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68 Sentai


by Krzystof Janowicz





S u m m a r y

Title, Description & Publisher 68 Sentai by Krzystof Janowicz. Published by Kagero
Media and Contents: 76 pages plus soft cover
Price: USD$21.47 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Bi-lingual text; plenty of photos; decal sheet included; excellent coverage of the Ki-61 and its interesting camouflage schemes; includes 10 colour photos plus scrap view drawings.
Disadvantages: Quirky English text with errors (place names in particular); small reproduction of photos
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

68 Sentai is available online from Squadron.com




68 Sentai is number 23 in the Air Miniatures series of books from Kagero, a Polish based publishing company.

The book chronicles the history of the Japanese Army Air Force's (JAAF) 68th Sentai from the time that is was initially equipped with the Kawasaki Ki-61 until its final demise in the jungles of New Guinea in July of 1944.

Although the title is 68 Sentai, the book also covers the life and death of its sister squadron, the 78th Sentai.

A bit of a “curate's egg” is probably an appropriate term to describe this book – it is good in parts. The text is in both Polish and English. Each page is split into two columns. The left hand column is printed in the Polish language and the right hand one in English. The captions to the photographs as well as the colour artwork receive a similar approach with the polish language first followed by the English translation.

The book has been translated from the Polish language and suffers somewhat in the process. I found that some of the text required a second reading before you can work out what the author is trying to impart. To be frank, this is not too much of a problem but it does make reading and comprehending difficult. Spelling errors in place names creep in too, if you know a little about the history of the New Guinea campaign you recognise these errors and chuckle but if you are someone who is not familiar with it and is trying to learn all you can about the airwar over New Guinea it becomes a problem.

What is good though, is the information on the Ki-61. The author has done an excellent job here and describes the troubles that the JAAF encountered when they deployed a sophisticated aircraft (for its day) to the hot, steamy tropics at the end of a very long supply line. Armament or the lack of it and what was done to overcome it is also covered.

Camouflage and markings are also covered and a full explanation is offered for the all-green Ki-61s as well as the 'palm frond' squiggle and the various ways in which it was applied. FS 595 matches are offered for the external camouflage as well as the interior colours. The book is illustrated with ten full colour profile paintings of ten Ki-61s of both the 68th and 78th Sentai as well scrap views showing the squadron markings on the tail.

The book is illustrated throughout with black and white photos. They are a mix of pictures taken by the Japanese whilst the Ki-61 was in service (not just 68 and 78 Sentai machines) and American ones. The majority of the American ones are of the aircraft abandoned by the 68th and 78th Sentai when they withdrew. If you are a fan of aircraft the JAAF then you will have seen the majority of them before. Unfortunately, the publisher has chosen to print the vast majority of them in a very small format so using them as reference for your latest masterpiece is problematic.

A decal sheet is also included with the book. The decals are in both 1/72 and 1/48 scale and are printed by Techmod. Techmod decals are very nice but require care when applying. Use plenty of water to float the decal to where you want it and you won't have a problem. Markings are offered for both 68th and 78th Sentai machines and are in the different Chutai colours. A single set of Hinomarus are also included with two different styles for the fuselage being offered. It is especially pleasing to finally have 78 Sentai markings in 1/48 scale! The decal sheet is packed into a sealed plastic bag that is placed into a plastic mount on the inside of the front cover.

The book is B5 in size (a little smaller than the Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series). It consists of 72 pages printed on glossy paper between cardboard covers.

Is it worth the price?

Yes, definitely.

Be aware of the errors in place names though, and check them against a wartime map as well as other publications and you won't have a problem.


Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.

Review Copyright © 2003 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 15 August, 2003
Last updated 15 August, 2003

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