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Chuichi Ichikawa's Ki-61-1Tei discussion


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#1 Juggernut

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:01 PM

Hey Guys, in looking at Thunnus' 1/48 Tamiya Ki-61-1Tei build, it brought back a goal of mine and an interpretation of a black and white photograph.  Below is the only known photo of Chuichi Ichikawa's Ki-61-1Tei known to exist.  An American photographer at the Japanese airfield who took the photograph after the war described the color of the aircraft as a "chocolate bar brown".  That's pretty much all that's known about this aircraft (that I'm aware of...which doesn't say a whole lot).  Anyway, what follows is my interpretation of the black and white photograph (knowing full well that this is very subjective and there will be no conclusive conclusions drawn) and how that compares to the accepted theory (theories) on it.

 

674RDlf.jpg

 

First thing I noticed is the lack of the Ho-5 cannon in the fuselage.  This is accepted as evidence has shown that these were removed to lighten the airframe.  I don't have access to my 244th Sentai book at the moment so I'm going from memory on that. 

 

The chocolate bar brown coloration, if taken at face value could be anywhere from a weathered Khaki color to an actual brown.  I've read discussions that equate the color to an RAL color (8000 if memory serves) but I'm not convinced that is accurate.  I'm more inclined to believe it was a faded/worn shade of khaki not unlike the topside color of Thunnus' build. 

 

The underside I think will be natural metal as this seems to have been the norm for these aircraft late in the war.  Photographic evidence lends itself to this conclusion but again, there's no way of telling for sure without a color photo of the actual aircraft. 

 

The kill markings have been interpreted as white with yellow lightning bolts through at least seven some of them.  I agree with this conclusion.  we know for sure that the Hinomaru is red with a white border so it seems reasonable to conclude the kill markings themselves are the same color as they appear to have the same value in the photograph.

 

The big disagreement with me comes with the tail.  Photographic evidence shows that many of the aircraft of the 244th had red tails with the white "Z" Sentai identifier (for lack of the correct  term).  In this photograph it is barely visible but what has been portrayed as a yellow "Z" in various models and images I believe is actually a white outline and that the entire tail is red.  From what I see in the photograph, the vertical tail is a darker shade of grey than is the rest of the aircraft.  Now whether this means it's a different color or just in shadow is anyone's guess.  My take on it is that it's indicative of a different color, namely red but there is photographic evidence of aircraft with camouflage tails with red or white 244th emblems.  However, the 244th emblem is so out of focus that it's hard for me to tell whether it's an outline or a solid color suffering from perspective. My gut reaction is that it's an outline but I've yet to see any 244th aircraft with the 244th emblem as only an outline.  If it is an outline, I surmise it's a red 244th emblem outlined in white, possibly on a camouflage green tail (or chocolate bar brown).

 

The yellow tail band is identifiable as is the katabami (as is reported to be and not a clover leaf).  The contrast between the tail band and outline of the katabami indicates (to me) that the current interpretation of a white surround to the katabami is most likely correct as it is close to the known white outline of the Hinomaru. 


Edited by Juggernut, 04 February 2018 - 12:40 AM.

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#2 Gazzas

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 10:25 PM

Having a complete lack of knowledge about Imperial Japanese color regulations (if there were any), I find it pretty difficult to argue with the guy that took the photo.

 

Looking at the closest lightning bolt, to me, it appears to be two colors...  yellow and red, with the red on the lower face.  Lots of room for interpretation on those.

 

Finally, I can't argue on your assessment of the tail.

 

With Japanese stuff, I always have to wonder.  I mean...  How many model zeroes were painted light gray before we learned they were a pale pistachio color?

 

Good luck!

 

Gaz


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#3 1to1scale

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 11:33 PM

Im no expert, but I played with contrast and brightness, and some of the details are a little easier to see.

hvlRuve.jpg

#4 1to1scale

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Posted 03 February 2018 - 11:52 PM

The graphic in front of the meatball looks like the clover leaf, the “Z” on the tail is there, the darker (yellow?) band is also visible on the fuselage. Whether the tail is green, red, or blue, is anyone’s guess.

uIymB5B.jpg

Edited by 1to1scale, 03 February 2018 - 11:54 PM.


#5 mmaben

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 01:51 AM

I would 'guess' the guns were removed upon capture

if they/it was there to begin with would be questionable.

The airframe could likely be the same brown as the

spinner/prop brown. They had lottsa that.

I agree with Gaz re the kill marks.

 

???


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#6 1to1scale

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 02:19 AM

I would 'guess' the guns were removed upon capture
if they/it was there to begin with would be questionable.
The airframe could likely be the same brown as the
spinner/prop brown. They had lottsa that.
I agree with Gaz re the kill marks.
 
???


Yup, that looks right too. I’m afraid this one is going to be some educated guesses on paint colors.

#7 Troy Molitor

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 02:24 AM

There is more information on this particular aircraft some where out there. I recall distinctly the clover leaf is in face more that of a diving eagle. I recall reading about this particluar aircraft and it was from a Japanese source and converted into English. For the life of me, I can’t recall where I read this article. Didn’t lifelike do a set of decals for this aircraft and had a diving eagle on it? The clover leaf was more a myth I’m thinking than anything else. Much like the red cowling Bf-109 pictures . I might have read this on Hyperscale several years back. Good luck on your research.

Troy

#8 Gazzas

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 02:28 AM

I would 'guess' the guns were removed upon capture

if they/it was there to begin with would be questionable.

The airframe could likely be the same brown as the

spinner/prop brown. They had lottsa that.

I agree with Gaz re the kill marks.

 

???

The nose guns were removed to save weight.  The holes were covered with leather pieces.  It's amazing that Japanese pilots were taking on B-29's with nothing more than a couple of .50 cals.

 

And some just rammed the B-29.


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#9 Juggernut

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 03:17 AM

There is more information on this particular aircraft some where out there. I recall distinctly the clover leaf is in face more that of a diving eagle. I recall reading about this particluar aircraft and it was from a Japanese source and converted into English. For the life of me, I can’t recall where I read this article. Didn’t lifelike do a set of decals for this aircraft and had a diving eagle on it? The clover leaf was more a myth I’m thinking than anything else. Much like the red cowling Bf-109 pictures . I might have read this on Hyperscale several years back. Good luck on your research.

Troy

 

This is very interesting.  I hope you're able to relocate the article.  I've never seen anything on Hyperscale about it but I've never done a search for it there.  Come to think of it, I haven't done a search of it on J-aircraft.com either.  From looking carefully at the katabami, I can see where it might be a diving eagle (or other bird of prey).  It does resemble that more than a "cloverleaf".

 

EDIT:  The article is from the Arawasi wild eagles (I've never heard of it before) and I've read it.  There seems to be conjecture that the photo that is credited to the "cloverleaf" is not the photo I've posted above but that the photographer (Gallager) has mistaken this aircraft for the one that had the cloverleaf on it.  I'm not going to go through the entire article but if you're interested, it's here:  http://arawasi-wilde...s-requests.html

 

I also looked at the Lifelike decal sheet you're referring to and the subject that's supposed to be a diving eagle does not resemble what I see in the photograph.

 

So, in theory, it is possible that a "Kelly-green" cloverleaf Ki-61 did exist, just not the one in the photograph? 


Edited by Juggernut, 04 February 2018 - 03:38 AM.

"You can always tell a pilot.... But you can't tell him much." Pat Malara Sr. (1925 - 1997) USAAC CBI, Owner/Founder, Riverside School of Aeronautics


#10 1to1scale

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 03:26 AM

It’s very hard to tell at the angle, I first thought it was some sort of bird, then I thought it was a clover leaf, but I’m not sure. You can paste this picture on to a word document, then stretch it, might give you a better idea. There has to be some more pictures somewhere.

#11 1to1scale

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 03:36 AM

Here is a page that references this aircraft and source material.

http://arawasi-wilde...s-requests.html

#12 LSP_Typhoonattack

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 04:07 AM

There is more information on this particular aircraft some where out there. I recall distinctly the clover leaf is in face more that of a diving eagle. I recall reading about this particluar aircraft and it was from a Japanese source and converted into English. For the life of me, I can’t recall where I read this article. Didn’t lifelike do a set of decals for this aircraft and had a diving eagle on it? The clover leaf was more a myth I’m thinking than anything else. Much like the red cowling Bf-109 pictures . I might have read this on Hyperscale several years back. Good luck on your research.

Troy

 

The discussion was here on LSP somewhere, but I have no idea how to find it now.


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#13 Troy Molitor

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 05:44 AM

Looks like an eagle more than a clover leaf from the picture referenced in the article. Man I know someone made color reference to depict the eagle in color. I’m pretty sure I recall it. I’ll try and look around for something for us. This will drive me nuts until I find it. Thanks Juggernut! Lol
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#14 Fred Jack

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 05:17 PM

I had a book written in Japanese about markings and camouflage. It stated that after a short time, the red on the Hinomaru turns to a dark rust colour before turning to a slight reddish tinted brown. The US manufacturers had problems with green and dark blue paint until late in the War. The Japanese apparently added red to the blue green mix as being problematic. As far as the clover, the Japanese did have an association with clovers, there is even a Japanese clover. We shouldn’t rule out the use of a clover as a personal marking on a Japanese aircraft. After all they like using cherry blossoms, another flower.

Edited by Fred Jack, 09 February 2018 - 05:20 PM.


#15 Fred Jack

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 05:46 PM

Another problem with Historians, including Anthropologists and Archeologists in America and Europe, especially true with my Native Culture, is writing about other Cultures based upon their own ideas without asking the people of their Culture and Beliefs. Have any of you asked any Japanese Aviation Historians or read any Japanese References? We are not talking ancient History and many pilots and crewmen are still alive.

Edited by Fred Jack, 09 February 2018 - 05:48 PM.

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