Author Topic: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy  (Read 2600 times)

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Offline Dizzyfugu

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A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« on: September 01, 2017, 04:43:42 am »
The third and final chapter of my He 112 trilogy: the type's career in the Far East, as "A7He" and an alternative to the Mitsubishi A6M.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr




Some background:
In October 1933, Hermann Göring sent out a letter requesting aircraft companies consider the design of a "high speed courier aircraft" - a thinly veiled request for a new fighter. In May 1934, this was made official and the Technisches Amt sent out a request for a single-seat interceptor for the Rüstungsflugzeug IV role, this time under the guise of a "sports aircraft". The specification was first sent to the most experienced fighter designers, Heinkel, Arado, and Focke-Wulf.

Heinkel's design was created primarily by twin brothers Walter and Siegfried Günter, whose designs would dominate most of Heinkel's work. They started work on Projekt 1015 in late 1933 under the guise of the original courier aircraft, based around the BMW XV radial engine. Work was already under way when the official request went out on 2 May, and on 5 May the design was renamed the He 112.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The primary source of inspiration for the He 112 was their earlier He 70 Blitz ("Lightning") design. The Blitz was a single-engine, four-passenger aircraft originally designed for use by Lufthansa, and it in turn was inspired by the famous Lockheed Model 9 Orion mail plane. Like many civilian designs of the time, the aircraft was pressed into military service and was used as a two-seat bomber (although mostly for reconnaissance) and served in this role in Spain. The Blitz introduced a number of new construction techniques to the Heinkel company; it was their first low-wing monoplane, their first with retractable landing gear, their first all-metal monocoque design, and its elliptical, reverse-gull wing would be seen on a number of later projects. The Blitz could almost meet the new fighter requirements itself, so it is not surprising that the Günters would choose to work with the existing design as much as possible.

The original He 112 was basically a scaled down version of Heinkel’s aerodynamically highly refined He 70 and shared its all metal construction, inverted gull wings, and retractable landing gear. Like the He 70, the He 112 was constructed entirely of metal, using a two-spar wing and a monocoque fuselage with flush-head rivets. The landing gear retracted outward from the low point of the wing's gull-bend, which resulted in a fairly wide span track, giving the aircraft excellent ground handling. Its only features from an older era were its open cockpit and fuselage spine behind the headrest, which were kept in order to provide excellent vision and make the biplane-trained pilots feel more comfortable.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The He 112 V1 started in the head-to-head contest when it arrived at Travemünde on 8 February 1936. The other three competitors had all arrived by the beginning of March. Right away, the Focke-Wulf Fw 159 and Arado Ar 80 proved to be lacking in performance, and plagued with problems, and were eliminated from serious consideration. At this point, the He 112 was the favorite over the "unknown" Bf 109, but opinions changed when the Bf 109 V2 arrived on 21 March. All the competitor aircraft had initially been equipped with the Rolls-Royce Kestrel engine, but the Bf 109 V2 had a Jumo 210. From that point on, it started to outperform the He 112 in almost every way, and even the arrival of the Jumo-engined He 112 V2 on 15 April did little to address this imbalance.
Eventually, the Bf 109 was chosen as the Luftwaffe’s new standard fighter, and Heinkel was left with an excellent but unwanted fighter. However, the He 112 was subsequently marketed to foreign customers, including Yugoslavia, The Netherlands, Finland, Romania and Hungary, and saw a mild export and license production success during WWII’s opening stages.

In the autumn 1937, a Japanese military delegation visited the Heinkel Flugzeugwerke's Marienehe plant. Impressed by the high performances and clean lines of the He 112 V9, an order for thirty similar He-112B-0s was placed, with options for a further 100 aircraft. The delegation returned to Japan, not only with the signed contract documents but with a demonstration aircraft, presumably the He 112 V5 (D-IIZO).
However, the Japanese Navy, at that time looking for a replacement for its A5M fighter was not impressed by the He 112 V5’s handling characteristics, and since it was unlikely that the He 112 could be modified for carrier operations, this option was not further pursued and eventually Mitsubishi's famous A6M fighter became Japan's standard fighter for naval operations.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Things changed quickly, though. The Japanese expansion to the Asian mainland in the Second Sino-Japanese War required a huge number of land-based aircraft, preferably with a long and the current types appreared obsolete. In order to bridge this gap until indigenous designs had entered full scale production, Japan once more turned to Germany and requested assistance in the form of aircraft deliveries or even license production.

Having been aware of the superior He 112 V9 and the resulting He 112 B-0 as production standard, a Japanese delegation visited Germany in summer 1940 and tested the more modern aircraft. The maneuverability of the Heinkel fighter was again found to be inferor to the Japanese A5M2, but the Imperial Japanese Navy purchased 12 Heinkel He 112B-0 fighters, which it designated both as the Heinkel A7He1 and as the "Navy Type He Air Defense Fighter", and secured rights for license production for the airframe as well as for German aircraft engines, namely the Daimler Benz 601Aa, which later became the Kawasaki Ha40.

The Japanese flew the A7He1 only briefly during the Second Sino-Japanese War, but phased it out of service before the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 in favor of the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. Allied Forces assigned the reporting name "Jerry" to the aircraft.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The A7He1 was disappointing, though, and as a result of the field tests the Kaigun Koku Gijyutsusho's (Testing Unit) issued a final report which concluded that the A7He1 was not the right choice as the main IJN fighter type, and cancellation of the options on additional aircraft was recommended. However, with the purchase of various production rights and tools it was decided to develop the aerodynamically highly sophisticated and sturdy A7He1 further, outfitted with a considerably more powerful Ha40 engine and other refinements and adaptations.

The resulting aircraft was the A7He2, but its development, as well as the integration of domestic parts and setting up serial production (also of the Ha40 engine), took until early 1943. The first Sentai (Air Group/Wing) fully equipped with the A7He2 were allocated to the Kwantung Army in Manchuoko, and additional deliveries were later made to units supporting Japan’s Fifteenth Army in Burma.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


However, the machines were sent off of the production lines into a difficult theatre, where jungles and adverse weather conditions, coupled with a lack of spares, quickly undermined the efficiency of both men and aircraft. Because the A7He2 was totally new and the maintenance crews only used to more robust air-cooled radial engines, the type inevitably suffered from teething problems and the A7He2 tallied a disastrous series of failures and ongoing problems.

As a consequence, the pilots did not trust the new aircraft and morale was low. Beyond constant technical issues, the A7He2 was also unpopular due to its very different flight characteristics. Japanese pilots and aerial combat tactics had traditionally relied on agility, and the A7He2, with its focus on speed and superior rate of climb, was a totally different concept.

In fact, the A7He2 was not accepted as a classic fighter at all, and since the more "traditional" A6M had become available in ever growing numbers and updated variants, the A7He2 was soon relegated to ground attacks and CAS missions, in which its heavy gun armament, flight stability, endurance and the ability to take a lot of punishment (esp. hits from small caliber weapons) came in handy.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Occasionally, the A7He2 was deployed in interceptor missions against Allied bombers flying at high altitude, too, but direct dogfight confrontations with fighters were avoided and, if available, any other type was preferred by the IJN pilots.
In order to improve the situation, the A7He2 was modified in the field In the course of its limited career. Most notable changes were the addition of imported dust filters for the touchy engines, and some machines had their original pair of 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 97 aircraft machine guns  with 500 rounds per gun on top of the engine replaced by two heavier 13mm Type 2 machine guns, for which a modified cowling with characteristic bulges had to be mounted. The machines retained their original designation, though.

Total A7He2 production reached roundabout 300 aircraft and ceased in 1944, when IJN officials recognized that the A7He2 was a dead end and the resources devoted to its production would be better spent in more capable aircraft. Anyway, due to material shortages, the "Jerry" remained in service, even though most machines were gradually replaced by A6M in frontline units until early 1945.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr





General characteristics:
    Crew: 1
    Length: 9.22 m (30 ft 11 7/8 in)
    Wingspan: 9.09 m (29 ft 9¾ in)
    Height: 3.82 m (12 ft 6¾ in)
    Wing area: 17 m² (183 ft²)
    Empty weight: 1,617 kg (3,565 lb)
    Max. takeoff weight: 2,248 kg (4,957 lb)

Performance:
    Maximum speed: 580 km/h (360 mph; 313 kn) at 5,000 m (16,000 ft)
    Range: 1.150 km (715 mi)
    Service ceiling: 9,500 m (31,200 ft)
    Rate of climb: 17.0 m/s (3,345 ft/min)
    Wing loading: 132 kg/m² (27.1 lb/ft²)

Powerplant:
    1× Kawasaki Ha40 inverted liquid-cooled V-12 piston engine, 864 kW (1,159 hp)

Armament:
    2× 20 mm Type 99-1 cannon with 100 RPG in the outer wings
    2× 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 97 aircraft machine guns with 500 RPG
         or 13mm Type 2 heavy machine with 250 RPG guns on top of the engine
    2× 120 kg (265 lb) bombs or 2× 200l drop tanks under the inner wings



The kit and its assembly:
Another converted Heller He 112 B-0/B-1 in disguise, and this time I spun the type's potential career in/with Japan further. In real life the story ended with the delivery of a dozen He 112 B-0s, which were relegated to training duties and not much liked at all.
However, I had a spare He 112 in the stash and also a surplus Ki-61 fuselage at hand, and wouldn't a combination of the sleek He 112 airframe with a better engine (even of German origin!) be a plausible evolution? Well, said and done...


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The He 112 remained close to the original, I just swapped the front end and the propeller (taken completely from a Fine Molds Ki-61 II, which is actually the Hasegawa Ki-61 I with extra parts) and replaced the large OOB stabilizers with more delicate parts from a Hobby Boss A6M5 - IMHO an overall improvement concerning the aircraft's proportions.

Small additions are the protruding gun barrels (hollow steel needles) and the pair of small bombs under the inner wings, inside of the landing gear.
The radiator bath was also enlarged, reflecting the engine’s higher output level, but it basically remained in the original position.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Painting and markings:
A slightly more tricky part - choosing a unit and a scheme were not easy, and I eventually ended up with a mash of styles for a machine of the IJN’s Tainan Air Group based on Formosa.
In 1943, most Japanese aircraft wore toned-down camouflage, the days of an overall light grey livery with flashy unit markings were over. However, I wanted to incorporate some old-school elements and eventually ended up with a basically all-grey aircraft (all-over Tamiya XF-12), onto which green makeshift camouflage (thinned acrylic Revell 363) had been added later in the field, applied around the original hinomaru and tactical markings.

Another unique design element, somewhat lent from the A6M, is a black engine cowling that elegantly merges with an anti glare panel in front of the windscreen. It gives the aircraft almost a racy look, and it underlines the He 112’s elegant lines, too, even with the bigger engine grafted onto it.

v
1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


Being an aircraft of Japanese manufacture, the cockpit was painted in greenish yellow (“Bamboo”) and the landing gear wells, as well as the flaps’ interior, became Aodake Iro, a home-made mix of acrylic Revell 99 (Aluminum) and a teal clear window painting color. The effect is pretty good.

The markings were improvised and gathered from several sources. The hinomaru originally belong to an Airfix Ki-46, the blue stripes were manually cut from generic blue decal sheet (TL Modellbau); the tacticla code on the fin is of uncertain origin - very old, decals which ,unfortunately, partly desintegrated in the course of the build and had to be repainted manually.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit) - WiP
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


The grey coat received a black ink wash and some panel shading; once the decals and the green camouflage had been applied, the surface was wet-sanded carefully, revealing again some of the grey basic paint and the risen surface details of the Heller kit.

Finally, some soot and exhaust stains were created with grinded graphite, and the kit finally sealed with matt acrylic varnish; the lower part of the black cowling received a sheen finish, though.


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr


1:72 Heinkel A7He2 (Allied codename "Jerry"), aircraft '180' of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Tainan Air Group (台南海軍航空隊, Tainan Kaigun Kōkūtai); Formosa/Taiwan, October 1943 (Whif/modified Heller kit)
by dizzyfugu, on Flickr



The third and last iteration of the Heller He 112 kit, at least for the moment. The engine change is not highly visible (it looks like a mini He 70?), and the paint scheme makes you think that it's rather an A6M with an inline engine than anything else? The wing shape also suggests a beefed-up A5M, it's really weird how a paint scheme can play tricks with your expectations and perception. The whole thing looks very elegant, though, and for a moment I was even tempted to leave the green camouflage away, because in its all-grey livery and with the black engine, the A7He2 looked almost like a race aircraft - and also very German!
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 05:05:54 am by Dizzyfugu »

Offline NARSES2

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 07:33:19 am »
That works  :thumbsup:

It is amazing that dependent on the angle the photograph was taken from you see a different "real" aircraft
Decals my @r$e!

Offline DogfighterZen

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2017, 09:22:30 am »
Another great whif, excellent work on the trio! :thumbsup:
"Sticks and stones may break some bones but a 3.57's gonna blow your damn head off!!"

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 09:35:25 am »
Thanks a lot.  ;D The A7He2 turned out very well and "clean", and the new engine makes it look really fast.

Offline sandiego89

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 02:54:20 pm »
Well done and great paint job.  Really love the chipped green over natural metal. 
Dave "Sandiego89"
Chesapeake, Virginia, USA

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 03:46:42 am »
Well done and great paint job.  Really love the chipped green over natural metal.

LOL, it's neither chipped green paint, nor is it a NMF underneath...  :o

Offline comrade harps

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 01:22:49 am »
Best looking He 112 ever!  :wub:
Whatever.

Offline Dizzyfugu

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 01:48:14 am »
Agree. The pointed nose and the swept tail surfaces make it look really fast. Could also work as a Reno racer?  ;)

Offline Tophe

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2017, 08:18:11 am »
Good mix! :thumbsup:
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

Offline zenrat

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Re: A He 112 trilogy: The A7He2 of the Imperial Japanese Navy
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2017, 09:52:56 pm »
Good mix! :thumbsup:

Indeed.  The stabilisers now look like they go with the wings.
Good job.
 :thumbsup:
Fred

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

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