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  1. Finished! First one of a "triplette" (or a serie) of A6M, with an A6M2-N Hasegawa and an A6M5 ko, started two weeks ago.
  2. Rufe Dual Combo (11171) 1:48 Eduard The A6M2-N was developed by Nakajima from the Mitsubishi A6M Zero that we know so well, and was intended to be an interceptor in remote areas where the lack of airfields wouldn’t hinder its operation. It used the majority of the Zero’s fuselage with an adapted tail, plus a substantial single float underneath, and two smaller wing-mounted floats to maintain balance when on the water. Fewer than 330 were made in total, and it saw active service in defensive battles as the noose tightened around the remains of the Japanese Empire toward the end of WWII. It was originally based upon the initial Zero Type 0 airframe, but changed as the Zero itself was improved, some later Rufes based upon the Type 21, finishing production in 1943. The floats reduced its top speed, and made it slightly less agile than its progenitor, but the aircraft that it was pitted against were often second-line Allied types anyway, the more advanced Allied aircraft reserved for the war in Europe, which was intended to be concluded first. It also faired well in anti-bomber operations, where it gave a good account of itself, although suffering substantial losses in the process. It was deployed in 1942 where it was given the name Suisen 2, although the Allied codename was Rufe, just to keep things confusing. As well as serving from remote jetties and make-do refuelling points, it was also flown from dedicated Seaplane Carriers, despite being a floatplane itself, and was engaged in numerous different operations such as reconnaissance, bombing from underwing stations, in addition to its interceptor and fighter roles that it seems to have performed well in, despite the drag and weight reducing its top speed by around 40 knots when compared to the Zero. It was often transported to its next assignment by Seaplane Tenders, conserving fuel and reducing breakdowns that might occur during a maximum range flight of just over 1,100 miles. At war’s end, a single example was overhauled by the French for use in Indochina, but that was quickly lost in an accident, probably due to the pilot’s unfamiliarity with the type. The Kit This is a new tooling from Eduard, based on their recent Zero model, and this first boxing includes two kits in Dual Combo guise, in the same manner as the Zero was launched. The kit arrives in a large top-opening box, with a painting of two Rufes wearing different schemes that are flying over a stylised patterned backdrop, with the word Limited indicating that it won’t be around forever, so snap one up now if you're so minded. Inside the box are ten sprues in grey styrene, two sprues of clear parts, two frets of pre-painted nickel-plated Photo-Etch (PE), a large sheet of pre-cut kabuki tape masks, one large decal sheet and two stencil sheets, and the instruction booklet that is printed in colour with profiles for the decal options on the rear pages. The majority of the sprues are brand-new, with just one that contains the engine and other small parts re-used from the earlier Zero, and the clear parts. That said, the other sprues that are similar but with slight variance in part locations and quantities, which benefits from the work done on the Zero tooling earlier. Detail is exceptional on modern Eduard kits, with raised and recessed features, finely engraved panel lines and rivets across the exterior, and even a beaching trolley included on the sprues. Having built a Zero (unfinished as I type this, to my shame), I’m confident that this kit will go together similarly well, making the modelling time expended on its building extremely pleasurable. Bear in mind that all the sprues are provided in duplicate to allow the completion of two models of the Rufe, giving you the chance to depict it in different camouflages, and/or with different levels of wear and tear. Only the main decal sheet and masks aren’t doubled-up, containing all the individual markings, leaving the stencils on two identical sheets. The instruction booklet has a four-page detailed description of the type from conception through production and service to the end of WWII, written by Jan Bobek, one of the directors of Eduard, who is clearly very interested in the Rufe. After the usual sprue diagrams, which are a useful tool for checking your box for completeness, construction begins with the cockpit sidewalls that are moulded into the fuselage halves, augmenting the ribbing with equipment and controls on both sides, some of which is PE, the rest styrene, and a choice of painted PE or decals for the instruments on the faces of the boxes. The rest of the cockpit interior is then started with the styrene rudder pedals clipped off the part and replaced by new PE loops on the remaining bars. 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, then the pilot’s control column and linkages are all installed on the topside along with the rudders, which are shown from above to assist with placement. The lower sides of the cockpit contain various equipment boxes, which are all either stripped of styrene detail to be replaced by PE parts or covered with decals, and they are then brought together with the rear frame, seat, and floor to create the cockpit assembly, which is then further detailed with more PE on the side consoles or 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. 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 enhanced three-part rudder with clear light, 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 new lower wing half is a single part, which is stiffened by a short spar that stretches across where the gear bays would have been, and on the exterior is a large teardrop location point for the single float. On the inside of the wings there are engraved lines where the folding tips can be cut loose, but for this boxing the folds are ignored or filled later, as it is indicated that only some of the Rufes had this facility. Holes in the lower wing are flashed over and should be opened with a 0.6mm drill if you are mounting bomb racks, then once the wings are closed, 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 rear fillet of the wing assembly is ribbed inside, and is fitted out with some small parts, although they can barely be seen. 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 rib detail moulded-in. These and the wings are added to the fuselage along with some tiny fairings for the aileron actuators, filling the hole where the head cushion for the pilot would normally fit, and a little bunny (yes really) that reminds you to add some nose weight to the model to prevent it sitting on its tail. The model is looking more like an aircraft now, but has no powerplant, which is next to be made up. Both banks of pistons of the Nakajima Sakae radial engine are present, plus a ring of rods front and back, with a two-part reduction gear bell-housing and wiring loom at the front. This assembly fits on a stepped ring that glues to the tapered front of the fuselage, then a brief interlude has you making up the bomb load from halves, adding a PE spinner to the tail and the perpendicular fins with either a square plastic or PE ring at the very rear. Each bomb has its own mounting frame that connects it to the wing via the holes drilled earlier. The engine cowling is built up around a cylindrical jig that should remain unglued unless you enjoy feeling foolish. The intake lip is dry-fitted to a step on 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 carefully 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 that 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 and some appreciation of the engineering involved. For some markings options the small panel lines around the wingtip fold mechanism should be filled, as certain airframes didn’t have the capability. The float is all new, as you’d expect, and comprises the two main halves with the support linking it to the aircraft moulded-in, plus a circular oil-cooler in the front, adding PE mesh and louvres to the front. The forward section of the keel is separate, leaving you to add optional fairings over fuel tank purging equipment that was present on early aircraft, and the rudder to the rear. The bunny makes an appearance again, inciting you to add nose weight to the float to help keep it on the straight and level. As the float projects a long way forward, any weight added here will be more effective. The stabilising floats are simply two parts each, then the main float is located on the raised mount under the wings, with a pair of struts fitted to the aft spar to stabilise it. There is also an optional crew ladder on two Y-supports, should you wish to use it. Under the wings the small floats are inserted into their sockets and an optional pair of bombs are mounted on the holes drilled earlier, roughly where the outboard ends of the wheel bays would be. 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, allowing fitting of the windscreen, then you have a choice of a closed canopy that is a single part 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 post. 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. Four formation lights on stalks are fitted into sockets in the mid-wing, the wing-mounted gun muzzles are inserted into the leading edge with a pitot probe on the port side. The beaching trolley is used as the name suggests to pull the Rufe out of the water for maintenance etc., and was made from wood and metal, starting with a box frame with two V-supports and four vertical risers, plus a tapering front section that has a small castor wheel between the ends. A rectangular sub-frame is made from two layers of styrene, adding a pair of trunnions to either side of the spoked wheels that have solid rubber tyres, and can be left mobile to roll your Rufe around on later. The sub-frame is attached under the main structure, which has a small V-support added to the front, allowing the aircraft to sit within the trolley for movement, with the addition of an inverted T-support behind it that also has a V cut into the upper end that prevents it from tail-sitting once stationary. Scrap diagrams show the finished assembly from various angles to help with completion. The painting guide shows the trolley in grey, but there is conjecture whether it was painted in a dark blue, as discussed in the first few pages of the booklet. Markings There are eight decal options on the main sheet, with later versions having green topsides, while the early airframes are all-over grey in the Pearl Harbour era colour scheme. From the box you can build two of the following: Yokohama Kōkūtai, Tulagi Island, Solomon Islands, August 1942 5th Kōkūtai, Kiska Island, Aleutians, August 1942 C/n 15, Lt. (jg) Keizō Yamazaki, Kōkūtai 802, Shortland Island, February 1943 Kōkūtai 802, Faisi-Pororang Base, Shortland Islands, February 1943 Kōkūtai 452, Bettobi Lake, Shumshu Islands, Kuriles, July 1943 Kōkūtai 802, Emidj Island, Jaluit Atoll, Marshall islands, October 1943 Ensign Jin’ichirō Ozawa, Saebo Kōkūtai, Sasebo Air base, Japan, September 1944 Kōkūtai 934, Ambon Island, Moluku Islands, March 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 two separate sheets, 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. 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. In addition to the decals, there are two full sets of masks for the exterior of the canopies as well as the main and castor wheels of the trolleys, plus the wingtip lights, all of which are in pre-cut kabuki-style tape, and are dealt with on a separate page of the instructions. Conclusion A fabulous new tooling of this unusual fighter floatplane. The pre-painted PE and masks make a great product better, but having two of them in the box makes it awesome. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. So, it's been quite a while since I posted anything..........life and stuff gets in the way. But got some bench time in my shed over the past few weeks and managed to knock this out. No major issues with this, typical Tamiya fit, very little filler needed. Tried for a 'beaten' look as I have seen many others portrayed in this fashion............not sure how successful I have been, but looks "OK" to my eyes. Tried with a small piece of sponge, not brave enough to try the hairspray way (never tried it and was happy with my build and didn't want to mess it up with a poor attempt with hairspray as never tried before). Comments / critique / suggestions warmly welcomed as they will only help me to progress in this hobby. Enjoy:
  4. Hasegawa's 2018 reboxing of their 1:72 Zero with markings for Yoshika Miyafuji´s (Fuso Empire) striker of the Strike Witches anime. You may remember I already did two models based on this show, Getrud Barkhorn's Fw 190D-9 and Me 262 in 1:48. A fair amount of flash on the kit, even though the base kit of this 2018 reboxing was first done in 1993. Anyways, with all my models being in 1:48, I had forgotten how small 1:72 fighters were. Thinking back, I can´t believe I once built a 1:144 Fw 190 either. Decals were standard Hasegawa, thick but useful.
  5. 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
  6. The Zero was my first "fine structure" kit by imcth of Tokyo. These are extraordinary kits, with the aircraft structure in photo-etched stainless steel and engine, undercarriage, weapons, etc in cast white metal. They are VERY different, present interesting challenges and build into superb works of art. I wrote a blog of my build on Tumblr. You can see it here: I am now building imtch's P-51 Mustang and blogging the build here: Blog links removed
  7. Hello there guys. So as promised in my new member post heres the photos of my builds too date, all but one are airfix and the stuka tank buster is revell. Enjoy. These are in pretty much in order (from bottom to the top) of builds apart from the stuka and the RAF benevolent fund hawk and stuka. The benevolant fund hawk was my last build. Any comments and constructive criticisim is welcomed but please be nice
  8. Mitsubishi A6M2b /A6M5 Zero Fighter Type 21/52 'Super Ace Combo' (two kits) 1:72 Hasegawa Blessed with outstanding agility and long range, the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Reisen ‘Zeke’ was able to dominate the early years of the air war in the Pacific theatre. Known by the Allies as the Zero, a contraction of its full designation Type Zero Carrier Fighter, this famous aircraft was designed to be as light as possible in order to make the most of the relatively low power available from its Sakae 12 radial engine. This weight saving became a major Achilles heel for the Zero, however, once heavily armed and armoured opposition such as the Grumman Hellcat entered the fray. The A6M2 was the initial production variant of the Zero, which made its combat debut in China in 1940. By the end of that year, it had achieved phenomenal success, accounting for 59 enemy aircraft without a single loss sustained. This run of success continued at Pearl Harbour when 105 Zeros of the IJN, flying as escorts for torpedo and dive bombers, shot down a number of American aircraft with minimal losses. The A6M5 was an improved variant which entered service in late 1943. It featured stronger wings which permitted higher dive speeds, and a redesigned exhaust system. Some sub-variants featured an improved armored windscreen and heavier armament. Over the years, Hasegawa have produced a pretty comprehensive range of Japanese types in 1:72. Judging by their release schedule, one of their most enduringly popular kits must be the Mitsubishi Zero. This edition contains two complete kits - one Type 21 and one Type 52 Zero – with decal options to represent the aircraft of high scoring aces. The kits are made up of 46 and 48 parts respectively, spread across four sprues of grey plastic plus a one-piece canopy moulded in clear plastic. Although these kits aren’t representative of Hasegawa’s current capabilities, they do sport the delicate, engraved surface detail that the Japanese manufacturer’s kits are famous for. The moulds appear to be in good shape, with just a little flash present here and there. Each cockpit is made up of five parts including a decent seat, control column and rear bulkhead. In common with many other Hasegawa kits of a certain vintage, this area is devoid of raised detail. Instead, you have to use the supplied decals to add interest to the consoles and instrument panel. In contrast to the cockpits, the engines are quite detailed and the two rows of cylinders are moulded separately from one another. The lower wing is moulded in a single span, so you won’t have to worry too much about getting the dihedral of the wings right. The main landing gear bays are moulded in place in the lower wing and feature some convincing structural detail. The undercarriage is reasonably good. The scissor links on the main landing gear legs are particularly nicely rendered. The wheels themselves are not weighted, however, and sport a couple of ugly ejector pin marks that will have to be cleaned up. The addition of fine details such as radio aerials and aileron counter balances set the models off nicely. The canopies moulded in one piece, but are thin and very clear. Five decal options are provided in total: A6M2b of 201st Naval Flying Group, flown by WO Tetsuzo Iwamoto, November 1943; A6M2b, Zuikaku, 2nd Section, 1st Aircraft, NAP 1/C, flown by Tetsuzo Iwamoto, December 1941, Pearl Harbour attack; A6M2b, Oppama Naval Flying Group, NAP 1/C, flown by Tetsuzo Iwamoto, February 1943; A6M5, 253rd Naval Flying Group, flown by WO Tetsuzo Iwamoto, February 1944; and A6M5, 253rd Naval Flying Group, flown by WO Tetsuzo Iwamoto, January-February 1944. The decals themselves are the usual Hasegawa type, being nicely printed but a little thick. In my experience though, Hasegawa decals usually behave pretty well. Conclusion Hasegawa’s Zero is a fairly simple but reasonably refined rendition of a classic World War Two fighter. What the kits lack in cockpit detail, they make up for in other areas such as the engine, wheel wells and overall surface detail. Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for
  9. A6M5 Zero Photo Etch Detail Set for Tamiya Kit 1:72 Eduard Tamiya’s superlative Zero marked a surprising and very welcome return to 1:72 scale by the well-regarded Japanese firm. The kit’s heritage in Tamiya’s larger scale Zeros was apparent through the superb level of detail and engineering. Now Eduard have attempted to gild the lily with a comprehensive set of photo etched detail parts A6M5 Zero (self adhesive) 1:72 Eduard The set is comprised of two frets of parts. The first is an all-singing, all-dancing pre-painted, self-adhesive fret of the type that has now become familiar to Eduard’s customers. It holds parts for the cockpit, including a multi-layered instrument panel and side consoles, rudder pedals, throttle control, and sidewall detail. Also included is a very realistic replacement seat, which fully demonstrates the advantages of photo etch technology over injection moulding. A full set of pre-painted harnesses are also included, as is the decking for the sliding part of the canopy. The second fret contains a handful of smaller parts such as the ignition wiring for the engine and fasteners for the engine cowling, as well as some larger, structural parts. These include a complete set of landing flaps which, thanks to Eduard’s user-friendly design philosophy, simply fold up to create a very effective finish. This fret also contains a host of parts for the undercarriage, including brake lines and parts to line the main landing gear bays. A6M5 Zero (Zoom) 1:72 Eduard The Zoom set is included just the pre-painted self-adhesive fret from the set reviewed above. Given the fabulous level of detail that Tamiya have crammed into their kit, this set would seem to be a wise choice unless you particularly want the landing flaps from the set above. Conclusion This is a great package that will allow you to take an already incredible kit to the next level. If you’ve already invested in Tamiya’s Zero, then you would be well-advised to take a good look at this set too. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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