Osprey's Ki-61 and Ki-100 Aces (Aircraft of the Aces 114), authored by your host here, was finally published last month and the illustrator Ronnie Olsthoorn has kindly prepared examples of the cover art, selected profiles, drawings and notes to be published here. The highlight of the book for me was Ronnie's superb artwork which IMHO are the best Hien profiles so far created. Ronnie went to great lengths to get the details correct and although "never trust a profile" is another modelling cliché I found his meticulous conclusions in the interpretation of photographs and data both compelling and convincing. It is a privilege to have collaborated with Ronnie and to have shared his methodology and expertise up close and personal once again.
Ki-61-I Otsu of 78th Sentai, Wasile, Halmaheras in early 1944 with tail character 'Wa'
Ki-61-I Tei '24' of Capt Teruhiko Kobayashi, 244th Sentai Hombu, Chofu, Japan, February 1945
Ki-61-I Tei '24' of Capt Teruhiko Kobayashi, 244th Sentai Hombu, Chofu, Japan, March 1945
Although recent profiles of 244th Sentai commander Kobayashi's aircraft have been depicted more recently with red command stripes Ronnie decided to depict them as blue in accordance with earlier representations, for sound reasons with which I concurred. We'll be featuring Kobayashi's Hiens in more detail on the blog next year. The third profile above corrects the profile in the book by restoring the red 'diving Hien' to the victory tally.
Ki-61-I Hei serial '3294', 56th Sentai, Itami, Japan, December 1944
Ki-100 of Maj Yohei Hinoki, 2nd Daitai, Akeno Kyodo Hikoshidan and 111th Sentai, Akeno, Japan, July 1945
Ki-100 serial '16153' of 3rd Chutai, 59th Sentai, Ashiya, Japan, October 1945
The 59th Sentai Ki-100 above is depicted with the correct spanwise stripes on the tailplanes for the first time. These were always an integral part of this unit's tail insignia but have been omitted in all previous representations. Ronnie's approach to creating each profile is exemplified by his annotated notes to the Ki-61-I Tei '62' of Capt Kobayashi:-
Unfortunately the size of reproduction required by the Osprey format means that the exceptional detail of the original artwork cannot be fully appreciated. These two close-ups provide examples:-
For the eagle-eyed Ronnie has also provided corrected drawings for the Ki-100 - below. They are identical to the drawings in the book, except that they omit the tail gear inspection hatch, which was only present on the starboard side of the Ki-100. Unfortunately, this error was noticed only after the images were submitted for publication. Please also note that the photo caption on page 74, top, is also incorrect and Hien '71' is a factory painted Tei rather than a depot/unit painted Otsu. Other gremlins crept in with some of the photo credits:-
Page 70 (top) - Yasuho Izawa
Page 71 - Yasuho Izawa
Page 74 (top) - Kikuchi Collection via Hiroshi Umemoto
All references to Horoshi Umemoto in the book should read as Hiroshi Umemoto. My apologies for these unfortunate errors which should be corrected in re-published editions.
With special thanks to Ronnie for permitting the publication of these beautiful images at Aviation of Japan.
Image credits: All © Osprey Publishing/Ronnie Osthoorn (www.aviationart.aero)