|KIT:||Coney Collect lighter - Zero version|
A fiery experience – having fun with Coney Collect´s airplane lighter
One of the oftentimes overlooked chapters of the pacific campaign is Japan´s attempt at intercepting U.S. bombers with near-suicidal incendiary planes. Inspired by the german „Schraege Musik“ oblique upward-firing cannon, the japanese experimented with flamethrowers that should be deployed from immediately underneath the bomber´s belly. A special attack squadron was formed on Okinawa in 1944 and equipped with the Sukiyaki 1A4 „Tokai“, a design assembled from otherwise unneeded aircraft components. The unique look and bizarre tactics were soon observed by american aircrews and the new threat aptly nicknamed the „Flying Zippos“. Needless to say that no american bomber was shot down; those Tokais that made it into close range were lost to a man when firing their primary weapon - which was inexplicably mounted in front of the canopy - by self-incineration. The resulting fireballs were spectacular, not least because all guns had been removed to find room for more tanks for the incendiary fluid. A little known fact is that instead of the wing guns, blue formation lights were mounted to improve attack coordination.
As an aside: Although the Luftwaffe had the He 177 which was dubbed the „Luftwaffenfeuerzeug“ (airforce lighter) by its unnerved crews on account of its frequent engine fires, they used no similar service unit as mentioned above, relying on more conventional aircraft as the Ba 349.
Coney Collect´s multimedia kit of styrene, cast metal, poly parts and working flame thrower / formation lights comes in a sturdy display box, is pre-assembled and pre-painted. The unique lines of this less than graceful aircraft are captured well, even though very little photographic evidence remains to compare to. Most american shots are over-exposed due to the glare of the flame-thrower, and the entire japanese technical documentation was burned in a taxiing accident.
A nice touch is the sturdy landing gear which is actually fastened with screws, this will make handling much easier. What panel lines there are are deeply recessed but surprisingly technically accurate and necessary ;-)
No real contruction took place in this case, except a partial dis- and reassembly. Some gaping seams on the stabilizers were glued with CA to improve the looks a bit. Apart from that, nothing was changed in the configuration. I could very speedily proceed to the paintshop as intended from the outset.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The scheme supplied with the kit was a low-contrast mottling which is not correct for a service airframe, but only for the preliminary static testbeds (which worked reasonably well, BTW). I coated the model with Model Master aluminum metalizer and used Model master IJN green and grey over it. The extreme weathering and partial scorching from test runs of the weapon was achieved with salt slush, my first attempt at this technique. I´ll probably work with a drier slush next time. The prop was painted Model master Siena. The canopy was painted deep blue where the panes would be. I pieced the marking together from my spares box, using the personal mount of Lt. Ken Seoinage (#137). Before and after decalling, Future was used liberally. A final flat coat completed the kit. No fiddly bits whatsoever were used or harmed in making this model.
A friend of mine gave me (a near non-smoker) this lighter in the shape of a single radial engine prop for my birthday with the appropriate big grin. Never shunning an excuse to drop out of „serious“ modeling, I repainted it and had fun – hope you too!
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