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.
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.
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.
Trumpeter T-55 kit number 07284 built as a tank of the Afghani Northern Alliance from the “Zabati” unit near Bagram, 2001. Markings are from Star Decals sheet 72-A 1050, figures are from Paracel Miniatures.
The second leading scorer of the Imperial Japanese Navy with 80 victories, Tetsuzo Iwamoto fought throughout the Pacific War and survived. During his first combat on 25FEB38 he was credited with five Chinese aircraft downed over Nanking. The model depicts the aircraft he flew from the carrier Zuikaku at Pearl Harbor and the Coral Sea.
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.
The Fieseler Fi 103R Reichenberg was a manned version of the V-1 missile, intended to be flown by the “Leonidas Squadron”, V. Gruppe of the Luftwaffe’s Kampfgeschwader 200. Nominally the pilot was intended to parachute from the aircraft before impact, but chances of survival were slim, at best. Approximately 175 were produced although none were actually used in combat.
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.
The Focke-Wulf Fw 56 was a German design first built in 1933 and used as a fighter and trainer in several European air forces. Approximately one thousand were built in total. Mine is finished in the markings of the Royal Hungarian Air Force.
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.”