Wednesday 31 August 2016

IPMS USA Nats Display ~ Part Three

More pics from the IPMS USA Nats courtesy of Ken Glass. This time all IJN subjects again. Please do get in touch to correct or add any attributions, thanks.  My presumption about the origin of that nice Ki-43-I model published yesterday was wrong and I have now updated the blog article and added another pic. I should have known better because Ken had already identified the manufacturer on each pic and that one was coded 'Has' . . . 

Ken has since told me that he couldn't get a shot at a low enough angle to capture the kit's 'broken-backed' appearance but that it could certainly be seen by the unaided eye. In case anyone wonders what I'm on about all is revealed here although focussing on the Ki-43-II kit. The Hasegawa kits appear to be based on the Matsuba Minoru plans which show on both the Ki-43-I and Ki-43-II a distinct re-angling of the upper fuselage line from the rear of the cockpit that is not evident from photographs and has the unfortunate effect of disfiguring the aircraft's true aerodynamic form.

This impressive Aichi D3A1 'Val' on carrier deck display was built from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit - unfortunately builder unknown. Good looking colour choice on the model. 'EI-201' led the 21st Section of the 1st Hikotai from the carrier Shokaku during the first wave dive-bombing at Pearl Harbor and was flown by Lt Masao Yamaguchi with NAP1/c Fumio Sumeno as his observer-gunner.

Another Pearl Harbor 'Val' from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit, this time crafted by Craig Livingston and displayed on a mirror base with the canopies opened and the rear gun deployed. This aircraft 'BI-231' was flown by Lt Cmdr Takashige Egusa with  PO Tatsu Ishi as his observer-gunner. Egusa led the second wave dive-bombing attack at Pearl Harbor from the carrier Soryu, releasing his bombs against the USS New Orleans. The garish colour scheme, said to have been applied to aid identification and reforming and for which the aircraft was reportedly nicknamed 'jajauma' (じゃじゃうま) has been variously interpreted over the years but Craig's model appears to be based on the convincing profile and first hand descriptions in Sam Tagaya's excellent Osprey title 'Aichi 99 Kanbaku 'Val' Units 1937-42', # 63 in their Combat Aircraft series. Sam states that 'jajauma' refers to a ceremonial horse adorned in red but dictionaries also describe it as a colloquial term for a restive horse or a shrewish, unmanageable woman!

This Nakajima B5N2 'Kate' displayed with wings folded was built from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit and represents 'AI-301', the famous lead aircraft of the first wave level bombing attack against Pearl Harbor commanded by Mitsuo Fuchida (as navigator-observer) with Lt Mitsuo Matsuzaki as pilot and PO1/c Tokunobu Mizuki as radio operator-gunner. The actual colour schemes of the Pearl Harbor Kates have long been in contention due to various depictions and sometimes conflicting descriptions so modellers are blessed with the opportunity for personal interpretations.

This formidable looking Aichi B7A2 'Grace' torpedo bomber was built from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit and displayed on a splendid Rising Sun base with black and gold nameplate. The model represents 'Yo-251', an aircraft of the Yokosuka Kokutai's 2nd Hikotai in Japan during the summer of 1944. Ken believes the model was crafted by Randy Lutz who had cited a Swedish camouflage colour for the topside black green. And very good it looks too - although perhaps just a wee bit too matt for an aircraft in service. 

This Tamiya Mitsubishi G4M1 'Betty' in 1/48 scale is believed to have cbeen built by Andrew Frill and represents a moderately weathered bird, probably from 702 Ku (although I don't recognise that particular tail number and stripe combination), with what looks like a replacement starboard flap.  and the unusual flag-type fuselage Hinomaru.

Another Tamiya G4M1, this time '359' of 3rd Chutai, 705 Ku operating from Rabaul circa 1943 and displayed in a pristine albeit very matt condition as suggested by photos.  

Dropping a couple of scales now for a topical Kawanishi H8K2 'Emiy' flying boat made from the very nice LS/Arii 1/144 scale kit by David Pratt. In 2010 Rob Taurus of the Czech Republic released a comprehensive detailing set for this kit which included resin engines and beaching wheels, vacform canopy replacements and a photo-etch sheet, but I do not know if it was used for this model which represents a flying boat of the 3rd Hikotai of 801 Ku based at Yokohama, Japan during 1945. 

And finally a Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden of 302 Ku made from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit.

That's all for now folks! More to follow. With special thanks to Ken Glass for taking the pics and sharing them.
Image credits: All photos © 2016 Ken Glass; formatting, presentation and write-ups by 'Straggler'

Tuesday 30 August 2016

IPMS USA Nats Display ~ Part Two

More Japanese aircraft models from the IPMS USA Nats courtesy of Ken Glass. Although IJN aircraft models were prolific there were also some very splendid Army birds. As before I'll be happy to add attributions or additional details for those aircraft by anonymous builders.

This Ki-43-1 from the hands of an unknown builder is very well done, representing an aircraft of the 2nd Chutai, 50th Hiko Sentai. It was made from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit but the 'btoken-backed' appearance is not evident in this view. The weathering is nicely restrained and from this angle the model shows off the graceful lines of Hayabusa very well.

A purposeful looking Ki-45 Kai Tei Toryu night fighter of the 3rd Hikotai, 53rd Hiko Sentai, in splendid Homeland Defence markings believed to be by Bill Brickhouse of Newport News, VA and built from the Hasegawa 1/72 kit. Ki-45 Kai Tei was a retrospective designation for 472 'Tei equipped' (oblique firing armament) Hei with 4000 base number serials manufactured at Akashi from May to December 1944.

Possibly by the same builder this Hasegawa 1/72 Ki-45 Kai Hei of the 2nd Kogekitai, 4th Hiko Sentai, also in Homeland Defence markings, displays a skilfully painted mottle camouflage. The Ki-45 Kai Hei with the muzzle of the Ho-203 37mm cannon projecting from the nose were the first of this designation, modified from approximately 65 Ko aircraft at the First Army Air Arsenal from May to October 1943. Subsequently Kawasaki manufactured a further 595 Hei with 3000 base number serials from November 1943 to July 1945, the design being modified to incorporate a slightly longer, more sharply pointed nose extended to conceal the muzzle of the Ho-203.

This late production Hei of the 5th Hiko Sentai has been meticulously weathered to reveal the underlying framework of the aircraft and was built from the venerable Nichimo 1/48 kit.  The unit began using the tail emblem shown from around September 1944 when it returned to Komaki in Japan from the New Guinea theatre. The aircraft were individually distinguished by the names of place or mountains associated with their pilots and painted on the rudders in Kanji or Hiragana characters.  

And finally for now, another Homeland Defence bird, this time in contrast to the sombre Toryu a gleaming Ki-44 Shoki of the 47th Hiko Sentai built from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit. The top view shows off the distinctive airframe design of Shoki, with that large engine cowling, slightly cranked and forward raked wings and the long, slim tail. Beautiful.

Image credits: All photos © 2016 Ken Glass; formatting, presentation and write-ups by 'Straggler'

Monday 29 August 2016

IPMS USA Nats Display ~ Part One

Courtesy of Ken Glass here are some images of Japanese aircraft models taken at the IPMS USA National Convention held in Columbia, South Carolina from 3rd to 6th August this year. Attributions are provided where known but I'll be happy to add or correct any details if you care to drop me a line, thanks.

This unusual Mitsubishi 1MF1 model and carrier deck diorama was made by Joseph 'Buzz' Pezold and features the 1/72nd Phoenix/Blue Rider vacform of the pioneer IJN biplane.  

A fine 1/72 Fine Molds A6M2  by David Pratt of New York, one of the aircraft contest judges. The model was reportedly painted in Floquil's 'Old Concrete' with RLM 02 fabric surfaces. This aircraft was flown by NAP 1/c Tetsuzo Iwamoto, the leader of Zuikakau's 1st Section on CAP duty during the Pearl Harbor attack. Iwamoto was already the IJN's leading ace from the so-called China Incident and went on to amass an astonishing record of victory claims, surviving the war.

This sharp looking 1/72 Tamiya A6M2 was made by Tim Bates of Dalton, GA. The model represents the aircraft flown by Hikotaicho Lt Hideki Shingo who led the second wave from the carrier Shokaku during the Battle of Santa Cruz on 26 October 1942.

Another A6M2, this time built from the Hasegawa 1/48 kit and representing 'BII-140' an arcraft flown by Lt Sumio Nouno leading the 11th Section of the 4th Hikotai from the carrier Hiryu during the Pearl Harbor attack. 

To a larger scale Clyde Angelo of Los Angeles built this A6M2 from the 1/32 Tamiya kit displayed on a striking Rising Sun base and representing 'AII-168' from the carrier Kaga's 1st Hikotai, 13th Section led by NAP1/c Akira Yamamoto.  This pilot claimed the first air victory during the Pearl Harbour attack, shooting down a civilian aircraft, then reported destroying six aircraft on the ground at Hickam Field in strafing attacks. With total claims of 13 aircraft shot down Yamamoto was killed bailing out over Japan on 24 November 1944 when his parachute failed to open, the victim of a B-29 turret gunner. 

Another Tamiya 1/32 A6M2 representing a section leader's aircraft from the carrier Akagi by an unknown builder. 

A Tamiya 1/72 A6M3 'Hamp' representing a 202 Ku aircraft 'Hokoku 994' in November 1942 and built by Roger Woods. This aircraft was regularly flown by NAP 3/c (later WO) Kiyoshi Ito who ultimately claimed 18 victories and 14 damaged enemy aircraft. 3 Ku was re-designated 202 Ku from 1 November 1942 and Ito had flown in the 3 Ku Rabaul detachment combat operations over New Guinea and Guadalcanal before re-joining the main unit in the Celebes for operations against Australia.  

Stuart Gordon also chose the Tamiya 1/32 A6M2 kit to make this impressive display of Saburo Sakai's famous Tainan Ku 'V-128' on its epic flight home after the fateful encounter with SBDs on 7 August 1942, its severely wounded ace pilot, head lolling and semi-conscious beneath the shattered canopy.

Mark Vandon rang the changes with this field camouflaged A6M2 also built from the Tamiya 1/32 kit. If there is a story here I'd love to hear about it.

Scott Briclear  used the Hasegawa 1/48 A6M5 to create this nicely weathered former 381 Ku example 'B1-105' under new ownership in ATAIU-SEA with engine exposed and ancillary bits displayed on a PSP base. 

A very nice A6M3 Model 32 'タイ-182' (Tai-182) from the Tamiya 1/48 kit with excellent black green paintwork and restrained weathering by an unknown builder. The model represents a Tainan Ku aircraft during the air defence of Taiwan in September 1944 and very nicely too.  

More to follow!

Image credits: All photos © 2016 Ken Glass;

Thursday 25 August 2016

Airfix 1/72 Nakajima B5N1 'Kate'

The new Airfix B5N1 is now out and very nice it is too. Essentially the same as the previous B5N2 kit but with a new sprue for the forward fuselage, engine and cowling. Decals are included for the very colourful 'CI-301' of 3 Ku operating off the carrier Zuiho in 1941 or '9 over 348', a green and brown field-camouflaged example from 14 Ku operating from Sanzao Dao in South China during 1938-39. The decal sheet is sharply printed in good colour by Cartograf and includes stenciling, wing walkways and instrument panels for pilot and navigator (not strictly accurate for the latter). The painting and decal instructions are in full colour with closest Humbrol paints called out to avoid mixing. 

Moulded crisply in light grey plastic with engraved details, features of the kit include the option to display the finished model with the wings folded. Sensibly the wing parts are provided as single upper and lower halves which need to be cut for folding with rib frame inserts for the open ends. In addition the flaps can be fitted in the lowered position and the ailerons, rudder and elevators are all separate pieces to permit animation. The panel lines are finely engraved and the representation of the fabric covered components with light dishing between ribs is superior to that in many Japanese kits where the ribs are moulded as hard raised lines above the aerofoil surface. A fairly detailed interior benefits from another option to show the canopies open - no cutting this time as alternative parts are included. A nice touch is a third alternative for a closed canopy for pilot and navigator but with the rear canopy fairing open and the radio operator's gun deployed for action. In the kit examined for this brief in-box review the clear parts are perfect with none of the unfortunate moulding flaws found in some other Airfix kits recently. A full crew of three is also included so with imagination the canopy and flying control options will permit the creation of dramatic in-flight displays. The detailed instructions include the need to cut off the indicator pins on the top surface of the wings if a retracted undercarriage is selected.

The kit contains the same selection of ordinance as for the B5N2 but with options in the instructions only for the torpedo armed aircraft or an aircraft loaded with six Type 97 No.6 60kg bombs for attacking land targets - a suitable load for the 14 Ku option. This provides a spare Type 98 No.25 250 kg bomb (parts 03 and 04 on Frame D) to make up the deficit for a staggered twin bomb option in the B5N2 kit. These and the larger bombs can also be put to use in other kits. 

The glitch in the otherwise superb box art is my fault. Here the fatal eror of presuming rather than checking occurred and I suggested that the red fuselage stripe on CI-301 was a command marking rather than common to reserve fleet aircraft as is now apparent. The artist Adam Tooby had it correct from the start with the aircraft in the background also bearing the stripes and subsequently modified it only at my suggestion. So please blame me rather than Adam or Airfix research.  Mea culpa!

This is an impressive kit of a historically important aircraft showing great attention to detail by Airfix and offering the opportunity for creative and imaginative displays. It really does render the veteran Mania/Hasegawa kit obsolete. With the fine Airfix A6M2 the Pearl Harbor trio is almost complete but sadly a re-tooled D3A1 seems unlikely. I should love to see a new Airfix kit of that type to the same quality as this fine production.

Image credit: Box art © 2016 Hornby Hobbies Ltd

Tuesday 23 August 2016

New Tool Hasegawa Emily in 1/72

Hat tip to zegeye for kindly alerting me to the recent announcement of a Hasegawa new tool 1/72 Kawanishi H8K2 "Emily" flying boat kit to be released at the end of this year.

The kit is based on the latest historical research and will include a full crew sculpted by Mr Takeichiro (responsible for the Modelkasten sets of masterpiece figures).  Lots of interior detail by the look of it too for a £50+ price tag.

The last reiteration of their old but still nice rivet encrusted 'Emily' from 1967, produced first in dark green plastic and lately in grey, was in May this year with a limited edition in Leiji Matsumoto 'The Cockpit' Manga guise (below - approx £24).


And before that, in more legitimate mode, 2014. Hasegawa's Emily has appeared fairly regularly, a perennial favourite for building and improving, with export re-issues by Frog in the UK and UPC in the USA. There was at least one more nineties or noughties Hasegawa issue of the "big old bird" with fairly garish box art that I've not been able to rrack down to include here. Interestingly the box art almost follows a chronological pattern of beached with landing gear, in the water taking off and in the air.

1981 (sowing colour confusions!)

Can't help wishing it had been a new tool Ki-21 "Sally" though! Who will be first I wonder?

Image credits: New kit imges © 2016 Hasegawa Corporation via Hobby Search; Box art © various Hasegawa Corporation.

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Fine Molds 1/48th A5M4 Claude In-Box Review

Dan Salamone has very kindly provided this preliminary  in-box review for the new Fine Molds IJN Type 96 Carrier-based Fighter IV/ Mitsubishi A5M4 'Claude' kit in 1/48th scale, one of two variants released (the other being the enclosed cockpit 2-2) as presented here in April.

"The brand new 1/48 A5M4 Claude from Fine Molds arrived today from HLJ and initial impressions are very positive. Although the parts count is relatively low (69) the quality of the moldings is superb and the engineering seems to be well thought out. From examining the parts, as well as images of a built version of this kit, the outline and details seem to be accurate compared to the actual aircraft. I tried to catch some of the details explained below in the images of the parts.

The cockpit floor is molded into the upper wing half, with the sidewalls, rear bulkhead and instrument panel attaching to the upper wing half. The assembled fuselage halves seat down over this assembly, and the separate upper fuselage decking forward of the windscreen follows actual panel lines.

The fabric effect on the cloth flying surfaces consists of raised ribs, but no "sagging" effect. I like this look, but may sand down slightly when I build the kit.

Two very minor "negatives": the flap parts (you have the option of raised or lowered flaps) have very nice detail but there are ejector pin marks that will be very difficult to remove. Also, the very highly detailed engine and exhaust assembly needs to be trapped between the cowl halves. These halves do not fall on actual panel lines, so extra care will be needed during assemby and painting.

Three different aircraft are included in the markings options, all overall silver. The subject of the box art '9-139' is from the 14th Kokutai in China during 1940. The second option is 'K-101' from the carrier Kaga in Japan during 1939 and the third option is for a rather colorful aircraft 'CI-106' flying off the carrier Hosho during 1942. I am hoping that aftermarket decal vendors will serve this kit well, as there are some other very colorful possibilities.

Overall, I can't wait to build this kit. The two previous kits of the later Claude in 1/48 were the far less impressive Classic Airframes kit, as well as the very hard to find, yet gorgeous TC Berg multi-media kit. This Claude is superb in the box, and is yet another gem among Fine Mold's most recent 1/48 aircraft kits, the Ki-10 and Ohka. Highly recommended."

With special thanks to Dan for his in-box review. I note with pleasure that the kit includes a pilot figure! The two released kits are already on back order at HLJ!

PS Please see additional information in Dan's comment below!

Image credits: All © 2016 Dan Salamone