Good news for 1/48th scale modellers. Following on from their re-issue of the Rising Decals popular 'Dying Sun' two-part sets of captured Japanese aircraft in Allied markings, Max Models in the USA has released a two part Limited Edition in 1/48th scale.
MM 48-0100 has markings for five aircraft as follows:-
- 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, elevators and spinner painted red as evidenced by a colour photograph. The schematic in the decal instructions shows this even more colourful subject correctly even though the cover illustration doesn't.
- 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', sometimes called 'construction number' or c/n, 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-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 the rarely seen individual exhaust stacks still in IJAAF camouflage with the partially over-painted emblem of former operator the 70th Sentai on the rudder. This will make a very interesting model but the Hasegawa kit will require some modification to represent the multiple exhaust outlets. I'm not aware of a conversion kit although it would seem a good subject for one.
- Ki-84-1 'S17' - another aircraft 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.
For obvious reasons the two Ki-46 subjects on the 1/72nd sheet are not included.
MM 48-0101 also has markings for five fighter aircraft as follows:-
- J2M3 'S12' - another nmf Clark Field TAIU tested bird # 3008 in natural metal with pre-war rudder stripes, this 'Jack' was captured on the emergency airstrip at Dewey Boulevard, Manila.
- J2M3 'B1-01' - Once thought to be applied by the British the tail number on this aircraft is now known to be IJN original and identifies IJN Air Group 381. This Raiden in ATAIU-SEA ownership was flown under test at Tebrau, Malaya.
- 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. An incompletely decipherable legend 'AI 2G . . . ' appears beneath the 'Technical Air Intelligence Center' title 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' - also operated by ATAIU-SEA at Tebrau, Malaya in 1946.
- Ki-43-II - a new addition to the sheet this Army aircraft was captured at Hollandia, New Guinea and test flown in natural metal finish with pre-war rudder stripes and the name 'Racoon Special' which can be applied in optional red or yellow.
Captured Japanese aircraft are perennially popular as modelling subjects and these decals offer good, colourful subjects. They are well printed with accurate register and nicely saturated colours with the British roundel colours depicted correctly. For aircraft with the pre-war rudder stripes the rudder must be painted white before application. The sheets cost US$12 post-paid in the USA, $14 to Canada or Mexico and $15 (approx. £9.62) to any other country post-paid. In the UK they will be available from Hannants. With Max Models kind permission and for reasons I won't go into involving our friends the Royal Mail (grrr!) the two review sheets are available for sale direct from me on a strictly first come first served basis for the special price of £12 the pair post-paid within the UK only.
Image credits: All © 2013 Max Models