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Month: December 2022
Fiat G.55 Centauro Comparison Build in 1/72 Scale Part III
Hasegawa Kawasaki Ki-61-I Hien “Tony” of Major Teruhiko Kobayashi, CO of the 244th Sentai in 1/72 Scale
This is the old Hasegawa kit first released in 1973 of the Kawasaki Ki-61-I Hien, Allied reporting name “Tony”. The model depicts one of several aircraft flown by Major Teruhiko Kobayashi, Commanding Officer of the 244 Sentai in early 1945. Kobayashi was credited with fourteen victories, two Hellcats and twelve B-29s, one of the B-29s by ramming.
This aircraft was passed on to the CO of the 159th Shinbu-tai, Shunzo Takashima in May of 1945. Takashima flew it in a Kamikaze attack against the U.S. Fleet off Okinawa on 06JUN45.
Atlantic Convoy Color Photographs Part II
More color photographs taken by Robert Capa. Visible in these are details of the ship’s boats and a variety of light gun positions which were hastily fitted to the merchantmen to give them a minimal self-defense capability. The aircraft carried as deck cargo are Douglas A-20 Havocs, known as the Boston in British service. They have had their seams taped to prevent corrosion caused by salt spray.
Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/12/21/atlantic-convoy-color-photographs-part-i/
Tamiya Kawasaki Ki-61-I Hien “Tony” of Chui Mitsuo Oyake of the 2nd Chutai, 18th Sentai in 1/72 Scale
Chui Mitsuo Oyake had three B-29 kills to his credit in January 1945, when he volunteered for the 6th Shinten Seiku-tai, a unit tasked with ramming B-29s over Japan. The ramming sections were formed within many Japanese fighter units at that stage of the war, and were often designated by red tail surfaces. On 07APR45 Oyake successfully rammed a B-29 over Tokyo in this aircraft for his fourth victory and was able to survive by taking to his parachute. He was awarded the Bukosho, Japan’s highest military award, for his actions.
This is the new 1/72 scale Tamiya kit finished out of the box. In my experience Tamiya kits have always represented the state of the mold-making art and this one is no exception. The kit is flawless, fit is perfect. I would have liked to have seen drop tanks and an option for an open canopy in the kit but those are the only things I’d change.
The Taking of K-129 Audio Book Review
The Taking of K-129: How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History
By Josh Dean, Narrated by Neil Hellegers
Audiobook, 15 hours and 47 minutes
Published by Penguin Audio
A fact that is not widely known outside of naval circles is that during the Cold War the Soviet Union’s submarine force had a serious accident or loss approximately every other year, on average. Most of these incidents involved nuclear propulsion, nuclear weapons, or both. On 08MAR68 the Golf-II class ballistic missile submarine K-129 was lost with all hands approximately 600 nautical miles north of Midway Island in the Pacific. The K-129 was a diesel electric boat, but carried nuclear torpedoes and three SS-N-5 Serb ballistic missiles in her sail. Despite searching for two weeks, the Soviet Navy was unable to locate her.
On the other hand, the U.S. Navy operated several undersea hydrophone arrays which were able to triangulate the position of the K-129. The USS Halibut (SSGN-587) was dispatched to locate and photograph the wreck, which lay at a depth of 16,000 feet. Based upon Halibut’s pictures, the CIA launched an ambitious project to attempt to recover the wreck for intelligence purposes.
No object of comparable size had ever been brought up from so great a depth. Many new technologies would need to be developed, including a system to position the recovery ship above the wreck without the slightest deviation in position. In addition, the entire effort would have to be conducted in the greatest secrecy, if the Soviets learned of it the whole thing would be called off. A specialized, single-use ship would have to be designed and built. The ship would lower a recovery cradle and pull the K-129 back up into an interior hold where the crew would investigate the wreck and her weapons.
The effort was dubbed Project Azorian, the ship was the Hughes Glomar Explorer. The project was a CIA effort from the beginning, Howard Hughes was never actively involved. What Hughes did provide was a plausible cover story – publicly the Glomar Explorer was a deep ocean mining ship, intended to snatch manganese nodules from the ocean floor. In the summer of 1974 the forward portion of K-129 was recovered. The cover story held until February of 1975 when the Los Angeles Times ran a story which effectively precluded any further efforts to exploit the wreck site.
This is a fascinating book, the first half of which explains the engineering and operational challenges of building a ship to pull off the recovery. The fact that the effort had to be done in secret just adds another layer of complexity. There are several almost comical anecdotes of the project coming close to being revealed due to petty government bureaucracies demanding specific licenses or taxes before giving their permission to proceed. There is a necessary digression into the U-2 and SR-71 programs which explains why the CIA and not the Navy were given overall control of the project. Overall, this is a fascinating account of a slide-rule cloak and dagger story, recommended.
Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter Walk Around Part III
Photographs taken at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) at Dayton, Ohio.
Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/12/11/boeing-kc-97-stratofreighter-walk-around-part-i/
Women Warriors 199
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Fiat G.55 Centauro Comparison Build in 1/72 Scale Part II
Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo) of the 87th Sentai in 1/72 Scale
The insignia of the 87th Sentai was a “Sky Wave”, to sweep the skies of enemy aircraft. Their aircraft were known to carry some unusual camouflage colors. This is an older build, inspired by the Arco Aircam volume and a profile in Green & Swanborough’s “Flying Colors”, which indicates it was almost certainly originally published in an issue of Air Enthusiast. Back in the 1970s and 80s you got your reference material where you could, I make no claims to the accuracy of this scheme today. Japanese aircraft (and ships) were one of my first modeling interests, this is one of the older builds which still survives.