiwa flying boat.  

There were over 30 models of Japanese aircraft in the halls, not counting our display and the competition room had another 15, so it looks like interest in things Japanese is on the up.  It was hard judging this year and the point spread was pretty close. We'll take a closer look at some of those in Part 2 of this Corner Bulletin tomorrow.

Gary Wenko JASIG Leader

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Best Wishes Ed!

Please get well soon. Those early Hayabusa colours have recently got even more interesting!

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Japanese Aircraft Models from Guatemala and El Salvador

It is a delight to be able to share these images of aircraft models made by Japanese aviation enthusiasts in Guatemala and El Salvador which were displayed at the Annual and International Contest held in Guatemala.

The Hasegawa 1/72nd Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki "Tojo" was made by correspondent Gabriel and represents one of the kit options from the 1987 re-issue of an aircraft belonging to the air-to-air ramming shotai (flight) of the 47th Sentai. Gabriel understands that this particular aircraft probably had the wing armament removed. On 24th November 1944, during the first Superfortress raid against Tokyo, Sgt Yoshio Mita of the 47th Sentai flying a Ki-44 from this shotai, made a ramming attack on B-29 #42-24622 "Lucky Irish" of the 497th BG piloted by Capt. Sam P Wagner, destroying the bomber with the loss of the whole crew. Sgt Mita was also killed in the attack.

Gabriel painted this model with Testors Model Master Metalizer Aluminium Plate but decided not to vary the panel colours because of the white Home Defence bands on the aircraft.

This Mitsubishi Zero A6M2 is a 1/48th scale model built from the Tamiya kit and representing one of the aircraft flown by Saburo Sakai.

Leading IJN ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa's Mitsubishi Zero A6M3, again in 1/48th scale from a Tamiya kit.

11th Sentai Nakajima Ki-27 (97-Sen) from the Hasegawa (ex-Mania) kit in 1/48th scale

JASDF F-4EJ Kai Phantom II in 1/48th scale in a most attractive scheme 

Image credits: All model pics courtesy Gabriel & ©2010 respective owners

Tuesday 2 November 2010

JASIG Extra ~ Nitto's Big Willow with Sea Boots

A current modelling trend embracing 1/32nd scale has resulted in some stupendously detailed new kits being released, some of them more redolent of model engineering than modelling. But there are some very nice old stagers out there too, kits both of unusual subjects and of surprising quality for the time they were originally released. One such, and a rarity, is Nitto's Type 93 Intermediate Trainer, a biplane with floats.

From 1962 to 1985 Nitto or Nitto Kagaku, produced many injection moulded plastic model kits of a variety of subjects and their range of aircraft kits covered biplanes to airliners in scales from 1/600 to 1/32.

Their two 1/32 scale aircraft kits are both of the IJN Type 93 Intermediate Trainer, Kawanishi's K5Y, code name Willow.  Kit number 391 is of the K5Y1 land based trainer and 392 is of the floatplane trainer, both now long out of production. The moulds are said to have been acquired by Doyusha in the late 1980's so there might be some hope of a future re-issue.  My K5Y2  example, which was purchased on eBay, was originally imported into the UK by Richard Kohnstam Ltd (RIKO) and had English language instructions.

The nimble K5Y biplane trainer was given the nickname 'Akatombo' by the Japanese after its likeness of their native red dragonfly. 

The kit contains nine sprues, four of major aircraft components moulded in trainer yellow/orange, two of mostly engine/strut parts and the beaching trolley in brown plastic, two of mechanics and crew figures in white, a spall sprue for the transparencies and lengths of stiff wire for the rigging.  The decal sheet provides markings for two aircraft.

The twelve page instruction leaflet is excellent, presenting a history of the aircraft which includes manufacturing details and a parts listing with not just a diagram of  the sprue layout, but also the nomenclature of each part.  Expanded drawings and photos guide one through a quite straight forward assembly.  Options exist and are clearly identified as are any colour references.  Interestingly, the K5Y2 also kit contains wheels and struts, so has the option of making the land based K5Y1 should one wish to do so.

I based my own model (shown here) upon a pre-war silver-doped machine spotted in the Bunrindo Famous Aircraft of the World (FAOW) book on the Type 93.  The flying surfaces and fuselage were painted Humbrol Silver and weathered,  The metal surfaces around the cockpit and engine were painted Floquil Bright Silver and polished with SNJ Aluminium powder.  The floats too were painted with Floquil, and weathered.   The cowl was painted a mixture of flat black with a bit of blue.  Due to the age of my kit the decals were very fragile and I painstakingly placed them in bits having to touch up cracks and missing sections with paint.  

The K5Y2 is a handsome aircraft and saw service with the IJN throughout the war.

Gary Wenko

Image credits: All via Gary Wenko; model photos ©2010 Gary Wenko