Saturday 29 September 2012

Another Ki-61-II Kai Bubbletop

In the blog post comments on Art McNitt's 1/32nd scale Ki-61-II Kai Bubbletop, correspondent Ken Glass mentioned Art's previous 1/48th kit bash made from combining Hasegawa's Ki-61 and Ki-100 kits. Well, here are some views of that excellent model, courtesy of Ken. Correctly speaking I think this should be considered a Ki-61-I Otsu Kai rather than a Ki-61-II Kai, as Art used the Hasegawa Ki-61-I kit nose. The Ki-61-I Kai designation is sometimes used for the Ki-61-I Tei where the nose was lengthened to accommodate the 20mm Ho-5 cowling guns. Art's model retains the distinctive nose configuration of the Ha 40 powerplant and is representative of an even rarer Hien bubbletop!

It's probably too much to hope that those who argue interminably about the paint colours shown in wartime colour photos will take note of (and on board) the very different hues seen on the same model in the images here even though the red of the Hinomaru (or other chosen "control" colour) appears similar in each. You can write pages of objective colour analysis based on the surface measurements and pigments of actual paint and it will sink like a stone but along comes a wartime colour photo at the end of a long and dubious processing journey and the enthusiastic speculation and opinion about colours is endless.

Image credits: Model © 2012 Art McNitt; Photos © 2012 Ken Glass

Saturday 22 September 2012

Art McNitt's 1/32nd scale Kawasaki Ki-61-II Kai "Bubbletop"

Courtesy of Ken Glass come these images of Art McNitt's splendid 1/32nd scale model of the "Japanese Mustang" built from the Hasegawa kit with the Alley Cat Kawasaki Ki-61-II Kai Late Production Conversion resin set. Previously Art used another Alley Cat conversion set to produce a beautiful Ki-100 "bubbletop" here. The combination of Art's modelling and Ken's excellent photography showcase the superb lines of this rare but alluring fighter. It is a pity that its very limited operational use precludes much variety in the display of colour schemes and unit markings and this is probably the reason there are so few kits of the type. However there are always "what-if" projects that conceive engine reliability and manufacturing problems being overcome to make this a very formidable opponent for the USAAF Mustang. It would look superb in polished natural metal finish.

Art's model is depicted in the markings of the 56th Sentai, formed at Taisho in March 1944 and the only unit known to have operated the type when it re-equipped with the Ki-61-II in May 1945. By that time as part of the static force developed from the Sei-Go Operation the 56th was part of the 11th Air Division in the Central Air Defence Sector together with the 5th, 55th and 246th Sentai. The 11th had been re-organised from the 18th Air Brigade when that command was reinforced following the increased intrusion activity into Japanese air space in June 1944. At that point the Osaka and Nagoya areas were designated a single defence area which was satisfactory for administrative arrangements but the Suzuka mountain range running between Osaka and Nagoya hindered effective air operations. Because of this and the number of critical targets in both areas  a single Air Division could not provide adequate air defence and on 6 September 1944  the 23rd Air Brigade was formed at Komaki airfield. Although nominally part of the 11th Air Div the 23rd, formed around the 55th Sentai was given significant autonomy to conduct operations. Meanwhile, in August 1944 the 56th with 18 aircraft had transferred to Tachiarai in north-central Kyushu to operate with the 12th Air Division. Their zone of operations extended from Tachiarai to Omura airfield and depot near Nagasaki. From November 1944 they were based at Itami. 

From 14 May 1945 the 56th moved to the Naval airfield at Saeki in north-east Kyushu to conduct interceptions as part of the "gauntlet" operations against enemy formations using the Bungo channel approach. These operations lasted barely a week before the 56th returned to Itami via Ashiya to re-equip with the Ki-61-II. Thereafter they encountered intruding USAAF Mustangs for the first and last time on 9 July 1945. When the war ended the 56th were at Itami with 22 Ki-61 aircraft on strength. 

For 1/48th scale modellers there was a resin conversion kit for the Hasegawa Ki-61 made by Monochrome GK and available in Japan circa 2002 which consisted of new fuselage halves, prop, exhausts, supercharger intake, radiator fairing, rudder and a decal sheet for 56th Sentai options including full sets of numbers. Alas, I have not been able to confirm whether this conversion set is still available or a link for it. The 1/72nd releases of this unique fighter type were discussed here.

Image credits: All © 2012 Ken Glass (photos) and Art McNitt (model)

Wednesday 19 September 2012

New Kugisho E14Y Glen Book!

The many and diverse floatplanes of the Imperial Japanese Navy continue to hold a fascination for aircraft enthusiasts and modellers. Technical data is hard to come by and often conflicting. The identification and movements of units is much argued over. Of all the types in use the diminutive Kugisho (sometimes called Yokosuka) E14Y "Glen", carried aboard submarines as a spotter aircraft, is one of the most intriguing. It was the only Japanese aircraft to drop bombs on the continental USA and it also overflew ports in South Africa.  In April 1942 the Imperial Japanese Navy's 8th Submarine Squadron commanded by Vice-Admiral Ishikazi deployed submarines I-10, I-18, I-20 and I-30 to conduct operations along the East African coast and South African coastline. These were large I-15 class boats equipped with hangars to carry Type A midget submarines and the I-10 carried a "Glen" floatplane to conduct dawn and dusk overflights of ports. On 29 April 1942 this particular "Glen" spotted a Queen Elizabeth class battleship and tanker at anchor in Diego Suarez, information that resulted in the launch of midget subs from I-18 and I-20 and an attack that badly damaged HMS Ramillies (subsequently in dry dock for almost a year) and sank the tanker. 

Now a new book scheduled for release on 15 November by MMP promises to lift the lid on "Glen". It is authored by Ryusuke Ishiguro and Tadeusz Januszewski, the team that brought us the excellent and authoritative 'Japanese Special Attack Aircraft & Flying Bombs' from the same publisher. In the 144 pages of the book they have assembled all the available photos and included many color illustrations of the E14Y, together with a special article by Dan Farnham about the discovered aircraft in Kwajalein Atoll with many color photos.

The E14Y is a popular modelling subject and the best known kit in 1/72nd scale is the Fujimi gem (above) which comes complete with a submarine launching ramp for display. The new book will assist in correcting the kit's most glaring error of a flat undersurface with incorrectly shaped and sized observation window. The Fujimi "Glen" somewhat eclipsed an earlier limited run release by MPM and previous vacforms in this scale by various manufacturers such as Eagles Talon and Airframe. A+V Models offers a 1/72nd scale resin kit of the first prototype E14Y. There is also a Wings 48 vacform to 1/48th scale but I'm not aware of any other mainstream injection molded kits in this scale despite its obvious potential as a subject and I hope that this new book might stimulate manufacturers to consider 1/48th or 1/32nd kits. The Nichimo 1/200th scale I-19 submarine kit came with a "Glen" mini-kit and there is an excellent build review here. This new MMP book and a selection of "Glen" kits offers the prospect of a very enjoyable winter modelling project. Anyone for a 1/72nd scale I-10?

The MPM limited-run kit

The A+V Models resin kit of the prototype E14Y

Nichimo's 1/200th I-19 Sub kit came complete with "Glen"!

Image credits: Book cover © 2012 MMP Books courtesy of Ryusuke Ishiguro; Photo via Defence Media Network; Box art & kit images © 2012 Fujimi, A+V Models, Nichimo

Saturday 15 September 2012

Ki-46 Colour Matters

In response to a comment about Ki-46 colours some additional observations might be helpful. I always render colour chips against a neutral grey background but individual perception and monitor vagaries come into play when viewing them. The colours are rendered in sRGB which is not real paint colour and therefore cannot be taken to a nearby window to view and appreciate under full daylight illumination. It is best to use the information to "triangulate" with other data using other colour references such as Methuen, FS595b, RAL, or JPMA (which uses Munsell values). I was remiss in not providing these additional comparisons for the chips posted on Tuesday.

The right hand fabric chip was rendered as Munsell 5 Y 6.0/1.0. The closest FS 595b value to that is 36357 @ 2.61 where 2.0 or less is a close match. FS 36357 is Munsell 7.3 Y 6.3/1.1. The closest Munsell pure neutral grey is N6 @ 6.49 and the difference can be appreciated in the schematic shown above. By comparing the colour to a true neutral grey the degree of yellowish or amber tone becomes more apparent. Juxtaposition is everything. Let's look at the actual pigments in the closest FS value 36357. Titanium dioxide (white), yellow iron oxide, red iron oxide (blue shade) and carbon black. So definitely not a neutral grey of pure black and white. The closest RAL colour value to 5 Y 6/1 is 7030 Steingrau (Stone grey) @ 2.40 which is Munsell 6.7 Y 6.0/0.7. It is slightly darker and greyer in appearance. In Methuen terms 5 Y 6/1 is just a tad darker than 5 C 2 which is described as "brownish grey". In Pantone the closest value is 415 C -  just a little less amber @ 3.11

As the grey is offered up to an even warmer toned grey such as 2.5 Y 5/2 (as shown above as the background colour) it begins to appear cooler and more neutral. This is deceptive. Some modellers and illustrators, in trying to reproduce these greys on Japanese aircraft, omit the "warm" aspect entirely and tend towards either cool greenish greys or cool blueish greys. The two chips below illustrate this tendency. Note also the difference in reflectivity. The warm Japanese greys had low reflectivity even though they were moderately light in appearance. A Google search in Japanese for Ki-46 brought up many images of models and illustrations where the colours fall into one of these two categories but none depicting the warm, brownish greys revealed by examination of the actual paint.

Those with an interest in Japanese colours are encouraged to obtain a RAL deck such as K1 Classic as it will be helpful in physically visualising the warm, yellowish, olive and khaki greys typically used by the Japanese - as well as other colours. The early A6M2 Mitsubishi Zero colour is very close to RAL 7034 Gelbgrau (yellow grey) and the Nakajima colour close to RAL 7008 Khakigrau (khaki grey). Unfortunately these warm but very subtle greys are ill-served by hobby paints which tend towards the cooler grey-greens, blue greys or browns that are just too brown! They are best represented by adding incremental yellow ochre pigments in varying proportions to available neutral greys. In most cases this will also create a fugitive green caste to the colour.

Image credits: All rendered chips © 2012 Straggler

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Ki-46 Tiger Tail Artifact

Courtesy of Jim Lansdale here is an image of an access cover retrieved from the actual Dokuritsu 18 Hiko Chutai Ki-46 in the heading photograph I posted yesterday. It was recovered by a member of the 1st Air Commando who was at the crash site. The exterior paint which is in pristine condition and is an olive or khaki grey colour close to FS 16350 - or exactly similar to the factory paint found on many early Zero fighters. Jim has reported on the paint colours of another Ki-46 artifact in his collection, part of the tailplane and elevator, at here and I have rendered the colours described in that report as shown below.

Image Credits: Ki-46 artifact © James L Lansdale; Rendered colour chips © 2012 Straggler

Monday 10 September 2012

Ki-46 Tiger Tail

This photograph provides a close up look at the well-fed tiger on the tail of a Dokuritsu 18 Hiko Chutai Ki-46 brought down by the 14th AF in a bamboo grove "somewhere in China". The aircraft appears to have the construction number 2696 and note how the fabric covered rudder appears lighter than the rest of the airframe, similarly to other Mitsubishi constructed aircraft like the Zero. Some more images of this unit's aircraft can be found here. The tigers were painted on each aircraft by an artist H Takaki who lived in Hankow at the time and each one was different. The tiger marking was first adopted by Captain Yoshitsugu Aramaki in April 1939 and painted in the Chinese style on the fuselage of a Ki-15. In 1942 a member of the ground personnel Mamoru Tanaka painted an enlarged version of the tiger on the tail of the aircraft to depict a "tiger running in the skies" and alluding to a Chinese myth where the tiger could roam 1,000 miles in a day and return home.

The 18 DHC spent virtually the whole war operating in China with brief detachments in Indo-China from October 1940 to April 1941 and again from March to August 1942. The unit originated in August 1938 from the Rinji (臨時 - temporary or provisional) Dokuritsu No.1 Hiko Chutai which in turn had been expanded from a detachment of two Ki-15 aircraft forming the Aoki Unit which had been created within the Rinji Koku Heidan (Provisional Air Army Corps) in August 1937. On 1st October 1944 it was amalgamated with Dokuritsu 55 Hiko Chutai to become the 82nd Sentai but its aircraft continued to display the tiger insignia until the end of the war, as shown in the image above taken at Nanking sometime after August 1945. Note the differences in style between the two tigers.

Both the Japanese and Chinese have an ancient saying that tigers can roam a thousand miles and return safely home. In Chinese mythology the tiger also represents courage and valour in battle and is sometimes depicted with wings to invoke its celestial nature as it was once considered to be one of the Four Auspicious Creatures (四神), now supplanted by the mythological Kirin (Qilin 麒麟). The Chinese Goddess of the Wind Feng P'o-p'o (literally "Madam Wind") is also sometimes depicted riding on a tiger across a path of clouds in the sky.

Image credits:- 18th DHC Ki-46 NARA; 82nd Sentai Ki-46 Don Thorpe/Juzo Nakamura via LRA; Tiger Scroll Web

Sunday 9 September 2012

Mania 1/72nd Nakajima Type 97 Fighter "Nate" (Ki-27)

The Mania 1/72nd scale Ki-27 was originally issued in 1970 and first appeared in the West in the so-called "mailer" box as shown above. Although the box was obviously intended to be sent through the mail I've never seen one with an address written on it! The kit was molded in grey plastic and came with a very comprehensive decal sheet with no less than eight options.

The colour scheme for the model was fully described in the instructions by Rikyu Watanabe referencing Dr Yasuho Izawa and translated as follows:-

"The airframe should be overall light ash-green colour (IJA gray-green - a glossy gray that has a very slight green tint).  After the Pacific War started, some units painted the upper sides dark green colour (IJA dark green) (matte).  Some type 97 fighter-trainers that had their spats removed were painted in a cream-gray. 

The interiors were painted dark indigo grey colour.  When the propellers were silver on the front and dark red-brown on the back, the warning bands on the tips were in red.  When both sides of the propellers were in dark red-brown, the warning bands were in yellow.  The labels near the roots of the propeller were in chrome yellow.  The circular oil cooler was brass, so it should be painted gold and then weathered a dirty color.  The square oleo labels should be silver (duralumin plates).  The top of the front of the spats should have a red outlined rectangle with ノルナ [noruna = No Step] printed in black.  The landing gear oleo labels and various other tabs should have サワルナ [sawaruna = No Touching] printed in red.  

The location for the platform used for maintenance was indicated by two black bands under the main wings.  There was a small black arrow on the side of the rear fuselage.  The airframe serial number was stenciled in black on the landing gear and/or immediately in front of the horizontal tailplanes.  Airframes which had their cowlings painted red or another color have a small unpainted area at the front of the cowling.  This unpainted area was left to avoid overpainting the machinegun synchronization cam adjustment marks." 

Some claim that the kit came with 15 decal options because 15 different schemes are included on the monochrome profile sheet (shown above) but those schemes included in the kit are marked with a diagonal cross and dots. They are for three different aircraft from the 1st Sentai (Kato, Inoue and Koyanagi), one from the 59th Sentai (Kashiide), one from the 64th Sentai (Sakai), one from the 11th Sentai (Shimada), one from the 50th Sentai and one from the 77th Sentai, eight in total.

In 1971 the kit was reported to have been issued (at least in the West - it might have been earlier in Japan) in a full colour box as 1-01. I have never seen a box marked with that number. All the single boxes I have seen, like the one shown above, are marked F-1001 and contain the same kit as the mailer box.

The same decal sheet was included but now the monochrome profile sheet was incorporated within the instruction sheet and a separate colour profile card showing six aircraft was added. The strange thing about the six profiles is that two of them, the 10th DHC and 84th DHC examples, are not provided for by the decal sheet! The striking box art took up the whole of the box top, with no lettering on it whatsoever. The grey colour shown in these profiles is a slightly greenish grey around Munsell 7.5 GY 7/0.5 just a little warmer and greener than FS 26440. The closest paints out of the tin in Humbrol are the old Authentics HB 6 Sea Grey Medium (the current Satin 165 seems a little darker) or Satin 129 US Gull Grey.

The larger double box, as shown above and containing two kits, was issued around 1975 as 03-800, although Burns reports it as being 05-800 - perhaps a typo. The box art was the same, although re-aligned and with a camera added to the port wing (!), and titles were added. The two kits were molded in different colours, one in grey-green and one in silver. The kit contains a similar coloured instruction sheet to the 1/48th scale kit, repeating the box art and showing the same six colour profiles as the earlier kit but to a larger size. I have one example where the markings on these profiles are shown in colour but the aircraft themselves are only shown in outline, probably a printing error.

The Mania logo was changed between the issue of the two kits with that shown on the left above being the earlier type. Both forms were displayed on a Hinomaru (日の丸 - sun's disc). The Mania Hobby Co., Ltd. address was given as 34-23 2-Chome Higashimizumoto, Katushika-Ku, Tokyo, Japan.

Hasegawa took over Mania in 1977 and began re-issuing the whole range in their own box designs, art and logo. In all these Mania releases, unlike any of the later Hasegawa re-issues, the sliding canopy was provided as a separate  part to be displayed open - or not at all, as many Type 97 were flown with the sliding canopy actually removed, especially the Ko variants. In addition parts were included to display the aircraft with all three variations of undercarriage seen on the Ki-27 and this feature was continued by Hasegawa. I have always liked the Mania kits and prefer them to the later Hasegawa issues for various reasons, not least the separate canopy, quality of their presentation and pure nostalgia, but surprisingly they don't seem to command such high prices on resale as the earliest Hasegawa issues.

Image credits:- All © 1970-1977 Mania Hobby Co., Ltd.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Mania (Hasegawa) 1/48th Nakajima Type 97 Fighter "Nate" (Ki-27)

Blogging the photos of Mark's excellent model yesterday brought to mind the original Mania Ki-27. It was their only 1/48th scale kit, although intriguingly the side of the box promised a Mitsubishi A5M2a "Claude" in the same scale and reportedly a Kawanishi N1K2 "George" was ready to be issued when Hasegawa took Mania over in 1977 and was later released by them. The Ki-27 kit was first issued in 1975 and was presented in the typical quality of all Mania kits although the box title managed a rather glaring spelling error with "Tipe" instead of "Type". The Japanese characters gave the full designation of Kyu-Nana Shiki Sento-ki (九七式戦闘機) followed by the suffixes Ko (甲) and Otsu () for the two sub-variants offered in the kit. The box art by Rikyu Watanabe showed one of the five decal options, a Ki-27 Ko of the 64th Sentai flown by 1Lt Iwori Sakai of the 2nd Chutai. The aircraft was anachronistically depicted in combat with Soviet I-15 and I-16 aircraft, presumably meant to represent Nomonhan, but there is no evidence the distinctive cowling arrow markings were still being worn during that campaign. The colour profile provided with the kit correctly identifies the location of this aircraft as being in Central China in November 1938, the unit being based at Ertaokou and Changte at that time.

The other four decal options offered in the kit were first a Ko of the 1st Sentai at Kagamigahara in June 1939. Second an Otsu of the 2nd Chutai, 24th Sentai at Nomonhan in August 1939. This particular aircraft 'mi' (ミ) held the record in the Sentai for shooting down the most Soviet aircraft during the campaign and was flown variously by aces 1Lt Hyoe Yonaga, Sgt Maj Chiyoji Saito and Sgt Maj Goro Nishihara. It was also an Aikoku aircraft with the presentation number 318 on the fuselage although this marking is not included in the kit. The third option was the well known Otsu aircraft of Capt Shigetoshi Inoue, the leader of the 1st Chutai, 1st Sentai - also the subject of the box art on the Hasegawa re-issue of the Mania 1/72 Ki-27 kit. My belief from examining the original photo print is that the cowling chevron on this aircraft was probably yellow rather than the white usually depicted and it should also have the elevators painted in the Chutai colour of yellow. The fourth option is another Otsu flown by Capt Kenji Shimada the 1st Chutai leader of the 11th Sentai and a famous Nomonhan ace with 27 claimed victories. The eight Soviet stars were painted on this aircraft during the lull in the Nomonhan fighting in June 1939 and symbolise his claims made in two days of air combat during May 1939.

Hasegawa re-issued the kit from 1981 to 1987 as U001 and as U1 in the short-lived black bordered box design, introducing the designation Nakajima Ki-27 Nate. The two different box arts by Shigeo Koike (and here) both depict a Ki-27 Ko of the 84th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai (DHC - Independent Air Squadron) but that for U1 was again shown anachronistically in combat with a Soviet I-15. The main belligerence of the Ki-27s of this unit was directed towards Vichy French aircraft over Indo-China. Only one other decal option was offered in this issue - a Homeland Defence aircraft of the 3rd Chutai of the 13th Sentai, but in the U1 box both aircraft were depicted as colour profiles on a fold-out sheet.

The kit has since been re-issued fairly regularly in various special edition boxings, including at least two Manchukuo releases, but as far as I know no other mainstream Ki-27 kits have been produced to this scale. Mania also produced a Ki-27 in their 1/72nd range which has also been regularly re-released by Hasegawa over the years and of which more anon.

Here is a listing of the Ko, Otsu Hei, etc., sequential suffixes as the characters are often rendered in English but seldom shown as kanji:-

Ko 甲
Otsu 乙
Tei 丁
Bo 戊
Ki 己
Ko 庚
Shin 辛
Jin 壬
Ki 癸

These characters can be useful to the study of aircraft plans and variant profiles in Japanese books. They originated from a calendar system in use during the Chinese Shang Dynasty and are known as the Ten (Celestial or Heavenly) Stems. The usual rendering in English as a, b, c etc., is not a direct translation of their meaning but just a convenient equivalence.

Image credits: © 1975 Mania Hobby Co., Ltd.; © 1981-1987 Hasegawa Seisakusho Co., Ltd.

Friday 7 September 2012

4th Sentai Ki-27 in 1/48th by Mark Smith

Mark Smith kindly sent these images of his Ki-27 model to celebrate final completion of the Ki-27 Aces manuscript!  The model was built from the 1/48th Mania kit (which has been re-issued many times by Hasegawa) and all the markings are painted on using stencils as it was made pre-Lifelike Decals - whose 2007 sheet Type 97 Fighters Part 1 48-020 includes them. It depicts an aircraft of the 4th Sentai attributed as the mount of the Sentai Commander Lt Col Saburo Hayashi with the markings painted in the cobalt blue of the Sentai Hombu shotai, as based at Kikuchi in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan in September 1940. I especially like the shade of blue Mark used for the Sentai Hombu colour (he thinks it might have been Pactra 'Insignia Blue' in the small glass bottles). The blue sprayed beautifully and the black detail on the tail marking was added by hand afterwards! Mark also added a Squadron vacform canopy displayed in the open position as the original kit canopy is a one-piece moulding.

The 4th Sentai, formed in 1918, are best known as a Homeland Defence Sentai flying the Ki-45 Toryu two-seat heavy fighter in the last two years of the war but they retained the Ki-27 for additional pilot training and at the time of the B-29 raids formed a fourth temporary Ki-27 Kogekitai (attack or assault unit) which participated in air defence interceptions of the bombers. I have described this in more detail in the forthcoming book. The unit tail marking was inspired by their airbase of origin at Tachiarai which means washing a sword in a stream and was symbolised by a sword handguard - tsuba (鍔) - positioned over a stylised stream

'proton45' posted a link at to some interesting footage from Abe Yutaka's 1940 Toho film Moyuru Ôzora (燃える大空 "The Burning Sky") which he has uploaded to You Tube:-

This is well worth watching if you are interested in the 97-Sen and the whole film can still be purchased from Japan in DVD format. The film dramatises one of the battlefield rescues that were to be regularly performed over Nomonhan and the manner in which the passenger was carried is a revelation!

It was conceived as one of the first Hollywood-style "spectaculars" to be shown in Japan and the Toho brochure described how "Thrilling dogfights and burning patriotic passions raise the spirits of the home front to a fever pitch!" The characters 燃える - moyuru, or sometimes moeru, mean to burn or to get fired up, as in burning or blazing passion, so there is a double meaning in the title. It was not well received by all its critics. Aoki Bunzô in Nihon Eiga thought the film was unsuited to the Japanese character and primly concluded that "the spectacle is a genre still undeveloped in Japan. Perhaps the main reason for this is the lack of capital, but almost equally important is the fact that life in Japan is so quotidian as to be the very opposite of the spectacular. There can be little doubt that Flaming Sky is the best film of its type to appear so far in Japan, but those of us who have seen what the Hollywood aerial spectaculars can achieve, know all too well the degree of its insufficiency".

In fact the main sub-text of the film, beneath the spectacular, is concerned with duty, sacrifice and death. "Do you think you are actually the possessors of those bodies of yours?" demands an officer of the pilot trainees, angry at the greed one displays during a meal. As one they shout that the rightful possessor is "His Imperial Majesty's Empire!". Two pilots contemplate how important it is to die admirably and in an address the CO chooses this theme and advises his men that when they feel anxieties they should consult the Imperial Rescript, to "set your soul on fire and bring the spirit of bushidô within you". I wonder if any Western intelligence agencies marked this film and if they did what they might have learned from it?

Image credits: Ki-27 model © 2012 Mark Smith; Moyuru Ôzora stills & DVD cover © 1940 Toho Co. Ltd; Acknowledgements: Peter B High 'The Imperial Screen' (University of Wisconsin) 2003

Thursday 6 September 2012

Zero Tactical Markings

Further to that Zero over Hong Kong "in shadow" (!) here is another image of an aircraft reported as a "Zeke" intercepting a B-24 off the Malayan coast with what appears to be a light painted tail fin and rudder - and possibly a light painted cowling. At first glance I didn't think this aircraft looked like a Zero but as it is in motion the shape might have become distorted. I'm tempted to think the tail cone has been removed too but that might just be an impression given by light coloured tail.

Image credit: NARA 

Saturday 1 September 2012

CPO Takeo Tanimizu by Ajay

Following on from his beautifully rendered and evocative art of the 'Demon of Rabaul', Alexander Jay has now added this very fine portrait of IJN ace CPO Takeo Tanimizu and his A6M5c to his portfolio. Both these superb images are now available as prints via Alexander's own blog here.

Image credit: © 2012 Alexander Jay