Wednesday 21 June 2023

Aichi D3A2 from Wingsy in Two Scales

Hat tip to Rob Ronconi for kindly alerting AoJ to a new and forthcoming kit announced by Wingsy of the Aichi D3A2 'Val' to be available in both 1/48 and 1/72 scale editions.

Image credit: © 2023 Wingsy Kits

Saturday 17 June 2023

ICM 1/72 Ki-21--1 Otsu by Nonand Nopparat

Hot on the heels of yesterday's review of Rising Decals Sally sheet, pertinent to its mention of the ICM Ki-21-I Otsu kit and quick off the mark is this superlative build of that kit by Nanond Nopparat.

Nanond comments that the ICM kit 'is super nice as to be expected from their recent release. The interior retails are very good with very generous choices of MG. The IJA type 89 twin machine gun is especially impressive - there are two in the box, leaving one for my other IJA projects.

'There are very few fit issues, most of which could come from my own doing. The panel lines on the top and bottom of the fuselage are rather soft but rescribing is not a big issue there.'

'The only thing I am quite sure ICM made a mistake with is the right undercarriage. The way it is designed, each landing gear leg has two protruding attachment points, one long and one short. This is perfectly fine for the left leg. However, the two legs are a complete copy of one another, while the attachment point on the right wing is a mirror of the left wing. It takes a small modification but since ICM plastic is rather soft and the landing gear leads are very delicate, this takes some planning and not something you would want to encounter when everything is about to be finished. 

'The clear parts on the rear fuselage underside offered some challenges. The inclusion of a guide for cutting canopy masking tape is very welcome. 

'I won’t complain about the lack of attractive paint scheme choices. Sally looks great in this monotone scheme. The color I used is Hairyokushoku from AK Interactive. Markings are masked and painted on, except for the stencils. And now I’m looking forward to building the RTAF Ki21-I Ko version coming from ICM.'

Nanond's model represents one of the markings options offered in the kit for an aircraft of Hiko Dai 58 Sentai at Harbin in December 1940. The 58th was formed from the 2nd daitai of the 12th Flying Rentai at Gongzhuling, Manchuria in July 1938 with three heavy bomber chutai and in June 1939 moved to Jiamusi, Manchuria. During August and September 1940 the unit staged to Canton to make attacks against Kweilin and other targets in south-west China, returning afterwards to Manchuria. During 1941 as part of the Soviet facing defence posture it was deployed in the 6th Air Brigade under 2nd Air Group in Manchuria together with Hiko Dai 66 and 78 Sentai, a light bomber and fighter unit respectively (the latter established a year earlier than most references suggest). With organisational and deployment changes resulting from the opening of the Pacific war it became part of the 8th Air Brigade under Col Kurabe at Suiha (north of Harbin), together with Hiko Dai 60 Sentai, another heavy bomber regiment. In January 1943 the Brigade was re-deployed to the 6th Air Division of the 3rd Air Army, at that time operating from Sumatra and engaged in ocean patrol and convoy escort work. In late July 1943 it staged via Saigon to Hankow, China, to engage in a series of attacks against Lingling, Chongqing and Hengyang, returning to Medang, Sumatra in October and resuming patrol duties, including detachments for patrols from Singapore. In June 1944 Hiko Dai 31 Dokuritsu Chutai (31st Independent Air Squadron) was formed from within the 58th and deployed to Kampong Chhnang* in Cambodia under the 20th Air Brigade for nocturnal attacks against Allied forces in Burma. These sorties were on a small scale of only three or four aircraft but coordinated with other units. Towards the end of the war the unit was consolidated in Taiwan under the 25th Independent Air Brigade as part of the 'Kaku' manoeuvre for the final defence of Japan.

With very special thanks to Nanond for sharing these superb images of an excellent model. ICM have already released a Ki-21-I Ko kit (shown below) with markings for four China-based Sentai and due out this month is another Ki-21-I Ko kit with options for four Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) schemes (also shown below). And it will cost about the same as a certain 1/72 P-39 with ball bearings so not bad!

* An infamous 'secret' airfield which was started to be re-built in 1976 by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime but with its WW2 history completely obscured.

Image credits: All model photos © 2023 Nanond Nopparat; Box art © 2023 ICM Holding

Friday 16 June 2023

Sally Selection from Rising Decals

The first of the recent Rising Decals sets for Japanese bombers, although the second reviewed here, is RD72105 for the Army's Mitsubishi Ki-21-I Otsu, the Type 97 Heavy Bomber 'Sally' (Kyu-nana Shiki Juh Bakugeki-ki - 九七式重爆撃機 , in shortened form Kyu-nana Juh-baku - 九七重爆). The set offers 8 different camouflage schemes for 'Sally' with just two printed colours - red and white - to provide alternative finishes for the surprising 2022 ICM release of the Otsu in 1/72 scale, of which more anon. Or, for those intending to build the classic Revell-Takara kit, a replacement for its decals if no longer useable.

The eight schemes, offering a good variety, are as follows:- 

  • Ki-21 of the Hamamatsu Army Flying School in overall grey green - this aircraft sports twin fuselage bands in red, a red or black painted antenna mast and a small serial number on the nose
  • Ki-21 of the 25th Air Brigade HQ Flight at Obihiro, Japan, 1943 in overall grey green with an irregular dark green mottled camouflage on the upper surfaces - a most interesting choice with a striking tail insignia under which is painted the Hiragana character 'ha' (は). The dark green is suggested to be # 21 Midori iro (Green colour) to be represented by Gunze hobby paint 129 Dark Green (Nakajima)
  • Ki-21 of the 25th Air Brigade HQ Flight at Clark Field, Philippines in October 1944 in overall grey green with an incomplete tail insignia over the overpainted marking of a previous operator
  • Ki-21 of an unknown unit in the Philippines, Spring 1942 - another interesting scheme of solid dark green over grey green with the fuselage hinomaru on a white rectangle and a narrow diagonal white stripe across the tail fin and rudder. The dark green is suggested to be either # 21 or # 27 Ao Midori iro (Blue Green colour), the latter represented by Gunze 124 Dark Green (Mitsubishi) which is not blueish enough ( # 27 as applied can appear almost like a dark blue in some colour photography and film)
  • Ki-21 of Hiko Dai 14 Sentai flying against Corregidor in the Philippines during the winter of 1941-42 in a most interesting kumogata style camouflage with the two main colours separated by thin dark lines, perhaps dark blue or black. # 21 is suggested for the dark green segments and # 31 Cha Kasshoku, the so-called 'tea' colour for the brown, to be represented by Gunze 119 RLM 79 Sand Yellow, perhaps on the light side even allowing for a faded finish. There are no close matches in FS, the closest being 10080 which is darker and more reddish as well as giving a poor impression by being gloss. FS 30097 whilst not as close gives a better impression of the colour. RAL 8028 Terrabraun (Earth Brown) is slightly closer than the FS but still a little too dark. In Methuen the colour is between 6F5 and 7F4 Dark Brown and in Munsell 8.3 YR 3.1/2.6.
  • Ki-21 of Hiko Dai 60 Sentai's 1st Chutai at Nanyuan, China in autumn 1940 in overall grey green
  • Ki-21 of Hiko Dai 14 Sentai at Lakunai, New Britain, late 1943 in overall grey green with a dense mottle of dark green on the upper surfaces. The presentation is speculative, taken from a strike photo, as the Sentai operated Ki-21-II at that time and this aircraft was partly concealed by camouflage netting. The instruction sheet suggests its use as a transport.
  • Ki-21 of Hiko Dai 81 Sentai at Lakunai, New Britain in late 1943 in overall grey green with a dense, almost solid mottle of dark green on the upper surfaces. The Sentai was a reconnaissance unit operating the Ki-46 and again this aircraft was used as a transport 'hack'.

An interesting and varied choice of markings for 'Sally' requiring some free interpretation by modellers in realising the different schemes, all of which are well representative of the type and variant. Gunze 128 IJA Gray Green is suggested for the overall colour of Hairyokushoku, which is a good choice. Sufficient hinomaru are provided for two aircraft and again appear towards a brownish hue of red, although that impression might be exacerbated by the blue decal paper. The decals are crisply printed and the instructions comprehensive. With thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review sample.

Image credit: All decal images © 2023 Rising Decals; Box art © 2022 ICM Holding

Thursday 15 June 2023

Cloud Patterned Betty from Rising Decals

One of two recent Rising Decals sets for Japanese bombers, RD72106 offers nine schemes in 1/72 scale for the Mitsubishi G4M1 Type 1 Land-based Attack Aircraft 'Betty', ( 一式陸上攻撃機 - Ichi Shiki Rikujoh Kohgeki-ki) , known as Ichi Shiki Rikko (一式陸攻), all in the early war  kumogata (雲形 - cloud shape) camouflage of green and brown. 

The nine schemes are as follows:-

  • H-324 of Misawa Ku 2nd Chutai based on Saipan in July 1942 in a weathered scheme of D2 Green Black and H2 Brown (Tea colour) over natural metal. H-324 has a broad white fiun stripe and narrow white fuselage band.
  • F-352 of 4 Ku 1st Chutai at Rabaul in February 1942 in a weathered scheme of D2 Green Black and H2 Brown (Tea colour) over natural metal with bomb bay doors removed 
  • K-310 of Kanoya Ku 1st Chutai at Thủ Dầu Một airfield, Indo-China in December 1941 in D2 Green Black and H2 Brown (Tea colour) over natural metal with bomb bay doors removed. Lt Haruki Iki, 3rd Chutai leader flew this 1st Chutai spare aircraft armed with a Type 91 torpedo in the attack on the Royal Navy capital ships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse 
  • K-357 of Kanoya Ku 4th Chutai at Davao, Philippines in January 1942 in D2 Green Black and H2 Brown (Tea colour) over natural metal. Both K-310 and K-357 have narrowwhite fuselage bands.
  • T-315 of Takao Ku, 1st Chutai at Clark Field, Philippines in March 1942 in a weathered scheme of D2 Green Black and H2 Brown (Tea colour) over natural metal
  • T-302 of Takao Ku 1st Chutai at Vunukanau airfield, Rabaul durin 1942 in a weathered scheme of D2 Green Black and H2 Brown (Tea colour) over natural metal. Additional tail codes are included for T-302, T-310, T-311 and T-313 all in the same scheme. All have a white fin leading edge. 

The sheet includes sufficient plain hinomaru for two aircraft together with white tail codes, stripes and fuselage bands for the nine options. As they appear on the sheet the hinomaru are not a bright red but rather dull and slightly brownish like the old IPMS 'meatballs'. It remains to be seen how they appear applied over the camouflage colours. Also included are fuselage data plates for two aircraft. The instruction sheet includes suggested upper surface camouflage patterns for the Misawa, Kanoya and Takao Ku aircraft. Suggested paints are Gunze Mr Color # 124 Dark Green (Mitsubishi) for D2 and for the tricky brown a mix of Mr Color paints 40% # 7 Brown + 30% # 4 Yellow + 30% # 6 Green, or to approximate FS 20122 Brown. The brown is a Munsell Yellow Red (YR) but the perception of yellowishness vs reddishness in the undertone is problematic

A topical choice for the recent and impressive Sword G4M1 kit (box art shown below, with a second 'late version' due for release this month) or to update an older Hasegawa G4M1 in the stash (re-released in April this year as a limited edition with splendid new box art by Kazuhiro Kato and a 1/32 scale metal figure of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto - shown below). With thanks to Mirek of Rising Decals for the review sample.

Sword Models G4M1 SW72144
Hasegawa G4M1

Image credit: Colour chips © 2023 Aviation of Japan; G4M1 box art © 2023 Sword Models and Hasegawa Corp.; All others © 2023 Rising Decals