Concomitant to recent musings on Jake kits Rising Decals recent resin set Acr-022 includes a replacement cowling with individual exhaust stacks for the 1/72 Hasegawa kit (of which more anon). This set includes decals for a single dark green over grey example with the tail code HK-006 from the Higashi Karorin Hikôjô Tai (Eastern Caroline Islands Airfield Unit - 東カロリン諸島飛行場隊 ) based at Moen Island (now Weno) called Haru Shima by the Japanese, Truk Lagoon in 1945. This unit, engaged in routine sea surveillance and anti-submarine patrols, appears to have been formed from the rump of 902 Ku which had been dissolved in August 1944. A profile of sister ship HK-007 appeared in the Thorpe IJN book, identified as 902 Ku. Moen Island had a 3,340 ft long bomber airstrip, a combined seaplane base and fighter strip and a torpedo boat base.
Two further sets, Acr-034 and Acr-035, feature resin blind flying hoods for the IJN biplane trainer Type 93 K5Y1. The first set (above) includes decals for a single silver doped example with red tail and the tail code カ-758 (Ka-758) from Kasumigaura Ku (Kasu-ku), Japan, in 1938. The second set (below) provides decals for two aircraft. The Takao Ku example with tail code タカ-501 (TaKa-501) at Takao, Taiwan in Fenruary 1944 has a disruptive camouflage pattern of dark green applied over the overall orange-yellow trainer colour. Where the green surrounds the tail code and fuselage number they appear to retain thin outlines of orange yellow but no provision is made for this on the decal sheet and it will present a painting challenge. A second Kasumigaura Ku example, カ-439, also in 1944, is in less challenging overall orange-yellow. Takao Ku, which went through several organisational changes, became responsible for training fighter pilots in January 1944 with large numbers of Type 93 aircraft.
One other set that has escaped perusal is Acr-029 (above) which provides resin 60 kg bombs and racks for the A6M2-N Rufe floatplane fighter. Tail codes are provided for three bomb-toting aircraft of the 802 Ku at the Shortland Island lair in the Solomons, circa 1943, N1-118 in overall grey and N1-112 and N1-123 in dark green over grey. N1-118 is the well known aircraft attributed to Lt Kaiso Yamazaki with 'battleaxe' victory markings on the fin. Coincidentally the Hasegawa 1/72 A6M2-N is due to be re-released in February 2017 in a duo presentation (two kits on one box) featuring 802 Ku markings for three aircraft (two shown below) at the remarkable price of about £16.50 - good value these days, but get it directly from Japan.
Finally two more Rising Decals 1/72 sheets which whilst not featuring Japanese subjects probably fall into the category of related topic rather than off topic and are well worth mentioning here.
RD72072 'The Burma Banshees' (above) is a splendid set of decals for no less than seven P-40N fighters of the skull adorned 80th Fighter Group, operational over Burma in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre from bases in Assam, India.
RD7073 'Flying Kiwis over the Pacific' (above) provides decals for a selection of seven colourful aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) operational in the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) consisting of three Dauntless dive bombers - two SBD-4 and an SBD-5 - a P-40M, a P-40N and two F4U-1D Corsairs. The two P-40s represent popular modelling subjects - ace F/O Geff Fiskin's P-40M 'Wairarapa Wildcat' of 14 Sqn in 1943 and P-40N 'Gloria - Lyons' of 4 SU and 18 Sqn in 1944 - previously provided on other decal sheets with variable success so especially welcome from Rising. Please note that the white identity bands are not included and must be applied with paint or decal strips by the modeller. The operations of the RNZAF in the SWPA have been somewhat overshadowed by the USAAF and RAAF but are worthy of greater attention. In that vein I can very happily recommend the effort to obtain a copy of Chris Rudge's superlative 'Air-To-Air', (below) a limited edition tome from 2003 which examines the air combat claims of the RNZAF in 408 detail packed pages with many photographs.
With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review samples.