Do you love Japanese airplanes and need to do some research for a scale project? This website is a gem.
J-Aircraft dedicates itself to Japanese aircraft, ships, and historical research. The primary focus appears to be World War II Japanese military airplanes.
This is a very honest website that makes no pretenses to be anything other than what it is. The website founder, Dave Pluth, loves the subject matter. He builds and flies scale RC model airplanes. Mr. Pluth states that his interest has a strong focus on captured military Japanese airplanes.
There is a great section chock full of lovingly written research articles. The articles have no shortage of vintage photos and drawings. There are several articles about the Zero, but many other airplanes are represented.
There are many pointers for further research. Besides long lists of books, there is a very nice section full of book reviews.
A message board with about 25,000 posts rounds out the website. Reading some of the threads and posts, I was very impressed by the quality of the discussions. These are not just fans. They are scholars. I do not know of a better place to go and ask questions about an obscure Japanese military airplane. If the answer is out there, someone that frequents this board will know it.
The website and discussion board lack search functions. This is less of an issue today than it used to be. Google and other search engines make it easy to do a search only within a specific website. In Google Search, just add “site:j-aircraft.com” to your search terms.
It is not the best looking website. Is it ugly? Well, I guess it is up to you to decide. It did not bother me too much. But it is certainly not up to what I consider modern website standards.
I had a hard time figuring out just what is in the website. There is no site map. This is a common problem and many other websites suffer from it. Navigating the pages is easy enough to do. I never got lost. But once I got down to the bottom of the page hierarchy, it was very hard to predict what I was going to find. I was sometimes greeted by a page full of information, which was a very pleasant surprise. At other times, all I found were almost empty pages, which was not so good.
I was touched by the translated quotes from Japanese airmen, specially the Kamikaze pilots. They really put me in the mood for doing a new scale model airplane project. What better recommendation can I give to this website than this?