Saturday 20 February 2016

Jan Voorbij's 1/72 Aichi D3A1 'Val'

Jan Voorbij from the Netherlands has very kindly shared these images and build report of his delightful Aichi D3A1 'Val' model in 1/72nd scale.  The model was built from the latest release of the venerable 51 year old Airfix kit. Aviation of Japan readers will know that this kit, so often maligned elsewhere, is always welcome here. I can remember when it first appeared too, and how much appreciated it was in an era when so few kits of Japanese aircraft were available. "Eye-key Dai-Val' we called it then, in our ignorance. It is rightly a classic, to be built and enjoyed without qualms.

Aichi D3A1 Type 99 Model 11 ('Val')
Imperial Japanese Navy, Carrier Division 1, Carrier Kaga
December 1942 - March 1942
Crew: F1c Shinsaku Yamakawa (pilot) and F1C Katuzo Nakata (gunner, radio operator)

"I first built this kit when I was a 12 year old youngster, attracted by the box art, and revisited it now, at the age of 62 - how times flies. . . It was originally released in 1965 and this one is a rebox from 2011 with new, very good decals. I chose it this time for a project that I had started about the air war over the Dutch East Indies in early 1942. 

"F1/c Yamakawa’s Type 99 is seen here in standard Kaga markings and early war finish. This aircraft was a presentation machine as shown by the inscription on the rear fuselage superimposed over the twin red stripes. This reads 'Hokoku  522 (Dai55 Zen Nippon G)' denoting that it was the 522nd aircraft presented to the IJN and the 55th machine purchased by nationwide subscription. In this particular case the aeroplane was purchased by student donations from girls’ schools throughout Japan.

"Yamakawa flew this aircraft from Pearl Harbor through to the anti-shipping sweep south of Java in March 1942. All presentation weapons, including aircraft, for the IJN were referred to as hokoku, (Ed: 報國) while those for the Imperial Army were called aikoku (Ed: 愛国). Both terms may be translated as ‘patriot’or ‘patriotism’, although the literal translation for hokoku is ‘service to country’, while aikoku is ‘love of country’. Yamakawa’s dive-bomber also sports a different style of flash marking seen on the wheel covers of some Kaga  aeroplanes, with the upper and lower edges converging in a straight line instead of a curve. The difference between the two styles probably reflects separate maintenance buntai assignments for the aircraft. Finally, note the white stencilling block on the side of the engine cowling. This served as a handily placed checklist for Type 99 engine maintenance personnel.  

"I decided to experiment with a different approach: instead of building the kit according to the instructions I wanted it to show that it was a carrier borne aircraft with its wing tips folded. This took a lot of precise measuring and sawing; a tricky job indeed. The Hinomaru decals had to be cut in two, as they were positioned across the fold. I used reference pics to imitate the construction of the wingtips and how they were attached to the wings showing some tubes (bars?) in the mechanism that moved them up or down. A problem that I could not solve to my satisfaction was the canopies. I wanted to display them open, so that the personnel and the scratched interior would be visible. For the gunner's position this meant that the rear parts of the canopy should be placed on top of each other. However, like most of the 1960s Airfix kits, the transparencies are too thickly moulded so this was nor feasible. Therefore I decided to leave the rear part off as it isn't noticed if one doesn't look too closely ;-)

"The kit went well together and there was not much putty needed to fill the gaps. I added two small bombs from the spares box to the wings. For the overall paintjob I decided to choose Tamya XF-76 IJN Grey Green (instead of Humbrol 90 Beige Green the Airfix recommendation). To add weathering I used a dark grey wash and conté pencils. A HB pencil was used to lighten up the rivets.

"There is one other omission - there are no small decals with the number '256' that should be displayed on the front of the wheel spats. All in all, despite some shortcomings, this is a kit I would like to recommend and I very much enjoyed building it."
Jan Voorbij

Tagaya Osamu, 'Aichi 99 Kanbaku 'Val' Units 1937-42 (Osprey Publishing 2011)
Francilion René J, 'Imperial Japanese Navy  Bombers of World War Two' (Hylton Lacy Publishers Ltd 1969)

With special thanks to Jan for sharing the images of his model and build report here. Incidentally, the subject of Jan's model is featured as Profile 9, painted by Jim Laurier, in Osamu Tagaya's superb Osprey book on Kanbaku units.

Image credits: All © 2016 Jan Voorbij 

Thursday 18 February 2016

Oleg Pegushin's 1/72nd scale Tainan Ku A6M2

Following on from Alexey Shurakov's excellent A6M2-K trainer, Oleg Pegushin has kindly shared these images of his own latest Zero model, a Tainan Ku A6M2 made in the smaller scale of 1/72 from the limited edition of the superb Tamiya kit, offered with a book and unique decal sheet.

Oleg built the model, his seventh Zero, mainly out of the box, but with some photo-etched parts added to the cockpit and some holes drilled out here and there. He used his customary Vallejo paints using Aviation of Japan's guide to Painting the Early Zero-Sen.

The inspiration for this build was the book 'Eagles of the Southern Sky: The Tainan Air Group in WWII, Volume One: New Guinea' by Luca Ruffato and Michael J Claringbould which his wife gave to him as a birthday present. Oleg recommends this book to anyone interested in the Pacific War in general and the famous Tainan Ku and its Zeros in particular. He found it interesting reading and a great source of information.

Oleg recognises that it is a speculative topic as to whom V-138 was assigned, seen in a famous photograph of the injured ace Saburo Sakai. But he found the reasoning of the authors in Eagles of the Southern Sky convincing, so his Zero model was completed to represent the aircraft of buntaichô Lt (jg) Jun'ichi Sasai of the 2nd Chutai, Tainan Kokutai with two blue fuselage stripes rather than the single red or blue stripe as suggested by Tamiya.

The model was based on profile 17 on page 118 of the book, which the authors describe as follows:-

"This aircraft and tail were photographed at Rabaul on 7 August 1942. The aircraft was assigned to buntaichô Lt (jg) Sasai Jun'ichi who flew it on the 7 August 1942 Guadalcanal mission. Others who also flew this fighter regularly include Lt Kurihara Katsumi and Lt Kawai Shirô." 

Over the years various tail codes and fuselage/tail stripe colours have been attributed to the A6M2 aircraft flown by Saburo Sakai in the Tainan Ku. Hideaki Fujii depicted V-138 with a single blue stripe and two yellow tail stripes in interpretation of the aircraft seen behind Sakai in the photograph of him walking injured after the 7 August sortie. The depiction of an A6M2 with blue fuselage stripe and black tailcode V-103  dates from the 1950s and Hideaki Fujii speculated that it was probably based on Sakai's recollections at that time. However in 1993 an A6M2 s/n 3647 with the tailcode V-103 was recovered on Guadalcanal. This aircraft had a red fuselage stripe and single white tail stripe with V-103 in black. Sakai is variously reported to have claimed to have flown this actual aircraft before and/or during his 7  August sortie. Another A6M2 with tailcode V-128, blue fuselage stripe and white tail stripe was profiled in 'Reishiki Kanjo Sentouki' in 1961, apparently based on information obtained from Sakai by Kani Yoshiyuki during an overnight stay. There is a profile of V-128 in 'Eagles of the Southern Sky' but the authors write this about it:-

"This profile is precautionary as no known photo exists of this aircraft. The V-number is  allegedly taken from Sakai Saburo's log book  entry for 7 August 1942, athough neither  author has sighted the original entry. Although this fighter has been profiled in numerous publications as having a white tail stripe, V-128 would have borne a red shotaicho stripe to denote its placement in the third shotai. Other pilots who might have regularly flown this shotaicho fighter include FPO2 Arita Yoshisuke  and FPO1c Nishizawa Hiroyoshi."

They illustrate the aircraft with blue fuselage stripe and red tail stripe. V-103 is also illustrated with red fuselage stripe and white fin stripe but is attributed to WO Takatsuka Tora'ichi rather than Sakai.

Another Sakai Zero illustrated in the Eagles book is V-172 with black fuselage stripe and white tail stripe. This aircraft is usually depicted with a blue fuselage stripe (the AWM exhibit has a blue stripe) but the number mentioned in Sakai's logbook indicates a fourth chutai aircraft which the authors assert should mean a black stripe. Personally I think the case for black fuselage stripes is problematic and it has been much debated but that is another issue!

The second issue of the Hasegawa old tool A6M2 included decals for yet another A6M2 attributed to Saburo Sakai - this time with the tailcode V-107 and single blue fuselage and tail stripes. Artist Masao Satake depicts this aircraft several times in Masahiro Mino's wonderfully illustrated story of Saburo Sakai 'The Samurai' (WAC, Japan 2003) but with a white tail stripe (although the cover painting shows it with a blue tail stripe per the Hasegawa kit!). Other Sakai-flown A6M2 aircraft depicted in this book are the earlier V-103 with blue fuselage and red tail stripes, together with three blue 'victory' cherry blossom symbols at the base of the fin and, as flown on the 7 August mission, V-128 with single blue fuselage and white tail stripes.  So what to do? Well, if you like the A6M2 a thematic collection of 'Zeros attributed to Saburo Sakai' would provide plenty of indulgence and the opportunity to build Hasegawa, Fine Molds and Tamiya examples, as well as some older kits!

With special thanks to Oleg for sharing the images of his excellent model here.

Image credits: All © 2016 Oleg Pegushin

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Alexey Shumakov's 1/48th scale A6M2-K

Oleg Pegushin has very kindly shared these images of a superb Hasegawa 1/48th scale A6M2-K Type 11 trainer model on behalf of its skilful builder Alexey Shumakov.

Alexey enhanced the model using an Eduard 'Big Ed' photo-etch detail set for the cockpit, flaps and undercarriage. He also replaced the kit wheels with aftermarket wheels and tyres from Equipage.
Rivet lines and the dimpling of panels were also added. It was Alexey's first attempt at the latter technique and he found the process very time consuming and boring!
Some improvements were fabricated by Alexey himself. The cowling flaps were replaced with flaps made from the metal of a beer can and the exhausts from brass tubing. The build report (in Russian but with many images) can be found here. Additional images of the model can be seen here.

The model was painted in three stages. First an orange colour was applied, then a more lemon yellow and finally lightened variants of both colours were applied in an irreular manner. The paints used were acrylics - Tamiya and Gunze (GSI Creos). Alexey also weathered the finish to give the impression of an aircraft in service. The kit decals were used to represent a trainer of the Kônoike Ku in the autumn of 1944 with the tailcode コウ (Kou) -419.

 The Kônoike Kokutai was established at Kônoike in Ibaraki Prefecture in February 1944 with a complement of A6M2 and A6M2-K aircraft to train fighter pilots, but also operated the Raiden interceptor. In December 1944 the unit was incorporated into the Yatabe Ku and Konoike then became associated with the 721st Ku - the Jinrai Butai ( 神雷 部隊 - Thunder Gods Force) which in November 1944 transferred to Kônoike from Hyakurihara Air Base in Ibaraki Prefecture where it had been established at the beginning of October 1944 to fly the Ohka (桜花 - cherry blossom) rocket propelled flying bomb. The 722nd Ku Tatsumaki Butai (竜巻 部隊 - Tornado Force) was also formed at Kônoike to train pilots to replace those who died when the 721st began operations. Part of the former naval base at Kônoike is now a small memorial park - the Kashima Ohka Park - with a monument commemorating the two units and a restored Ohka displayed in one of the underground hangars.
With special thanks to Alexey Shumakov and Oleg Pegushin for sharing these images of the model.

Image credits: All © 2016 Alexy Shumakov via Oleg Pegushin

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Recent Rising Decals & Accessories

Rising Decals have recently released a very welcome 1/72 decal sheet for Japanese Floatplanes. Set RD72071 contains markings for no less than four A6M2-N 'Rufe', four E13A1 'Jake' and five F1M2 'Pete'.

The set offers decals for the following subjects:-
  • A6M2-N of Yokohama Ku, Rabaul. 1942 - in overall grey finish with black tailcode Y-104
  • A6M2-N of 452nd Ku, Kurile Islands, 1943 - in green over grey with yellow tailcode VII-143 and yellow diagonal fuselage band bordered white; an alternative tail code VII-107 is included for an aircraft without the fuselage band
  • A6M2-N of 934th Ku, Ambon, 1944 - in green over grey with yellow tailcode 34-116 and yellow fuselage lightning bolt
  • E13A1 off Kamikawa Maru, Malaya, 1941 - in overall grey finish with white and red tailcode Z1-23 and white fuselage stripe; nice to see an early subject from a seaplane tender 
  • E13A1 of 951st Ku, Sasebo. 1945 - in green over grey with yellow tailcode サ (Sa) 951-47 and painted out diagonal fin/rudder stripe and 'C' formation keeping marking; the Hinomaru decals for this subject feature partially painted out white borders which are well done
  • E13A1 of 453rd Ku, Ryuku Islands, 1945 - in green over grey with white tailcode KEC-73, red diagonal fin/rudder stripe and 'C' formation keeping marking
  • E13A1 of 902nd Ku, Truk, 1943 - an interesting spinner less aircraft in green over grey with red and white tailcode P1-2 and white rectangles behind the fuselage Hinomaru
  • F1M2 of 19th Ku, Kwajalein, 1941 - in overall grey finish with red tailcode 19-26
  • F1M2 off Kamikawa Maru, Malaya, 1941 - in overall grey finish with white tailcode Z1-6 and white fuselage stripe; this one will make a good thematic companion for the 'Jake' Z1-23
  • F1M2 of 951st Ku, Sasebo, 1945 - in green over grey with yellow tailcode サ (Sa) 951-8 and partially painted out fuselage Hinomaru borders
  • F1M2 off Kiyokawa Maru, Salamaua, 1942 - in green over grey with red and white tailcode R1-15
  • F1M2 of 951st Ku, Sasebo, 1945 - in green over grey with yellow tailcode サ (Sa) 951-10; this aircraft has painted out fuselage Hinomaru borders; both Sasebo aircraft also feature plain grey main floats.
Good 'Rufe' and 'Pete' kits are intermittently available from Hasegawa (1994) and Fujimi (1997) respectively whilst the Hasegawa 'Jake', although a veteran from 1971, can still be made into a good looking model with a little work. The two 1941 'Pete' subjects both have the earlier 'clean' cowling without the intake between the machine gun troughs and Rising note that a future resin conversion set will be released for that. This set is highly recommended for all IJN floatplane buffs.

Rising have also released five new accessory sets, four being photo-etched and one in resin. As usual each set comes with colour instructions, assembly sketches and relevant decal sheets for the attractively presented subject.

RD Acc-012 (above) is a Taki 1 Model 2 radar antennae set for the Ki-67 'Peggy'. This photo-etched set consists of wing and fuselage mounted aerial antennae for a Ki-67 of the 98th Sentai at Kagamigahara airfield in 1945. Decals consist of the Hinomaru and red tail stripe. The set is intended to be used with the Hasegawa Ki-67 (1999) but could as easily be adapted for the elderly but less expensive LS/Arii kit, of which more anon.

RD Acc-013 (above) is a Type 3 Ku-6 radar antennae set for mounting above the nose cone and on the fuselage sides of a G4M2 model 24 'Betty'. Decals, which include Hinomaru, are provided for an interesting subject from the Transport Plane Unit of the 13th Air Fleet in the Malaya area, 1945, with the yellow tailcode F1-11.

RD Acc-014 (above) is another Type 3 Ku-6 radar antennae set, this time for mounting centrally in the nose cone and on the fuselage sides of a G4M2 model 24 'Betty'. Decals are provided for a 'Betty' from the 763rd Ku at Clark Field in the Philippines, 1945, with the yellow tailcode 763-12.

RD Acc-015 (above) is an early model Type 3 Ku-6 radar antennae set for mounting in the nose and on the fuselage sides of a G4M2 model 24 'Betty'. Decals are provided for a 'Betty' of the 951st Ku Omura Detachment in June 1945 with the yellow tailcode 951-I-363. All the Type 3 Ku-6 'Betty' radar sets are intended for the Hasegawa G4M2 (1997), which is the only game in town if one discounts the elderly and basic Lindberg G4M2 from 1968.

RD Acc-020 is a resin accessory set providing two 250kg bombs and their racks for a J1N1-S night intruder of the 321st Ku at Tinian in 1944 with the speculative yellow tailcode 21-72. The instructions note that it is recommended this set be used with the previous accessory set RD Acc-016 with H-6 radar antennae (shown below), currently out of stock but which will hopefully be re-released.  The set is intended to be used with the Fujimi J1N1 (1994).

These are interesting and well chosen accessory sets offering everything needed for good alternative subjects for 'Peggy', 'Betty' and 'Irving' kits. With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for kindly providing review samples of the decal sheet and accessory sets.

Image credits: All © 2016 Rising Decals

Tuesday 9 February 2016

Michael Thurow's 1/48 Ki-45 Toryu

When I first saw Michael Thurow's excellent 1/48th Ki-45 Kai Tei Toryu model in 53rd Hiko Sentai air-to-air ramming guise I assumed from the figures on display with it that it must have been made from the Hasegawa kit. In fact Michael made the model from the venerable Nichimo kit with various improvements. Now Michael has very kindly contributed his build report to share here. And really the details he has provided will be of interest and use to anyone building the Toryu in any scale.

My affair with the Toryu
by Michael Thurow

To build a Ki-45 in quarter inch scale had been my dream since the 1970s when I fell in love with the Nichimo kit. The plane had a dramatic looks and the model an unprecedented quality for the time. Unfortunately I did not buy the kit then. Later, when the Toryu was definitely missing in my collection of Japanese aircraft of the Pacific War, it was no longer available. I remembered that a close friend who had given up modeling owned an untouched box and I tried hard to persuade him to sell it - with no luck (see later). Finally in the mid 1990s I found a forgotten example of the kit at a hobby shop. It was my quickest purchase ever!

Ten more years passed before I found the right moment to start. Meanwhile, although Hasegawa's excellent Toryu variants had been released I stayed faithful to the Nichimo kit. Firstly, because I owned one after a long quest that had connected me with the model and secondly, because I still consider Nichimo's surface representation much superior - thousands of sunk rivets make it look very realistic.

In many other aspects, however, the kit is no longer state-of-the art, and so I obtained and used every available after-market item:
  • Eduard 49415 etched detail set   
  • CMK 4206 resin interior set
  • Engine & Things 48136 resin Ha-102 engines (but now Vector seems an even better choice, see my comment below)
  • Falcon No.34 vacform canopy set  
  • True Details 48081 wheel set
  • Fine Molds AC48 pitot tube set
Finally, strange as it may seem, I did purchase a Hasegawa Ki-45 KAI Otsu, mainly because I wanted the Isuzu fuel truck and considered it a benefit to use some of the redundant Hasegawa parts on my Toryu without compromising that kit, such as:-
  • the front cockpit hood in open position, 
  • the individual exhaust pipes; and 
  • the clear position lights
Building the model

Not to bore expert modelers with describing every step of assembly I will focus on the most relevant details, difficulties and changes.

As usual I started with the extra engines which I fixed to the existing bulkheads. They fit nicely into the nacelles - so no problems there. The first real challenge came soon: no parts available anywhere that could be used as ring oil coolers for the later Toryu versions. Many ideas came and passed until I found a brass pipe at a local hobby shop, from which I sawed off two open rings, cut and pressed them to the correct diameter. After adding a little detail they look strikingly realistic! Sadly, the narrow nacelle opening, the oil cooler and the spinner obliterate nearly all sight of the fine engines - alright, at least I know that I didn't avoid the effort...

Next came the wheel wells. The Nichimo kit detail is really not good. So I embellished the interior with pieces from the Eduard set and with narrow strips of cardboard and other scratch-built items. The result is fair enough as rarely anybody ever looks into the openings from below. Be aware that none of the kits represents the upper wheel strut construction correctly. Both Nichimo and Hasegawa chose an easy and safe approach to fixing the struts to the wing base - creating more work for a pedantic like me.

I went on finishing gears, motors and wings. Here are a few ideas that I implemented:
  • Removed the moulded exhaust pipes and replaced them with the individual stacks from the Hasegawa kit which look much livelier
  • Removed the solid position lights and substituted transparencies (Hasegawa)
  • Removed the solid landing light in the wing root, imitated a lamp and covered it with transparent foil
  • Drilled oval air vents into the outer sides of the nacelles, which are missing in the Nichimo kit.
  • Fabricated completely new air intakes for beneath engines - the parts provided in the kit are too narrow
  • Scraped the bulges into the landing gear doors until they were thin and covered them with a small piece of paper from the inside (in reality hollow bulges were riveted to the outside of the doors to smooth the air flow behind the intakes)

With the wings completed and painted (!) I set about improving the fuselage. The CMK forward and rear cockpit set is great and with some adjustment the parts fitted well inside the fuselage except for the Eduard instrument panel. It took me an hour of scraping to thin down the cockpit walls to provide enough room plus cutting off as much material from the instrument panel as possible before I could squeeze it in - risky work as the walls ended up as thin as paper! The only detail to add was some electric wiring which was quite profuse.

I was almost ready to merge the fuselage halves when tragedy struck, a real modeler's nightmare which - hopefully - happens only once in a lifetime.. I had left my magnifying lens in such an unfortunate position that the summer sun shone right through it onto the port fuselage and damaged it badly - all warped and twisted with no chance to repair it. My mind raced for a solution. Hours of search on the internet but no Nichimo kit could be found. Use the Hasegawa fuselage (and start over again) or use part of it and struggle to rectify with the mismatch? Not good! Then, close to despair, a flash of inspiration - the kit in my friend's treasure vault! A call, a real friend - "I don't want you to throw yourself under a train" and a 400 mile round trip to pick it up. Oooff...

After all I was lucky because the damage began right behind my finished cockpit so that I could cut the tail section off and replace it. A careful operation, but successful!

Some more improvements that I made on my way to completing the fuselage:
  • None of the canopy sets is completely satisfactory, so I used a wild combination of the available transparencies from Nichimo, Hasegawa and Falcon
  • Drilled a hole in the nose
  • Added stubs and pipes (for bombs and external tanks) to the mid wing section
No. 98 of the 53rd Hiko Sentai

Now it was time to decide which specific aircraft I wanted my Toryu to represent. After some deliberation I decided in favour of # 98 of the 53rd Hiko Sentai because it was configured for air-to-air ramming attacks and therefore unarmed (less work for me!) and - with the karimata arrow - a fitting example of this dramatic aircraft.

John Haas, whose excellent Ki-45 Kai Tei model can be admired in the May 2015 blog entry, seems to have come to the same conclusion earlier. The history of the 53rd Hiko Sentai is well described in that article. I would like to add some information which derives from my own research and analysis of this particular aircraft. 


For the light grey-green base coat I mixed my own colour until I liked the tone, but I could not have replicated the process - luckily the colour lasted until I had finished... The dark green mottle was accentuated with an occasional black green blotch to imitate the irregular intensity of spraying and give the surface more depth. I tried to stay as close as possible to the original picture when I mottled the left rear fuselage. # 98 would probably not have flown much before her ultimately fatal mission, so you may want to apply only a minimum of chipping and a little weathering from exposure.

Here are my thoughts. None of the unit insignia of a stylized '53' from various decal sources have the correct shape as seen on this specific aircraft. Consequently I created my own one from bits and pieces. Note that the white border to the emblem is not painted on the rudder part. The tips of the arrow might be red like the rest of the marking rather than yellow. The three bars in the bulb are lighter - perhaps yellow which would match the colour code for the 3rd Hikotai. The somewhat darker shadow ring around the Hinomaru probably came from masking the insignia with tape before applying the white fuselage band.
Construction Specifics

This is a shinten seikutai aircraft modified for ramming attacks, therefore no guns were installed (and no gun sight!). Remember to cover/close the openings. Equally the observer's gun, gun mount and seat would have been removed. The antenna mast was shortened to prevent the pilot from hitting it when he jumped from the plane - if he had a chance to jump... And finally the rear cockpit opening was faired over. Photos suggest that there may have been two type of fairings: A canvas cover, and later a piece of fabricated sheet metal. I opted for the former solution. To create the irregular surface of canvas with folds etc. I took a piece of very thin paper (like the air mail paper of old) and soaked it in water before fitting it over the respective area, waiting until it was dry and then coating it with layers of plastic glue. When it had hardened the piece was easy to cut into form. As to the colour I'm strongly in favour of a natural canvas brown or khaki. Pictures of sister planes, however, clearly show camouflage blotches. I think it all depends on where and when the cover was installed - at the front line unit or at an arsenal, before or after mottling - and whether anybody cared for a neat job in view of the short-lived operational life of the aircraft.

Here my modeling journey with the Toryu comes to an end. It would be nice to know what happened to # 98. Was it used in combat? Did it bring down a B-29? Who flew it? A beautiful plane for a desperate mission ... it has a place of honour in my collection.
A Postscript on the Isuzu TX40 Fuel Truck

I built the model from the box. Just the folding-roof supports needed some attention since I didn't use the door windows from the kit. This feature and the colouring were inspired by the photo below. To my knowledge no colour photos exist showing the truck in the IJAAF khaki colour. And, to be honest, I didn't like the idea of having my model appear in this rather dull paint all over.
The dark grey body with the tank (and wheels!) painted in greenish primer seemed more attractive. I'm not a Japanese vehicle specialist and would be interested to know where this 'camouflage' was used - did the bowser serve with the Army or was it a IJNAF blue vehicle with an unpainted tank or a requisitioned civil truck with a tank installed? Whatsoever, it is a nice companion for the Toryu

The Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu, Profile No.105, René J. Francillon, (Leatherhead 1966)
Japanese Army Air Force Camouflage and Markings WWII, Donald W. Thorpe, (Fallbrook 1968) Slayer of Dragons - The Story of the Toryu, Air Enthusiast Vol.5, (London 1973)
Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter “Toryu“, Famous Airplanes of the World No.21, (Tokyo 1990) Kawasaki Army Type 2 "Toryu" Two-Seat Fighter, Mechanic of the World Aircraft 6, (Japan 1993) B-29 Hunters of the JAAF, Osprey Aviation Elite Units 5, Koji Takai & Henry Sakaida, (Botley 2001)

With special thanks to Michael for sharing these photos of his model and details of the build.
Image credits: All via Michael Thurow, model photographs © 2016 Michael Thurow