Kawasaki Ki-61-I-Hei, 56th Hiko-Sentai, Itami Airfield, Osaka Japan, 1944-45.
This is a replacement skin for the summer camouflage.
The 56th Hiko-Sentai was established in March 1944, becoming operational towards the end of April that same year. Commanded by Major Furukawa Haruyoshi the unit was made up of mostly of fresh pilots from flying schools around Japan. Aside from Major Haruyoshi the only other pilot with experience was Captain Ogata Junishi who was killed in action, March 17th 1945. The unit was assigned to Home Island Defence, tasked with intercepting B-29 raids over Japan. The unit was claimed a total of 11 B-29 bombers and 1 P-51D Mustang destroyed at a cost off 33 of their own planes.
This skin is based on photos of the personal mount of Major Furukawa Haruyoshi. Of particular interest is the lack of a n aircraft number on the tail, which was apparently covered by the dark green camouflage that was applied over the upper surfaces. This paint was applied directly over the bare metal without the use of primer, which resulted in the paint weathering and peeling heavily. Also the planes underside may or may not have been painted over in light green-gray paint. As there are no photos that directly show the planes belly, it is impossible to determine the exact color, I choose to finish this skin with the underside painted.