302 Ku was a distinguished IJN air defence unit formed in March 1944 at Kisarazu, trained at Yokosuka and setting up home at Atsugi, but despatching detachments to other airfields as and when its defensive posture required. Its primary mission was the interception of B-29 attacks at high altitude, modified by the development of those attacks, and it operated a variety of aircraft which are well and generously represented by no less than 19 subjects catered for on this recent Rising Decals bumper release. Sheet RD72094 offers the following subjects:-
- A6M2 YoD-1101 - an aircraft of the 1st Hikotai (which operated Raidens and Zeros) in standard scheme but with a non-standard demarcation between upper and lower surfaces. The reference to the kill marking on the starboard fuselage side confuses as none is shown or apparent on the decal sheet?
- A6M2 YoD-158 - in an overall grey finish the variant is speculative as only the rear of this aircraft appears in a photograph
- A6M5 Ko YoD-1132 - Nakajima-built Zero in standard finish with the forward part of the spinner painted yellow
- A6M5 Ko YoD-126 - a well known Nakajima-built Zero in standard finish flown by the ace Sada-aki Akamatsu with six cherry blossom victory markings on the port fuselage side
- A6M7 YoD-106 - another Nakajima-built Zero in standard finish flown by Lt Yutaka Morioka and distinguished with the forward part of the spinner painted red
- D4Y1 YoD-12 - a Suisei 'Judy' used as a trainer during 1945 in standard finish
- D4Y2-S YoD-228 - a 'Judy' nightfighter flown by CPO Yoshimitsu Naka and Ltjg Hisao Kanazawa in standard finish with an impressive victory score of nine emblazoned on the fin
- D4Y2-S YoD-235 - a 'Judy' nightfighter photographed in battered and tattered condition. This aircraft has the shorter fin and rudder
- D4Y3 YoD-253 - a nightfighter rarity modified from a Model 33 'Judy'
- J2M3 YoD-1164 - a Raiden in standard finish as flown by PO1c Hitoshi Sarawa for a B-29 claim on 24 April 1945
- J2M3 YoD-1163 - a yellow-trimmed Raiden flown by Lt Susumu Ito. One of the most colourful schemes for 'Jack' with speculation that the yellow trim might have included the fuselage hinomaru borders and the panel behind the exhausts. Well it's your model! Yellow surround hinomaru are, alas, not included on the sheet.
- J2M5 YoD-160 - a well-worn Raiden providing opportunities for weathering techniques
- J2M3 YoD-1195 - a Raiden flown by Sada-aki Akamatsu with yellow fuselage band and two victory markings on the fin tip for claims against P-51s on 19 April 1945
- A6M2-K YoD-501 - a Zero trainer with orange-yellow under surfaces. One was operated by the unit from September 1944 to augment the K9W1s in use (see below)
- D3A2 YoD-208 - unusually a 'Val' depicted with yellow fin tip and removed spats used for practice bombing for a special operation
- K3M3 YoD-276 - another rarity, used for navigation training and small transport missions but a photograph of the starboard side of this aircraft shows YoD-726.
- L3Y1 YoD-901 - a transport 'Nell' used for the long range movement of Kokutai personnel - you will need the Arii (ex-LS) for this one!
- C6N1 YoD-296 - an elegant Saiun 'Myrt' with a slanting tail code. Its stablemate YoD-295 had oblique armament
- K9W1 YoD-703 - a bright yellow biplane, one of six used by the unit for pilot conversion training, courier and liaison flights
Here is a very well chosen collection of subjects and schemes which ably demonstrate the diversity of aircraft flown by this unit with a mixture of the well-known and the rare. Only hinomaru for the Zero, Raiden, Suisei and Saiun subjects are included and the rest must come from the kits or generic sheets. A night fighter Zero subject would have been welcome, but mainstream out of the box kits for the night fighting Zero in 1/72 scale (and A6M2-K trainer) are still awaited, although they have been released in 1/48 scale from Hasegawa. Studying the photo of YoD-208 reproduced in Koku-Fan Illustrated No. 96 does not convince that the fin tip was yellow as the trim tab, part of the lower fin and fillet show the same tone. The impression is possibly the result of variegated paint and/or re-painting. The small rectangular panel above the tailplane appears to be the same colour as the under surface. The photo caption also suggests that the tail code might be yellow although it appears white?
With very special thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review sheet.
Image credit: All © 2021 Rising Decals
A fantastic sheet! Thanks for making us aware Nick.
A veritable bonanza of interesting subjects ..I think I'll start with the little K9W1 bird.
Thanks to the Rising group and Mr.Nivk !
Thanks for this notice, Nick. An impressive range of subjects is presented.
WoW. A lot of interesting variants of planes. Very useful. Thanks.
I had this sheet of decals ordered from Hannants when this blog was posted now I am more excited to get it. Thanks Nick for the review of it. 302 had so many a/c and different variants. Cool!
Most of the time, if I didn't see a new Rising sheet reviewed here, I wouldn't hear about it in time to get it! Thanks. I am interested in knowing whether the Out of Stock sheets will ever be available again, so as to not miss them again. They are beautifully done.
Very interesting set of decals! Especially D4Y Paintings. Thank you for review!
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