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  1. Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero (A01005B) 1:72 Airfix The Zero was the direct successor to the diminutive A5M from the same company, Mitsubishi, and came into service with the Japanese Navy in 1940, where it was extremely well received. It was a fast, highly manoeuvrable aircraft with powerful armament for the time, and it had good fuel economy due to the light-weight construction that would contribute to its downfall later in the war. The engineers used an extremely light duralumin variant, and lightened everything they could to shave weight from the airframe, including perforating the pilot’s seat, with no armour or self-sealing fuel tanks to protect the pilot or aircraft from incoming fire. While the Zero was the fastest kid on the block this wasn’t such an issue, but as the Allies improved their aircraft, they began to fall into their sights more frequently with the inevitable outcome that a great many experienced Japanese aviators were shot down and killed, leaving inexperienced novices to fall prey to the by-then experienced Allied flyers. One such battle was referred to the Marianas Turkey Shoot due to the horrible losses suffered by the Japanese. Toward the end of the war there were improvements made to the type, but many were converted to fly as Kamikaze aircraft, to hurl themselves in an act of futility against the advancing US forces in an attempt to sink the US carriers and battleships. Its most infamous use was as the fighters and fleet patrol aircraft during the Pearl Harbour raid that drew America into WWII on 7th December 1941, with a fleet of Type 21s that are otherwise known as the A6M2b taking off before the bombers due to their relatively short take-off requirements. The rest as they say, is history. The Kit This is a reboxing of a comparatively recent 2011 tooling from the Airfix stable, so it benefits from a few of the more modern moulding tricks employed, particularly the cowling, which is created as a single part by a sliding mould. It arrives in an end-opening box in the usual red theme, and inside are three sprues in grey styrene, a single clear canopy on its own sprue, decal sheet and a short instruction booklet printed with spot colour on the first page. The colour profiles to assist with painting and decaling are to be found on the back of the box in this instance, whilst on the front is a nice digital painting of a Zero in action over a cluster of islands, with a brace of Dauntlesses in the background that are making short work of a cargo vessel. Detail is good with recessed panel lines, interior detail to the cockpit and wheel bays, and a pilot figure flying his aircraft via telekinesis, hands on lap. Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the rear bulkhead that accepts the seat on four rods that hold it at the correct angle. The floor has the left console moulded-in, and adds the control column, instrument panel and three decals for the dials to add some detail. The two assemblies are brought together and inserted in the fuselage during closure, with a scrap diagram showing how it should look from the side. The coaming and deck in front of the windscreen is made up from two parts and then put to the side while the engine is built, including both banks of pistons, trapping the prop shaft between them, taking care to leave it mobile. The engine and coaming are added to the front of the fuselage, covering the engine with the slide-moulded coaming, which is a single part. You have the option to fold the wing tips on this model, cutting the tips off the upper wing halves according to the scrap diagrams to the right, and replacing the tips with new parts that have the hinge mechanism moulded-in. The lower wings are full span out as far as the fold line, and have the gear bays and inner details moulded into them, with good detail, and you should either drill out two 2mm holes if you plan on mounting your model on a stand, or open up the slot further back to accommodate the drop-tank. The tail fin is moulded into the fuselage with a separate rudder, and the elevators are slotted into the sides, taking care not to mix up the parts. You also have the choice of gear up or down, the former being simplest option that involves covering the bays with two sets of doors that are all moulded as one part per side. The tail wheel and arrestor hook are fixed in the rear, using the appropriate retracted wheel. The gear down option involves inserting the central bay doors with moulded-in retractors, plus small outer doors, then making the struts up with the wheels and a captive door that traps the wheel in place, slotting them into the outer end of the bays, a dropped tail-wheel in the rear, and gluing the belly tank into the centreline. The prop blades are moulded as a single part with a spinner and back-plate completing the assembly, which is glued carefully to the prop-shaft at the front of the motor. If you are using the pilot figure, this is your last chance to seat him in the cockpit before gluing the canopy in place over the aperture and inserting a radio mast near the rear. A pitot probe slots into the leading-edge of the port wing, and both ailerons have actuators added on the top surface of the wings. Markings There is only one decal option in this boxing, portraying an aircraft flown by NAP 2/C Yoshiro Hashiguchi, 3rd Naval Flying Group, Imperial Navy, Denpasar Base, Bali, February 1942. Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A welcome re-release of this modern kit of the dreaded Zero that wreaked havoc in the early part of WWII, a reputation that lingered even after the American fighters caught up and overtook it. The price is enticing too. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. A6M3 Zero Type 32 ProfiPACK (82213) 1:48 Eduard The Zero was the direct successor to the diminutive A5M Claud from the same company, Mitsubishi, and came into service with the Japanese Navy in 1940, where it was extremely well received. It was a fast, highly manoeuvrable aircraft with powerful armament for the time, and it had good fuel economy due to the light-weight construction that would contribute to its downfall later in the war. The engineers used an extremely light duralumin variant, and lightened everything they could to shave weight from the airframe, including perforating the pilot’s seat, with no armour or self-sealing fuel tanks to protect the pilot or aircraft from incoming fire. While the Zero was the fastest kid on the block this wasn’t such an issue, but as the Allies improved their aircraft, they began to fall into their sights more frequently with the inevitable outcome that a great many experienced Japanese aviators were shot down and killed, leaving inexperienced novices to fall prey to the by-then experienced Allied flyers. One such battle was referred to the Marianas Turkey Shoot due to the horrible losses suffered by the Japanese at the hands of the American aviators. The Type 32 ran an improved version of the Sakai engine that used a 2-stage compressor to increase power, but its increased weight required the shortening of the fuselage, the complete redesign of the cowling and forward fuselage, and shortening of the wings, which took on a squarer profile. The speed was increased, but the more thirsty engine reduced the range, which gave them a short career in carrier-borne operations, after which they were withdrawn to provide point-defence for airfields or other strategically important areas. Toward the end of the war there were further improvements made to the type, but many were converted to fly as Kamikaze aircraft, to hurl themselves in an act of futility against the advancing US forces in an attempt to sink their carriers and battleships. Its most infamous use was as the fighters and fleet patrol aircraft during the Pearl Harbour raid that drew America into WWII on 7th December 1941, with a fleet of Type 21s that are otherwise known as the A6M2b taking off first from their carriers due to their relatively short take-off requirements. The rest as they say, is history. The Kit This is a partial re-tooling of the stunning new issue from Eduard, and it has been given the same duty of care that they lavished on the previous boxing of the Pearl Harbour era Zero, their earlier Bf.109G, the Spitfire and Mustang kits, making a highly-detailed, totally modern model kit that has blown many of the ageing competition out of the water in this scale. It arrives in a well-stocked top-opening box with a Zero engaging with a P-38 Lightning on the cover, and some profiles of the decal options on the side. Inside are four sprues in two resealable bags, a clear sprue in a Ziploc bag, a pre-painted Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in another Ziploc bag, a sheet of kabuki tape masks for the external glazing (not pictured) in yet another bag, three decal sheets and a rather thick instruction booklet with five pages of profiles for the marking options and one for the stencils. If you’ve been following this kit you’ll know that it has exceptional detail on the sprues, and it goes together like their recent Wildcat kit, and is a joy to build – I really will have to get around to finishing my earlier Tora Tora boxing. The full exterior skin is riveted and has engraved panel lines, including some lapped panels where appropriate, all done with incredible fidelity and finesse. The decals are also similarly well done, and the instructions are up to Eduard’s usual level of quality, showing where the various PE enhancements of the ProfiPACK edition should go, as well as calling out detail painting in their preferred Gunze Sangyo codes. Construction begins with the revised fuselage, which is painted and detailed internally with PE and styrene parts within the cockpit area to bolster the already excellent ribbing detail that is moulded-in. Some of the styrene parts are upgraded with PE fronts to further improve the look. The cockpit interior is then started with the styrene rudder pedals clipped off the part and replaced by new PE pedals. The pilot’s ventilated seat is laced with four pre-painted belts with scrap diagrams helping with arrangement, and attached to the fuselage frame by a pair of brackets that is joined by an adjuster with an optional curved PE bracket, the styrene version of which is first removed from the original part. The cockpit floor is well-detailed with rivets and is a shallow V-shape, with a small insert filling a gap in the underside, an instrument box detailed with PE toggle-switches, then the pilot’s control column and linkages are all installed on the topside along with the rudders. The sides of the cockpit contain various equipment boxes, which are all stripped of styrene detail to be replaced by PE parts, and they are then brought together with the rear frame, seat, floor and sides to create the cockpit assembly, which is then further detailed with more PE and optional decals, has the layered PE instrument panel built up and inserted into the front of the assembly, which then has the two nose-mounted machine guns added to a shaped part that slots into holes at the front of the cockpit. All of these sub-assemblies fit beautifully together, making for a strong assembly once everything is glued together. Behind the pilot a trio of tanks that are glued vertically to the back of the frame, then the completed assembly is put to the side briefly while the fuselage is glued together, adding the rudder, an insert under the tail, and a section of the top fuselage in front of the nose as you go. Once the glue has dried, the cockpit can be inserted into the fuselage from below, using the gap in the fuselage where the wings will later sit. Like many WWII fighters, the new lower wing half with its squared off tips is a single part, which is stiffened by a short spar that stretches between the ends of the wheel bays and also forms the back and end walls, and the rest of the wheel bay walls are added before the two upper wing panels are laid over the top with bay roof inserts below them and everything is glued in place. A pair of clear wingtip lights and styrene ailerons are added, and a scrap diagram shows the detail added to the centre trailing wing root’s interior should look once completed, and a small insert with circular PE grille is placed inside the belled housing at the front. The elevator fins are separate from their flying surfaces, and while the fins are two parts each, the thin trailing surfaces are single parts with lots of rib detail moulded-in. These and the wings are added to the fuselage along with some tiny fairings for the ailerons, a tapered head cushion for the pilot, which is scalloped to improve the view aft. The model is looking like a Zero now, minus the nose, which is next to be made up. Both banks of pistons of the Nakajima Sakae 21 radial engine are present, plus a fan of rods front and rear, with a two-part reduction gear bell-housing at the front, plus the wiring harness ring around it. This fits on a stepped ring that glues to the tapered front of the fuselage plus a collector ring for the exhausts, then the cowling is built up from two halves with an insert that creates the gun troughs, and is completed by the intake lip that is fitted to the lip at the front. The intake trunk is applied to the inside of the top of the cowling, and that also contains the gun troughs that project from the sloped front of the cowling. The finished cowling can then be slid over the engine and secured in place with more glue. The Zero’s wide-track gear made for easy deck-handling, and each of the main legs is made from a single strut with a captive bay door and a three-part wheel/hub combo with no sag engineered in. If you want weighted tyres, you can either sand off the bottom of the kit tyres, or get the Brassin resin wheels that we’ll be reviewing shortly, which have additional detail to sweeten the deal, and include a new tail-wheel strut into the bargain. The struts have their styrene scissor-links removed and replaced by PE parts, then the legs are inserted into the wells, and joined by the inner doors along the centreline, the tail-wheel with two-part perforated strut and tiny wheel, plus a choice of deployed or stowed arrestor hook. There are also a pair of tiny decals for the inside of the main gear bays, which adds a little extra visual interest. Finally, there is a tiny additional bay door at the base of each gear leg, with a scrap diagram showing the correct angle to fit it. With the model still on its back, the fuel tank is built-up from three parts and is glued to the underside, with a crew-step under the port edge of the wing-root fairing. The three-bladed prop is moulded as a single part, with a front and rear spinner half, which slides onto the axle at the front of the engine. On the topside, the gun-sight installs on the coaming, with a two-layer PE Direction-Finding (D/F) loop behind the pilot’s head, installed before you address the canopy. The windscreen is fitted first, and you have a choice of closed canopy that is made of two parts and an aerial, or in the open option that has the fixed rear, a slightly larger sliding canopy that fits over the rear, and the same aerial. Inside the sliding portion are a pair of small PE detail parts, and if you spring for additional Tface masks, it may be best to apply the masks before the PE parts. A clear light is added to the very rear of the fuselage, four little upstanding lights are fitted into sockets in the mid-wing, the gun muzzles are inserted into the leading edge with a pitot probe on the port side, plus two tiny PE gear-down indicators over their respective bays. Markings 5 markings options are included on the decal sheet as usual with ProfiPACK boxings, with a bit of variation to please a wider audience. From the box you can build one of the following: Ldg. Sea. Kenji Yanagiya, Kōkūtai 204, Rabaul Base, New Britain, April 1943 C/n 3018, Tainan Kōkūtai, Buna Airfield, New Guinea, August 1942 PO1c Kyoshi Itō, 3. Kōkūtai, Koepang Airfield, Timor Island, September 1942 Zuikaku Fighter Sqn., Aircraft Carrier Kuikaku, October 1942 CPO Takeo Tanimizu, Tainan Kōkūtai (II), Tainan Airbase, Taiwan, September 1944 The decals are printed by Eduard and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The stencils are on a separate sheet, and are marked on a page of the booklet, separate from the rest of the markings to avoid confusion from trying to read overly busy diagrams. You also get a sheet of kabuki-style masking tape that has been pre-cut to fit the individual panes of the canopy, plus masks for the three wheels and the wingtip lights. Don’t forget that as of 2021, the carrier film from Eduard decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier-free, making the decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view. Conclusion This is a great kit for anyone interested in WWII Japanese naval aviation, and brings Eduard’s renowned level of skill and detail to this slightly later variant, providing close to maximum detail out of the box. Watch out for some additional aftermarket sets from Eduard for those that aren’t satisfied with excellent detail and want incredible detail. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Stencil Decals for A6M2 Zero (D48098) 1:48 Eduard Decals Eduard’s stencil range has been growing steadily recently, providing sharp, detailed stencilling for numerous types, some of which are lacking from the originating manufacturer’s box. The latter can come in handy for your average modeller, as sometimes the kit doesn’t include a complete set of stencils for expediency or whatever reason. Some folks, myself included, think that the inclusion of a full suite of stencils adds extra realism to a model, although there is of course the time element and the extra carrier film edges to hide. Eduard have been busy of late and have released this comprehensive set we have to review to coincide with their release of a fantastic new-tool Zero in this scale, which you can see our review of here. It arrives in a clear foil re-sealable envelope with a card stiffener, a cover page with instructions printed on both sides, plus the decals with new “cheap toilet paper” protecting the delicate printed surface. This set arrives on one rectangular sheet, although it is stated as being patterned exclusively for the Eduard kit, you would be able to use most if not all of the decals on another brand of kit just as well, and over the course of four profiles and some scrap diagrams, the locations of all the stencils are shown clearly on shaded line drawings. There’s another reason to grab a set of these stencils too now, as Eduard’s printers have been using a new type of carrier film from earlier this year (2021) that can be peeled away a few hours after application to leave you with carrier-film free stencils that won’t need any hiding with coats of gloss varnish then careful sanding back and repeating as necessary. I’ve not used them myself yet, so do a bit of searching for yourself to see how it's done. There’s a thread on Britmodeller somewhere, IIRC. The decals are printed in-house by Eduard and have good register, sharpness and colour density, with a glossy carrier film printed reasonably close to the edges of the printed areas. As you can remove it later anyway, that last part really doesn’t matter anymore! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. A6M2 Zero Upgrade Sets (For Eduard) 1:48 Eduard We’ve just reviewed Eduard’s brand-new kit of this iconic Japanese fighter here, and the first batch of resin updates here. The range has been further widened to improve on the kit detail in the usual modular manner, and now with a choice of medium for the cockpit panels. Get what you want for the areas you want to be more of a focal point. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE), SPACE, Löök and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package that has type specific branding, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. SPACE 3D Printed Cockpit Decals (3DL48050) The Eduard SPACE sets use new 3D printing techniques that lay down successive layers of different colour resin, creating highly realistic almost full complete panels that are supplied on a decal sheet. They can depict metallic shades, plus glossy, satin and matt colours too, which really ups the detail on everything they print. In addition, a small sheet of nickel-plated and pre-painted PE is included for the aspects of the set that lend themselves better to this medium, such as seatbelts and rudder pedals. The decals provide all the instrument panel and various boxes in interior green and with fantastic glossy instrument dials that have colourful faces where appropriate. The PE is pre-painted and includes additional parts for the cockpit, some of which duplicates the ProfiPACK PE, but also includes a set of four seatbelts that are arranged in their unusual “off-the-shoulder” style, much like a modern car seatbelt but with buckles rather than a clip. Löök Pre-Painted Resin Set (644128) This set contains a combination of pre-printed resin and PE parts to quickly and efficiently detail up your cockpit. There are two resin parts that make up the instrument panel and side console next to the pilot, with glossy faced dials already painted for you on interior green coated black resin. Two other literal black boxes are included for the sidewalls too, and these are also pre-painted for your ease. Additionally, the PE sheet contains a set of four-piece three-point belts for the pilot, and a double-bezel pair of instruments to fit in the top-centre of the instrument panel. Seatbelts STEEL (FE1238) These belts are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds additional perceived depth to the buckles and other furniture by using shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. The four parts fit together to provide a set of three-point belts in a style akin to a modern car belt, but with buckles. Masks Tface (EX821) Supplied on a larger sheet of yellow kabuki tape, these pre-cut masks supply you with everything to cover the exterior of the canopy, but also give you another set of masks tailored to fit the interior of the glazing so that you can paint the canopy interior with confidence and give your model that extra bit of realism. You also get a set of wheel masks to cut the demarcation between tyre and hub with ease. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Tora Tora Tora! (11155) A6M2 Zero Type 21 Dual Combo 1:48 Eduard The Zero was the direct successor to the diminutive A5M from the same company, Mitsubishi, and came into service with the Japanese Navy in 1940, where it was extremely well received. It was a fast, highly manoeuvrable aircraft with powerful armament for the time, and it had good fuel economy due to the light-weight construction that would contribute to its downfall later in the war. The engineers used an extremely light duralumin variant, and lightened everything they could to shave weight from the airframe, including perforating the pilot’s seat, with no armour or self-sealing fuel tanks to protect the pilot or aircraft from incoming fire. While the Zero was the fastest kid on the block this wasn’t such an issue, but as the Allies improved their aircraft, they began to fall into their sights more frequently with the inevitable outcome that a great many experienced Japanese aviators were shot down and killed, leaving inexperienced novices to fall prey to the by-then experienced Allied flyers. One such battle was referred to the Marianas Turkey Shoot due to the horrible losses suffered by the Japanese. Toward the end of the war there were improvements made to the type, but many were converted to fly as Kamikaze aircraft, to hurl themselves in an act of futility against the advancing US forces in an attempt to sink their carriers and battleships. Its most infamous use was as the fighters and fleet patrol aircraft during the Pearl Harbour raid that drew America into WWII on 7th December 1941, with a fleet of Type 21s that are otherwise known as the A6M2b taking off first from their carriers due to their relatively short take-off requirements. The rest as they say, is history. The Kit This is a brand-new tooling from Eduard, and it has been given the same duty of care that they lavished on the Bf.109G, the Spitfire and Mustang, making a highly-detailed, totally modern model kit that will doubtless blow many of the ageing competition out of the water in this scale. This is the initial release that uses the attack codename Tora Tora Tora! as the strapline, which incidentally means Tiger Tiger Tiger. I learned something today, but I probably learned it before, as I’m starting to remember. It arrives in a well-stocked top-opening box with a pair of Zeroes on the cover, and some profiles of the decal options on the side. Inside are double sprues in resealable bags, with a total of eight sprues (four per kit), two clear sprues, two pre-painted Photo-Etch (PE) sheets, a sheet of kabuki tape masks for the external glazing (not pictured), three decal sheets and a rather thick instruction booklet with twelve pages of profiles for the marking options. If you’ve been watching the pre-launch of this kit you’ll know that it has exceptional detail on the sprues, and if it goes together like their recent P-51 kit, it will be a joy to build. The full exterior skin is riveted and has engraved panel lines, including some lapped panels where appropriate, all done with incredible fidelity and finesse. The decals are also similarly well done, and the instructions are up to Eduard’s usual level of quality, showing where the various PE enhancements should go, as well as calling out detail painting in their preferred Gunze Sangyo codes. Construction begins with the fuselage, which is painted and detailed internally with PE and styrene parts within the cockpit area to bolster the already excellent ribbing detail that is moulded-in. Some of the styrene parts are upgraded with PE fronts to further improve the look. The cockpit interior is then started with the styrene rudder pedals clipped off the part and replaced by new PE pedals. The pilot’s ventilated seat is laced with four pre-painted belts and attached to the fuselage frame by a pair of brackets and is joined by an adjuster with a curved PE bracket, the styrene version of which is first removed from the original part. The cockpit floor is well-detailed with rivets and is a shallow V-shape, with a small insert filling a gap in the underside, an instrument box detailed with PE toggle-switches, then the pilot’s control column and linkages are all installed on the topside along with the rudders. The sides of the cockpit contain various equipment boxes, which are all stripped of styrene detail to be replaced by PE parts, and they are then brought together with the rear frame, seat, floor and sides to create the cockpit assembly, which is then further detailed with more PE and optional decals, has the layered PE instrument panel built up and inserted into the front of the assembly, which then has the two nose-mounted machineguns added to a shaped part that slots into holes at the front of the cockpit. Behind the pilot a trio of tanks that are glued vertically to the back of the frame, then the completed assembly is put to the side briefly while the fuselage is glued together, adding the rudder, an insert under the tail, and a section of the cowling in front of the nose as you go. Once the glue has dried, the cockpit can be inserted into the fuselage from below, using the gap in the fuselage where the wings will later sit. Like many WWII fighters, the lower wing half is a single part, which is stiffened by a short spar that stretches between the ends of the wheel bays and also forms the back walls. Two holes in the centres of the wings are filled with inserts to obtain the correct blister layout, and the rest of the wheel bay walls are added before the two upper wing panels are laid over the top with bay roof inserts and glued in place. On the inside of the wings there are engraved lines where the folding tips can be cut loose, but for this boxing they are ignored. A pair of clear wingtip lights and styrene ailerons are added, and a scrap diagram shows how the trailing wing root should look once glued, to ensure you don’t make a rod for your back down the line. The “tail” of the wing assembly is ribbed inside, and is fitted out with some small parts, although it’s a mystery to me at this stage where it can be seen from without the aid of an endoscope. The elevator fins are separate from their flying surfaces, and while the fins are two parts each, the thin trailing surfaces are single parts with lots of rib detail moulded-in. These and the wings are added to the fuselage along with some tiny fairings for the aileron actuators, a head cushion for the pilot (isn’t he lucky?), and an intake grille under the nose. The model is looking like a Zero now, but has no nose (I won’t do the joke), which is next to be made up. Both banks of pistons of the Nakajima Sakae radial engine are present, plus a fan of rods front and back, with a two-part reduction gear bell-housing at the front, which has a tiny decal added to it once painted. This fits on a stepped ring that glues to the tapered front of the fuselage, then a bit of fancy styrene engineering takes place. The cowling is built up around a cylindrical jig that you should remain unglued unless you enjoy swearing. The intake lip is fitted to the narrow end of the jig, then two almost semi-cylindrical cowling halves are added, locating in slots in the aft lip of the jig, and gluing to the lip at the front. The intake trunk is inserted into the gap in the underside, and this too has its own groove in the lip, and when the glue is dry, the assembly can be slipped off the jig, and the final section that contains the gun troughs can be added along with another pair of small inserts at the bottom-rear where the exhaust stacks are glued. The finished cowling can then be slid over the engine and secured in place with more glue. The Zero’s wide-track gear made for easy deck-handling, and each of the main legs is made from a single strut with a captive bay door and a three-part wheel/hub combo with no sag engineered in. If you want weighted tyres, you can either sand off the bottom of the kit tyres, or get the Brassin resin wheels that we’ll be reviewing shortly, which have additional detail to sweeten the deal, and include a new tail-wheel strut into the bargain. The struts have their styrene scissor-links removed and replaced by PE parts, then the legs are inserted into the wells, and joined by the inner doors along the centreline, the tail-wheel with two-part strut and tiny wheel, plus a choice of deployed or stowed arrestor hook. There are also a pair of tiny decals for the inside of the main gear bays, which adds a little extra visual interest. Finally, there is a tiny additional bay door at the base of each gear leg, with a scrap diagram showing the correct angle to fit it. With the model still on its back, the fuel tank is built-up from three parts and is glued to the underside, with horn balances added to the ailerons, and a crew-step under the port edge of the wing-root fairing. Another scrap diagram shows the correct orientation of the horn balances. The three-bladed prop is moulded as a single part, with a front and rear spinner half, which slides onto the axle at the front of the engine. On the topside, the gun-sight installs on the coaming, with a PE Direction-Finding (D/F) loop behind the pilot’s head, installed before you address the canopy. The windscreen is fitted first, and you have a choice of closed canopy that is made of two parts and an aerial, or in the open option that has the fixed rear, a slightly larger sliding canopy that fits over the rear, and the same aerial. Inside the sliding portion are a pair of small PE detail parts, and if you spring for additional Tface masks, it may be best to apply the masks before the PE parts. A clear light is added to the very rear of the fuselage, four little upstands are fitted into sockets in the mid-wing, the gun muzzles are inserted into the leading edge with a pitot probe on the port side, plus two tiny PE gear-down indicators over their respective bays. Markings 12 markings options is excellent, even though you’ve got two models to cover, all of which took part in the raid as either fighter or patrol aircraft, and all wearing the same basic scheme. From the box you can build two of the following: Lt.Cdr. Shigeru Itaya, Akagi Fighter Squadron, first attack wave c/n probably 2236, PO2c Akira Yamamoto, Kaga Fighter Squadron, first attack wave Lt. Masaji Suganami, Sōryū Fighter Squadron, first attack wave PO1c Kazuo Muranaka, Hiryú Fighter Squadron, first attack wave Lt. Tadashi Kaneko, Shōkaku Fighter Squadron, first attack wave Lt. Masao Satō, Zuikaku Fighter Squadron, first attack wave PO1c Tetsuzō Iwamoto, Zuikako Fighter Squadron, patrol during the first attack wave Lt. Saburō Shindō, Akagi Fighter Squadron, second attack wave PO1c Yoshikazu Nagahama, Kaga Fighter Squadron, second attack wave c/n 3277, Lt. Fusata Iida, Sōryū Fighter Squadron, second attack wave c/n 2266, PO1c Shigenori Nishikaichi, Hiryū Fighter Squadron, second attack wave PO1c Yukuo Hanzawa, Shōkaku Fighter Squadron, patrol during the second attack wave Decals are by Eduard, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. There is a separate page dedicated to the stencil locations that are shown on a set of grey profiles to avoid cluttering the colour profiles. Upgrade Sets Conclusion This is a great piece of news for anyone interested in WWII Japanese naval aviation, and brings Eduard’s renowned level of skill and detail to the subject, kicking it up to the maximum. Watch out for some additional aftermarket sets from Eduard for those that aren’t satisfied with excellent detail and want incredible detail. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. This model is built from the 1/72 Airfix kit and represents an A6M2b Model 21 Zero-Sen, of the 201st Kokutai, flown from Tobera airfield, New Britain, in 1944. The Airfix colour scheme calls for a grey underside, but an air-to-air photograph on Nick Millman's Aviation of Japan blog indicates quite strongly that this particular aircraft was an over-painted trainer retaining its original orange-yellow underside, with white outlined Hinomarus and numbers under the wings, so that's how I chose to finish it. The decals are from the kit and paints are Tamiya, Gunze and Revell acrylics, and Humbrol enamels for details. I built this a number of years ago, shortly after the kit was released, and I did a WIP here but I never photographed the finished article. Cheers, Jeff
  7. Hello Guys, Below are the images of my "Final Reveal" for the two Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeros (Zekes) that I built side by side, with one finished in the IJN Green Upper and Grey lower and one finished in the all over IJN Grey/Green. This build had a few firsts for me: 1) First time building Japanese Aircraft 2) First time using Johnson's Pledge/Klear Acrylic floor shine to see how I personally feel about it compared to the Model Masters clear coats that I have always used without issue since starting modeling in January 2014. 3) First time attempting heavy chipping using the "Hairspray Technique" on the IJN Green version only. After the images, I will include some notes regarding this build; my opinions of the kit in terms of quality, cost, value for money etc and any points to look out for if you decide to buy and build this kit. I hope you like the following views! Plane #1: 261st Air Group (Tiger Corps), Kagoshima Base, February 1944 Plane #2 Petty Officer 1st Class Saburo Sakai, Tainan Air Group, Denpasar Base, Bali Island, February 1942 And, some photos of both versions side by side for contrast and comparison: These are Tamiya's kit # 61016 that is the 2007 Type 21 version release. This kit was re-tooled in 2008 and updated a couple of times since then with new parts and decals. This kit is available from Scalehobbyist.com for only $10.84, about 7.00 quid in the UK, here is the link to their page: https://www.scalehobbyist.com/catagories/Model_Aircraft/a6m2-type-21-zero/TAM00061016/product.php?s=0&t=0&u=0&micr=148&pg=1&ppp=48&sb=stocknumber&so=a&era=0,6&man=TAM The kit comes with a reasonably detailed cockpit, that has a decal for the instrument panel and a decently detailed radial engine. There are options to have the undercarriage up or down, the canopy closed or open and decals for 5 different markings; I modeled one with the canopy closed and one with the canopy open. The undercarriage is sturdy and nicely detailed, too. A 8 page black and white assembly/instruction booklet is included that is clearly detailed with part numbers, decal numbers and Tamiya paint numbers. The decals are typical Tamiya which I expected to have some breaking issues with, as I have with other Tamiya kits, but fortunately, these decals went down excellently adhering to recessed and raised details nicely. The parts are very crisp and cleanly molded with no ejector pin witness marks on visible areas, no warp, no flash and no aberrations on the clear molded parts. The exterior surfaces of the plane come with recessed panel lines. Scores out of 10: Packaging: The kit comes in a sturdy two part box- lower and lid format, the grey sprues are packaged in one polythene bag and the clear parts are packaged in a separate clear polythene bag that is within the larger bag. The lid has nice artwork on the front and the two longer sides show two of the five different markings available, one in the IJN Green and one in the IJN grey/Green. Score: 9/10 Quality of Molded Product: 10/10 Quality of Molded Details: 9/10 Engineering Fits: I had no issues with this kit, everything went together well and no need for filler anywhere! Score: 10/10 Quality of Decals: - it's a bonus to have enough decals for 5 different markings! Score: 9/10 Quality of Instruction/Assembly Booklet: It would be much better if Tamiya included color pages for the painting and decaling sheets and provide other paint manufacturers conversion colors instead of just their own paints. Score: 8/10 Value For Money: 10/10 Enjoyment Value: 9/10 If you are just coming across this build for the first time, thanks for checking in, but if you'd like to see the build thread for this build, here is the link to it: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234982300-tamiya-148-mitsubishi-a6m2-zero-zeke-x2-build-update-1/ You can also see my "Build Update" videos on my YouTube channel; here are the links for the 3 "Build Update" videos: Build Update #1 Video: https://youtu.be/PBuSMyQB9bY Build Update #2 Video: https://youtu.be/t96YKuENSL8 Build Update #3 Video: https://youtu.be/3Ecg5wrLr0o And, to go with this "Final Reveal" thread, here is the link to my "Final Reveal" video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/bGDtOdc3sVg Thanks to everyone who has followed this build thread both on here and on YouTube, and, for leaving kind and encouraging comments, it's greatly appreciated! Now, what should I build next? Hmmmmmmm..... Have a great weekend! Cheers! Martin
  8. I've just finished these Airfix Zeroes using the Tecmod transfers for no.140 flown by Lt. Sumio Nono from the carrier Hiryu and the Airfix Dogfight Double markings for no.102 flown by Lt. Saburo Shindo from the carrier Akagi. First the Hiryu aircraft: Then the Akagi aircraft: I built the kits more-or-less OOB with only a couple of changes, such as replacing the not-terribly-well-moulded pitots with Albion Alloys Aluminium Tube and Nickel-Silver Rod (I think I will use the next size up next time though, as these were so fine as to be almost invisible)... the kits went together very well with no particular issues (well, I had a bit of a hard time matching up the two halves of the auxiliary fuel-tanks but that could have been me in both cases) and were nice easy and quick builds. Edit: forgot to say I used Eduard micro-fabric seat straps too. I painted the interiors in Colourcoats Mitsubishi Interior Green, the exterior in Colourcoats Mitsubishi Grey-Green and the cowlings in Mitsubishi Cowl Blue Black from their Japanese Colours Range. Once decalled they were given a coat of Xtracolor Satin Varnish. I used (mostly) Techmod transfers for the Hiryu Zero and (again mostly) the Airfix kit transfers for the Akagi Zero. I had issues with most of the transfers not really settling down despite the ministrations of three different types of setting solutions; no idea how or why that happened but it was a bit of a downer when the assembly and painting had gone so well and so quickly. Fortunately the most egregious problems are not visible in the pictures but if you do see anything that offends you, please let it pass as it will have annoyed me even more. Long-winded build thread is here. Sorry for the rambling excuse-making and thanks for your attention Cheers, Stew
  9. I was planning that my next build was going to be a Tamiya F4U-1A Corsair for the Corsair STGB but I've just had a period of enforced idleness come to an end and was champing at the bit to find something to occupy myself for the next couple of weeks... so I decanted these from the stash: ... I plan on using these transfers: ...probably the second and third aircraft shown... I've also got a copy of Nick Millman's 'Painting the Early Zero-Sen' .pdf as my go-to colour reference. I'll also be using two of these: ... they are a bit of an extravagance, but the Zero's windows are many, and all have rounded corners; these masks may well pay for themselves in the suffering I am spared by not masking the two canopies 'by hand'. Finally, the kit-supplied pilot figures are awful - a poor copy of the old Airfix crotch-fondler but moulded so badly as to resemble a grey alien trying to pass himself off as The Fonz. I decided not to use them and will decorate the pilots' seats instead with the Eduard Super Fabric seat belts: ... so I'm going to get on with it. Cheers, Stew
  10. Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Zeke) (x2) "Build Update #1" Hello Guys, This is my latest build that I started a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had the time to jump on here and post my build progress, until now. So, here goes.... I've decided to build two A6M2's at the same time, so that I can model one in the Aircraft carrier based all over Japanese Navy Grey/Green color and one in the ground based Japanese Navy Green upper and the Japanese Navy Grey lower. The Grey/Green version will have little chipping, but the Green version will have heavy chipping. The chipping will be done by using the "hairspray" technique. These will be my 18th and 19th model builds since starting modeling in January 2014, and, they will be my first ever attempts at Japanese WWII aircraft, so, I've been looking forward to doing these. They are also my entries into a group build that I am hosting on YouTube called the "For the Love of Freddy" GB. He's a fellow modeler on YouTube that has surprised many modelers, including myself, with his altruistic nature, by sending them large parcels full of models. He sent me 4 parcels in the last two months containing a total of 43 model kits, mostly 1:48 scale and some 1:32 scale. And, therefore, because of his kindness and generosity to myself and other modelers, I thought that I would start this GB, which I did on May 1st and it will run until August 31st. These two "Zeros" were kits that Freddy sent to me, so, I thought it was a fitting tribute to Freddy by building them. Anyway, that's enough of the introduction, let's get on with the build..... As always, I start my builds by washing the sprues in warm soapy water... Next, I assembled both drop tanks, one for each plane... I then put all the small parts onto cocktail sticks in preparation for painting... All parts were then taken to the spray booth for airbrushing a black base coat onto.... When the black base coat was dry, I then airbrushed Cockpit Interior Green onto the fuselage interiors and onto the cockpit tub parts.... I then made a start on detailing the cockpit tub and added the instrument panel decals, then assembled the separate parts to form the tub.... I then started on the radial engine parts and cowlings, and assembled them when the paint was dry... It was now time to assemble the cockpit tubs into the starboard side fuselage halves and then assemble the portside fuselage halves onto the starboard side... It was now time to assemble the wings and horizontal stabilizers onto both planes... First, I assembled the bottom wing sections to the underside of the fuselage assemblies... Followed by assembling the starboard side upper wing sections, then the portside upper wing sections, taping the wings to set the dihedral and to hold them in place whilst the glue set. I then glued the horizontal stabilizers into position... When the glue had set, I removed the tape and checked both planes to see how they looked so far... Well, that's it for the first update. Next, I will prepare the planes for priming and applying paint. Thanks in advance for taking a look and commenting, much appreciated and in the meantime, if you'd like to watch my "Build Update #1" video on YouTube, here is the link for that: https://youtu.be/PBuSMyQB9bY Cheers, Martin
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