Author Topic: Tainan Kokutai Build  (Read 297 times)

Offline WD

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Tainan Kokutai Build
« on: June 20, 2022, 09:29:29 AM »
The last ten years haven't been good for my hobby in terms of time or getting things done. Several builds stalled because real life intervened, so I decided something from the second unpleasantness with single wings would be more in order to get my mojo back, and redevelop my skills.

I had the idea for this build for years, and tried to start it in 2017. My re=entry into the hobby has come in fits and starts, real life has a way of interfering, doesn't it?  Well, I've started this build several times, and each time I come back, it's like relearning everything all over again. This kit has been restarted multiple times.

My plan is to reproduce two aircraft from the late August/September '42 time frame of the Tainan Kokutai:

- A6M2 Model 21 "V-138" Lt. (jg) Jun-ichi Sasai, Tainan Kokutai, 2nd Chutai, Lakunai Airbase, Rabaul, New Britain, August 1942

- A6M3 Model 32 "V-177" Tainan Kokutai, 2nd Chutai, Buna Detachment, Buna, New Guinea, August 1942

I'm using the excellent Tamiya 1/72nd A6M2 Model 21 and A6M3 Model 32 Zero kits. Some have stated that this might be the perfect 1/72nd scale single-engined fighter kit in terms of build-ability, etc. I'd have to agree, and true to form, since I can't leave well enough alone (scratches his 'skeeter bites till they bleed) I can screw it up. Since it's the Tainan Kokutai, modifications must be made to reflect the elimination of the radios and other communications equipment.

Well, here it is so far, just the interior bits done. Aside from the usual subjects I've scratch-built:
- drop tank handle
- fire extinguisher handle
- landing gear lock handle
- landing flaps actuator
- manual hydraulic pump handle
- various bits of piping
- the little pouch that held grease pencils for map marking/navigation

Since it's a Tainan Kokutai build, I had to shave off the mounting for the radio parts from the starboard sidewall, the generator from the left rear port side, and also the other bits and pieces that got ripped out when they ditched their radios, etc. I then had to restore the sidewall framing and reproduce the mounting holes of the missing pieces.

You'll also notice something not included in the Tamiya kit courtesy of the generosity of Jeff Groves/Inch-High Guy. Jeff was very generous in sending me the piece behind the cockpit he cast for his Zero builds that contains the three black oxygen bottles, a brown bottle on the floor for the compressed air to charge the 20mm cannons, and the two green bottles on the side are carbon dioxide for the engine fire extinguisher.
I've used some of the Eduard p/e included in their set. I was excited to use the Yahu instrument panel as it's beautiful, but that compass in the center makes sure it isn't a drop fit as indicated. I'll not go down that road again, and I'll use the kit instrument panel and decals from here on out on any future Zero builds.

So, here are my puny efforts:













After these clear the bench I have a couple of Eduard Nieuports on the "shelf of shame" to tackle.

Thanks for taking a gander.

WD
« Last Edit: June 20, 2022, 09:37:12 AM by WD »

Offline pepperman42

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2022, 09:27:00 PM »
Nice restart!! That's a lot of additions.

Steve

Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2022, 10:49:58 PM »
Thanks Steve!  Sadly, once all of it was put together, hardly any of it can be seen, but God and I know it's there.  ;)

WD

Offline pepperman42

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2022, 03:22:40 AM »
I often think I'm wasting time on unseen work but then I should consider it practice for future projects that may be fully exposed.

Steve

Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2022, 05:40:14 AM »
Steve,
         I've had to start this build over so many times it's not even funny. I've been pretty discouraged, but I view it all as practice. Some of it isn't pretty, but that's OK, a lot of it you can't see, and doing a lot of these things gives me much needed practice to refine techniques for stuff you can see. So I'm totally with you there.

WD

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2022, 07:19:26 AM »
Excellent, I do enjoy a good Zero or two!

As an aside a friend of mine has flown helicopters around PNG and knows the wartime areas quite well - we're hoping to visit one day to see what we can see and pay our respects.
Zac in NZ
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"When it comes to WW.I Aircraft details the only thing we can be 100% sure of ... is we're just not sure" - Lance Carroll, February 7

Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2022, 09:17:21 AM »
Thanks Zac!  NG was, and still is, a very dangerous place to fly. Weather can close in on you in an instant it seems. I have noting but admiration and respect for the men on all sides who battled against each other and the elements of NG.

I found a YouTube channel some time back of a modern day bush pilot who flies all over NG and oftentimes lands at some of the old airstrips, some still with IJN and/or IJAAF a/c wrecks still populating the area.

If I were a rich man, I'd love to go see the monument/park dedicated to the Aussies that fought the Japanese to a standstill on the Kokoda Trail.
FWIW, my uncle was KIA on Mapia Island, just off of the coast of NG in Nov. of '44.

WD

Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2022, 03:33:07 AM »
OK, no progress worth taking a photo of this week on this build. I'm having to do a major clean-up of my workbench as the hobby cave has become chaotic and I can't get anything done. (It's also used to stage items I'm selling on evil-bay, etc., remember folks, this whole room/cave is just 6' x 9' and shares a freezer, bookshelves, and part of the stash.)
Just as well, as I found out yesterday after getting my copy of Pacific Profiles Vol. 5 that both of the Tainan schemes I was planning on from my Rising Decals sheet and from Eagles of the Southern Sky are wrong. Arrrrggghhhhh!  Darn new photo images that come to light after a publication and the decals are made!!!  >:( >:( ;) ;)

I've been in correspondence with Ryan Toews for a bit now, and he said I really needed to get the book, and he was right. Michael Claringbould has uncovered new info on how these aircraft were marked since publication of Eagles of the Southern Sky. The historian in me just can't go with the wrong one, so it's back to the drawing board. I've written Michael for further clarification.
My initial glamour shot of what I was using for research is far out of date as since that time I added other books to the library, so here are some shots of those volumes and the decals I plan on using with the understanding I'll either cut and update as needed, or pick a different pilot/mount.















I highly recommend the two Model Art Profiles if you just want one reference for photos, drawings, etc. for a Zero build, I've about worn out the binding on those. Very much worth it.
It turns out a color photo has surfaced of V-177 and that tail tip is black, and not red, which is too bad because I think the red looks fantastic. Also, according to Pacific Profiles Vol. 5 Sasai wasn't assigned or in V-138 as previously published, so I'm waiting to hear back from Michael Claringbouod as to what's going on with that. Not sure I am skilled enough to assemble his correct tail code out of the Aviaeology decals.
Modeling is fun!!!  :D :D

WD

Offline pepperman42

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2022, 06:49:30 AM »
I never knew Aviaelogy did that sheet. Thought it was all RCAF. They seem to be somewhat dormant now. Love the Pacific Adversaries etc series!!

Steve

Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2022, 07:12:21 AM »
You're right, they do seem to be dormant now, sadly. Yes, for some reason, they did whole sheets of IJN a/c letters and codes in black, red, and white. I can't remember if they did yellow or not. They did a great decal sheet on the Eagle Squadron, some on early Hurricanes too, and a book on a WWII VVS Squadron with decals, so yeah, they did venture beyond RCAF.

I too love the Pacific Adversaries series. So glad I picked up Eagles when I did, it's commanding a very high price now, but as I found out the hard way this weekend, new research on colors and markings has come to light. That's what we get when we do history, no?

WD

Online DaddyO

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2022, 05:22:16 PM »
Woah there boy - you're adding way too much detail in that cockpit. You need to leave yourself a bit of room for improvement - after all what's next? Working instruments? An actual seat adjusting mechanism?  ::)

Great start. Love the Zero and look forward to more progress reports soon
Paul
There cannot be a crisis today, my schedule is full

Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2022, 08:40:35 PM »
I gotta catch up to your DR.I Paul.  ;)

Thank you for the kind words sir.

WD

Offline Whiteknuckles

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2022, 10:24:07 AM »
Looking forward to this build WD  :)
Always liked the A6M.

Andrew
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Offline WD

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Re: Tainan Kokutai Build
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2022, 09:17:54 AM »
Thanks Andrew. I spend half my time overcoming my ham-fistedness it seems. I'll solve one problem, and accidentally cause another for the next step!  ::)  I hope to get enough done this week or this weekend to post more.
I thought I had decided on the markings and color schemes for each a/c, but I've been made aware of some conflicting evidence, so I have to sort that out.
Thanks for following along.

WD