Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero of Saburo Sakai in 1/72 Scale

Saburo Sakai is the most well-known of the Japanese aces in the West, thanks to the publication of books in English of his exploits by Martin Caiden and by Henry Sakaida.  He opened his account in China where he scored four victories.  He was part of the force which attacked US airfields in the Philippines on 08DEC41 (local time).  Over Guadalcanal he was wounded by rear gunners of a formation of SBD Dauntless dive bombers which he mistook for Wildcats, the mistake cost him an eye.  He survived the war and was credited with 64 victories.  V-103 was one of the aircraft flown by Sakai while a member of the Tainan Air Group.  The remains of this aircraft (and those of its’ last pilot) were discovered on Guadalcanal in 1993, and Sakai himself has verified that this is one of the aircraft which he flew while with the Tainan Air Group.

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Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero of Shoichi Sugita in 1/72 Scale

Shoichi Sugita was credited with his first arial victorie on 01DEC42, a B-17 Flying Fortress.  He formed part of the escort for the transport carrying ADM Isoroku Yamamoto on the day he was shot down.  T2 190 was an A6M3 Type 32 assigned to the 204 Kokutai at Rabaul in May, 1943, and wears a field applied mottled camouflage.  In August of 1943 he was himself shot down but escaped by parachute, although badly burned.

Chief Petty Officer Shoichi Sugita flew the Kawanishi N1K2 Shiden-Kai with the 343rd Kokuti operating from Matsuama, Japan in March 1945.  CPO Sugita was credited with approximately seventy victories, including seven in the Shiden-Kai.  He was killed on 15APR45, shot down while attempting to take off by US Navy F6F Hellcats.  His Shiden-Kai is modeled here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2020/05/07/hasegawa-kawanishi-n1k2-shiden-kai-%e7%b4%ab%e9%9b%bb-violet-lightning-george-in-1-72-scale/

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Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero of Tetsuzo Iwamoto in 1/72 Scale

This aircraft is only known from entries and a sketch in Iwomoto’s journal, and is one of three he flew from Rabaul which displayed kill markings.  Researchers have been trying to determine the manufacturer, model, and markings for these aircraft, but only one rather fuzzy photograph has surfaced publicly thus far.  Tetsuzo Iwamoto survived the war.  His personal diaries record 202 enemy aircraft claimed, historians have put the actual total at 80.

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Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero of Hiroyoshi Nishizawa in 1/72 Scale

The highest-scoring Japanese naval aviator was Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, credited with 87 victories.  A Japanese photographer shot several in flight photographs of UI-105, which was flown by Nishizawa while assigned to the 251 Kokutai operating out of Rabaul in May of 1943.  On 25OCT44 he led the escort group during the first Kamikaze mission in the Philippines, claiming two American aircraft.  The following day he was flying as a passenger on a transport plane when it was attacked and shot down by two US Navy F6F Hellcats.  Nishizawa died in the crash.

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Dragon Mistel 6 Composite in 1/72 Scale

Most aviation buffs are familiar with the Mistel composite aircraft used by Germany at the end of WWII.  These consisted of Bf 109s or Fw 190s mounted above unmanned Ju 88s, to which a large warhead was fitted.  The pilot in the fighter aimed the Ju 88, then detached while the bomber flew on autopilot to (hopefully) impact the target.

The Mistel composites’ low speed made them vulnerable to interception, so German designers proposed three variants based upon jet aircraft.  Mistel 4 utilized Me 262s for both the upper and lower components.  The Mistel 5 design used the He 162 as the piloted aircraft, with an Arado E 377 purpose-built payload which was also jet propelled using two BMW 003 engines.  The Mistel 6 was to utilize an Ar 234 C/E upper component, and an unpowered E 377 lower.

Dragon kits the Mistel 5, which contains an He 162, a powered E 377, and a take-off trolley.  They also make several versions of the Ar 234, which include the Ar 234 C/E with four jets.  Modeling a Mistel 6 is possible by combining the two kits.

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Condor V-2 Missile and Special Armor Trailer in 1/72 Scale

I built the Condo V-2 (A-4) missile many years ago.  I painted it in a spurious three-tone gray camouflage, now I’m not sure if I was following an erroneous reference or if I just thought it would be attractive that way.  It was problematic to display, too tall for the distance between shelves in the display case and it just didn’t look right laying on its side.  When Special Armor released their transport trailer I took the opportunity to correct the camo and finally had a proper way to display the model.

The concept for the design began before the war as a way to get into space. When the first V-2 hit London, the project’s chief engineer Wernher von Braun was quoted as saying, “The rocket worked perfectly, except for landing on the wrong planet.”

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