Back in July I mentioned that Rising Decals much sought after 'Dying Sun' sheets 72-005 and 72-007, featuring captured Japanese aircraft, were about to be re-released by Max Models. Well, the sheets are now available and Max Models kindly sent me samples to review here. Essentially sheet MM72-0100 features captured IJAAF aircraft whilst MM71-0101 features captured IJN aircraft. The sheets are not absolutely identical to the original as there are a a few minor detail differences and improvements. For example the Hinomaru and yellow lower rudder paint are no longer included for the Ki-44 subject, the US stars and bars now having the original Hinomaru showing as part of the decal, whilst the Ki-46 "Grim Reaper" emblems are now two-piece rather than one-piece and the white background decal has been omitted for the rudder stripes. The alterations present no difficulties however and otherwise the quality of the printing appears to match the originals perfectly.
Part 1 includes the following subjects:-
- Ki-61-I Tei - operated by VMF 322 at Okinawa in May 1945 in a very colourful finish of dark blue and white with the USMC emblem in red on fin. Max Models have corrected an error on the original sheet by depicting the rudder and spinner painted red as evidenced by a colour photograph.
- Ki-61-I Ko TAIC # 9 - at NAS Anacostia in natural metal finish. This aircraft was originally seizou bangou 263 captured at Cape Gloucester and as 'XJ 003' tested at Eagle Farm, Australia before being shipped to the USA. Although seizou bangou (製造番号) is often referred to as a 'serial number' the term means, literally, 'manufacturer production series number' and as stencilled on the airframe was coded by one of three known methods to provide a level of deception about how many aircraft had been produced.
- Ki-84-1 'S17' - as tested by TAIU-SWPA at Clark Field in the Philippines in 1945 in natural metal finish (nmf) with pre-war rudder stripes. Originally s/b 1446 this aircraft had a long post-war career in various spurious finishes including an appearance in the 1954 film 'Never So Few' (blink and you'll miss it). It was eventually returned to Japan and is now displayed in the markings of its former operator the 11th Sentai. With a bit of research an interesting line-up could be made of this survivor in its various finishes.
- Ki-44-II Hei 'S11' - another aircraft tested by TAIU-SWPA at Clark in natural metal finish with pre-war rudder stripes . This aircraft carried the original s/b 2068. The uncoded serial number of this aircraft was 1068 and it was manufactured in July 1944.
- Ki-44-II Hei - a late production aircraft with individual exhaust stacks still in IJAAF camouflage with the partially over-painted emblem of a former operator the 70th Sentai on the rudder. This will make a very interesting model but will require some conversion. The Sword kit may be a better bet than the Hasegawa as it has separate cowl flaps (perhaps indicating a late production Ki-44-II Hei might eventually appear?)
- Ki-46-II TAIC # 10 - formerly s/b 2846 as captured at Hollandia, New Guinea in September 1944 and made airworthy by the 13th BS, 3rd BG whose "Grim Reaper" insignia was applied to the nose.
- Ki-46-II TAIC # 10 - the same aircraft shown as it appeared after being shipped to the USA and tested at Anacostia, Patuxtent and Eglin.
This is an excellent sheet that offers a number of interesting subjects for anyone interested in IJAAF and/or captured aircraft, as well as anyone planning to build a collection of TAIU birds.
Part 2 focuses on IJN aircraft and contains the following subjects:-
- A6M5 'TAIC 11' - the original construction number was 1303 and it was one of the aircraft captured on Saipan and not at Singapore as stated. The legend 'AI 2G . . .' appears beneath the 'Technical Air Intelligence Center' beneath the cockpit but is not included on the sheet. This was the Air Ministry section responsible for German and Japanese air intelligence. This aircraft was scheduled for delivery to ATAIU-SEA in India but that plan was probably overtaken by events.
- A6M2 'B1-12' - operated by ATAIU-SEA at Tebrau, Malaya in 1946. Once thought to be applied by the British the tail number is now known to be IJN original and identifies IJN Air Group 381.
- J2M3 'S12' - another nmf Clark Field TAIU tested bird # 3008 in natural metal with pre-war rudder stripes captured on the emergency airstrip at Dewey Boulevard, Manila.
- J2M3 'B1-01' - former 381 Ku Raiden in ATAIU-SEA ownership at Tebrau, Malaya.
- D4Y3 'S16' - another nmf Clark TAIU bird # 3957
- N1K1-J 'S9' - another nmf Clark TAIU bird # 7102
- B6N2 'S19' - another nmf Clark TAIU bird # 5350
- B6N2 '131-57' - in original IJN camouflage at Iwakuni, Japan in October 1945
- A6M5 TAIC # 7 - markings are provided to finish this aircraft in any one of three schemes sported; one with US insignia and two with spurious Japanese insignia including the IJAAF-type tail marking that inspired the original Airfix Zero kit! This was another Saipan aircraft # 4340 at one time named "Tokyo Rose"and is the aircraft now displayed at the NASM.
This is another excellent sheet available again and I know the ATAIU-SEA examples will be appreciated by modellers in the UK, especially as very clear IWM photographs provide guidance to their challenging worn and tatty appearance. I hope Max Models will consider re-releasing other Rising Decals sheets which are now out of production but highly sought after.
Image credits:- © 2012 Max Models with permission