Sunday, August 21, 2022

Enter The Dragon! Chinese Air Force of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War


       Badly outnumbered, poorly supplied, and frequently forced to respond to Japanese actions rather than being able to take the initiative the Nationalist Chinese Air Force put up a dogged resistance throughout the Second Sino-Japanese War.  The Chinese did not have an indigenous aircraft industry to speak of and were forced to buy foreign designs to try to keep up with Japanese aircraft developments. A production facility was set up at Hangzhou Air Base which assembled Curtiss fighters built under license along with a few other foreign designs. Attrition during the first year of the war left the Chinese with a depleted air force that was dangerously weak. The Soviet union stepped in beginning in August 1937 sending hundreds of aircraft and dozens of "volunteers". This Soviet contingent represented the main strength of the Chinese air force until the Spring of 1941 when the U.S. included China in the Land-Lease program. After Pearl Harbor the flood-gates of supply were opened but the U.S. often sent the "second-string" aircraft to the Chinese. There is a good overview of the aerial  conflict on Wikipedia.  
       My collection of Chinese fighters reflects the chaotic situation that the Chinese found themselves in at the beginning of the war. It will continue to expand as I obtain more models (I already have some Russian models in the pipeline) .
Fiat CR-32, nimble and rugged it was well-liked by its pilots
 but was difficult to maintain and fuel

the Chinese got between 16 and 24 of these

Gloster Gladiator, the Chinese obtained 36 of these rugged aircraft 
and rearmed them with Browning 30cal m.g.s


I have already posted about the P-26 and Curtiss Hawk II  
both of these kits are from the Revell series from the 1960s but are nicely detailed and a dream to build

all that remains are a dozen different types of bombers and recon aircraft
 and a whole bunch of Russian stuff
imagine the quartermaster's nightmare that this force would be!

a "brother-from-another-mother" snuck into the group photo;
the P-35 was a bit of a dog but we never sent them to China

the Veeday kit is a pretty rough model but the excellent decals saved the look

I have a few more to build, at one point this was our main front-line fighter!

The Russian force will include I-15s, I-53s and I-16s and maybe an R-5 and a TB-3. But with this latest group I can start on the Sino-Japanese conflict that preceded the Nomonhan Incident.


  1. Fascinating . Would like to see more about your ground forces. Are these 1/72nd? Thanks, Hal

    1. The ground forces are in 15mm, there was little to be had in 1/72 when we started. The choice of aircraft in 1/100 was very limited so I swapped up to 1/72. In today's environment 3D printing would allow a collection in either scale.

  2. Another great build. You are a painting machine.

    1. Painting is a breeze when all I need is a rattle-can of green ;) Building the Fiat almost made me crazy and the P-35 has a TON of filler under that shiny skin. In retrospect I should have had you print stuff for me!

  3. Fantastic! Which rules will you use with these?

    1. Currently we are using my own rules "Red Stars and Rising Suns" the alpha version is available under the heading "My Own Rules" or just follow this link;