Hawaiian Air Depot Camouflage Scheme Batch Build Part VII

This build is officially jinxed!  A week has passed with very little progress made on the HAD ships to show for it.  I decided to paint the national insignia using Maketar masks.  This adds a bit to the construction time as each color has to dry thoroughly before it can be masked.  First a white base coat was applied to all six areas (remember that all HAD scheme aircraft have insignia in all six positions) and the rudders.  After a day of drying the white still had a slight tack so I let it dry another day before the masks were applied.  Then insignia red and wait another day, then mask.  Then insignia blue, and wait another day, then mask.  When I went to apply the blue I noticed a spiderweb of fine cracks so I applied another coat.  Then wait another day.  Are you detecting a theme?
The second coat of blue also cracked, if you look closely you can see cracking even after sanding.  Not salvageable.  Bad paint from a brand new jar.  Testors, you owe me $15 in masks and a week!  The masks did their jobs well, BTW.  I’ll re-prime these areas and dig up some decals.
One bit of progress, the rudders came out fine.  No blue on these so all went to plan.  While waiting for the paint to dry I assembled some armor kits.  Four done.  Keeps me from throwing things and startling cats with outbursts of profanity.  Hopefully I can get this back on track for the next update.

Tamiya 1/72 Aichi M6A Seiran / Nanzan

As the Pacific War ended on 15AUG45, the Japanese had four submarines at sea on a mission to attack the US Navy fleet anchorage at Ulithi Atoll.  Between them the submarines carried a total of ten Aichi M6A Seiran floatplanes, the attack was to be a Kamikaze mission.  Years after the war it was revealed that before departing Japan the Seirans had been painted overall Aluminum and given US markings.

This is another build of Tamiya’s excellent Serian series, actually the Nanzan boxing.  Surprisingly this is another tool, not a reboxing of the Seiran kit with another sprue and unused parts for the spares box.  The base is built up from Evergreen to represent a section of the deck and catapult from an I-400 class submarine, figures are from CMK and Hasegawa.








OS2U Kingfishers in the Aleutians

Although most commonly seen with floats, the OS2U could be rather easily converted to a landplane and it was not unusual to see them with conventional wheeled landing gear.  Here a Kingfisher has ground-looped and torn off its gear.  Note the 100 lb bomb under the starboard wing.  The white bars on the tail surfaces were an Aleutian Theater recognition marking.
A fine color photograph of an Aleutian Kingfisher on a ramp made from Marston matting.  She carries the white Aleutian recognition markings on her tail, the markings on the upper horizontal tail surfaces are just visible in this view.  Her national markings are non-standard, the red outlines were authorized from 29JUN43 to 14AUG43, but at that time national insignia were only to be carried on the upper port wing and lower starboard, in addition to the fuselage sides.
Another Kingfisher with too many stars, this OS2U is seen launching from the Omaha-class light cruiser USS Detroit (CL-8).  Recognition stripes are just visible on the horizontal tail surfaces.  Note the size of the wing insignia, spanning from the leading edge to the front of the aileron.
Another view of Detroit’s Kingfisher showing the placement of the underwing insignia.  Detroit was one of two ships present at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack and at Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender (the other being the USS West Virginia (BB-48)).  She served in the Aleutian theater for most of the war, from NOV42 through JUN44.
A cold job, an OS2U being brought ashore on 08JAN43.  Note the placement of the underwing insignia, and the retention of the pre-war propeller warning markings consisting of blue, yellow, and red bands.  (World War Photos)
A scenic shot of a Kingfisher on a Marston mat seaplane ramp in the Aleutians.  Her wing markings are unique.  Perhaps the starboard wing insignia has been painted out to comply with the directive to reduce the national markings to four positions?
While not as well covered by the press as the action in the South Pacific, the Aleutian Theater was still a war zone.  Here a Kingfisher has received damage to her wing and is being hoisted back aboard ship.  (World War Photos)
Here is an interesting sequence showing several Kingfishers of VS-56 being moved by truck.  In this view two kingfishers have already been loaded onto flatbeds while the third is being hoisted by a wrecker.  Note the beaching gear is in place on the central floats, and the variation in height of the tail stripes.
An interesting subject for a diorama.  The wrecker is a Sterling DDS235.  All the trucks are equipped with snow chains.
Seven Kingfishers preparing to move out.  An unusual traffic jam.
More VS-56 Kingfishers in a photograph dated NOV43, each with a different scheme.  Number 14 in the foreground  is in the blue gray over light gray scheme with a short tail stripe and national insignia without bars.  The middle aircraft, number 12, carries the graded camouflage scheme, tall tail stripes, and her insignia appear to have the short-lived red outline.  The last plane in the line is unusual in that she appears to be painted in the graded scheme but without any intermediate blue being present on the sides of the fuselage – the non-specular sea blue extends down to the white underside.  (World War Photos)

Kaiten Japanese Manned Torpedo in 1/72

Kaiten were manned torpedoes, a naval version of the Kamikaze.  They used the propulsion system of the successful Type 93 torpedo with a manned compartment and warhead in the nose.  They were carried operationally on the decks of Japanese fleet submarines, and several surface ships were also modified to launch them via special stern ramps.  They could be employed from shore installations as well.  The Kaitan were plagued with mechanical and operational problems which limited their success.  Approximately 90 were used, scoring only two sinkings – the fleet oiler USS Mississinewa (AO-59) at Ulithi on 20NOV44 and the destroyer escort USS Underhill (DE-682) on 24JUL45.

This is the Fine Molds Kaiten in 1/72 scale.  A small but interesting subject and a quick, easy build.  They are boxed in sets of two, this one was obtained in a trade with friend of the blog and all-around good guy David Knights.










The Douglas B-18 and B-23: America’s Forsaken Warriors Book Review

The Douglas B-18 and B-23: America’s Forsaken Warriors

By Dan Hagedorn Sr. and Dan Hagedorn Jr.

Hardcover in dustjacket, 288 pages

Publisher: Crecy Publishing, September 2015

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0859791785

ISBN-13: 978-0859791786

Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.8 x 11.4 inches

Books on the Douglas B-18 Bolo are rare.  It was designed as a replacement for the Martin B-10 and entered service with the USAAC in 1937, only 350 were produced.  The design drew heavily on Douglas’ experience with the DC-1 and DC-2, but by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack its deficiencies in speed, bomb load, and defensive armament had rendered it obsolete as a bomber.  Many were destroyed on the ground in Hawaii and the Philippines, those stateside were pressed into the anti-submarine and training roles.

The authors have done an excellent job at collecting and presenting a wealth of information on this obscure aircraft.  The B-18 was a favorite of photographers before the war and much of their work is presented here.  The authors also do a good job explaining the role of the Bolo in developing anti-submarine equipment such as the Air to Surface Vessel (ASV) radar and Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) gear.  There are several color profiles by artist Rich Dann, and line drawings of the various sub types.

There are a few areas where I would have liked to have seen the authors take their analysis just one step further.  The chapter on ASW patrol activities details several U-boat sightings and engagements but never reconciles claims or credited kills against German submarine losses.  I read every report contained in the book but still have no idea how many submarines were actually sunk by B-18s (Wikipedia claims four).  There is a detailed chapter on all the units which operated the B-18, and another on camouflage and markings, but the plethora of interesting unit markings is neither illustrated nor explained.

Still, the authors have collected a lot of useful data in one place which will be helpful to those wishing to study the type.  It is an interesting book which is just a few small steps away from being a great reference.