Friday, 19 February 2010

Arawasi Extra 1

There is a lot of information on the internet - and much of it is free - but nothing beats being able to make a pot of tea, load up a plate with assorted biscuits and to sit in a comfortable armchair before a roaring, crackling fire (especially this winter!) with an honest to goodness magazine chock full of exotica and fascination. Very few magazines manage to maintain that delight cover to cover but Arawasi is one of them, and it stands out for its depth of coverage and colour. Unlike so much of the transient tidbits of fact and opinion on the internet it can be treasured as part of a library and constantly referred to, as I do.

Arawasi Extra 1 is a compilation of the first home-produced Arawasi magazines into a glossy, colourful and revised concentration of articles and features. Even if you have the earlier magazines this special issue is not to be missed because it contains so much new and interesting information as well as being full of wonderful colour illustrations and rare photographs.

The delight begins as soon as you open this special issue, with Takano Fumio's stunning Hayate artwork in beautiful colour. Then we are treated to an in-depth examination of Kawasaki's charismatic Ki-10 biplane fighter with photographs, colour profiles and interior schematics in colour. No modeller planning to build Fine Molds beauty should be without this. A fascinating feature on Kawasaki engines by the knowledgeable Mike Goodwin follows this up.

Now quickly past the article on the 10th Independent Flying Squadron in the attack on Hong Kong without comment - a conflict of interest as the authorship there and here is shared!

'Heinkels Over Japan, Part 1' by Peter Starkings delivers much and promises more, with beautiful illustrations by Zygmunt Szeremeta. The full story of German aircraft exports to Japan is overdue and I look forward to Peter's continuation of this theme.

Paul Thompson writes a piece on aikoku (patriotism) aircraft illustrated by photographs and charming period postcards in colour and this is followed by a feature on a quartet of unusual Hayabusa in particularly striking plumage, with colour profiles again illustrated by Zygmunt with photographs to enjoy as well, including those Burmese presentation aircraft. This is undoubtedly the most accurate rendering of the peacock tail insignia.

There is little out there on Chinese aviation history, an interest of this blog, and even less on the puppet regimes that supported the Japanese, so the fascinating article on the Nanking National Air Force (NNAF) with superbly clear photographs and more beautiful profiles by Zygmunt is a treasure of great value. This is followed by a revealing article about the Last Emperor of China, Pu Yi, by George Eleftheriou.

But even after this visual and intellectual feast (the biscuits have almost all gone) there is still more to come. The fascinating and humane exploration of a Kamikaze Group Photo by renowned author Henry Sakaida linking past to present, followed by an exhaustive examination of a much used Japanese airstrip complex at Wewak in New Guinea, the first part of a series by Richard Dunn with modern colour photographs by Justin Taylan.

And finally, another colour feature on the making of a superb 1/25th scale Ki-10 model in wood by Tanaka Shôichi and an "on location" piece about the remains of a Ki-21 "Sally" bomber in Thailand.

I cannot praise the achievement or impact of Arawasi too highly. In the early days of interest in Japanese aviation the availability of such a magazine, in English, could only be dreamed of. The internet may have the sound and fury but it is the silently powerful treasure chests like Arawasi Extra 1 which will endure and ultimately provide the most sustainable and valuable record for those interested in and enthused by this subject. Very highly recommended and exceptionally good value.

Image credit: ©2010 Arawasi

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Tanks & Talking Modelling

I popped over to a friend's house on Monday to talk models and aviation. It was a delight to be able to see almost complete builds of Hasegawa's big flying boats Emily and Mavis - such impressive and beautiful airframes - a Hasegawa Nell and to notice the relatively small size of Hasegawa's Hiryu by comparison. Comparing Hiryu with a Ventura made me think how little credit the Japanese designers have been given for the finesse of their streamlining, particularly the close cowling of radial engines. I also got to see the AZ Models Ki-48 "in the plastic", so to speak. The nose didn't look too bad to me, although I wasn't able to check it against plans (and which plans? Plans by the same draughtsman Hasegawa based their Ki-43 on???) and I'm mindful that most of the comparisons have been made between photographs of the model taken from the upper side quarter and photographs of the real aircraft taken from the lower side quarter. As the lurker might say - hmmm. No, a more immediately apparent disappointment about this kit pointed out to me - and with which I agree - was the rather milky opacity of the clear parts.

Special Hobby's big Fiat Br.20 was impressive in the box, although no option for a Japanese version is included. An interesting discussion on Japanese Fiat Br.20 camouflage colours followed. Four colour upper surface btw - but you'll have to wait for that - and all your models are wrong! ;-) By the by my host is the lucky owner of a copy of Andrea Degl'innocenti and Umberto Postiglioni's valuable classic 'Colori E Schemi Mimetici Della Regia Aeronautica 1935-1943' published by CMPR in 1977 with real paint chips, and which is now the literary equivalent of hen's teeth.

Beyond the scope of this blog but my friend's collection of Japanese armour was also admired, the latest partially built or still in box and including some exotic resin from Japan for the Type 89. There is a most interesting build of the Fine Molds Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha (Improved Turret) in Issue 47 of Model Military International magazine which relates the perhaps apocryphal story of the last minutes of Captain Nakazawa's life. The author Luke Pitt eschewed Mr Hobby's "parched grass" on the grounds that it had "way too much green" and used a home-brew instead. Pity and it just goes to show . . . . The end result is more than impressive though (image above). In the same issue is an interesting article on the Type 97 Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha by Bruce Culver with a colour photograph of the world's only operable Type 89 clanking along. Finally there is a Type 97 colour walk around of the survivor at the US Army Ordnance Museum. Definitely an issue for the Japanese armour enthusiast should any stray here by chance and a temptation for those Japanese aircraft modellers wanting a change.

All in all a good day out and but for car troubles a perfect one! Tanks mate! Your kind hospitality, the sharing of treasure and the conversation was much enjoyed and seeing me safely home at the end of the day very much appreciated.

Image credit: ©2010 Luke Pitt & Model Military Magazine International.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Shiden-kai, Shiden & Kyofu Colours ~ Part One

Having hopefully digested the preamble let's begin in reverse order with the Shiden-kai. In the late and lamented Asahi Journal, Vol.3 No.1 (undated), Robert C Mikesh produced a report on the measured paint colours of several extant airframes in the NASM collection. This report included the surviving Shiden-kai s/n 5341 and the traces of original paint examined were found when the Champlin Fighter Museum undertook the aircraft's restoration.

Unfortunately the Shiden-kai paint colour identified as being Thorpe's N1, Munsell 10 GY 2/2 was not reported to be measured so it must be presumed to be a visual matching only. Despite this it is worth putting the identification within the context of the exercise which led to the report by directly quoting Mr Mikesh's approach.

"What I did at this point was to select the Navy green and gray color chips that I felt were as close to measured readings as possible. Some had to be 'bracketed' by selecting two, three or four chips that surrounded the colorimeter reading obtained. Amazingly, about 70% of the selected chips separated themselves in either the Black Green (N1) or the Dark Green (N2) groupings without question. Included as reference were the two color samples of Munsell values that have been accepted for many years as Black Green and Dark Green. Although neither of these two chip color values came out as an actual color reading from any of NASM's aircraft, color samples within these two respective groups had negligible differences. This further validates Don Thorpe's Munsell color value for N1 and N2 as being 10 GY 2/2 and 10 G 3/2 respectively. These two values that I identify as a Thorpe Number in the following data were derived by this grouping of greens just described."

And he presented a timely warning about the danger of literal acceptance of FS595B equivalents:-

"A few Federal Standard equivalents are mentioned - but as in the past, I can find few Japanese colors thought to be true colors that can be matched to the FS system."

In their book 'Genda's Blade', an account of the 343rd Kokutai, authors Henry Sakaida and Koji Takaki address the subject of the colours of the Shiden-kai within a dedicated chapter. They describe a "glossy dark green/olive finish" in the colour range of FS values 34052, 34077 and 34079 but also refer to the NASM example as being painted in "a semi-gloss black green(Munsell 10 GY 2/2)".

This immediately throws up an anomaly, because two of these FS values are closer in value to Munsell 10 G 3/2 (N2) than to 10 GY 2/2 (N1). The calculations are as follows:-

34052 = 10 GY 2/2 @ 9.51 & 10 G 3/2 @ 8.37
34077 = 10 GY 2/2 @ 3.53 & 10 G 3/2 @ 6.52
34079 = 10 GY 2/2 @ 12.4 & 10 G 3/2 @ 9.81

However, none of these FS comparisons could be described as close matches or even reasonable matches, which brings us back to Mr Mikesh's qualifying comment about the unsuitability of FS 595B when attempting to determine the original colours. But regardless of this the residual problem is that the range of colour suggested by the FS values is as much like N2 as N1, if not actually more so. This brought a feeling of déja vu from the subject of Irving colours explored here.

Peter Fearis also examined a surviving Shiden-kai for the purposes of his excellent monograph on the type, this being s/n 5312 at the USAF Museum, Dayton, Ohio. Although again visually matching, he describes the original paint surface colour as being a "dark green" close to FS 34092 but qualifies this by commenting that "for authenticity a small percentage (5%) of Royal blue should be added to this green, the change of hue is very subtle." FS 34092, even without a little blue, is a long way from Munsell 10 GY 2/2 (N1) @ 11.9 but closer to Munsell 10 G 3/2 (N2) @ 4.64. As one of the lurkers might say - hmmm.

Aero Detail 26 on the Shiden-kai describes the paint colour as "Kawanishi Dark Green-Black". There are no values given for it but the dark green used in the printed schematics appears to be more like N2 than N1.

Model Art #272 on IJN Fighter Camouflage & Markings has a painted chip identified as "Kawanishi Deep Dark Green" which also provides Gunze (GSI Creos) and Tamiya paint mixes for it as follows:-

Gunze: H4 5% + H5 45% + H6 50%

Tamiya: X5 62% + X3 30% + X9 3% + X1 5%

The paint chip in this book is closer to Munsell 7.5 GY 3/2 with no close FS equivalent. It is almost exactly similar in value to RAL 6020 Chromoxidgrün (Chrome Oxide green) but it is not like 10 GY 2/2 N1. It may be of interest to know that this RAL colour is available as a semi-gloss paint (32)363 'Dunkelgrün' in the Revell range (and a lovely colour it is too). In the text about the aircraft in this reference the colour scheme is just described as "the standard dark green".

Model Art #304 on the N1K1/N1K2-J also includes a painted chip of dark green described as 'An Ryokushoku' (Dark Green Colour) that is between 10 G 2/2 and 10 G 2/4 in appearance, not quite as dark as the former but with a strong and rich viridian green chroma. The paint mix for this chip is suggested from the "Mr Color" range:-

#6 50% + #5 40% + #4 10%

The IJN HQ Proposal for Revisions to Aircraft Planning Procedures (Hikoki Keikaku Yoryosho Kaitei-an) of March 1944 included a table of standard colours and codes from Kariki 117 and specified the upper surface paint colour to be D1 'an ryokoshoku' (dark green) - see previous article - with the lower surfaces as J3 'hairykushoku' (ash green - described this way in the 1944 report even though the original Kariki 117 described J3 only as ash colour ('hai iro').

Another dichotomy is in the way the original Kariki 117 'D1' swatch has been interpreted by two different researchers, shown above as D1 'A' and D1 'B' together with a facsimile of the actual swatch in comparison to a page of the JPMA deck (note that there is a strong and misleading blue-green caste to the reproduction of this image). If accurate there is very little green chroma in this colour - which may be the result of degradation. Attempting to reconcile the paint colours found on the surviving Shiden-kai with the Kariki 117 swatches illustrates perfectly the difficulty of comparing paint colour standards to applied paint - even before considering the effects of age, heat and UV degradation. Any attempt to be unequivocal or dogmatic about this subject and the associated issues would seem rash.

Returning to Don Thorpe, he lists the "George" as predominantly having N1 uppersurfaces but records N2 and even the dark grey-green N3 (see Thorpe Colour Table) as variants. All five N1K2-J profiles in his book 'Japanese Naval Air Force Camouflage and Markings World War II' are captioned as having N1 upper surfaces although the colour chosen appears more like N2!

The aspect of the various comparisons explored here that is most concerning is the citing of various green values that are across olive, viridian and grey/blue-green colour families as well as encompassing both the N1 and N2 Thorpe identified colours. Even allowing for variations it makes it difficult to pin down a colour that may be said to be "typically" characteristic of the Shiden-kai paint. But looking at the vast array of paintings, profiles and models of Japanese Navy aircraft it is apparent that the problem is widely experienced.

So, Shiden-kai N1 or N2 or both? The next instalment will explore the way the Japanese Navy greens evolved in the February 1945 Joint Army-Navy Standard document 8609, consider the available hobby paints, ponder kit instructions and look at other colour details for Shiden-kai. Does it get any easier? Believe me, no.

Image credits: Photo©2010 kitty kitty; Rendered colour chips ©2010 Straggler; facsimile Kariki 117 swatch Summer via Fuku

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Shiden-kai, Shiden & Kyofu Colours ~ Introduction

Donald W Thorpe identified two principle dark greens on Japanese Navy aircraft. The first, which he designated N1, is a very dark "black green", so dark that the closest FS595B equivalent is 14056 @ 1.10 (less than 2.00 = a close match)

The second green, N2 "dark green", is a viridian green with a discernable blueish caste, but not as blue as its closest FS equivalent of 34058 @ 3.99 which is not a particularly useful match. In his studies of Japanese aircraft paint colours at NASM Robert C Mikesh has continued to use Thorpe's designations when grouping and classifying measured colours, as well as adding his own "Thorpe-style" designations for the identification of interior paint colours.

The Imperial Japanese Navy Air HQ paint colour standard Kari Kikaku 117 (Provisional Standard 117), often abbreviated to "Kariki 117", originates from 1938, but one of the documented copies is annotated as "Air HQ Revision 2943 of April 10th 1942". This document does not, of course, use the Thorpe/Mikesh designations but presents a rather bewildering variety of greens in the 'D' grouping Midori Iro (Green Colour), ranging from a very dark black green to what may be described as a very bright leaf green. Reconciling these paint colour standards with what has been seen and found on actual airframes is one of the challenging mysteries of the subject, because despite the revelations of Kariki 117 very little factual information about exactly how the colours were used has surfaced. Although the Japanese Navy designations 'D1', 'D3', etc., have been referenced in various aircraft type specific studies it has never been made very clear how these associations have been concluded, whether by contemporaneous documentary information or archeological matching. The other complication is that although the Kariki 117 paint colour standard swatches have been photographed and published and matched to current FS595B and JPMA (Japanese Paint Manufacturers Association) colour decks (the latter corresponding to standard Munsell values) as far as I know they have not been measured using spectrophotometric equipment. The problem with visual matching is that it is subjective and highly dependent upon an individual perception of colour - which may be flawed. We are not talking colour blindness here, but more about levels of colour perception ability (poor, average, good) and any inherent hue bias (yellow/green, brown). In reinforcing these subjective visual matches there is a tendency to put forward photographs of the original swatches in juxtaposition with the modern paint colour decks. In some cases, and allowing for colour reproduction integrity, there are corresponding similarities, but in some the matches appear to be in name only. The person matching has struggled to find the nearest appearance to the original, sometimes qualifying the differences subjectively, with the inherent risk of demonstrating perceptive bias* across the three characteristics of hue (shade), chroma (saturation) and lightness (intensity or value), as well as perceptive bias in perceiving and articulating any difference.

Those who own the corresponding colour standard decks may be able to compare the examples for themselves and achieve some understanding of what is being communicated but those without such resources may find it difficult to visualise the prevailing characteristics of the colour(s) being studied. Beyond this is the ever hungry demand for the simplicity of equivalent hobby paints and an availability of corresponding proprietory paints that spans a two decade period (and in some cases longer) of ever changing data and knowledge. Thus a bottle - or tin - of "IJN Dark Green" may represent the very latest data and thinking, or the understanding of many years ago and long superceded. But hey, dark green is dark green, right?

Matching to equivalents across standards sometimes leads to other margins or error, where for example the closest FS595B match (which may not be a very good match at all) is quoted so frequently that it is eventually assumed to be the actual and correct colour, and is popularly used as the basis for mixing or creating a hobby paint. From these transmogrifications often emerge modelling conventions about how certain colours are supposed to look and a pervasive derivative and imitative trend develops which can and sometimes does obfuscate the original data. Only the most inquisitive will seek out the buried treasure but they should be prepared for a lonely journey, satisfactory only in respect to their own models. Shouting into the storm of noise where the biggest blowhards prevail is ultimately futile.

Finally, a gentle reminder that paint colour standards, however "official", are never the same as procured and applied paints. This is a persistent assumption which has led to the "discovery" of many "new" paint colours - colours which in reality merely represent mundane variations against the original standards. The paints may be manufacturered within very fine tolerances to match the paint colour standards required but even before the tin lid is prised open the actual appearance of the paint colour is beset by a succession of inevitable and largely haphazard factors:-

1) Manufacturing - quality and ratio of ingedients, mixing, batch differences, shortages;

2) Method of application, which involves stirring, thinning and sometimes mixing;

3) Environmental degradation through heat, light, moisture, age, etc.;

4) Treatment and wear, deliberate or unintended, such as polishing and/or exposure to solvents

And these are just headline points, within each is a vast array of possibilities and permutations which are usually impossible to quantify.

This rather plodding phalanx of preliminary waffle is intended to frame the information to be presented about the colours of Kawanishi's sparkling floatplane fighter development and will hopefully be borne in mind when considering the findings here and elsewhere.

To be continued . . .

* The word "bias" is used not in the sense of any deliberate preference but only in respect of the unique way in which the individual observer's eyes and brain process the reflected colour information.

Image credits: Wiki Photo; Rendered chips ©2010 Straggler from original Thorpe Munsell values; Extract of Kariki 117 pages Summer via Fuku with commentary based on information provided by Ryôichi Watanabe in Arawasi magazine #9 (Apr-Jun 2008).

Friday, 12 February 2010

Exquisite Fine Molds A6M2 Zero

There are not many images of built-up models of the superlative Fine Molds 1/72nd scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (perhaps because of the odd way it was sold and the price!) - so it is a real pleasure to be able to show these pictures of Joe Youngerman's beautiful creation. Hard to believe that this is not in a larger scale but doubly impressive is the fact that Joe chose the more unusual dark green rather than more common grey option from the kit.

Joe used White Ensign Models paints to create his replica of a 263rd Ku machine, with the exception of the cowling which was finished with Model Master Gun Metal Acrylic.

For those visitors who may not have had the opportunity to appreciate the beauty and detail of this kit a couple of in box reviews may be found here and here.

Image credit: ©2010 Joe Youngerman

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Gilding The Lily ~ Extra

These additional images show the method by which master modeller Hisao Saitoh paints the markings - they are not decals - on his Ki-48 and other models. The stencils are hand-made by Saitoh-san.

Image credits: ©2010 Hisao Saitoh

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Aotake ~ Part Two - The IWM Zero

These splendid photographs of the Imperial War Museum's surviving A6M5 Zero centre section were taken by Ken Francella in the 1980's and come from him via Ken Glass. They need very little commentary, other than to note the difference between the bright, glossy appearance of the Aotake where it was protected from the elements on the original airframe and the areas of exposure and much use, like the wheel wells, where it has deteriorated.

Other paint colours and details on this airframe will be explored in due course - with a few surprises along the way.

By the way, if you are a lurker and plan to take these images to post on another website - with whatever points you wish to make there - the very least you might do, on the grounds of simple courtesy, (and if you cannot bring yourself to ask first for permission for whatever reason) is to mention where they came from and to provide a link. That way we won't have to jump to harsh conclusions about your character which might be quite unjustified. However, even better would be to comment and contribute something here, at the source. One doesn't remove a painting from the walls of an art gallery without permission (at least I hope not) and take it off to the nearest pub for a very public discussion about it with your mates. Imagine how the artist would feel, let alone the gallery owners? But then I suppose, in the wonderful 21st Century, consideration for the feelings of others is not as high on the personal agenda as it once was.

Image credits: ©2010 Ken Francella via Ken Glass

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Gilding The Lily ~ Part One

Hot on the heels of Gary Wenko's review of the new AZ 1/48th Kawasaki Ki-48 Lily kit in the IPMS UK JASIG Corner Bulletin #4 come these stunning images of the model as built by Japanese master modeller, researcher and artist Hisao Saitoh. Details to note and enjoy are the overall Hairyokushoku (ash green colour), olive green "snake weave" mottle, the prop colour (and lustre), engine details and the interior colour which is just visible. Superbly achieved and absolutely convincing - as well as a very interesting table top companion for Hasegawa's Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu.

The aircraft depicted is from the 8th Sentai in action over Burma from bases in Thailand with the unit's distinctive "Octopus Eight" tail insignia. All the markings are painted, not decals, using hand-crafted stencils. What a beauty!

More "Gilding the Lily" posts on large scale Ki-48 details to follow.

Image credit: ©2010 Hisao Saitoh via Ken Glass

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Aotake - Part One

What Is It?

Following on from previous articles exploring interior colours is this brief diversion, hopefully of interest. There are several proprietory hobby paints available which purport to represent the translucent blueish-green protective coating seen on the interiors of both Army and Navy aircraft which has become well known as 'Aotake' (or aodake, 青竹). However, being essentially opaque metallic colours these paints can only create an approximate impression of the appearance and are often quite garish. Most modern translations describe Aotake as "green bamboo", the Nihon Kokugo Dai Jiten of 1972 defining it principally as "the trunk of raw, green bamboo", but the word "Ao" can be problematic in terms of meaning blue or green.

The niceties of the language were explored in depth in a superb article in the late and lamented Asahi Journal Vol.2 No.4 where two uses of the term were identified and explored, distinguishing between its use to describe a coating and its use to describe a colour. In the article Model Art 272 (Camouflage & Markings of the Imperial Japanese Navy Fighters in WWII) was reported to describe a green-yellow paint colour chip on page 109 in the following terms:-

"Ordinarily it's called aodake colour but actually it is a coating from a family of transparent zabon enamels. There are two branches to it, a blue one and a green one."

This chip is approximately similar in hue to FS 34258 but a little lighter and "metallic" in finish.

Model Art Special 329 (Camouflage & Markings of Imperial Japanese Army Fighters, 1989) went further:-

"Aodake is a crystal that dissolves in alcohol and is used in coatings when assembling steel and the like. (The aodake) used for interior colours was a transparent blue colour of zabon enamel but sometimes there were green ones too. When applied in coats it becomes an ordinary dark blue colour."

The strong dark blue pigment Prussian Blue (sRGB 0, 49, 83, very close to FS 15050 @ 1.14) was used in a similar way and was often referred to as "engineers blue". Aha, that is a rather deep, navy blue.

In Model Art Special 406 (Camouflage & Markings of Imperial Japanese Navy Bombers in WWII, 1993) the two apparent uses of the term were clarified:-

"Aodake used to be considered very similar to the zinc chromate (paint) on American and other military planes but the coatings were not of one type (only). There were Aodake Number One, Aodake Number Two and some other kinds. This light green colour of aodake was widely employed."

Many years ago Don Thorpe was adamant that the term aodake originally referred to the various opaque yellow-green interior paints. In a letter published in 1980 he stated:-

"Now, as to the transparent colors; aoitake is NOT a generic application for the bare metal primers. Aoitake was only referring to the opaque paints. The bare metal primer coating was usually applied at the point of fabrication of the sheet of metal or sub-assembly and was only intended to protect the rather rich mixture of aluminium alloy from the elements until such time as permanent coatings could be applied.

"I have mixed feelings on the subject of colors in this area, although I have encountered both blues and greens. I have also encountered samples of aircraft which had other pieces of metal attached, which when separated showed a bright blue in the previously covered area, and bright green in the previously exposed areas. One theory of this phenomenon is that when exposed to sunlight, fumes, salt air and water, etc., that the colors become fugitive and change hues. I have seen many examples of this in other Japanese aircraft so the theory is not without precedent."

This appraisal is strengthened by the impression of colour given by the term aodake shoku (green bamboo colour) to the Japanese layman, as demonstrated in the Asahi Journal article by the choice of green-yellow and green-olive hues to represent it. Thus was concluded a distinction between aodake as a coating, and aodake shoku as a colour.

In his seminal works on Japanese colours, Don Thorpe gave Munsell 2.5B 4/6 as the colour value for Navy/Army 'Translucent Blue' N16/A18, equating to sRGB 0, 108, 125 and FS 15125 @ 5.37 (so not very close - the FS value is insufficiently green in appearance). And for 'Translucent Green' as Munsell 5BG 3/6, equating to sRGB 0, 84, 82 and FS 34058 @ 10.0 (a poor match, too dark and not green enough).

In his most recent profile on the Ki-44 Shoki fighter, leading Japanese researcher and author Shigeru Nohara comments that:-

"This interior paint commonly called "Aotake" for the corrosion prevention was applied on the Ki-44 production aircraft until mid-1943. The paint was used by the Army and Navy but the name Clear Pale Blue was from the Navy. There are variations for this paint existed such as #1 and #2. Since the colour being translucent the tone after painting also depends on the repetitions of the coating."

The printed chip provided in the book is approximately similar to FS 34241.

Hobby Paints

As mentioned the aodake coating has been represented by a number of opaque metallic hobby paints. The GSI Creos (known as 'Gunze') Aqueous paint represents this coating with H63 'Metallic Blue-Green' which strongly emphasises a bright blue rather than green. The corresponding 'Mr Color' lacquer paint is C57. In Xtracolor the coating is represented by X355 'Japanese WWII Interior Blue' . Recent tins of this paint appear to be slightly lighter and more silvery than earlier examples. White Ensign Models Colourcoats paint ACJ15 'Aotake' is almost identical in appearance to the Xtracolor paint, perhaps chromatically just a little stronger. In the old AeroMaster Warbird acrylic colours was 1084 'Aotake', very similar to the GSI Creos paints. Lifecolor market an airbrush paint called "Blue Aotake" which has an advertised RGB value of 0, 144, 121 and is a very bright turquoise blue-green with no comparable Munsell or FS equivalents.

Representing Aotake

Correspondent "No Parachute" kindly contributed these images of his 1/32nd scale Hasegawa Ki-44 Shoki (above) painted using his own technique for representing this elusive finish. He begins with a base coat of Mr Color #159 'Super Silver' as "an excellent metallic color having the appearance and durability of actual metal". Then he mixes his own version of the 'green/blue' using Vallejo paints AV #70938 'Transparent Blue' and AV #70937 'Transparent Yellow' (FS 38907) to achieve the very pleasing result shown here. The finish is shown under various lighting conditions but at the time the photographs were taken was not clear coated. "No Parachute" welcomes comments on this finish - as do I.

To be continued . . .

Image credits: ©2010 "No Parachute"; Relics courtesy of Mr. Honma Hiroshi, Hokkaido Museum of Climate, Kutchan.