Thursday 31 May 2012

New Rising Decals Manchukuo Birds in 1/72nd & Zero in 1/48th

Two recent additions to Rising Decals impressive Japanese aircraft repertoire (but get them while you can!) are 72-046 The Birds of the Manchukuo in 1/72nd scale and 48-015 Zero in 1/48th scale.

The Manchukuo set is a neat and colourful package that provides markings for four Ki-27 "Nates" and two yellow Ki-9 biplane trainers. Two of the Nates and both Ki-9's have the distinctive 'Gokoku' fuselage legends and all six aircraft have tail markings. One of the Nates has had the former JAAF fuselage Hinomaru removed leaving a patch of bare metal that will make an interesting painting proposition. The 3rd Hikotai example is depicted with a yellow fuselage band which I think might just have been an over-painted former JAAF white senchi-hiyoshiki "combat stripe", a marking not carried in Manchukuo service.

The Zero set in 1/48th has some interesting examples including a dark green A6M2 with interesting triangular tail marking, an A6M2 bomb carrier, two A6M2 in field applied blotch and mottle camouflage schemes, an A6M2 with 'Houkoku' presentation markings and two 'Houkoku' adorned A6M3, one with yellow wing leading edge IFF strips and red fuselage chevrons. Plenty here to choose from and ideal for dressing up those older kits in the stash like the Fujimi or Tamiya A6M2 or the Tamiya A6M3. A similar but expanded Zero set in 1/72nd scale is due soon.


Stop Press!

AZ Models are about to release a 1/72nd scale 'Kikka' IJN jet in three boxings - actual, what-if day fighter and a what-if nightfighter - with oblique cannon.

Image credits: Decal images © 2012 Rising Decals; Kikka model and schematics © 2012 Horr!do & AZ Models

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Douglas Craner's 1/32nd Ki-61 WIP

It is a delight to be able to share this image of the largely scratch-built cockpit for a Hasegawa 1/32nd scale Ki-61-1 Hei created as part of an ongoing project by professional modelmaker, artist and illustrator Douglas Craner, some of whose work graces the RAF Museum at Hendon. I hope to be able to show more images of this superb model as the project progresses. Douglas assures me that although the photo makes the cockpit colour look greenish it is in fact a khaki-brown, carefully chosen from a study of extant paint colours in various restoration projects. The photo below against a green background provides a better impression of the colour, but in direct sunlight it appears more towards yellowish brown.  I think the fugitive green aspect of this colour is often underestimated, especially when Tamiya paints and FS values are cited by modelling convention. 

All of which goes to show that one has to beware of assessing colour photographs at their face value. And yet pages and pages of forum thread still get expended on arguments about what colours old colour photographs supposedly show! 

The quality of Douglas' model making is apparent from the Ki-61-I cockpit photograph but these additional images of his completed Roden 1/48th SE5a and 1/32nd Werner Voss Fokker Triplane further testify to his exceptional skills (yes, the SE5a really is 1/48th!). Douglas tells me he also has an old UPC "Jake" in progress and being improved with reference to Maru Mechanic plans. I hope that we can get to see that one too.

Image credits: All © Douglas Craner

Monday 28 May 2012

Art McNitt's 1/32nd Ki-100-I Otsu

Courtesy of the excellent photography of Ken Glass come these super images of a 1/32nd scale Ki-100, built by Art McNitt using the Alley Cat Ki-100 bubbletop conversion set and the Hasegawa Ki-61-1. Alley Cat have other conversion sets for the Hasegawa kit, including the Ki-100 razorback variant and early and late (bubbletop) variants of the Ki-61-II Kai. A review of the Ki-100 razorback set can be found here.

The model represents an aircraft of the 244th Sentai, the famous Imperial Palace defenders, after this unit had been assigned to the 30th Fighter Group (together with the Ki-84 equipped 47th Sentai), as part of the mobile air defence force assigned to the Sei-go control operation in May and June 1945. According to Alley Cat the subject of the model is a Ki-100-I Otsu flown by Major Teruhiko Kobayashi, the CO of the 244th, at Chofu, Japan in May 1945.

One of the lesser know facts about Major Kobayashi, a well-known Ki-61 ace with 12 victory claims, ten of them B-29s, is that he was originally trained as a light bomber pilot and flew the Kawasaki Ki-32 "Mary" in the 45th Sentai during the attack on Hong Kong. When posted to the 244th in November 1944 he was the youngest Sentai commander in the JAAF.

Appearing over Japan towards the end of the war, the "Goshikisen" (五式戦 - 5-Type Fighter) was never assigned an Allied reporting name. According to the exclusive research of Giuseppe Picarella the surviving example of the Ki-100, construction #16336 manufactured at Kagamigahara in June 1945 and now preserved at the RAF Museum was one of 24 aircraft found at Tan Son Nhut (Saigon) airfield in French Indo-China after the Japanese surrender in August 1945 and was in serviceable condition. A Japanese ferry pilot Sergeant Y. Kishi, disclosed during interrogation that he had delivered the aircraft by air some 2,500 miles from Japan shortly before the surrender as a morale booster. To facilitate test flying, the engine was stripped and serviced by Japanese personnel at the start of November, and Kishi was chosen for the initial post-overhaul test flight. 

On 26 November, after an unknown number of proving flights, Kishi was cleared to fly the aircraft to Bien Hoa airfield, 15 miles away, to start the flight test programme proper, taking off at 09.07. On the approach the undercarriage refused to lower, and he was forced to return to Tan Son Nhut and make a wheels-up landing, collapsing the oil cooler and damaging the propeller and tailwheel. The aircraft was repaired by Japanese personnel using parts scavenged from other aircraft at the airfield, including a propeller from a Ki-46 Dinah and an oil cooler and its fairing from a Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Frank’. A Ki-61 provided the fuel cooler, wing pylons and tailwheel unit. The Ki-100 was subsequently moved to a concentration airfield at Tebrau, Malaya, intended to be part of a mass shipment of ex-Japanese aircraft back to the UK as war trophies. Unfortunately these plans were scuppered by the intervention of Lord Louis Mountbatten and most of the aircraft were destroyed. The Ki-100 made it back to the UK on the basis of its mistaken identity as a Ki-43 "Oscar", the main fighter opponent faced by the RAF over Burma.

Image credit: © 2012 Ken Glass; Model Art McNitt; Ki-100 c/n 16336 research data © Giuseppe Picarella via RAF Museum 

Sunday 27 May 2012

Model Art #847 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter Monograph Pt 1

The latest aircraft type monograph from Model Art is about the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter and is Part 1 of, presumably, a two-part coverage starting with the A6M2, Rufe and two seat A6M2-K trainer. This contains 9 pages of colour detail paintings of various aspects of the A6M previously featured as a part series in the Model Art magazine - a useful collection for anyone planning a large scale build - or even an ultra-detailed small scale build! This is followed by a chapter on colours and markings giving very thorough stencil detail and 17 pages of colour profiles, four per page, in the 'flat' style many prefer. There is a detailed analysis of development with many drawings, plans and photographs, followed by an operations history, a photo register of Zero aces, and a gallery of photos, most of which are well known but reproduced here to a useful size and quality not usually seen. Finally a modelling guide in colour covering the Tamiya 1/32nd, Hasegawa 1/48th and Hasegawa 1/72nd kits. The text is mainly in Japanese but a potted English language summary of the colours and markings chapter and profiles is included and full marks to Model Art for doing this.

The colours and markings section, by Shigeru Nohara, has a presentation of printed colour chips which are quite accurately rendered in a style that looks familiar. The factory paint colour is described and referred to as 'gen-yo ame-iro' (現用飴色 - 'currently used ame colour' where ame means rice jelly or candy - an amber colour), a description taken from the Yokosuka Kaigun Kokutai (KuGiSho) Report No.0266 of March 1942:-

"The Type Zero or the A6M fighter, developed as a successor to the Type 96, had an anti-corrosion finish made on the production line. Its paint finish consisted of a layer of red-oxidised (sic) primer paint on the alloy construction base surface which was covered with a benzyl-cellulose based metal paint in what could be expressed as "grey-green-bistre" as a top coat."

So far so good and I can detect some grey-green hearts a leaping at this. But soft, what light from yonder window breaks? The unusual term "bistre" is said to mean a dark grayish brown, with a yellowish cast. Mr Nohara goes on to explain:-

"Immediately after application, it had a glossy appearance and more or less looked like an old-fashioned Japanese starch syrup (mizu-ame). Strangely this color was not listed in the Standard for Naval Paint nor been given a color code and/or official name, and the name and code are still unknown today. In an experiment held between November 1941 and February of the next year in order to develop effective aircraft camouflages on the Type Zero fighter, this "grey-green-bistre" color was referred to ambiguously as "gen-yo-ame-iro"."

Well, not quite. Before the repeated and abbreviated description the paint colour was first described as J3 (Hai-iro ash or gray colour) leaning slightly toward amber colour (Ame-iro - caramel or candy colour)". But the thrust of the description is correct and concludes that:-

"The shade (hue) of the "gen-yo-ame-iro" is close to FS 14201 (gloss) or FS 24201 (semi-gloss) as in the American FS595b color standard."

So all's well that ends well. But then, remarkably, the modelling guides go off at a tangent and describe the colour as that old impostor grey-green - as in 灰緑色 (hai-ryoku-shoku - ash green colour). Isami Akiyama paints his 1/48th Hasegawa Zero model in Mr Color 315 which is semi-gloss FS 16440. This colour is pale and de-saturated when compared to the Zero paint colour with a difference calculation of over 11 where less than 2.0 = a close match. It is paler than even the most extreme colour value on the degradation model with a difference to that of 6.23. The pigments are quite different too. FS 16440 is probably most familiar to modellers by being regularly cited to match USN Light Gull Grey - and that is another story - but make of that what you will. The light grey Zero dies hard!

The closest colours with which to visualise the original Zero factory paint colour in available modern standards are FS 16350 in FS595b (fair), C27-60D (Munsell 7.5 Y 6/2) in JPMA (better) and RAL 7034 (best), the latter being designated, unsurprisingly, as Gelbgrau - yellow grey. The grey colour as shown on the cover of the Model Art book, on the models in the modelling guide and on the modelling guide profiles is only suitable to represent a long exposed, oxidised and heavily chalked paint surface (and probably goes too far if an operational aircraft is to be represented), in which case it should be depicted as dull and weathered rather than glossy and brand Harry spankers! I'm not sure why the editorial staff let this dichotomy go in the book because it is guaranteed to cause some head scratching.

Generally, this title will be useful to the modeller planning to build the Zero, concentrating as it does much useful material and visual guidance into one handy book, and is unhesitatingly recommended. The price of ¥2381 (about £19) is actually good value considering the very concentrated and full content.


Image credit: Book cover © 2012 Model Art Co. Ltd; Rendered colour chips © 2012 'Straggler' 

Thursday 24 May 2012

Ki-45 Toryu by Srecko Bradic

More splendid profile art by Srecko Bradic - this time of a Ki-45 Kai Toryu "Nick" (Army Type 2 Two-seat Fighter) in the markings of the 13th Sentai.

The 13th Sentai was ordered to transfer from the 1st Air Army in Japan to New Guinea on 2 April 1943 and began the movement, via the Philippines, on 20 April with 9 of its complement of 20 Ki-45 Kai. It arrived at Rabaul on 11 May and was assigned to the 6th Hikodan (Air Brigade). Based at Rapopo (Kokopo), the southernmost airfield of the Rabaul complex it began flying day and night intercept missions over eastern New Britain.  By 31 May 1943 it reported 11 Ki-45 Kai aircraft on strength of which 10 were serviceable.

In June 1943 the 13th absorbed the 5th Sentai's 'tokusho kogekitai' or special attack unit which was equipped with Ki-45 and Ki-46. This unit had arrived in Rabaul in February 1943 for the purpose of intercepting high-altitude B-17s and its Ki-46 were field modified with various armament combinations which is a separate interesting subject to explore! From July the unit began detaching its Chutai (squadrons) to New Guinea and by 31 July had deployed one Chutai to Tuluvu at the western end of New Britain and one to Wewak-East airfield (Boram - see photos below) whilst a third Chutai remained at Rabaul.

On 16 August the Wewak detachment intercepted a B-24 and B-25 night raid, claiming one victory and one probable but by then the unit was under the cosh of USAAF 5th Air Force raids and reported only two serviceable aircraft available for operations. Around this time the unit began operating Ki-43 aircraft and lost one of its last two Ki-45 in the vicinity of Wewak on 27 September 1943.

Colours and Markings

The Ki-45 Kai was unusual for a fighter aircraft in that it was factory painted throughout the war. At a time when other single-engined fighters were leaving the factories unpainted and then being camouflaged at Depots or at unit level the Ki-45 was finished at the factory overall to JAAF paint colour standard # 1 Hairyokushoku (灰緑色 Ash green colour) over which a dark or olive green mottle was usually applied. This mottle was generally a "marbled" type with large carefully applied blotches creating narrow "veins" of the underlying paint but the study of photographs reveals variations in style and execution. The reason why the Ki-45 Kai was factory painted this way has not, AFAIK, been established. Props and spinners were finished in the dark brown paint common to other JAAF types.

Various tail emblems have been attributed to the 13th Sentai but the marking shown in the profile, supposed to represent the number '13', is evidenced from photographs of an abandoned Ki-45 Kai believed to have belonged to this unit. The tail markings are indistinct in the Boram photos but on one aircraft appear to have been painted out. 

Credits: Profile illustration © Srecko Bradic; Photos NARA; Unit data Larry DeZeng and Rick Dunn

Tuesday 22 May 2012

JAAF 109s Pt 1 - Colours & Markings

Until relatively recently there was a prevalent belief that the RLM greys scheme of 74/75/76 had been introduced much earlier to the Messerschmitt 109E production line than was previously thought.  This belief had its roots in the large number of RAF crash reports during the Battle of Britain which describe downed 109’s painted in various grey or blue-grey shades. In addition to this a school of thought had interpreted monochrome photographs to suggest that the original colours could be determined by whether the ‘splinter’ camouflage appeared to be high contrast or low contrast.  High contrast and the aircraft was deemed to be in the earlier 71/02/65 scheme; low contrast and the aircraft was supposedly painted in the new greys 74/75/76.  
This belief in the application of greys to late production 109E’s has resulted in many illustrations and models of the 109 aircraft delivered to Japan being shown in the 74/75/76 ‘greys’ scheme. 
The RLM Colours
Whilst it is not possible to provide a full treatise on Luftwaffe colours, a brief summary of the chromatic characteristics of the colours discussed in this article may be helpful to those readers unfamiliar with the subject.
RLM 02 Grau - a mid toned, warm, slightly brownish grey approx Munsell 7.5 Y 5/1 or 34201 (too brown)
RLM 65 Hellblau - a dull sky blue - approx Munsell 10 B 7/6 (too dark) or FS 35488 (too grey)
RLM 70 Schwarzgrün - a black green - approx Munsell 5 G 2/1 or 35042 
RLM 71 Dunkelgrün - a dark olive green  - approx Munsell 5 GY 3/1 or 35042 (too grey)
RLM 74 Graugrün - a dark greenish grey - approx Munsell 5 B 4/1 or FS 23162
RLM 75 Grauviolett - a mid toned violet grey - approx Munsell 5 PB 4/1 or FS 36118
RLM 76 Lichtblau - a pale grey blue - approx Munsell 5 B 7/2 or FS 35526
RLM 02 is often depicted as a pale neutral or cool greenish-grey in sharp contrast to RLM 71. In fact the colour is mid toned and warm with a distinct brownish chroma. It is lighter than 71 but both colours share a similar chromatic intensity. Viewed side by side there is less contrast in the 71/02 vs 74/75 schemes than is suggested by some artistic depictions. The RLM 02 paint colour has been analysed here and here.
Merrick & Kiroff

In 2004 the publication of Kenneth A Merrick and Jürgen Kiroff’s ground-breaking and comprehensive analysis of ‘Luftwaffe Camouflage And Markings 1933-1945’ challenged the prevailing beliefs about 109E camouflage. Merrick makes a convincing case that the various greys and blue-greys reported in 1940 were unit or field applied schemes using non-standard colours or colour mixes. During this same period the new greys 74/75/76 were undergoing testing and evaluation on specific aircraft but were not introduced on the production line. In fact Merrick maintains that all late production 109E’s continued to leave the production line in the 71/02/65 scheme, as indeed did the first F’s until the new greys were introduced in April/May 1941:-

“It has often been suggested that the greys 74, 75 and 76 made their first broad scale appearance during this period (August to November 1940), but in looking at individual applications it can be seen that the range of greys was sufficiently diverse to dissuade such a contention. The three new colours were in existence , and undergoing the usual stringent RLM tests before being approved for general use, but had 74, 75 and 76 been available one would also have expected these three greys to be used together, rather than as a single colour added to existing greens or mixes of yellow-greens. Also, had these colours been in use, why then did the remaining Bf 109 E production cycle continue with the then standard 71/02/65 scheme - a scheme that was also used for the initial batch of Bf 109 F aircraft?” 

“An RLM order, dated June 24 1941 ratified the changeover to an official RLM camouflage scheme incorporating the new colours 74, 75 and 76 in conjunction with 65. By August 15, 1941, Messerschmitt had set forth its new painting chart for the Bf 109 F calling for camouflage colors 74/75/76 with a fuselage mottle of 02/70/74."

Because of this the question of the delivery date of the 109s to Japan, variously reported and previously significant in determining their colour scheme, is no longer as relevant. However, this aspect will be further addressed in Part 2 of this article.

Merrick’s conclusions were echoed by researcher Paul Lucas in his analytical article ‘Enigmatic Emils’ published in the British magazine ‘Model Aircraft Monthly’ in September 20043:-

“By August 1940, various shades of grey were being reported as being present on wrecked Bf 109s examined by RAF Intelligence officers following their loss over the UK. As there was no standard procedure for recording colours, colloquial terms such as “battleship grey” and “cloudy grey” were used in reports. This has led to speculation that the later grey finish adopted by the Luftwaffe, RLM 74, 75 and 76 might have been introduced from the late summer of 1940 although the general consensus of researchers who have delved into this subject is that any grey finishes which were being used on Bf 109s at this time were most likely experimental schemes which originated at unit level, ultimately leading to the adoption of the grey scheme of RLM 74, 75 and 76 during 1941.”

The presence of a factory applied fuselage mottle is also sometimes cited as evidence of the greys scheme, but Merrick challenges this belief as well:-

"No factory camouflage pattern so far located for the Bf 109 E series shows addition of mottling for the side surfaces, but photographic evidence points to this as having been introduced at production centres by about May 1940."

Indeed a photograph of Bf 109 E-4 W.Nr.2782 at the point of manufacture, still bearing its fuselage radio call-sign codes GA+HP, clearly shows the factory applied fuselage mottle, almost identical in appearance to that seen on the Japanese 109’s. This is the earliest known photograph to provide evidence of mottling applied at the point of manufacture and this particular aircraft was shot down over Biggin Hill on August 30 1940.

It is probable therefore that the 109s were delivered to Japan in the standard factory finish of 71/02/65 with a dense factory applied fuselage mottle consisting of colours 71 and 02. The presence of wing hinomaru occupying the same inboard positions as Luftwaffe crosses suggests that these markings might have been applied at the German factory before delivery. It is unlikely that standard position Luftwaffe crosses were over-painted on arrival in Japan because there is no evidence of the existence of over-painted fuselage crosses or tail swastika.  At the time of their delivery the national insignia for IJAAF aircraft was plain hinomaru on upper and lower wing surfaces only.  That information may have been conveyed in a number of ways to the factory paint shop who then applied them in the usual Luftwaffe cross positions. Perhaps the Japanese did not ask for this but the factory did it anyway. In this case the colour used may have been RLM 23 Rot, a bright strong red between FS 31350 and 31302.  

Addition of Japanese Markings

In flight photographs taken in Japan reveal that the 109s were first test flown in their delivery scheme with only the addition of narrow white/red/white fuselage bands and, possibly later, single digit identification numbers painted on the fin in white. These white/red/white fuselage bands were commonly used to designate test or experimental aircraft and sometimes the number of stripes indicated the number of the aircraft being tested. In one of the in-flight photographs of 109s in Japan it is just possible to discern two such fuselage stripes. 

Subsequently, probably during the summer of 1942 following the Doolittle raid on Japan and prior to the order issued in September 1942 calling for yellow IFF strips, wing leading edge IFF strips were added. These appear to be the same colour as the hinomaru, red, which seems to have been the case for the early IFF strips introduced on the Japanese mainland for home defence aircraft. 

Towards the end of 1942 hinomaru with white borders were added to the fuselage sides. These additions broadly follow the pattern of the developing markings practice for all IJAAF aircraft.

Photographs of the aircraft displaying these markings are taken by some as indicating the aircraft had been wholly over-painted with Japanese colours, but this conclusion should be considered with caution.  On the subject of the interpretation of monochrome photographs, Merrick warns:-

“A photographer captured often one view only of an aircraft, and lighting conditions can make perceptions of the assumed colours bewildering, often misleading, at times.”

It is the case that the study of many 109 photographs throughout the period 1940 to 1942 reveals no discernible pattern of high or low contrast camouflage effects indicating the use of specific colours. On the contrary these differences are more likely the result of lighting conditions and photographic exposure times. The angle of reflection on the upper surface of the 109 wing and the reflectivity of the paint colours results in many monochrome photographs where the wing appears at first glance to be painted in a single colour. Only by the closest examination of some photographs will a splinter pattern be discernible and in some cases not at all. In addition, lighting conditions and exposure will affect the appearance of the fuselage mottle. A study of 109 photographs in a range of publications will make this apparent.

It is quite possible and indeed probable that during their service life the Japanese 109s sported re-touched paint-work and/or individually re-painted components, particularly fabric flying surfaces, using indigenous colours, but no firm conclusions about this may be drawn from the available data.


From the evidence available it is probable that when delivered the JAAF 109s were finished and flown in the standard 71/02/65 scheme for the Bf109E. To complete this  brief exploration excellent profiles of the Japanese 109 in the 71/02/65 scheme are presented by kind permission of the artist Srecko Bradic

Part 2 of this article will explore the delivery of the 109s to Japan and their place within the broader topic of German technical input to Japanese fighter projects.

Image credit: Profiles © Srecko Bradic; photos author collection; model unknown web (if it's yours please holler and I'll credit it!)

Monday 21 May 2012

Ki-55 in Colour

This fascinating colour slide of Ki-55 aircraft lined up on an airfield near Kyoto Japan in September 1945 can now be viewed in greater detail at the National Archives (NARA) using their neat magnifying tool which enlarges without losing definition. The various colours are interesting but also the flying school markings overpainted on the fins and rudders can now be made out. The black or dark grey painted aircraft were probably being prepared for dawn and dusk special attack operations. Note the hue of the yellow biplane trainer in the background and the near off-white appearance of some of the Ki-55 trainers in the row to the right.

Image credit: NARA 342-FH-3A49445-K6022

Thursday 17 May 2012

New Airfix 1/72 Messerschmitt Bf109E-4

There is only one word to describe the new Airfix 1/72nd Messerschmitt Bf109 E-4 kit. Exquisite! Not being a member of the Luftwaffe Expertenati I don't care about some of the more arcane aspects that might be in error or disputed. I fondle the plastic, test-fit - click-click - and compare it to everything that has gone before in this scale with 109E on the box. I am in awe of the progress this company has made in such a short period and how evident it is that they take seriously and respond positively to criticism. I am also in awe of what the kit contains and how it has been engineered for £5.99. Dropped flaps option, separate radiators (and their subtle shape excellently sculptured), beautifully molded engine block that is unfortunately hidden if the superb cowling is fitted, open canopy option, nose intake interior, gunsight, separate exhausts, weight flattened tyres and tailwheel too. Even a pilot who looks like a Luftwaffe pilot. I'm not the world's greatest fan of cgi but even the box art of this kit is impressive as Von Werra twists and turns at low-level over Kent in his first unsuccessful escape attempt with a dense plume of engine smoke undulating behind him.  Dislikes? Yeah, the end opening box - but at least it's strong!

So why is this famous Luftwaffe fighter featured here?  Well, because every hard-core Japanese 1/72nd aircraft enthusiast has the excuse to enjoy this exquisite kit either by presenting it seriously as one of the imported aircraft - of which more anon - or more frivolously as a JAAF 'what if'. Imagine it licence-built in overall grey-green with an 11th Sentai lightning bolt on the fin and rudder for the invasion of Malaya, or mottled green over natural metal with white tail stripes as it heads south with the 78th Sentai.  And I urge them to do so. If sales support this company's continuing rise and increasing excellence then who knows, we might even see something new and Japanese that is not a Zero! 

No decals for a Japanese option in this kit alas, which is limited to a single set of markings for 'The One Who Got Away', but not too difficult to improvise.  Highly recommended.  

Image credit: © 2012 Airfix and Hornby Hobbies Limited 

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Demon of Rabaul by Ajay

Beautifully rendered and evocative art from Alexander Jay depicting the 'Demon of Rabaul' - Hiroyoshi Nishizawa - and his A6M3 Type 22 Zero. It is delightful in this age of cgi to see traditional media so uniquely and skilfully created. More please!

And more of Alexander Jay's splendid aviation art can be enjoyed at his own blog here.

© 2012 Alexander Jay

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Eye Candy for Modellers!

North Korean Hayabusa anyone? Perhaps a Soviet Dinah?  Or how about a French Sonia or Ida? Something of another surprise appearance is this new book from Kecay on the subject of Japanese Aircraft in Foreign Service by Jacek Jackiewicz and Seweryn Fleischer. I haven't provided a link to the publishers own website as I am getting a malware warning there (!) but the book is also advertised and featured here. This is the first volume of three related books, with Volume 2 to cover Japanese aircraft flown by the Allies and Volume 3 to cover foreign aircraft imported or captured and flown by the Japanese. Kecay seem to specialise in books on captured aircraft in foreign service with previous volumes on the Me 109 and Fw 190 in war trophy plumage.

The book is in softcover format with 128 pages containing over 300 photos (a few in colour) and 187 profiles all in colour. The book is organised by nation with an English text introduction for each category. The appeal is obvious as the current internet and magazine image overload in the modelling world prompts many modellers to seek unusual or different schemes for their projects. As far as I can see the majority of the profiles are supported by photographs, including some rare and unusual examples, although the results are by necessity interpretative when it comes to their colours. The photographs are all unattributed and somewhat "soft" in reproduction, but some are taken from film stills.

The nations covered are:-

The Soviet Union
China (both Nationalist, Communist and Nanking Governments)
Korea (North and South)
The Netherlands

Japanese aircraft modellers will find plenty of surprises and inspiration within these sections but whether decal manufacturers will be inspired remains to be seen. Some of the subjects are already available in sets from various decal manufacturers or included within kits. New to me was the photograph of the Ki-84 Hayate in Red Army of China Air Force markings although the authors seem to think it is a fake.

Update: It is bogus! Thanks to Jim Lansdale for providing the evidence of the original image. The background of the image was not altered.

Image credits: All © 2012 Atelier Kecay

Tuesday 8 May 2012

The Black Watch Remembered

Hail, gallant regiment! Freiceadan Dubh!
Whenever Albion needs thine aid,
"Aye ready" for whatever foe,
Shall dare to meet "the black brigade!"
Witness disastrous Fontenoy,
When all seemed lost, who brought us through?
Who saved defeat? Secured retreat?
And bore the brunt? ~ the "Forty~Two!"

So, at Corunna's grand retreat,
When, far outnumbered by the foe,
The patriot Moore made glorious halt,
Like setting sun in fiery glow.
Before us foame'd the rolling sea,
Behind the carrion eagles flew;
But Scotland's "Watch" proved Gallia's match,
And won the game by "Forty~Two!"

The last time France stood British Fire
"The Watch" gained glory at its cost;
At Quatre Bras and Hugomont,
Three dreadful days they kept their post.
Ten hundred there, who form'd in square,
Before the close a handful grew;
The little phalanx never flinched,
Till "Boney" ran from Waterloo!

The "Forty~Second" never dies~
It hath a regimental soul:
Fond Scotia, weeping, filled the blanks
Which Quatre Bras left in its roll.
At Alma, at Sevastopol,
At Lucknow, waved its bonnets blue!
Its dark green tartan, who but knows?
What heart but warms to "Forty~Two?"

But while we glory in the corps,
We'll mind their martial bretheren too;
The Ninety~Second, Seventy~Ninth,
And Seventy~First ~ all Waterloo!
The Seventy~Second, Seventy~Fourth~
The Ninety~Third ~ all tried and true!
The Seventy~Eighth,  real men of Ross
Come, count their honours, "Forty~Two!"

Eight noble regiments of the Queen,
God grant they support her crown!
"Shoulder to Shoulder," Hielandmen!
United rivals in renown!
We'll wreath the rose with heath that blows
Where barley~rigs yield mountain dew;
And pledge the Celt, in trews or kilt,
Whence Scotland drafts her "Forty~Twa!"
Dugald Dhu