An email brought news with which to update an older blog on the Kawasaki Ki-32. I had written there that there did not seem to be any 1/48th kits of "Mary". Well, Ned kindly sent me the image above of a Try Angle 1/48th resin kit of the Ki-32 from 1988. It's probably quite hard to find now as production wound up in 1991 but I have a 1/72 Try Angle resin kit of the Ki-60 and it is a little gem. Other kits produced in 1/72nd scale include the Ki-4, Ki-115 Tsurugi, Ki-64 "Rob"and Ki-87 and in 1/48th scale a Ki-102 and Ki-115.
I had also pontificated about the use of the Ki-32 by the 45th Sentai during the attack on Hong Kong. Since then I have confirmed that the 45th did indeed employ the Ki-32 for the attack and only re-equipped with the Ki-48 afterwards. They returned to Tokorozawa in Japan on 13th January 1942 in order to convert to the Ki-48 and then moved to Nenjiang in Manchuria on 11th March 1942. In late November 1942, they moved to Gifu Hakuziyousi (Baicheng) and prepared for combat operations in the same area. The regiment was then moved to Yokosuka from 5th December to the 7th December, to be shipped south in two aircraft carriers. Chuyo was to carry 23 Ki-48 aircraft and about 203 men whilst Ryuho was to carry 22 Ki-48 and 133 airmen, including the staff of an Air Brigade HQ. Both aircraft carriers were scheduled to depart Yokosuka on 11th December 1942 but Chuyo suffered a mechanical breakdown. Ryuho therefore departed alone with a single destroyer escort.
The following day the submarine USS Drum hit Ryuho with a single torpedo and she was forced to return to Yokosuka for repairs. More than 100 men were killed and wounded in the torpedo strike, including 45 from the 45th Sentai. Chuyo departed Yokosuka on 12th December and arrived at Truk on the 17th December, the 45th moving onto Harushima airfield. The Ryuho aircraft were re-loaded onto Zuikaku, and she arrived at Truk on 4th January.
The 45th operated with 27 Ki-48 aircraft in three Chutai of 9 each. In addition a further 9 aircraft were held as unit spares and 9 more retained at a rear air supply depot as a reserve. More on the Ki-48 in due course.
And now for something completely different - a nice walkaround set for restored A6M3 Zero N712Z.
Image credits: Try Angle Ki-32 kit box image via Ned; A6M3 photo © nuuumannn via rnzaf.proboards.com