Monday 14 September 2020

Yet More Shoki! ~ Rising Decals 47th Hiko Sentai

The latest Rising Decals sets feature aircraft of Hiko Dai 47 Sentai in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. RD72093 contains markings for six natural metal finish Ki-44 'Shoki' and three factory camouflaged  Ki-84 'Hayate' in 1/72 scale.

The individual subjects are as follows:-

  • Ki-44-II Otsu s/n 1435 at Narimatsu airfield during 1944 with a blue fuselage band and bold red blaze from the cowling and along the forward fuselage. As a Shintent Seikutai 'escort' this aircraft may have displayed a small winged 'Yamada' drum emblem on the left side of the fuselage beneath the cockpit. It is identified as a Ko in the recent FAOW pictorial history but that does not tally with the serial number.   
  • Ki-44-II Ko s/n 1120 with a white fuselage band. Captioned as a Fuji squadron (2nd hikotai) aircraft flown by 1Lt Yasuro Masaki the spinner is depicted red but the photo of this aircraft suggests a light painted spinner, possibly yellow (see heading image above).  
  • Ki-44-II Hei s/n 1862 flown by Capt Yasuro Masaki. The tail insignia, fin tip and forward half of the spinner are depicted as light blue. Unusually the wheel fairings bear a three digit number indicating another '62' serial numbered aircraft on strength. This aircraft carries Ta-dan air-to-air bomb containers beneath each wing. Training and trials with this weapon were conducted from March to May 1944 and Capt Masaki (promoted in March) was the first to use the weapon in combat. The FAOW pictorial history identifies this aircraft as Sakura squadron (3rd hikotai) which reportedly displayed squadron markings in yellow but Masaki was the Fuji squadron leader.
  • Ki-44-II Otsu '71' at Chofu in late 1944. Captioned as flown by the Sentai commander Maj Noburo Okuda it has a yellow painted spinner and yellow tail insignia. The red tail fin tip possibly identifies the Shotai (flight) and it has a white stripe bordered in red beneath the cowling. The gunsight is of the reflector type rather than optical.     
  • Ki-44-II Otsu '35' of the Shinten Seikutai in January 1945. Captioned as a former Asahi squadron (1st hikotai) aircraft with blue tail insignia and flown by M/Sgt Isamu Sakamoto of the Shinten Seikutai for a ramming attack against a B-29 on 27 January 1945. Sakamoto was thrown from the cockpit but survived to be awared the Bukosho 2nd Class. Previously depicted with an all red tail this aircraft is the subject of Ronnie Olsthoorn's corrected profile.
  • Ki-44-II Hei of the Sakura squadron with large 'bomb' insignia painted on the fuselage. According to the FAOW pictorial history this aircraft was flown by Capt Tei-ichi Hatano the Sakura squadron leader. The 'bomb' insignia has been previously depicted in kit box art as red and without the 'fins'.   
  • Ki-84 Ko '69' of Sakura squadron. Captioned as flown by Capt Tei-ich Hatano the squadron leader it is depicted with two blue fuselage bands in accordance with a profile in the FAOW pictorial history. The photos in the book suggest that badly worn paintwork has been interpreted as an incomplete forward band. 
  • Ki-84 Ko '16' of Asahi squadron with red spinner and blue tail insignia. 
  • Ki-84 Ko '45' of Sakura squadron with two yellow fuselage bands, tail insignia and forward half of spinner. 

    A splendidly colourful sheet of markings to suit the Hasegawa or Sword Ki-44 and Ki-84 kits in 1/72 scale. The convention for the hikotai colour sequence of this unit is usually blue (1st Asahi ), red (2nd Fuji) and yellow (3rd Sakura). but some references depict aircraft with white insignia bordered in blue, whilst HIS* states the sequence as white, red and yellow. Unfortunately the tonal appearance of the markings of aircraft in photos with their attributed squadron identity are sometimes inconsistent. Tonal interpretation is fraught with uncertainty and it might be that very dark blues, very faded blues and/or distinctly orange or faded reds were being photographed. Then there is the pundit's delight of film type and filters! Fortunately the provision of the tail insignia in this set should allow modellers to make changes to suit their own preferences or favourite gurus.

      RD48031 (shown above) appears to be a similar sheet in 1/48 scale with a reduced number of identical Ki-44 subjects as shown, but to be confirmed.

      With special thanks to Mirek Kárník of Rising Decals for providing the review sample of RD72093.

      * 'Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and their Aces 1931-1945' by Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa and Christopher Shores (Grub Street 2002)


      Dan Salamone said...

      I need to retire, so as to have more time to build. ;-)

      Thanks as always for sharing these, Nick.


      WK said...

      How would one replicate the light blue?


      Straggler 脱走兵 said...

      Hi Carlos

      Both decal sheets already contain the lighter blue markings.


      Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

      Cool schemes!!

      Ken Glass said...

      Thanks for this notice, Nick.