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Type 95 Black Saya


Shamsy
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Thank you for the input, Thomas. I remember that belief. Much like the 'Type 3' I think it was based on supposition with maybe a couple of convenient facts to support the idea. The naval bayonets, for example, has the blades painted black. The kai-gunto were also generally black in colour. But that doesn't really lend a solid base to the idea.

 

The initial sword that kicked off this thread was the 95 with the naval symbol. To me it looks like something that has pretty obvious been added later (as mentioned, the evidence of sanding, the lack of paint etc). I don't know a lot about the IJN but I there's no suggestion that they utilised 95s, I see no reason to think they did.

 

If you are able to find any evidence at all regarding arsenals producing a run (no matter now small) of Type 95 with a black saya, please let us know! Provided it is a period source, doesn't matter the form; archival, anecdotal, photo... You seem to have a fair collection of reference photos too, so of there are any examples of 95s with saya that are not repainted, not obviously post war and have an appropriate patina, please share these. So far all I I find are period repaints and post war.

 

All assistance and input is welcome!

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As a researcher who's opinion I greatly respect,  I reached out to Nick Komyia regarding the three theories about black painted saya.

 

Nick allowed me to copy his response to this forum since not all members are present and active on both. 

 

The Black Scabbard Controversy

I was asked for my thoughts on the black scabbard controversy related to the Type 95 swords. Did they ever exist as an arsenal finish, were they field refinishes or were they all postwar mutilations, are the 3 major schools of thought, I hear.

I find it a waste of time to indulge in speculation, so I’ll only comment based on facts from contemporary documentation.


1. As an Arsenal Finish

One of the bigger themes for the Type 95 was a scabbard finish that would prevent rust development. This was because the previous chromed Type 32 scabbards were notorious for their rust problems. But despite earnest efforts since 1917, no solutions could be found during the model life of the Type 32 swords. They tried bluing, zinc-plating, various paints and the new Metallikon spray-plating process developed in 1909, but nothing worked.

Thus the Type 95 development process inherited this problem and the 3rd prototype done in 1926 tried out laminated steel scabbards with a layer of brass on the outside, but this, too, was rejected in the field tests as being too heavy.

Then around 1932, in the 7th round of prototyping, they introduced Parkerizing and Bondelite coating for the interior and exterior of the scabbard and the exterior was painted a reddish brown. This was well received in the field trial, because of better concealment offered by the paint color. However, paint-chipping and flaking remained a problem when the scabbard banged against something. It was at this stage that the project reduced speed to allow the development of the officer’s Type 94 Gunto to go into the overtake lane.

By the time the Type 95 project resumed to modify the 7th generation prototype to be in harmony with the Type 94 officer’s model, Parkerizing seemed to have solved the rust problem, but the easy-to-chip paint finish was never overcome in time for the launch in April 1935.

Thus launch specs called for a paraffin-impregnated cotton scabbard cover in the same color as the scabbard paint finish, which was now bluish khaki brown to match the color of the officer’s sword.

In view of this painfully meandering course of development history of the scabbard finish above, black paint sounds quite brainless and out of the blue to me, if you can excuse the pun.

Reddish brown was the field-proven choice until it became necessary to adopt the same coloring as the Type 94. So it would have sounded more realistic to imagine that the arsenal fell back on that previous choice. By the way, Reddish brown is called Red Bean Color 小豆色 in Japanese, so I will spill the beans below.


2. As a Field Refinish

Painting the scabbard black as a field refinish sounds equally outlandish to me. The obvious paint to use in the field for repainting a scabbard would have been the ample supply of Khaki Brown paint used on helmets or canteens and water bottles. Adding a tinge of blue to this yielded the color used on sword scabbards, but I have not seen any shipping manifests listing supplies of that paint, only the Khaki Brown paint used on EM equipment. Both gloss and matte versions were in generous supply, but not black paint, for that matter.

You really had to go out of your way to get black paint in the field. If there were tons of field repaints in helmet-color brown and a handful in black, that would lend some credibility, but black could never have been the first choice for a field refinish.


So all in all, was a black scabbard impossible? Possible, yes, but very improbable, so long as the standard khaki brown paint was available as a more reasonable alternative.

Theoretically, I can only imagine a black scabbard in a super early prototype or in a last ditch situation where you were lucky just to have any paint at all.

 

 

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1491446d1616345422-short-development-history-type-95-gunto-w_azuki2111.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

On 2/27/2020 at 8:15 AM, Bruce Pennington said:

Are you saying that ALL aluminum handles were coated with almite? If so, it must have worn off with the paint in the gunto we see today that are bare aluminum. I have a #10506 that clearly has the almite coating still.

 

Bruce, I have 名10506 down as having a black scabbard.  Is the black paint original to the sword?  Also, is there any signs of an undercoat?  What are your thoughts about this one?

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2 hours ago, Kiipu said:

 

 

Bruce, I have 名10506 down as having a black scabbard.  Is the black paint original to the sword?  Also, is there any signs of an undercoat?  What are your thoughts about this one?

I am out of town this weekend, but will get back to you when I am home again. From memory, I believe the black is painted over chipped and beat up original paint. But I do believe it is war era in origin.

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On 4/1/2021 at 6:48 PM, Kiipu said:

 

 

Bruce, I have 名10506 down as having a black scabbard.  Is the black paint original to the sword?  Also, is there any signs of an undercoat?  What are your thoughts about this one?

Back home and looked it over.  The paint might be over an original brown.  but it's very uniform like it was painted on before any dinks and dings could happen to the original paint.  I've seen paint-jobs that were obviously done after multiple dings and chips.  This wasn't like that.  I also noticed that the wear patterns on this were almost identical to another 95 with original paint.  So the gunto was worn/used during the war with this paint on it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello,    Picked up some swords the other day here around Camp Lejeune.  These were attic pieces.   I want to thank Bruce P.  the  Daimyo of WW2 blades for taking a look at there and recommending a post on them.   "Hand Salute"  to Bruce.     Anyway,  these from Bruce's tips and hints this looks to be a black handle NCO.   I do not see any other paint under the wear of the black on handle or scabbard.   

 

Best regards,

   Bob

 

 

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I apologize, guys, for hijacking this great thread with officer stuff.  But it's the only one going, so hopefully we can work them both here.

This one on a '43 Mantetsu Koa Isshin:

 

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Bad focus on the kabutogane, but it looks like it was painted black, too, but mostly worn off by now.

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4 hours ago, PNSSHOGUN said:

patina on brass

 

5 hours ago, IJASWORDS said:

sign of age. 

I would have to first ask a metals guy - does brass blacken with age?  If so, why aren't all WWII brass fittings, in our time now, black?

 

Then, if patina, how could it have patinated so fast that the fittings then were dinged and scratched, bumped and scraped, back then to wear through that patina?  Doesn't seem likely.

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So, I just came across this one on fleabay.  It might be an example of patination.  the metal parts seem to have been exposed to something that blackened the surface.  You can see even the "silver" seppa got blackened around the exposed edges.  The kabutogane and sayajiri are affected as well.  Puzzling to me is the menugi seems unaffected (and habaki, but that could be explained by the fact it was inside the saya and protected).

1328144829_Screenshot2021-05-07082855.thumb.jpg.221528039780f7df18dcdfc943e3483c.jpg1964715579_Screenshot2021-05-07081831.thumb.jpg.20c69146cfbaff8dd69fb9986c50e671.jpg

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Enlarged, you can see the "staining" isn't uniform like a paint-job would be:

1715702997_Screenshot2021-05-07082951.thumb.jpg.4171cde84d90510d747816725319878a.jpg

 

So maybe @IJASWORDS has an explanation as to what would do this to brass.  But his example I still believe is paint.  You can see the layer of paint that was worn off:

1773761868_PaintlayeronNeils.thumb.jpg.fd4a135d57c4a8ba97d5ce80b4f35fc5.jpg

 

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That stuff just makes my brain fizzle.

 

The immediate reaction is "BUBBA!!!"  But then look at the kabutogane.  It looks old and worn.  Could it be a Bubba re-paint over an original black?  The red and white are Bubba in my opinion though.  Yet we've see other discussion about red on yari and other blades that appear original.

 

Type95.jpg

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3 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

 

I would have to first ask a metals guy - does brass blacken with age?  If so, why aren't all WWII brass fittings, in our time now, black?

 

Then, if patina, how could it have patinated so fast that the fittings then were dinged and scratched, bumped and scraped, back then to wear through that patina?  Doesn't seem likely.

 

 Brass blackens with certain conditions, one of them being sulphur in the air, this would affect worn areas of a tsuba but not the parts still gilded. This is

why the menuki would resist patination, they are usually gilded as well. 

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  • 1 month later...

Someday I'll start a seperate "Gold Painted Gunto" thread, but for now, this one is acting as a general place to discuss colors and their originality.  So I came across another gold-painted saya on a Type 98 on This Wehrmacht-Awards Thread.  I've asked for some close-ups to investigate it further:

 

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Here are some photos of my Type 95 with the black saya. In the first photo it is seen in a display with some of my collection where it contrasts well with the sayas of the other guntos. In the last photo the underlying (brown?) paint is visible where the semi-gloss black paint has worn off.

 

 

 

 

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Type 95_Black saya close-up.jpg

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