We'll soon be back to Zeros (and Aces) but in the meantime the latest Japanese aviation related sheet from the prolific Rising Decals is RD72070 for Japanese Army Aircraft of the Training Units Pt.II with markings for nine subjects including the Ki-27, Ki-55, Ki-79, Ki-43 and Ki-44. The individual subjects are as follows:-
- Ki-27 of 111th Kyoiku Hiko Rentai (Educational Air Regiment), Korea, 1943 - two options are provided, for an aircraft with numerals '68' on the nose and wheel spats removed and for an aircraft with twin fuselage stripes, both in overall grey-green and sporting the unit insignia in red on the tail.
- Ki-27 of Hamamatsu Rikugun Hiko Gakko (Army Flying School) - this striking Ki-27 is based on a monochrome photograph so the colours are necessarily speculative. It is unusual as Hamamatsu was principally a bomber training school. It might be the personal runaround of the establishment commander or perhaps used for 'bounce' training of air gunners. The school insignia was usually white, red or yellow.
- Ki-55 of 34th Kyoiku Hikotai at Kemayoran, Java, 1945 - a field camouflaged trainer with elaborate tail insignia and large white numerals '56' on the fuselage. Note that although shown as such in the profile the actual aircraft was not fitted with wheel spats (hat tip to Jacob Terlouw).
- Ki-55 of 3rd Kyoiku Hikotai - another training aircraft in a field camouflaged scheme of streaky green over the original yellow. This unit was previously designated the 103rd but the tail marking is associated with their Ki-51 special attack unit - Shichishou-Shoudoh Tai - and might not be the original training unit marking. The kikusui (floating chrysanthemum) emblem is associated with special attackers. Although this particular aircraft has been reported as being at Gifu, the 3rd was part of the 107th Kyoiku Hiko Dan which came under 55th Kyoiku Hiko Shidan HQ at Singapore. It was also known as Oka No.15315 Unit and was an Army Co-op training unit based at Taiping in Malaya, operating the Ki-36, Ki-51 and Ki-54. According to one source the circle marking was painted in Chutai colours.
- Ki-79a of unknown training unit at Andir, Java, 1945 - two options are provided, for aircraft with alternative white fuselage numerals '9' or '10'. Both have the unit tail insignia of three stylised red arrows.
- Ki-43-I of Akeno Rikugun Hiko Gakko, Mie Prefecture, 1942 - this fighter trainer is depicted in green and brown camouflage with a white painted rudder and white rectangular background to the fuselage Hinomaru.
- Ki-44-II Hei of Tachiarai Rikugun Hiko Gakko, Kyushu, 1944 - Although Tachiarai was not notionally included in the scheme this Shoki was possibly prepared as an air defence fighter of the Tõ Ni Go Butai (Secondary Provisional Units) flown by instructors and test pilots at air training and testing establishments during bombing raid alerts. It has the flying school insignia of the kanji character 大 ('ta' for Tachiarai) on the rudder and the yellow trim associated with those units in the form of a diagonal fuselage band and fin/rudder stripes combined with a very worn looking camouflage finish.
This is yet another excellent sheet from Rising Decals offering some interesting and unusual alternative schemes for popular Army training aircraft models. Army training unit nomenclature and organisation can be confusing but fighter training units were designated processionally upwards from Renshu Hikotai, (approx. Training Transformation Air Unit) which provided basic flying training in dual control biplanes, to the subsequent Kyoiku Hikotai (approx. Educational Air Unit) where students flew the Ki-27, its single and two seat trainer variant the Ki-79, and the fighters they would eventually fly in combat such as the Ki-43 and Ki-61. Finally in the Rensei Hikotai (approx. Learning Air Unit) student pilots received advanced operational training and were taught combat tactics such as the rotte system. The Rensei Hikotai were frequently used to provide an auxiliary air defence capability.
With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for providing the review sheet.
Image credits: All images © 2015 Rising Decals