Saturday, 24 June 2017

Armed Forces Day


Today, Saturday, 24 June is British Armed Forces Day. It is easy to forget, immersed in the routine minutiae of daily life, that good men and women are in harm's way 24/7 on our behalf. Today, especially,  they are remembered and saluted for their service and sacrifices. Thank you.  




Image credits: All via web





Thursday, 15 June 2017

AVI Models Inline A5M3 in 1/72


Hat tip to Iskender Mailibayev for posting a comment alerting me to this future release shown at the Hannants website.  AVI Models is a new one to me but there appears to be a Rising Decals connection. This experimental version of 'Claude', with two prototypes completed, had a Hispano-Suiza inline engine, three-bladed propeller and a 20mm cannon firing through the prop hub, similar in configuration to the Dewoitine 501/510 which may have influenced it. The kit will presumably provide markings for one of the prototypes and three imaginary "What-if" schemes. It will make an interesting shelf display comparison to a Dewoitine in Japanese markings or an essential inclusion for any A5M series line-up. The kit is listed at £14.99 (approx. US$19).



There was (is?) a previous 1/72 resin kit of this type from Choroszy Modelbud and I also have an obscure and undated Japanese 'SLB Parts' resin conversion set, courtesy of the kindness of Tom Hall, intended to modify the neat Fujimi A5M2a kit. That set consists of a finely moulded resin replacement nose,  one piece prop/spinner and radiator with comprehensive looking instructions all in Japanese. 

 Choroszy Modelbud Resin Kit

SLB Parts (Japan) Resin Conversion Set

Image credits: © 2017 AVI Models via Hannants; © Choroszy Modelblud and SLB Parts (Japan)

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Tetsuya Inoue's New Blog - 'Tets Research Institute'


Back in October 2013 I was very pleased to be able to link to a build of a 1/48 Ki-51 kit by Tetsuya Inoue in a blog celebrating Nichimo kits. Then in April the following year I was also pleased to be able to provide a link to Tetsuya's advanced project kit-bash build of a Ki-61-II 'bubbletop' in the same scale.  Since then Tetsuya has continued to work on the project and now has a new blog 'Tets Research Institute' with a modelling section where his very impressive progress on the Ki-61-II is reported (his Ki-51 build is also included and well worth re-visiting). The blog features exceptional and really fine step by step modelling which is impressive, inspiring and useful. And yes, Tetsuya's Ki-61 model is to 1/48 scale - not 1/32!


With special thanks to Tetsuya for alerting me to his new blog and the treasures therein. 



Image credits: All © 2017 Tetsuya Inoue and Tets Research Institute  

Monday, 22 May 2017

Ki-87 Props and that Hairyokushoku Business


The box art for RS Models Ki-87 depicts that sharp-looking, glossy dark brown that so many modellers seem to want to eschew for a flat brick red. The Ki-87 II box art prop is harely visible but looks like it might just be green in imitation of the 'what if' Hayate unit scheme depicted. Ki-87 was a long running project from 1942 but the first prototype was completed in February 1945 so the chances are that the prop was green, like Hayate and photos of the aircraft are consistent with that impression (above). Indeed Noboru Shimoune included it in a list of aircraft with green props matched to Munsell 5 GY 3.5/2.3  which is happily close to FS 34082 @ 1.34 where < 2.0 = a close match. In Model Art # 283 on Hayate the colour chip for the prop colour is shown as 9.4 GY 3.3/2.1 a little lighter than Munsell 10 GY 3/2 @ 2.72 and a little greener than FS 34094 @ 3.11. According to Katsushi Owaki this was recorded by the author Ichiro Hasegawa from the recollection of Tadamitsu Watanabe but was not universally agreed and Model Art # 329, with colour chips input from Kenji Ishikawa, describes the prop colour as "dark grey green". An extant prop blade certainly looks greyish green but appears chalked, creating a more greyish impression, whilst the oiled paint surface near the hub appears greener and slightly more olive.  Don't sweat these hues beyond choosing a green over a dark brown . . .


Writing of grey green the factory applied colour of the A6M2 Zero continues to confound with assertion and belief that it was painted 'Hairyokushoku' (ash green colour), whether 'dimly shining' or not, which was supposedly the Kariki 117 colour standard M1 (in the sage/grey green colour series associated with IJN cockpit interiors). Now look, from November 1941 to February 1942 a team under the command of Lt Cdr Kiyoto Hanamoto conducted a study and trials of camouflage for the Type 0 carrier fighter at the Kaigun Koku Gijutsu-sho (Navy Air Technical Arsenal - abbreviated as Kugisho) at Yokosuka, Japan under the auspices of the Yokusuka Kokutai. Their official report, Kugisho 0266, is dated 25 February 1942 (at the height of the Zero ascendancy) and relates the trial of five A6M2 aircraft flown in various experimental camouflage schemes. The report refers to the Kariki 117 alpha-numeric designations throughout and as an official document concerned with paint colours was unlikely to have just made stuff up. It describes the paint colour "currently in use" for the Zero as J3 Haiiro (ash colour or grey) "leaning slightly towards" ameiro. Ame (飴) means rice jelly, hard candy or toffee but when combined with iro (色), the word for colour, implies a yellowish-brown caramel or amber hue. So, an amber tinted or yellowish-brownish grey, if you will, absolutely consistent with extant samples of paint from the A6M2. Throughout the report the term ameiro is repeated in a kind of shorthand to refer to the then current Zero colour.

If that is not enough to convince that the colour was probably not M1, the Head of Kugisho, in making his recommendation from the report stated that "At present, my opinion is that we may continue with the currently used amber colour" (現用飴色 - gen'you ameiro). With those words by no stretch of the imagination could he be considered to have been referring to a grey green or pale green colour. In fact one of the test aircraft Yo-151, was painted experimentally overall with M1 (described as pale green), so if that had really been the standard factory colour the report could be expected to have described it that way. Why on earth would the authors of the report describe the colour M1 as J3 leaning slightly towards ameiro when they could have simply stated M1? The wilful disregard of that evidence assists no-one. And Tamiya XF-76 is like a slightly chalked and faded variant of the J3 leaning slightly towards ameiro colour, nothing like M1, unsaturated or otherwise. If that Zero model must be painted M1, hopefully only to represent Yo-151 during the Kugisho trials, then Gaia of Japan produced the hobby paint colour matched to M0/M1, tested in 2007 and described as follows in my 2011 PDF guide to the Zero colour:-

"The Japanese paint manufacturer Gaia hung their hat on Jiro Horikoshi’s description of “dimly shining ash green” and like others linked that to the Kariki 117 ‘M’ series of paints called Hairyokushoku (ash green colour). Their paint colour # 211 is identified as ‘Kai Ryoku Syoku’ (Hairyokushoku) ‘M-0’, (Munsell 6.3 GY 5/2) close to FS 24226 @ 2.74 and is a mid-toned sage green." 


Religious-like faith and real paint colour - not the same thing! 

Image credits: Ki-87 photo via Wiki; Rendered colour chips © 2017 Aviation of Japan

Sunday, 21 May 2017

RS Models 1/72 Ki-87 Duo Forthcoming!


With thanks to Iskender for the heads up about RS Models forthcoming Nakajima Ki-87 duo in 1/72 scale. Lovely box art too!


The Ki-87 looks somewhat like a Hayate on steroids and in his book 'Meatballs and Dead Birds' James P Gallagher calls it 'Big Boy', impressed when comparing its size to the P-47 - nearly four feet greater in span and two feet longer. For the prototype Nakajima had the supercharger mounted on the side of the fuselage in defiance of the Army's wish to have it mounted beneath the fuselage. The RS Models Ki-87-II shows that projected configuration, which at Army insistence was to be introduced from the sixth airframe, and appears to include cowling mounted weaponry. The Ki-87-II was a paper project with the Ki-87 to be powered by a 3,000 hp Nakajima Ha-46 engine instead of the prototype's 2,400 hp Nakajima Ha-44. Therefore the Ki-87 kit represents the actual prototype constructed and the Ki-87-II kit is a 'what if'. The standard armament was to be a pair of synchronised Ho-5 20mm cannon in the wing roots with buried muzzles and a pair of Ho-105 30mm cannon outboard of the undercarriage fairings with projecting barrels.


A previous 1/72 kit of the Ki-87 prototype, by Pavla (above), is a challenging build, especially in the construction of the white metal supercharger arrangement, and will likely be made redundant by the release of the RS Models kit.

Image credits: RS Models Ki-87 and Ki-87-II box art and model images  © 2017 RS Models; Pavla Ki-87 box art © 1995 Pavla Models

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Special Hobby 1/72 Tachikawa Ki-54 Hei On The Way


Further to my parting comment on 2 May about Summer kit releases correspondent Zegeye kindly informs me that Special Hobby are preparing a 1/72 release of the Tachikawa Ki-54 'Hickory' or Type 1 Twin-engined Advanced Trainer, a type brought into the news by the wresting (and I use that word deliberately) of a near intact survivor from its watery grave in Japan (there are surviving fuselages reported in storage at the Australian War Memorial and Beijing Aviation Museum). Good news to fill a gap but with mixed feelings as SH kits still seem to be limited run and limited availability, with the comcomitant effect of perhaps discouraging Japanese kit manufacturers from releasing a mainstream kit of the type. Details of the SH project are here


The only previous 1/72 Ki-54 kit that I'm aware of is the A+V resin offering (above), available in different versions and nicely realised by Aldo Chetcuti here,  although AZ Models have also announced a future release, the status of which is unknown. The type offers interesting modelling opportunities as in addition to ubiquitous Japanese military service as crew trainer, general transport and staff workhorse across the Japanese Empire, it was flown briefly by the post-war Gremlin Task Force in Indo-China, by the nascent Red Army of China Air Force (later Peoples Liberation Army Air Force - PLAAF) and by North Korea. A worthy addition to any kit manufacturer's catalogue.  

The series variants are variously reported online but the Hei was the transport version which could carry eight passengers with a small luggage compartment. The Ko was used for twin-engine pilot and navigator training with a single astrodome on the upper fuselage. The Otsu was intended for crew training in bomb aiming, air gunnery and radio communications, distinguished by two dome turrets for 7.7mm weapons on the upper fuselage connected by a long canopy for the instructor to move between them. Fuselage side windows were also adapted for the operation of weapons and two sets of radio equipment could be fitted. For bomb aimer training the usual load was 10 x 15kg but the aircraft could carry up to 800kg.  In a 1956 article series written in consultation with Japanese aviation industry and Koku Hombu veterans Richard M Bueschel refers to the Otsu with the designation Type 1 Operations Trainer. The Tei was reportedly configured as an anti-submarine patrol aircraft with provision for magnetic detection equipment, blind approach landing and the carriage of depth charges.

Image credits: Heading photo via Wiki; A+V box image via Scalemates.   

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Hasegawa 1/72 Kugisho P1Y1-S/P1Y2 Ginga (Frances) Type 11/Type 16 'Night Fighter'


Hasegawa's recent Limited Edition re-release of their Ginga kit # 02230 (above) is unusual in providing alternative engines and cowlings for the Type 11 or Type 16 variants. As far as I know all previous Hasegawa releases of this aircraft, bomber or nightfighter, have been for the Type 11 only but Hobby Search are showing two different box arts. Whether the art shown below represents an identical previous release that I've missed or the kit is being marketed with two different box arts I couldn't say - knowledgeable input welcome!   


This latest kit provides parts and markings for three examples of the Kyokkou (極光 - Aurora or Northern Lights) nightfighter as operated by 302 Kokutai in the defence of mainland Japan. 

ヨD181 (YoD181 - note no hyphen) in yellow is a Type 16 of the 302 Kokutai's 2nd Chutai, armed with a single, oblique 30mm cannon, provided for in the kit by a white metal moulding. An additional sprue provides the engine and cowling parts for the Type 16. This aircraft, presumably manufactured by Kawanishi, has dark green painted cowlings, dark brown props and silver painted or natural metal under surfaces. The upper wing and fuselage hinomaru white borders have been painted over in dark green and this is well represented on the decals.  ヨD181 was photographed post-war at Atsugi by James P Gallagher in a very worn condition with large patches of bare metal showing on the upper surfaces ('Meatballs and Dead Birds' pages 87-88, Stackpole Books, 2004). The same photographs appear on pages 52-53 and 56 of the FAOW Special Edition 'Navy Bomber (Ginga)' (Bunrindo Co. Ltd. 2000). The tail number was painted over a previous number '305'.

ヨD-161 in white is a Type 11 armed with twin, oblique 20mm cannon and equipped with radar, the antennae for which are provided on a photo-etch sheet. This aircraft also has natural metal under surfaces but the cowlings are black and the propeller spinners silver. Only the upper wing hinomaru borders are painted over with white borders to the fuselage hinomaru. A photograph of ヨD-161 appears on page 54 of the FAOW Special Edition, although the location of the oblique armament is concealed by the position of the wing.

ヨD-176 in white is another Type 11 armed with twin, oblique 20mm cannon and displaying victory markings in the form of stylised cherry blossoms on the left rear fuselage, printed in yellow on the decal sheet. This aircraft has no radar and black cowlings with dark brown props and natural metal under surfaces. Both upper wing and fuselage hinomaru borders are painted over. A photograph of ヨD-176 appears on page 74 of the FAOW Special Edition and on page 148 of the Koku-Fan Illustrated No.96  on 302 Ku (October 1997), although again the oblique armament is concealed by the position of the wing.


None of the options are fitted with underwing droptanks which are not included in the kit anyway.  The decal sheet is of recent Hasegawa 'bright' type with the red printed almost as a dark pink and the yellow a bright 'lemon yellow' not really typical of the IJN orange-yellow. The facsimile above shows the colours darker than they really are. The kit retails for about £19 (approx US$25) direct from HLJ but as is often the way with Hasegawa limited editions is already showing there as back ordered.

Image credit: Box art © 2017 Hasegawa Corporation

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Battle of the Coral Sea 8 May 1942


To day is the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 and Aviation of Japan Texas correspondent Mark Smith has contributed this memorial to his uncle, a sailor on the USS Lexington that day. The Lexington suffered fatal damage from bomb and torpedo hits during the battle and ultimately sank but Mark's uncle was one of the survivors.  Remarkably he went on to serve on board USS Ranger CV-61 in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War.  In Mark' words:-

"One day in 2011 I ran across the book Warship Pictorial: USS Lexington CV-2 by Steve Wiper.  I had a special reason to purchase it after just a moment of turning those pages and seeing these remarkable photos, most for the first time.  The brief text and careful captions lent a little better understanding of my uncle, Frank Merrell, whose kid sister was my mother Lee.  After he had drawn his first few months of pay as a seaman, he had saved enough to send her a beautiful pair of boots from San Diego, the first new shoes she had ever owned.  She was sixteen then, and she told me she wore those boots every day all through the rest of high school, always kept them clean and the leather buffed.  "He remembered my shoe size," she told me early in 2009, still relishing this.  Not bad for a 20-year old rake with the world at his feet, remembering his kid sister among all the excitement, work, and turmoil of 1939.  My mom died in June of 2009.  I'm glad she told me about that.  Mom’s family was from Pittsburg in deep East Texas.  Her dad was a share-cropper and her mother chronically ill.  Frank saw the Navy as a way out; math came naturally to him and he understood and appreciated machinery early on; through hard work and a succession of courses successfully undertaken, he qualified for carrier assignment.  He wrote interesting and funny letters home, and his assignment in 1940 to Lexington, only the second US carrier built, in 1940, was a source of pride for all the family.  

"When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Lexington was generally thought to be in harbor there, certainly so by the Merrells in Texas, and the worst was feared.  Many weeks went by.  There is a picture in Steve’s book, one of the many I hadn’t seen, that notes the ship at a dead stop with this caption: "In this image LEXINGTON has come to almost a complete stop about 450 miles to the east of Midway Island on 7 December 1941, with the news of the attack upon Pearl Harbor."  Perhaps it was only by such vicissitudes that, though born so much later, I had the privilege to know Frank a little and be needled by him, to see him shoot an 82 while drinking six beers over eighteen on a hot day; and it was his fault that when I started smoking they had to be Pall Mall Reds, his brand.  It was several weeks before a nondescript postcard finally arrived at my mom's place in Pittsburg, Texas.  Among several boxes, Frank had checked the one next to: "Am well, letter to follow" – all he was allowed to send at the time.  But it had his familiar spiky signature to prove it.  It came on the same day that the Sears and Roebuck catalogue arrived, and my mother told me that her dad dropped all the other mail (she rescued the catalogue from the mud a little later, after all it was the most eagerly anticipated single piece of mail in America in 1942) and ran to the house, shouting,  "We've heard from Frank!  We've heard from Frank!" It sounds like a Frank Capra film, but I trust my mother and her memory on that one.  

"He used to write me occasionally, and tucked into one note was a black-and-white Polaroid he had taken from shore, writing on the bottom border, "USS Ranger off Yankee Station."  It was his last carrier cruise, Vietnam the war this time, CV-61 rather than CV-2.  Instead of bombing up SBDs and belting and loading .50 caliber in Grumman Wildcat fighters, he was an avionics technician on Vought A-7 Corsair attack jets.  Frank would have been almost fifty then.  It doesn't seem likely to me either, but he had retired once to civilian life, and it didn't take, and his return cost him rank.  He said, "I'm older than you're supposed to be in this Navy."  Having missed the Pearl Harbor attack and survived the Lexington's sinking at Coral Sea only six months later, that might have held more meaning than a teenager could realize.

"Though the Lexington missed the carnage at Pearl Harbor, it would be sunk six months later at the Battle of the Coral Sea.  He would never tell me about May 8, 1942, though as a young teenager I asked him about it.  He was indirect.  It was “a fine ship” he said, and he went on to explain that each ship had its own personality, its own health or malady, and could be a plum assignment or a dreaded one; his place in the Lexington’s complement as an aviation ordnanceman was still a source of pride.  It was “a terrible day.”  I had a couple more stupid questions.  But though he had an exceptional memory, that bit was privileged: "Were they good?  Hell, they sank our ship!" and the look that accompanied it closed my inquiries permanently.


"I had either read or heard somewhere that some of the Lex's sailors visited the galley after personnel had received the order to abandon ship, and went over the side with scoops of strawberry ice cream in their ballcaps.  I think I first heard this from my mother, but I’m not sure.  Certainly I could see Frank doing that.  Or I could before I came across certain photos for the first time in your book that suggest that any descent from that massive burning ship was too precarious for such foolishness.  I honestly can’t remember now if I was told that he did this, or read of it somewhere in the accounts of that day, and came to ascribe it to him.


"The knowledge of how easily history can be ‘personalized’ and otherwise corrupted is all too obvious the older I become.  Unlike Frank, I’ve a poor memory; I wish I’d recorded more carefully some of those conversations, but Frank died in 1985 and my mother is gone now also.  It’s one of the reasons I found the Warship Pictorial book so fascinating and valuable.  Seeing those photographs of that terrible day, 69 years after the fact, moved me.  The bravery and sacrifice of those who came to their rescue in the destroyers MORRIS and HAMMANN, and in even smaller craft that day can only be appreciated through these photographs, and the efficiency of the ship’s captain, Ted Sherman, and his officers in getting so many off safely the more remarkable.   While each one is only an instant in time from one angle, a photo doesn’t lie or forget or become clouded by sentiment.  I regret that my mother didn’t get to see the book, as she died a year before I found it.  She would have pored through it.  

"One thing that surprised me as I read was how small the ratio of officers was in ship’s complement.   The photos that Steve discovered and presented for the first time showing the removal of the battleship-type turreted guns at Pearl for the sake of the smaller one-inch anti-aircraft weapons, accomplished under wartime duress and emergency, was of particular interest.  It was completed just in time for the carrier to hurry off to its critical role in preventing the invasion of Port Moresby and thus to its fate.  The guns would down several attacking Japanese aircraft, but could not prevail against a perfectly timed anvil attack, when torpedo bombers split into two groups and came from different directions.  The photos were accompanied by a brilliant but workmanlike memo documenting the refit from the Commandant of the Pearl Harbor Naval Yard.  That a task of such remarkable scope could be described in one closely-typed page - in a way that a layman could generally understand - gives insight into the quality of naval officers the Japanese would be up against.  

"What he was proudest of, I believe, was that he served so long "on the top floor" without getting killed.  He was always alive to the constant danger of deck operations and had seen several men killed in routine peacetime operations due to accidents or fate.  "It certainly concentrates the mind."  Of course I thought Frank had made that up, but he was just well-read for a sea-dog.  

"Steve has written lots of books.  The one I’ve mentioned was the 33rd Warship Pictorial, each covering a different ship, and all of them have preserved important images and facts that might have been otherwise lost; in doing so he and historians like him have served the memory of thousands of unique individuals, and those who want to keep that memory alive as the fuse burns.  Thanks Steve.  And thank you, Frank Merrell.  You are remembered indeed.   Didn’t your little sister remember those boots 70 years after you sent them? 

"May 8 marks 75 years since The Battle of the Coral Sea, when the issue was still very much in the balance, and years of sacrifice still to come for both sides."
           
Mark Smith  

Image credit: USS Lexington under attack, photographed from a Japanese aircraft, public domain, source: Wiki; USS Lexington explosion Naval Historical Center via Mark Smith; USS Lexington survivors WWII History Images gallery via Mark Smith.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Summer Kit Releases ~ Europe


In 1/72 scale the second variant of the new Sword Kawasaki Ki-102 kit is due out this month, the Ko version with the projecting nose cannon. Decals are offered for two subjects (as shown below), one a Japanese Army "plain Jane" without unit insignia and the other a captured example in US markings, but the kit offers extensive "what if" potential too. Price is 350 Kč or approximately €13 (about £11) although prices for the Otsu on eBay appear to be around £15 + p&p. An in box review of the Otsu and some colour discussion shortly . . . 


In 1/48 scale the prolific AZ Models have re-released their Kawasaki Ki-48 Type 99 'Sokei'  kit in two versions, both of which contain bonus parts for the I-GO-1 missile and transport cart. They are advertised as containing new and revised parts so hopefully the nose shape issues of the original release have been rectified. Each kit offers three markings options as described below and retails for about €49 (currently about £41.50 but watch this space). 'Kyu Kyu Sokei' (literally '99 twin light') was the abbreviation for the type's formal designation of Kyu Kyu Shiki Soh-hatsu Kei Bakugeki-ki ( Type 99 twin-engine light bomber - 九九式双発軽爆撃機) 


The Ki-48-I kit (above) has decals for a red-tailed 45 Hiko Sentai aircraft in China during 1941, an 8 Hiko Sentai, 3rd Chutai aircraft operating in Burma during 1942 in three-tone camouflage and a mottled 75 Hiko Sentai aircraft in the New Guinea theatre in late 1943. These options are well chosen to display three different finishes but the colour call outs for Humbrol paints are extraordinary and as is now the way with potato chips no little blue bag of salt is included for the pinch to be taken. Sprue shots are available at HLJ


The Ki-48-II kit (above) has decals for a captured example in Chinese Nationalist markings during 1946, a dark green aircraft of 8 Hiko Sentai in Burma during 1943 and a mottled aircraft "unit unknown" (sic) in the Philippines in January 1945, which is actually from 208 Hiko Sentai and displaying that unit's second generation marking device adopted after May 1944. Again good choices but colour call outs as for the previous kit, citing Humbrol paints only. Sprue shots are available at HLJ.  


It is always nice to see an unusual Chinese aircraft kitted and this month Azur will be releasing a 1/72 Northrop Gamma 2E "Bomber in China" (above) featuring Nationalist Chinese markings. Price is uncertain but probably about €30 in Europe.

Have I missed anything, kitwise? Please let me know, thanks!

Image credits:- © 2017 Sword, AZ Models and Azur (via HLJ).


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Summer Kit Releases ~ Japan


In other news, more Japanese subject kits are planned for release this summer. Most seem to be re-releases of older kits in new presentations. In 1/72 scale Hasegawa will release a combo 'Recce Set' kit of their Mitsubishi Ki-15-I Type 97 'Babs' and Ki-46-II/III Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft 'Dinah' (above) which will retail direct from Japan for about £23 or US$29.


For afficienados of post-war Japanese aircraft their once much sought after 1/72 Grumman Avenger TBM-3S2 is re-released in its striking Japanese Marine Self Defence Force scheme with decals for four different aircraft.  It is listed as June re-stock and will retail direct from Japan for about £30 or US$38. 


Another combo kit for modern Japanese subjects in 1/72 is the F-4EJ Kai Super Phantom and RF-4E Phantom II Hyakuri Special 2016. This set will retail direct for about £31 or US$40.


In 1/48 scale another combo kit features the Kawasaki Ki-61-I Tei Type 3 Fighter Hien and Ki-100-I Otsu Type 5 Fighter presented in 244 Hiko Sentai schemes attributed to the Sentai Commander Major Kobayashi, together with a fine metal figure of a pilot in the bulky winter flying suit. About £32 or US$41 will get you this set direct from Japan. 



In the same scale the Nakajima E8N1/E8N2 Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1/Model 2 is re-released in Battleship Yamato colour scheme. It will retail direct for about £22 or US$27.  


Also in 1/48 scale and due for release this month the Nakajima Ki-27 Type 97 Fighter gets yet another outing in colourful 4 Hiko Sentai guise with two markings options for about £18 or US$22.


Due for re-stocking in July are the 1/48 scale Aichi D3A Type 99 Carrier Bomber 'Val' with folding wings at £22 or US$28 and Nakajima B5N2 Type 97 'Kate' Bomber with folding wings at £19.56 or US$25 direct. 



In 1/32 scale there is the Mitsubishi A6M7 Zero Fighter Model 62 presented as aircraft YoD-127 of the 302nd Kokutai with underwing drop tanks and central bomb. This kit will retail direct for about £30 or US$38. 


Platz kits often get overlooked but they have two new 1/72 scale kits of potential interest for JASDF modellers. Their attractive looking JASDF T-1B jet training aircraft due for release this month is reportedly "produced with the latest in mold technology to reproduce the real thing as accurately as possible!  While the number of parts has been reduced for ease of assembly, no detail has been spared, including precise panel lining.  Includes an external tank that can be fitted under the main wing, and also includes decals by Cartograf." This one will probably put the old Hasegawa kit to bed. About £18 or US$20.50 direct. 



Also this month Platz are also re-releasing their rather nice Jaguar-like Mitsubishi T-2 kit in the guise of 'T-2 Supersonic Speed Upper Training Aircraft Late' (presumably 'upper training' means advanced training?). This kit of the aircraft is reported to be "precisely molded to reproduce the real thing as closely as possible, and includes its Vulcan artillery.  Comes with decals for four markings variations". It will retail for about £16 or US$20.50 direct.  Looks good in light grey.



In July Aoshima are set to re-release their neat Kawanishi N1K-J Type 11 Ko and Otsu Shiden fighters in 1/72 scale, likely with the type of trestle and working platform accessories included with their recent Hien kits. They will retail direct for about £11 or US$13.

Alas, still no 1/72 Ki-21, Ki-54, A6M2-K, scaled down Fine Molds Ki-10 or 1/48 scale Ki-36/55! Still, musn't grumble, eh?

Image credits: © 2017 Hasegawa, Platz and Aoshima; all via HLJ