Wednesday 1 February 2023

Sally Duo in 1/72 by Gonzalo Guzmán Part 2

The second Takara issue Ki-21 'Sally' built by Gonzalo Guzmán is the Ki-21-II Otsu variant provided for in the kit, representing an aircraft of the 3rd Dokuritsu Hikotai (Independent Flying Unit - sometimes incorrectly referred to as Chutai) prior to its participation in the Giretsu (義烈 - Heroism) commando raid against Yontan airfield on Okinawa. 

Operation Gi, the Giretsu attack on Yontan, is well known and has been widely documented elsewhere so the details, although some are contradictory or obscure, will not be repeated here. One of the best accounts may be found in the Arawasi Eagle Series No.3 on the Mitsubishi Ki-21 'Sally' and Fiat BR.20 'Cicogna' (undated) which is highly recommended.  

According to the Arawasi book the personnel for the 3rd DH were drawn from the Hokota Instructional Air Division for medium and light bombers, expecting to be operating the Ki-46. According to Minoru Akimoto the unit was established at Hamamatsu in October 1944, which seems logical given their intended operation of the Ki-21. The unit was one of three established for the purpose of raiding US airfields in the Marianas, the others being 2nd DH and 4th DH. The unit's tail insignia represents the character for '3' -  San 三. 

Gonzalo's model depicts a 3rd DH aircraft prior to modifications as a transport aircraft for Operation Gi, intended to be force landed at Yontan with a complement of suicide commandos, and with all armament removed including the dorsal turret. Although often depicted with dark green mottle over natural metal after carefully studying photographs Gonzalo elected to apply the mottle over a grey base coat. The subject of Army mottles will be further explored here in a future blog article. 

With special thanks to Gonzalo for sharing these images of his excellent 'Sally' model, testimony to both the quality of the near 50 year old Revell-Takara kit and his modelling skills in bringing it to such impressive life.

Image credit: All photos © 2023 Gonzalo Guzmán


Alex said...

Splendid. Another the rare kit. Fantastic paint job. Thanks Nick. Thanks Gonzalo.

Baronvonrob said...

So very cool and rare to see the Otsu version of "Miss Sally" depicted, and the infamous Operation Gi bird to boot!

Simply masterful mottling technique on display that will no doubt create even more interest in the upcoming Army mottling blog

Gratitude to both Nick and Gonzalo

Michael Thurow said...

Wonderful camouflage finish on that one Gonzalo. You have an admirable technique of dealing with those big birds full of nooks and crannies (... got this term from the dictionary ;-)

blitzkrieg_bop said...

stunning camo job, really awesome!

David Brizzard said...

What airbrush and paint did you use.

Mark Smith said...

Another beauty, Gonzalo. My airbrush doesn't come with squiggles that fine! Again, the canopies are beautifully done. It's a fine pair of models, thanks for showing them off here.

Thanks for another great writeup Nick. I look forward to that post on Army mottles. If I recall correctly, there is a good account of the raid made by this Sally in John Lambert's great book, "The Pineapple Air Force." It was probably a few nights before anyone got sound sleep again at Yontan Airfield.

Kevin Bade said...

Ok I loved the mottling on the turreted Sally too but the simple beauty of the earlier Sally is stunning. See...old Revell kits still hold their own when done by a skillful modeller. Great job Gonzalo I might add your canopy frames are most excellently done. And Nick the history you color these posts with make our little hobby come to life. Thank you both. And future blogs on Army mottles? Bring it on...I cant wait.

WK said...

Incredible brush work. Getting the mottle to be so random with no overspray is quite the achievement

Woody K

Gonzalo Guzmán C said...

Thank you very much for your generous comments. It is very encouraging for me to share these images with you and to receive your feedback.
I would also like to offer my thanks to Nick for his kindness and erudition. After all, these model kits are more than just a good excuse to honour and talk about the history that lies behind them.

For the blotches, a Sotar 2020 airbrush was used, with the finest needle, although similar results can be achieved with a Badger 100. The grey paint is a common water-based vinyl acrylic, with a soft primer base. The mottles, on the other hand, were made with extremely thinned automotive lacquer. The effect is achieved by building up the blotch in successive layers, which allows control to be maintained. The real trick is to keep the air flowing all the time and let paint through only when necessary. That avoids pigment build-up at the tip of the needle, and therefore splatter. Simple but a bit creepy. The rest is to use reference photos and imagine what the painting process would have been like for the workers on the real piece.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Army mottles topic you mention, I'm sure it will be interesting.

Ken Glass said...

Thanks for sharing more of your excellent work, Gonzalo. I second Nick's recommendation of Arawasi's very interesting Ki.21 & Br.20 book. Also, his time & trouble to share the unit history with us here. Thanks again to Gonzalo for the tips on his airbrush work employed during the build.

Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

That's some mighty fine airbrushing work!

Gary Lai said...

Any idea of this MC-21? That photo probably was taken at Nanking, China, after WWII.