Pursuant to the review of Rising Decals Donryu set there was only one respondent to the invitation for photos of Donryu models with Kevin Bade kindly sharing these images of his splendidly broad-shouldered Hasegawa 1/72 scale Nakajima Ki-49 'Helen' in Hiko Dai 62 Sentai, 3rd Chutai guise. The model was painted with a base coat of Testors aluminium then Aeromaster IJA Grey and Green using his 'trusty old Paasche H model airbrush'.
After service operating the Ki-21 'Sally' from July 1939, the 62nd transitioned to the Donryu at Obihiro, Japan, during December 1943 and January 1944 under the command of Lt Col Nobumasa Haga. After supporting the 63rd Sentai's move from Hokkaido to New Guinea the unit moved to Saigon in Indo-China for participation in daylight attacks from airfields in Burma which proved disastrous. After preliminary losses to Allied ground attacks reduced aircraft strength to eight the unit re-organised at Sungei Patani, Malaya, with a dual component of the Ki-49 for daylight sorties and the Ki-21 for nocturnal sorties. The night attack unit was commanded by Capt Tsutomu Ohshita. On 27 March 1944 nine Ki-49s sortied for a daylight attack against Ledo but failed to locate the target in conditions of heavy cloud and were then attacked by P-51 fighters, losing eight aircraft in quick succession. The only surviving Ki-49, flown by 3rd element leader 1Lt Akira Ohno, force landed in friendly territory with three dead crewmen.
In late September 1944 a detachment of the 62nd operated with part of the 12th Sentai as the Karigane unit with nine Ki-21 bombers under Capt Chugo Ito for sorties over western New Guinea and the Philippines, whilst the main unit also conducted attacks against targets in Morotai and Leyte during October and November before returning to Japan in January 1945. The unit was then re-designated as a Tokko special attack unit operating specialised Ki-67 Hiryu aircraft.
With special thanks to Kevin for sharing these images displaying the distinctive plan form of Donryu to advantage. Comments regarding the translation of Donryu and its characters welcome! ;-)
Image credit: All model photos © 2020 Kevin Bade