Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Update on Red Box Figures

Hannants have them.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Red Box 1/72 Japanese Aircrew Figures

I have now had the opportunity to examine the plastic versions of the Red Box Japanese Aircrew figures originally released in resin and described here in August last year. Each set contains three identical sprues with 14 figures in different poses - so there are three figures of each pose in the set for a total of 42.  There are two additional figures in each set which were not included in the resin sets.

The three sets available are:-

RB72052 Japanese Army Aviation  Pilots and Ground Crew

The two additional figures are a pilot pulling himself up to the cockpit using the cord often attached to fighters for this purpose and a ground  crew man in shorts and cap with a paintbrush and pot of paint. Unfortunately the latter figure was short shot in my set and missing his right arm with the paint tin!  I especially like the ground crew figure in shorts and singlet lifting a belt of ammunition from a box.

RB72053 IJN Pilots and Ground Crew 

The extra figures are a ground crew man in overalls and cap pushing an aircraft tailplane and another ground crewman in floppy jungle hat kneeling using a screwdriver. My favourite figure is the man standing to attention and signalling with flag.

RB72048 Japanese Kamikaze

The extra figures are an officer in formal service dress and cap holding a tray of sake (?) and a ground crew man in service dress and cap bending forward to hold something. The ground crew figure waving his cap is especially fine.

All the figures are cleanly moulded with the first two sets in brown plastic and the Kamikaze set in white. The plastic is of the polythene type but harder than Airfix figures for example. The figures are not as "chunky" as the illustrations suggest but are "small" 1/72nd - rather like Preiser figures. The poses are imaginative and useful, offering the possibility of modification to create even more variations. I should have liked to see more pilots in tropical dress in the IJA set as the flying suits on four of the pilots are more typical of the bulky winter type. I'll endeavour to add some images of the actual figures to the blog shortly.

For anyone who likes to display their aircraft models with figures these sets are a must. The only snag is that they don't appear to be widely available and even though they are manufactured in Ukraine I had to order mine from Taiwan.

Image credit: © 2014 Red Box 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Karel Struna's Otaki 1/48th Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa

The informal and arbitrary policy of this blog has been to attempt to alternate 'historical' features with model/kit presentations. There are now several of the former languishing in preparation so rather than extend the absence of updates here are images of a fine example of the Otaki Hayabusa as built by Karel Struna.

Karel writes that this is:-

"Another very old kit from the Arii/Otaki family. Typical rivets are present together with perfect precision. I started again with the cockpit which corresponds to the kit age. The lack of detail is one of the major weaknesses of the model. Despite this fact, only home made seatbelts were added, because the canopy was planned to be closed. The fuselage and wings fitted perfectly and only small gaps were filled with the black glue and smoothed with debonder. Then a layer of surfacer was applied.

Alclad aluminum was used for the base paint together with the canvas colour for ailerons and elevator. Then the whole marking was sprayed using vinyl masks and Tamiya tape and then the green mottling was applied as the final part of the camouflage just like in real life. Panel lines and rivets were highlighted with Mig wash. Small amount of smoke exhausts were painted using Tamiya smoke as well as the dust on wheels which was created by using an earth pigment. Scratches on the green snakes were made with a help of AK interactive worn effect. 

 Fits perfectly
, rivets
, price
. Disadvantages:
 Poor cockpit
 detail, thickness and overall quality of the canopy part."

Karel's model is finished as an aircraft of the 3rd Chutai, 64th Sentai as flown by Lt Yohei Hinoki from Mingaladon, Burma in November, 1943 and Karel has replicated very nicely the mottle camouflage described by a contemporary RAF pilot as being like "moss on a bright stone".

Otaki Hayabusa Kitography

First issue box art

The Otaki kit first appeared in the mid-1960's and until the introduction of the FineMolds and Hasegawa Hayabusa series was pretty much the only game in 1/48th town. There was a near contemporary Ki-43-III Ko in 1/50th scale from Tamiya but the Otaki kit represented cutting edge kit technology with its fit of parts and fine recessed detail. I don't recall it being generally available in the UK but it was the first kit I built when I resumed modelling after a hiatus imposed by duties and movements. It was then getting on for ten years old but was new to me and I enjoyed completing an out of the box 'dining table' build with the minimum of tools and resources - some sheets of newspaper, a razor blade, glue, a couple of pots of paint and a paintbrush. Remember when it was that simple?

Second issue. Classic box art by Rikyu Watanabe of 25th Sentai leader Sakagawa in combat with a 14th AF sharkmouth P-40. Note absence of headrest - the artist knew his stuff!

The kit represents a late production Ki-43-II with rearwards facing exhausts and drop tank racks outboard of the undercarriage. The first issue of the kit was molded in dark green plastic and contained decals for three options:- an aircraft of the 25th Sentai's 2nd Chutai, and aircraft of the instructor's flight of Kumagaya Flying School with Home Defence 'bandages' (which I selected for my first build) and an aircraft of the 3rd Chutai, 63rd Sentai (as depicted on the box art. 

Revised artwork, same subject and artist. Collectable were it not for the Scale Craft philistine!

The second issue from 1972, now molded in grey green plastic, also included three options:- Sakagawa's machine, the Kumagaya Flying School example and an aircraft of the 1st Chutai, 63rd Sentai. A sheet with colour profiles of the first two options was also included.

Arii re-issue

The Arii re-issue from 1987 is identical to the Otaki second issue kit and includes the same box art.

Image credits: Model photographs © 2014 Karel Struna; Y Hinoki photo via Karel Struna; Boxart © Otaki and Arii