Shigetoshi Kudo was trained as a reconnaissance pilot and was assigned to the famous Tainan Kokutai in October 1941. When the Pacific War began he supported the Kokutai by performing reconnaissance and navigation duties over the Philippines and Dutch East Indies. The unit eventually moved to Rabaul, where Kudo was credited with his first aerial victories using air-to-air bombs. Kudo returned to Japan in the fall of 1942 where he trained to fly the Nakajima J1N1 Gekko (“Irving”) nightfighter.
The Tainan Kokutai was redesignated the 251st Kokutai in November 1942, Kudo rejoining the unit in May 1943. On strength were two J1N1 nightfighters which had been modified with the addition of oblique-firing 20mm cannon on the orders of the squadron commander, CDR Yasuna Kozono. These guns were angled to fire 30 degrees above and below the line of flight, similar to the Schräge Musik installation on German nightfighters. Kudo flew the J1N1 defending Rabaul against American B-17s, eventually claiming six plus an Australian Hudson and becoming the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War. Japanese sources credited him with nine victories.
Kudo returned to Japan in February 1944 and was assigned to the Yokosuka Air Group. He was injured in a landing accident in May 1945. He survived the war but died in 1960.
“May you live in interesting times.” – ancient Chinese curse
Oddly for a method of telling time, the positioning of our new year is arbitrary from a physical perspective and should have no actual bearing on earthly events, but here’s hoping for a better 2021 anyway!
I’ll look for the “win” here even if it is minor: We modelers are fortunate to have an inherently solitary hobby in these times. Overall modeling appears to have picked up, Hornsby (parent company of Airfix) is reporting profits for the first time in years. Modeling podcasts have come into their own and make bench time even more enjoyable.
The biggest void from a modeling perspective in my opinion is the cancellation of the shows. I usually attend half a dozen per year and they are always a fine day out, with friends, new kits, and getting to see the work of hundreds of fellow modelers. Also missing was the Half Price Books annual clearance sale where literally semi-truck loads of books are sold at ridiculously low prices at the state fairgrounds.
On a different note, perhaps the most interesting story of the year received very little attention – the U.S. government admitted that it was studying materials retrieved from vehicles of extraterrestrial origin. Another commentary on the year 2020.
Blog Statistics and News
2020 was the second complete year for the Inch High Guy blog. I am happy to report that I again managed to make a post each day, so 366 posts due to the leap year. The blog received 73,992 views and 26,731 visitors, up from 27,174 views and 7,303 visitors last year. The most popular post was “Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Interior Colors Part I” with 1,857 views, followed by “The B-17E and the Myth of the Bendix Ventral Turret” with 1,116 views. Forts appear to be popular around here!
I am still struggling with the counter-intuitive Word Press editor, and that was only made worse with the introduction of the Word Press “Block Editor” in September. This eliminated some useful functions while re-naming and moving others, with no apparent improvements on the user end. On a more positive note, I did finally locate the tagging function and busied myself adding tags to all posts old and new.
I have linked several posts on ScaleMates, where the walk-around posts of museum aircraft have proved to be the most popular. The Women Warriors posts have found a following with wargamers over on The Miniatures Page, among others. I had intended for these pictures to tell their own stories, but there have been a few requests for captions. Easier said than done with the modern-era photos as information ranges from obvious to impossible-to-determine, but there may be hope for the historical pictures.
Models Built in 2020
Forty-seven completions, twenty-nine aircraft and eighteen vehicles. In addition I painted fifteen figures (plus one dog) and constructed three diorama bases. Everything was built to 1/72 scale as is my preference. The mosaic has a picture of each build, if you want to see more finished pictures or the construction posts just follow the tags at the bottom of this post or enter the descriptions in the search bar in the upper right column.
Hasegawa Kawanishi Kyofu (Rex) x 2
Tamiya Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)
Aoshima Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)
MPM Kawanishi N1K1 Shiden (George)
Hasegawa Kawanishi Shiden Kai (George) x 2
Hasegawa Mitsubishi Raiden (Jack)
Fujimi Aichi B7A1 Ryusei (Grace)
LS Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)
AZ Yokosuka K5Y Akatombo (Willow)
Special Hobby Curtiss P-40 Warhawk x 5
Tamiya Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
Airfix Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress conversion to B-17E x 2
RPM Hotchkiss H35 French Light Tank
RAF Bomber Supply Set x 2 (6 vehicles)
IBG Chevrolet C15A Personnel Lorry
Monogram Boeing F4B-4 x 2
Rare Bits Boeing F4B-1 Conversion
Monogram Curtiss F11C-2 Goshawk
Matchbox Boeing P-12E x 2
Czech Master Resin Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk
Plastic Soldier StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun x 3
Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G Assault Gun
Revell Heinkel He 177A-5 Greif
Revell Junkers Ju 88P-1 Conversion
Hasegawa Heinkel He 111H-20
Italeri 15 cm Field Howitzer sFH 18
Trumpeter Sd.Ah.116 Tank Transporter
Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H
Planet Models Resin Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack
Revell Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack
Trumpeter Sd. Kfz. 9 FAMO Halftrack
Arma hobby has just announced a P-51 B/C Mustang in 1/72. The computer renders look good and show areas such as the wing leading edge and wheel well openings which have given other manufacturers problems appear to have been rendered properly. Here’s hoping! Every previous B/C in 1/72 scale has had some major shape issue so an accurate new tool kit has been at the top of many modeler’s wish lists for many years now. The early Mustangs, if done well, are sure to be a hit and a license to print money for Arma so here’s wishing for a successful release!
In more local news Ms. Inch High put a Creality LD-002R 3-D resin printer under the Christmas tree this year. These are very useful if you know what you’re doing, which I don’t at this point. Hopefully I will soon though, and I look forward to printing something useful. It is an amazing technology to have sitting on the bench. For all the talk of “Death of the Hobby” in some circles, I have yet to see any hint of it from here.
I have enjoyed putting this together, and have enjoyed hearing from other modelers and discovering other blogs. A big thank you to all who have visited here, commented, followed, and especially those who have posted links.
May you all live long enough to build every model in your stash!
Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo Michigan.
B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2616 THE BLUE GOOSE is somewhat enigmatic due to there being no known photographs of her. What is known is that the USAAF requisitioned her from an RAF order and that she was given a unique paint job at the Hawaiian Air Depot. From Fortress Against the Sun, pg 218:
“Interestingly, Waskowitz’ plane, the Blue Goose, was actually painted a bright, light blue. Perhaps as a test for a new camouflage scheme, B-17E 41-2616 had been given a coat, top to bottom, of Light Glossy Blue Duco paint at the Hawaiian Air Depot. With its highly unusual color, the B-17 and its crew were soon known to everybody.”
Unfortunately the exact shade is not recorded. I have included a Duco automotive color chart below, perhaps the paint is one of the blues on this card. My color is a mix of Mr. Color 34 with Mr. Color 115 (RLM 65) in a 2 to 1 ratio.
The BLUE GOOSE served with the 11th Bomb Group. She was lost off Bougainville on 29SEP42, shot down by antiaircraft fire while attacking a Japanese cruiser. None of her crew survived.
The model is back-dated from the Airfix B-17G kit. Markings are from Starfighter Decals #72-162 “Fortress of the Skies Part 3: E Models”.