Monday 14 December 2015

Ki-61/Ki-100 Aces

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 (


Dan Salamone said...

I am getting your book as a Christmas gift to myself, and can't wait to both read the content and see Ronnie's artistry. Thanks for sharing these images Nick, and great work as always from Ronnie!


Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks Dan - I hope you will enjoy it!
Best regards

Dan Salamone said...

That's a given Nick :-)


Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

Thank you very much for your very kind comments Nick! The other day I received my complimentary copies and I'm halfway reading the book now. It's a great read so far, as expected! It's been a long time in the making for sure, but the results justify it.

I enjoyed working with you on the artwork for this and the previous Osprey titles. It's great to get your competent and well-researched input and particularly your excellent research on colours and markings makes my life a lot easier and ensures a result as accurate as possible, three-quarters of a century later.

On to our next cooperation!


Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thanks Dan and Ronnie - blush!

Looking forward to the next projects!

Best regards

Anonymous said...

Wonderful treatment of the a/c! You have created a "one stop shop" for Ki-61/Ki 100 reference. I found the writing and artwork to be very meticulous. The side views of the a/c esp. the Ki-61 were most helpful, in seeing just where the fuselage was stretched on the Ki-61! The profiles are quite a cut above what one normally sees, great references for camouflage and markings. Excellent work! Bring some more on....
Pat D

Danilo said...

I'm proud to say I received this book just a few days after it has been published and I must say my expectations haven't been disappointed! I'm sipping it page by page, profile by profile - it arrived just in time to complete a Kobayashi '61 model in Yellow-Green #7. The cobalt blue stripe compels me to re-paint the fuselage but it definitely is worth the pain.
Many thanks to you both Nick and Ronnie for this long awaited job.
Best Regards


Straggler 脱走兵 said...

Thank you Pat and Danilo

Best regards

Antoine said...

Ordered, but not delivered yet.
But I'll drop every other book to start reading it as soon as it reach my mailbox!


Antoine said...

Got it!
Reading will start very soon, but I've already made a quick overview.
I was really surprised by the overall quality of the pictures, a fair number of those being unknown to me.
So, congratulation for this.

I would have loved to see a profile of any of the two machines on pages 48/49, in CNAF marking, but I reckon this is a bit out of the book's scope.


Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

Hi Antoine,

It's indeed out of the books scope, but I personally quite like the Chinese-captured machines too. There's a good chance I'll do some Chinese Ki-27, Ki-44 and Ki-61 profiles at some point.

Best regards,


MDriskill said...

This is very exciting news! I'm glad to see it's finally out and can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy.

Stefan Sjöberg said...

I have just ordered a copy, looking forward to it.

Best regards/

Antoine said...

Hi Ronnie,

Good to hear that.

If I may, I would recommend you this book from Kecay Publication, Japanese aircraft in foreign service vol.1, here at Karaya.

I'm pretty sure that Nick does have more informations about those aircrafts.

aek said...

Hi Nicholas,
I find this book very high quality on a subject little discussed in the past, especially concerning the Ki-100.
The profiles are beautiful and it is unfortunate that the Osprey format does not bring out the beautiful détails
of each profile (with the digital version in my possession e-book in PDF format can be enlarged a bit though).
Thank you for small fixes listed in this article I'll integrate.
I invite readers of this excellent blog that remains for me a reference for Japanese colors on research during
the Second World War to come see my blog on the review on this excellent book:
Best regards
Blog "AVIONS EN KITS 1/72"

WD said...

Thanks so much for the post letting us know this is available now, I have to order a copy next time I obtain some Osprey titles. I've been following Ronnie's work on Facebook for a while now, and he's hands down my favorite profile artist. Beautiful work, and Nick, I great look forward to reading what you've written on this a/c and adding it to my Ki-61 library references.