Friday 6 March 2020

The Emperor's New Clothes ~ Imperial War Museum Ohka

Joe Picarella has kindly alerted me to the complete restoration of the Imperial War Museum's original Ohka c/n 1100 seen above and now on display at their Lambeth building in London.

Joe began providing consultancy for this restoration project in 2017 and was tasked to advise on restoring the aircraft, sourcing missing component details and providing all of the information needed to complete the interior and exterior of the aircraft back to its factory finish. He has personally surveyed 11 of the 13 Ohka survivors and consulted on 3 previous Ohka restorations over the past 25 years during which he amassed a large collection of notes and more than 5,000 restoration photos, which proved to be invaluable to the restoration. Joe spent over 500 hours on this project and was able to reproduce the most complete set of stencils for an early model Ohka-11 seen since December 1944, as well as faithfully reproducing the original paint and application processes.

The complete story of this restoration will form part of Joe's new book on the development and technical history of the Ohka family, planned for the winter this year. Through this and previous Ohka restorations and surviving documents, he will be able to tell the technical story behind the Ohka and also to dispel several myths.

And for those disappointed by the lack of English text in the recent Model Art monograph on the Mitsubishi Ki-15 'Babs' Joe advises that he has now completed his own two-volume book on the type to be published shortly by MMP/Stratos with 150,000 words, 180 photographs and artwork. Hold off on those Fine Molds 'Babs' kits! 

With special thanks to Joe for this exciting news.  More on the Ohka restoration here. The subject of Ohka colours was also mentioned here in a September 2011 blog on Ohka Kits & Colours with the release of the Fine Molds kits and the colour chips shown there and which match the restoration are now available as a separate PDF on request (see side bar).  

Image credit: © 2020 G Picarella 


Alex said...

Great job. Thanks for keeping a History.

Dan Salamone said...

This is truly wonderful, as well as the news of an English language Ki-15 book. Thanks, Joe!


WD said...

Great post, thanks for keeping us abreast on this.


Anonymous said...

Finally the different colors of the wing and stabilizers against the fuselage were recognized, it's sad that most modellers don't have an eye for such not even subtle details.


R. Vieira said...

Absolutely fanstastic news! Thanks for keeping us informed, Nick. The gratitude is extensive to Mr. Picarella, for sharing his photos of the beautifully restored Imperial War Museum's original Ohka.
I will buy the Ki-15 and Ohka books.


Bob Deinhardt said...

What a great job, can you tell us where your books will be on sale please.

Mark Smith said...

I'm already in line for the MMP book as well.
And a beautiful job on the restoration, Joe.

Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

Beautiful work! Very cool.
And have been looking forward to your Ki-15 book for years! :)

Ken Glass said...

Thanks for sharing, Joe & Nick