Before Indonesia's declaration of Independence on August 17th, 1945, the territory of the present Indonesia was occupied by the Dutch for more than 300 years, known as Netherlands East Indies (NEI), before defeated by the Japanese during World War II.
The primary reason for the Japanese to enter the war was the resources that available in abundance in NEI, particularly rubber and the oilfields. When the Japanese invaded, they faced the forces of the Royal Netherlands East Indian Army (Koninklijke Nederlandse Indische Leger/ KNIL) and Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine/ KM).
The Marine Luchtvaart Dienst (MLD) or Naval Air Force, played a dominant role in the early months following Pearl Harbour. With approximately 175 aircrafts of all types, it greatly outnumbered both the American and British naval air reconnaissance forces combined in Southeast Asia.
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The Dornier Do 24 was designed and built to meet the MLD specifications for service in NEI, as a replacement of the Dornier Do-15 Wal.
Commonly referred to as "X-boats" due to their serial numbers, the Do-24K was a large, rugged seaplane specifically designed for long-range reconnaissance and air-sea rescue in the broad expanses of the East Indies. It was a tri-motor flying boat with a heavy hull, good defensive armament and a maximum range just under 3,000 miles.
By December 1941, the operational front-line planes were spread throughout the East Indies to cover strategic ports and waterways leading into and out of the NEI. The basic MLD formation was the three-plane GVT (Groep Vliegtuig or Aircraft Group) and serves as the backbone of the MLD's first-line reconnaissance strength.
Aircraft no. X-35 is part of GVT.1 based in Sambas in Borneo, patrolling the area between Sambas, Kuching and Natoena Island, and together with GVT.4 and GVT.8 guarded the entrance to Netherlands East Indies from the South China Sea.
After the fall of Borneo, X-35 was forced to flee to Morokrembangan (The MLD main base in Soerabaja, Java) for repairs. Later it participated on the Dutch submarine attack on the Japanese invasion forces near Kuching. GVT.1 was disbanded in early 1942 and X-35 continued to fight until destroyed in Roti island.
This is an Italeri 1/72 Dornier Do-24K issued by Testor. Unfortunately the Testor release does not have the NEI decal (The Italeri release
does) so I had to use an aftermarket decal from Dutch Decal. This is one of the better Italeri kits, with excellent fit and recessed panel lines. The only hiccups was the clear part over the cockpit section, which is about 2mm too wide as compared to the fuselage. This required the clear part to be sawed and reattached. Not really a major surgery but required guts as sawing clear parts are really unforgiving.
Overall, an enjoyable and rewarding experience as you do not see many Do-24 built, and another unique collection for my "extended history" of the Indonesian Air Force.
-Wikipedia : Dornier Do-24
-Tom Womack : The Dutch Naval Air Force Against Japan, The Defense of the Netherland East Indies, 1941-1942