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This is the aircraft of 1LT Ken Taylor. Taylor was one of the few US airmen to get airborne during the Pearl Harbor raid, and was credited with two victories and two probables. After the war Japanese records confirmed that the probables also failed to return to their carriers. Markings are from Starfighter Decals sheet 72-135, and went on without difficulty.
All told, the Airfix kits are nice. The panel lines are excessive, but can be dealt with. The clear parts were disappointing, I filed down the side rails, removed the mysterious ridge at the rear of the sliding portion, and fabricated the armored glass in the front – and I still don’t like the appearance. Any future builds will get a vacuformed canopy right from the start.
Here is a Gloster Gladiator Mk. I of Flygflottilj 19 (Swedish Voluntary Air Force) at Kemi, Northern Finland, 1940. The ski boxing also contains all the parts needed for wheeled versions, and both two- and three-bladed props. The cowl assembly was a bit fiddly, and I had to fill gaps there on my build. Removing the seams while preserving the details is a challenge. The second issue is one I’ve found on all the new Airfix kits I’ve built so far – the raised canopy framing is far overscale and detracts from what are otherwise outstanding kits. I filed the frames off of mine and used them as masters for plunge molded replacements.
Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War
By René J. Francillon, technical illustrations by J. B. Roberts
Hardcover in dustjacket, 570 pages, illustrated with photographs and drawings
Published by Putnam & Company 1979 (second edition), Naval Institute Press 2000 (seventh edition)
Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.7 inches
This book has been in my library for four decades. I consider it an indispensable reference, and it is generally the first place I look when researching Japanese aircraft. It has seen at least seven printings from three different publishers and has not been surpassed as a definitive resource. It is not hard to find on the secondary market at a reasonable price and it is well worth locating a copy if you haven’t already.
As preliminaries Francillon gives a series of brief histories to provide the reader with the necessary context for the work which follows. He describes the Japanese aircraft industry through the end of the Pacific War, then the histories of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force and Imperial Japanese Navy aviation. The aircraft designation system is next, and there is a general history of the camouflage and marking systems and how they evolved.
The bulk of the book is devoted to describing each aircraft type produced or used by Japan during the Second World War, arranged by service, manufacturer, and specific type. This is a technical and design history which shows the production and evolution of the aircraft and lays out the deployment of each. There is at least one photograph and a three view line drawing per design and often there are several, followed by technical data and performance figures in both English and metric units. Some of the more obscure and less important types only get a few pages, those with more central roles get more. For example, the A6M series covers no less than sixteen pages.
Appendixes describe lesser types which were mainly conversions or designs which did not enter service (think of the “what if” fodder for the Nippon ’46 crowd) and foreign aircraft in Japanese service. There are appendixes of armament and engines, and a listing of aircraft carrying vessels of both the Navy and the Army (the Imperial Japanese Army did in fact have its own aircraft carriers which it used for escort work).
This is the definitive technical reference for Japanese aircraft. I doubt it will ever be surpassed, I’m not sure how it could be. If you have an interest in Japanese aircraft and don’t already own a copy, do yourself a favor and pick one up, you will not regret it.
Photographs taken at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
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The Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo was a primary trainer in service with the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1933 through the end of the Pacific War. It was called Akatombo (Red Dragonfly) after a Japanese children’s poem of the time due to its bright overall orange-yellow paint scheme. There were two variants in service, the wheeled K5Y1 land-based version and the K5Y2 floatplane. The two versions differed in their landing gear and in the chord of the vertical stabilizer, that of the K5Y2 was more broad to compensate for the surface area of the floats. A surprising bit of trivia – the last US warship lost to kamikaze attack was the destroyer USS Callaghan (DD-792), sunk by a K5Y on 29JUL45.
This is the Tamiya Ilyushin IL-2 Sturmovik. What an outstanding kit! I have built the Tamiya Zeros, the IL-2 is every bit as finely engineered, the thing just falls together. I was able to complete this build without using any putty. The seams almost disappear, they only needed a little sanding. This is nice as the surface detail is as fine as you’ll see. The cockpit builds up as a separate assembly which can be inserted into the fuselage from below. Detail is perfectly adequate for the closed canopy, and really would look fine with the canopy opened. The cockpit was masked with Eduard masks – highly recommended. The masks for the landing light on the wing are not mentioned in the directions, but they are included. The model was built OOB, the only additions were tape belts and antenna wires. Overall, a very enjoyable build, it just flew together. This kit represents the state of the art.
The markings are from the kit and depict the aircraft of Guards Captain Ivan Pavlov, commander of the 6th Guards Attack Aviation Regiment, 3rd Air Army, 1st Baltic Front. Pavlov was twice awarded Hero of the Soviet Union. The inscription on the fuselage reads, “To our countryman, Hero of the Soviet Union, comrade Pavlov from Kustanay’s workers.”