Sunday 15 January 2012

Not Nessie but Hickory! Ki-54 Revealed in the Depths.

Courtesy of a regular correspondent, some interesting film of a very well-preserved Ki-54 discovered 320m down at the bottom of a freshwater lake in Japan, here, here and here.

Tail emblem appears to be from the 3rd Chutai of 38th Sentai/Dokuritsu Hikotai. Note white senchi hiyoshiki  (戦地標識 - war front sign) fuselage band and plain Hinomaru.  Upper wing and tail surfaces seem to be coated with silt (?).


Mark Smith said...

Amazingly well-preserved! I would love to see this aircraft illustrated by Ronnie Olsthoorn or Don Marsh based on this "swim-around." Serial and stencils clear as a bell, interior colors...what a time capsule. Always thought this a handsome airplane, like the Anson's good-looking sister. Besides this and the Ki-46 Type 100 recon, do you know what other types were operated by this unit?

Thanks for posting - looks like this film had been around a while but certainly not known to many of us.


Ken Glass said...

Hello Nick,

Thanks for passing these videos on to us. The fuselage and cockpit interior views are welcome additions to our understanding of what their colors were.

Ken Glass

Anonymous said...


320 meters is over 1000 feet deep. How was a diver able to make such a deep dive, apparently using SCUBA gear?

Will Gossett

Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks for that, Will. I took it from the correspondent's email - so maybe it should be 320 ft?

Careful in assessing the colours. The effect of the spotlight is quite powerful and the colours become more yellowish under direct light and more blue-green as they recede into indirect light. If you look at 4:45 (for example) you can see the original darker malachite colour where the cladding has been pulled away. There are hints of this throughout and also evidence of pigment leaching. Clues suggest that the interior might have been partially re-painted from the dark blue-grey to the malachite green. The dark blue-grey primer paint can be seen very clearly in quite a few shots, including on the rudder and elevator framework and in the window frames.


R. Vieira said...

Thanks for posting the links for such amazing footage, Nick! The big question now, and since this seems to be the sole known surviving Ki-54, is: are there any plans to retrieve the aircraft?



Anonymous said...

Very interesting footage! Thanks for posting Nick.
The aircraft seems very well preserved over the years,
I hope they consider retrieval. There is not any other one that complete.
A good 1/72 kit of this plane is very welcome.


ReneDK said...

Amazing footage of one of my all time favorite Japanese WWII aircraft, now just hope somebody - like Tamiya or Hasegawa - would kit it in 1/48 scale. Many years ago crawled through the fuselage of the surviving example here in Australia, but it is nowhere as near as complete as this example.

Harold K said...

Simply amazing; I am at a loss for words.
Speaking of models, AZ Models shows two 1/72nd scale variants of this a/c as future releases.