Reference Materials: Aviation of Japan Blog

I have been researching websites that cover Japanese aviation in my quest to become better versed in the Japanese Army and Navy Air Forces that defended the Japanese Home Islands during the last months of the Pacific War. There are a number of websites on Japanese aviation just in the Japanese language. While I wish I was fluent in the Japanese language, acquiring the ability to read and speak a new language is most likely unrealistic at my age. There may be some truth to the saying you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Or it may be that the motivation the learn a new language is just lacking. Probably more of the later than the former.

One of the most comprehensive English language websites on Japanese aviation is the Aviation of Japan blog ( Started in March of 2008, the blog has a tremendous amount of information of interest to historians and modelers.

The blogger (“Straggler”) is Nicholas Millman, who is one of Britain’s leading researchers of Japanese military aviation and a member of the Pacific Air War History Associates. He is the author of three books in the Osprey Aircraft of the Aces series; Ki-44 ‘Tojo’ Aces of World War 2 (100), Ki-27 ‘Nate’ Aces (102), and Ki-61 and Ki-100 Aces (114).

A significant number of posts focus on paint colors used on and in Japanese Army and Navy aircraft. This information provides greater clarity in an area that can best be described as confusing for modelers. The posts provide paint chips regarding the color, possible variations, and equivalents within recognized color standards. Mr. Millman was the expert that AK Interactive consulted when developing their Air Series acrylic paint sets for Japanese Army and Navy aircraft, and their Real Color acrylic lacquer equivalents.

In addition, Mr. Millman provides more in depth color analysis pieces in PDF that can be purchased on the website. They range from a 8 page analysis of Yellow Orange to a 46 page analysis of IJN Dark Greens, and some of the pieces are bundled. If you are striving for accuracy in your modeling of Japanese aircraft, these pieces are worth considering.

Other blog posts range from new kit reviews, nostalgic kit reviews, after market product reviews (decals, vacu-formed canopies and masks, and resin updates), book reviews, historical posts, and completed builds. Modelers can have their builds posted on the blog, and there are some truly fantastic builds presented.

There have been a tremendous number of posts to blog since 2008, and without doing the math, I would estimate that Mr. Millman averages around one post per week. To assist modelers and historians, there is a search function that will allow you to go directly to the subject you are researching. Very nice touch.

This is a fantastic blog for any modeler interested in Japanese aviation. Mr. Millman is incredibly knowledgeable on the subject and is very quick to respond to inquiries. Definitely a blog worth following.

Reference Materials: 7th Fighter Command Website

As modelers, we have differing motivations as to why we build models. Some build out of the sheer enjoyment of building and completing a model without concerns about accuracy of details or markings. My twin brother (yes, there are two of us), out of boredom from being at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, built a 1/72 Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress for his first model. He enjoyed the experience enough that he bought a 1/48 Tamiya North American P-51D Mustang for his second build. Concerned about accuracy of the models he is building, or the decals he has used? Not in the least. He just enjoys completing a build.

On the other end of the spectrum you have modelers who strive for ultimate accuracy in not only detail, but also in the markings they use. The amount of detail added to their models (photo etch, resin and scratch built parts) and their ability to correct errors in shapes and contours is simply amazing. I wish my skills were at that level.

Everybody else falls somewhere in between. I am included in this vast middle ground of desires and abilities. What has drawn me to modeling is my love of World War II aviation, and the history of the pilots, planes and the different combatants. For those of us that love the history behind the planes we are building, good reference sites are a must.

There is a lot of information at a person’s fingertips regarding the United States Army Air Force groups that operated off of Iwo Jima. Some of that information can be found at a couple of websites, and other information takes a few more steps and a little more time to access, but nothing that takes a tremendous amount of time.

7th Fighter Command Association Website Home Page

The Seventh Fighter Command website ( covers all of the fighter groups that were stationed on Iwo Jima. It covers the 15th, 21st and 506th Fighter Groups (P-51D Mustangs), the 414th Fighter Group (P-47N Thunderbolts), and the night fighter squadrons (P-61B Black Widows). The 414th Fighter Group did fly VLR missions in the Republic P-47N Thunderbolt in the last few weeks of the war in the Pacific.

While the website has a large collection of photos, including many of the United States Army Air Force’s collection for the 7th Fighter Command from the National Archives, the real resource is its webmaster, Mark W. Stevens. When I first became interested in the Iwo Jima VLR Mustang Groups, the 7th Fighter Command website was the first website I found, and Mark was the first person I reached out to in my quest to learn more. Over the years, Mark has acquired a tremendous amount of information and photos regarding the 7th Fighter Command. Mark has always been helpful, and willing to share his information and resources. If you have questions regarding the 7th Fighter Command, or are researching a specific plane or pilot, Mark is the person to contact. Mark’s email address is:

As a condition of the use of materials from the 7th Fighter Command Association website, the following disclaimer is included: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this Worldwide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided 1) That the use of the data will not be used for obtaining a profit of any kind, and 2) That the above disclaimer notice appear in all copies and that both that disclaimer notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved. The name of “7th Fighter Command Association” may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided “as is” without express or implied warranty. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association disclaim all warranties with regard to this information, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Mark Stevens or the 7th Fighter Command Association be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this information.