This is a re-build of an old Hasegawa kit to represent an aircraft of the 58th Shinbu-tai. The original model was finished several decades ago. It was repainted and received several detail enhancements, and decals for the Arma Hayate kits. Tail markings are from an old SuperScale decal sheet. The fuel truck is the old Hasegawa release form the 1970s, coincidentally another re-built kit.
Yohei Hinoki was originally posted to the 64th Sentai in Malaya, flying as the wingman the Sentai commander, Major Tateo Kato (18 victories). Hinoki was credited with a shared victory over a Blenheim on 08DEC41, and two Hurricanes over Singapore on 31JAN42. On 10APR42 Hinoki’s Ki-43 was shot up by an American Volunteer Group P-40 piloted by Robert Smith (8 victories). Smith claimed the Oscar as a probable. Hinoki was wounded, but managed to nurse his damaged aircraft back to his base in Thailand.
Hinoki recovered from his injuries and returned to flight status. He claimed a Mustang on 25NOV43. Two days later the 64th intercepted a large American strike against Insein. Hinoki was credited with a P-51, P-38, and B-24 from this force, but his aircraft was shot up by a Mustang piloted by 2Lt Robert Mulhollem (5 victories). Mulhollem claimed the Oscar as a probable, but again Hinoki was able to land his damaged aircraft. This time a .50 caliber bullet had shattered Hinoki’s right leg which had to be amputated.
After convalescing in Japan Hinoki was fitted with a wooden leg and assigned as an instructor pilot at the Akeno Army Flying School. As the war situation deteriorated, the IJAAF began forming interceptor flights from instructor cadre and Hinoki, now a Major, led the flight from Akeno. On 16JUL45 he claimed a 457th Fighter Squadron Mustang piloted by CAPT John Binbow for his final victory.
Major Yohei Hinoki survived the war and was credited with 12 victories. He passed away in 1991.
This Ki-84 was assigned to a special attack unit, the 57th Shinbu-tai. It was photographed at Shimodate on 17MAY45, with pilot 2Lt Tetsujiro Karasawa. The 57th participated in the attack on the U.S. fleet off Okinawa on 25MAY45 which hit several USN ships. The inscription on the sides can be translated as “must kill” or “sure to kill”.
Late in 1944 Nakajima began finishing their aircraft in a dark brown, as seen here. IJA aircraft were not generally primed, and photographs show the paint had totally sloughed off the upper fuselage on this aircraft. This aircraft was photographed at Miyakonojo Airfield in Miyazaki Perfecture on 12APR45, piloted by 2Lt Jiro Ito.
This aircraft is from the 3rd Chutai, 47th Sentai at Narimasu, Japan, February 1945. The white bands under the Hinomaru are Home Defense bands, applied to aircraft operating from the Home Islands during the last year of the war. The drop tanks were also associated with units based in Japan, they were painted yellow to allow for easier location and potential re-use.
Softcover, 96 pages, appendices, 40 color profiles
Published by Osprey Publishing, April 1997
Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
The Osprey Aircraft of the Aces currently numbers over 140 volumes and is still growing. This volume on the JAAF is one of the early efforts in the series and was published twenty-five years ago. It is noteworthy for two reasons; First, English language references on the Japanese military during World War Two are comparatively rare. This is especially true of histories of individuals or even specific units. Second, the format of this book deviates from most other books in the OAoA series. The typical formula is a chronological narrative with anecdotes from pilots or official reports interspersed with a general history of the war. In this book the text is comprised of individual biographies of the pilots, each approximately one page in length. Photographs of the pilots and their aircraft accompany each subject.
In some ways author Henry Sakaida has provided us with a poor man’s version of Hata and Izawa’s Japanese Army Air Force Units and Their Aces, 1931–1945. This is not entirely accurate, as Hata and Izawa offer a more comprehensive history, while Sakaida’s work is a more accessible introduction, and adds aircraft profiles which are of great interest to modelers. Both works are valuable additions to a reference library and complement each other nicely.
Illustrator Grant Race has rendered forty excellent aircraft profiles, almost half of which depict the most common JAAF fighter type of the Pacific War, the Ki-43 Hayabusa “Oscar”. These are particularly useful for modelers who are interested in building aircraft flown by ace pilots and are provided with captions with all the relevant details. There are also six color renderings of JAAF pilots in a variety of uniforms and flight gear.
The book is still easy to find today, and often at very reasonable prices. It represents an excellent value, especially considering the general lack of information on Japanese aircraft available to English readers. Highly recommended for all JAAF enthusiasts.
This aircraft was captured intact at Clark Field in the Philippines and was subsequently the subject of several photographs. It has been attributed to the 2nd Chutai. The serial number is known, 1446. It was repaired and test flown by the Americans, who were impressed by its performance.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson