Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Japanese 'Taifun' in 1/72

Zbyszek Malicki ('Zegeye') built this neat Messerchmitt Bf 108 'Taifun' in Japanese markings from the 2013 Fly kit in 1/72 scale and has kindly shared these 'walk around' images of his model with Aviation of Japan which it is a pleasure to present as the first blog of 2019. In 2017 the Fly kit was re-issued in two versions by Kovozávody Prostějov  (KP) with the resin parts replaced with plastic. The KP kit # KPM0081 contains markings for the Japanese civil Taifun J-BACC registered in August 1936 and as operated in China by Yomiuri Shimbun in a camouflage scheme. 

Zbyszek built the Fly model from the box, judging it a truly short-run kit with its soft grey plastic hard to work with. Earlier editions in brown plastic were of better quality. He found that the fit was poor, requiring a lot of filler.

The exclamation mark decals in the kit were not used as Zbyszek considered them unlikely and possibly only dirt (or the remains of previous paint?). This Bf 108 had the Aikoku dedication # 258 reportedly from the Kyowakai organisation, formally the Manchu Teikoku Kyowakai (Manchuria Imperial Concordia Society), a political organisation avoiding the character of a political party and without aspiration to securing political power but functioning as a background organization to complement the activities of government, striving toward the achievement of an ideal of “nation building” (kenkoku).  Two other Kyowakai-dedicated Taifuns are known - # 259 and # 260.

15 Bf 108 Taifuns of 21 sent to Japan were reportedly purchased by and registered to Manshû Kôkû Kabushiki Kaisha (MKKK - Manchukuo Aviation Co., Ltd), with 12 company registrations known (M-51 to M-62).  The remainder were operated by the IJAAF but the details of acquisition are obscure. The subject of Zbyszek's model has been presumed to be a civil aircraft because of the dark bordered white senchi hiyoshiki (戦地標識 - lit. 'war front sign') band on the rear fuselage, interpreted as being black. Civil aircraft were supposed to have red bordered bands but the black borders have been associated with civilian flying schools where in photographs they appear significantly darker than the national hinomaru insignia. However, officially the red of the hinomaru was supposed to be distinct from the red used for all other markings, being brighter and more towards an orange-red.       

The model was painted with a mix of Humbrol radome tan and white to represent Zbyszek's interpretation of a sun faded RLM 05 Elfenbein (ivory) paint.     

 Fly Box Art 2013

KP Box Art 2017

Image credit: All model photos © 2019 Zbyszek Malicki;; Photograph via web; Fly box art © 2013 Fly; KP box art © 2017 Kovozávody Prostějov