Amongst a plethora of interesting new releases from Rising Decals, a trio of welcome 1/48 scale decal sheets for famous wartime Japanese twins, two for Navy and one for Army subjects (with a Navy intruder).
Set RD48022 (above) is for the IJN Type 1 Rikko (1 Shiki Rikujoh Kohgeki-ki 一式陸上攻撃機), the Mitsubishi G4M1 'Betty' and presumably designed for the well respected Tamiya kit. It contains decals for a choice of five subjects with plain or white bordered Hinomaru for two aircraft plus two fuselage Hinomaru on white squares. The options are as follows:-
- G4M1 Model 11 of 705 Ku - '379' of 4 Hiko Chutai with Houkoku legend # 1006 operating over the Solomon Islands in 1943 and depicted in dark green over light grey with the fuselage Hinomaru on white squares.
- G4M1 Model 11 of Takao Ku - 'T-351' operating in the South-West Pacific during 1942 and depicted in dark green over light grey with the fuselage Hinomaru on white squares. This aircraft has an open rear gun position.
- G4M1 Model 11 late production of 702 Ku - '321' of 2 Hiko Chutai operating from Rabaul, New Britain during 1943 and depicted in dark green over light grey with white-bordered Hinomaru. A distinguished aircraft successfully flown back to base by Ltjg Hidezumi Maruyama after a nocturnal anti-shipping raid with extensive AA damage of 380 hits, somewhat belying the aircraft's reputation for vulnerability.
- G4M1 Model 11 of 4 Ku - 'F-348' of 3 Hikotai flown from Rabaul, New Britain in February 1942 and depicted in green and brown camouflage over light grey with plain Hinomaru. This aircraft was fatally damaged by Lt Edward H 'Butch' O'Hare whilst being flown against the USS Lexington by Lt Cdr Takuzo Ito. Ito then attempted to crash into the carrier but was shot down into the sea by its AA fire.
- G4M1 Model 11 of 753 Ku - 'XI-331' operating from Rabaul, New Britain during July 1943 and depicted in dark green over light grey with a conjectural tail code presentation. Another distinguished aircraft flown successfully back to base by the navigator FPO Torao Maruoka after being damaged by RAAF fighters during a raid against Australia on 6 July 1943.
The question of Betty under surface colours is thorny. This author has a piece from the upper surface of a G4M1 shot down over the Solomons which is a very dark, rich and lustrous green, almost a black-green, and not at all like the bright 'garden shed' greens so often applied to models. The paint is of good quality and proficiently applied, with an almost ceramic surface. The few deep scratches reveal the same red-brown primer beneath as on the Zero which creates doubt that the under surfaces would not have been as carefully primed and painted as well.
Set RD48023 (above) is for the Army Type 100 Shitei (100 Shiki Shireibu Teisatsu-ki - 百式司令部偵察機), the svelte Mitsubishi Ki-46-III 'Dinah' in both recce and air defence fighter guise, again designed presumably for the Tamiya kits. It contains decals for a choice of five subjects, four recce and one fighter version with Hinomaru for one model and a choice of plain or white-bordered fuselage Hinomaru. The options are as follows:-
- Ki-46-III of 106th Sentai - operating over Luzon in the Philippines during 1944 and depicted in olive drab over grey green. The instructions suggest that this aircraft can be equipped with Ta-Dan bombs using Rising's resin accessory set Acr-032 but that appears to be for 1/72 scale.
- Ki-46-III of 141 Ku - '141-103' of Teisatsu Hikotai T.102, a Navy operated Dinah in the Philippines and found abandoned at Bamban airfield, Luzon in January 1945. The scheme depicted is olive drab over grey green with a yellow tail code. Interesting and unusual.
- Ki-46-III Kai interceptor of 83rd Independent Flying Squadron - operated from Ashiya, Japan in July 1945 and depicted in dark green over grey green. A colourful example with red, yellow and white unit insignia and double yellow and white fuselage bands.
- Ki-46-III of 19th Independent Flying Squadron - '38' operating from Kanoya, Japan during May 1945 and depicted in olive drab over grey green.
- Ki-46-III of 18th Independent Flying Squadron - with the 'tiger on the tail' and depicted in olive drab over grey green. In Japanese lore of Chinese origin the tiger could run and hunt for 1,000 Ri (approx. 3,927 km or 2,240 miles) and then return to its lair.
The colourful 83rd DHC interceptor was the subject of a previous 1/72 accessory set from Rising, RD Acr-032 reviewed here. Although Ki-46-III Kai is a popularly used short designation for the interceptor version of the Ki-46 the official designation was Type 100 Model 3 Headquarters Reconnaissance Plane Modified Air Defense Fighter - Hyaku shiki San gata Shireibu Teisatsuki Kaizoh Bohkuh Sentohki. The subject aircraft on the Rising sheet is the Ki-46-III Kai Otsu, the subsequent Otsu + Hei variant having the 70 ° oblique firing Ho-204 37mm cannon positioned in the fuselage between pilot and observer positions. Other shortened designations in use include Type 100 Model 3 Air Defence Fighter - Hyaku shiki San gata Bohkuh Sentohki and Type 100 Model 3 Modified Air Defense Fighter - Hyaku shiki San gata Kai Bohkuh Sentohki. A Key Data Guide on the Ki-46 interceptors is in preparation.
Finally the third set is RD48026 for Japanese Naval Carrier Bombers Part II (above). This features both the Nakajima B5N1/2 'Kate' and B6N2 'Jill' with no less than six subjects for the former and two for the latter as follows:-
- B5N1 of Yokosuka Ku - '整練(SeiRen)-372', '-377' or '-386' (three choices) all in silver (natural metal) and red finish with yellow tail codes. 'SeiRen' (seibi renshuu 整備練習 -maintenance practice) aircraft were used for groundcrew instruction as noted in the instructions.
- B5N2 of Zuikaku - 'EII-301' flown by Lt Cdr Shigekazu Shimazaki during the Pearl Harbor strike depicted in dark green over grey-green. Aircraft armed with 800kg armour-piercing bomb.
- B5N1 of 12 Ku - '3-356' flown over China during 1939 and depicted both in original natural metal with Houkoku legend # 268 (Tokyo Machinery Works) and in green and brown field-applied camouflage over natural metal with red tail surfaces retained. Aircraft armed with six 60kg bombs.
- B6N2 of Zuikaku - '653-33' of 653 Ku, 263 Hikotai during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944 depicted in dark green over grey-green with training kanji on the fuselage Hinomaru.
- B6N2 of 551 Ku - '51-301' of 251 Hikotai flown by Capt Masayuki Hida at Truk during June 1944 and depicted in dark green over grey-green with morale-boosting characters 'Kamikaze' painted on fuselage and command markings of three diagonal yellow stripes on the fin and rudder with diagonal yellow bands on the upper surfaces of the wings.
Some very interesting and well chosen subjects on all three sheets which will be appreciated by 1/48 modellers looking for something different. With special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the notification and review samples.