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.