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  1. Following now with yet more Mitsubishi Ki-15 (this time the I variant, externally differentiated by its Townend ring instead of the full cowl of the II). Still to be determined is if I will go for the mostly seen variant of J-BAAI, or the twin J-BAAL. Or may be both? In any case, in the previous post I used for the II variant the LS/ARII kit. Now I will be using the Mania release later on re-issued by Hasegawa. There is one difference between the Mania and Hasegawa kits. in the Mania sprues the fuselage side windows are flashed over, whilst in the Hasegawa release three windows are opened and the fourth is flashed over. The instructions and decal sets are different too. Both instruction sheets are much better than many contemporary examples. Comparing this kit with the ARII one: I like very much both kits, and again, they are both much better than a bunch of currently released kits. The panel lines are gorgeous, neither trenches nor faint suggestions. The detail on the interior of the Mania/Hasegawa kit is quite better, but alas, the wheel is one piece with the pant, which I find childish and more difficult to paint, whilst on the ARII kit the wheels are separated from the pant. The recent reissue of ARII has two canopies, which is good, since the masking is laborious and can lead to mistakes. And while we are on the subject, I find strange that no aftermarket vendor has come up with masks for these two kits. which are good, have a fair price and are easily obtainable. Mysteries of the kit industry. Somewhat vintage Mania kit: Decals and instructions: Nice canopy: A nice interior: Good surface detail: Fused wheel/pant, a bit of a let down: Again nice surface detail: A prop that will have its spinner: A somewhat credible engine with its exhaust plumbing: The fuselage inside: Bulkhead detail: The more modern Hasegawa issue of the same molds: Same mold, windows flashed over (Mania) and not (Hasegawa): Very nice Yahu Models aftermarket inst. panel: Parts separation a breeze, thanks to sprue gates that don't have the size of a finger: Fine locating pins and holes, a delicate touch: Started interior assembly: Decisions, decisions...to separate those elevators? to get rid of those childish pants-cum-wheel parts?
  2. This is one of the several civil versions of the Ki-15 (I and II) that flew for Japanese newspapers in the late 30s, in this case for Domei News. This somewhat old kit now re-released by Arii is very nice and only needs a few touches to render a nice model. As explained in the building article (posted here as work in progress): there used to be aftermarket decals for this one, but are now OOP, so I had to make my own, helped by the fact that the images needed are very simple and black. The hinomaru were taken from a kit´s stock decal sheet. This worked out as a relatively easy assembly with very few touches as a break from more complex and demanding endeavors, also showing how easy is to take a nice, affordable, available old kit and turn it into something not often seen on shelves and much less in model shows or meetings, where military types tend to be predominant. I found some of the info regarding this build some time ago on the Arawasi website: http://arawasi-wildeagles.blogspot.com/2013/01/mitsubishi-ki-15-ii-domei.html Enjoy this 30s nice civil plane:
  3. After the excesses and debauchery of scratchbuilding, conversions, modifying or detailing models, it´s good to take a break and build something simpler and with a tranquil color scheme (hey, just one color!). Some time ago I bought some kits from the ARII brand of the Mitsubishi Ki-15 (I and II) in order to build the civil versions used as couriers by Japanese newspapers. Now I just started work on the Ki-15 II kit, in order to render one of the newspaper couriers: J-BACL (Domei Press), J-BACK (Osaka Mainichi Shimbun), J-BACR (also Domei Press), or J-BAAO (Asahi Shimbun). All had variations on the side windows, antennas and small marks. Here a Wikipedia photo of J-BACL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Mitsubishi_Karigane_II_J-BACL_owned_by_Domei_Press_%28burnt_1938%29.jpg Rising Decals issued some time ago the J-BIRDS II sheet which has the J-BACL registration (and other civil planes) but is now OOP and unavailable. So if you have to make your own decals anyway, you can go for either of the above. The "new" (not) ARII kit (that seems to be a re-pop of older brands) is very pleasant, with features you wish much modern kits would have. The engraved panel lines are restrained, the surface detail is nice, the breakdown practical. The parts are thin, and not the heavy duty chunks you get even today from certain manufacturers. The transparencies are ok, and the instructions clear enough. The interior is there, although it isn't outstanding, but as usual not much will be seen of it anyway. One issue: an unrealistic "flattened" engine (although in two rows). And two nit-picks: so-so wheels (not much will be seen of them anyway inside the wheel pants), and a not very good rendition of the fabric on the rudder (very easily corrected with just a few passes of fine sanding sponge). The fit seems good, but we'll be checking that as the build progresses. The parts: Nice surface detail: Some detail, just a tad chunky for the Pitot: Again nice surface detail and very good thin parts: ok transparencies: ok instructions: Engine pancake (why did they do that?) and a tad too simple wheels: Fabric detail could be lightly treated to some passes with fine grain sanding sponge: The two additional windows on the fuselage side are slightly blanked, to cater for multiple versions: For this version, one more window, ahead and up, needs to be opened: The idea is to keep this build nice and simple, contrary to what I always do. Some parts glued together. In general good fit, but I removed the locating pins for the nose parts: The interior color is applied: Inst. panel and engine painted: Third window opened: Once the interior is painted, the parts are glued to the fuselage sides: Then the halves are glued together and one of the nose parts is also attached to keep a better grip on the whole. I will also recommend to remove the locating pins here. They are tiny, and don't produce major misalignments, but may be a hair off: Once the fuselage glue had set, wing and horizontal tail were added. Good fit overall with minimal cleanup:
  4. A new Hasegawa 1/32nd mould (The red logo below "2015 New" is "完全新金型" = Completely New Mold ) from the famous Zero fighter late type: Mitsubishi A6M5c Type 52 - ref.ST34 (08884) Release expected in September 2015 Source: http://www.hasegawa-model.co.jp/hp/2015ajhs/2015ajhs_scale.html V.P.
  5. Hello Gentlemen, this is my next build on Britmodeller. FineMolds 1/48th scale Mitsubishi A5M4 "CLAUDE" Imperial Japanese Navy. The Mitsubishi A5M Japanese Navy Type 96 Carrier-based Fighter was the worlds first monoplane shipboard fighter to enter service and the direct ancestor of the Zero fighter. It was designed by Jiro Horikoshi who is the subject of the The Wind Rises which is an animated historical drama film. The model comes on three main sprues. Spure A contains the wing sections, B contains the engine & cockpit details with sprue D the fuselage halves. F is the transparency and P contains 2 poly caps , only one of which is required. The decal sheet has 3 colour schemes. No 1, 14th Naval Air Group, China, 1940, No 2, Aircraft carrier Kaga Naval Air Group, Japan, 1939, & No 3 Naval Third Carrier Division, 1942. There are 68 parts in total (2 of which are not used) 1 transparency & 2 poly caps. The box art. Construction stages 1 to 9 Construction stages 10 to 15 & paint chart. The three colour scheme options. Sprue A. The wing & undercarriage parts. If you look at the surface of the upper wing, you will notice the different shades of plastic. You can see it more with the naked eye. It shows the different panels very well. It will be interesting to see how they look on the finished model after the paint has been applied. Sprue B, The fuselage, engine & cockpit detail with the decal sheet. The transparency is in the decal bag along with the poly caps. I hope to start the kit in the next week or so. I will first remove all the major parts from the sprues and tape them together to get some idea of the fit. Thanks for looking, Joe.
  6. Today I've had some help from a friend - Stew Dapple has been the first person to sample our brand new, up to date and fully corrected WW2 Russian / VVS colours, meaning that the old WEM ACS range based on Eric Pilawskii's book is consigned to the past. The new Sovereign Hobbies Colourcoats ACS range is based on the latest understanding of the Russian colours and we trust our customers will be very pleased with them. The revamped Russian colours bring the camouflage range to: ACS01 - A.11 Blue ACS02 - AMT7 Blue ACS03 - A.11 Green ACS04 - A.11 / AMT Black ACS08 - AMT4 Olive Green ACS11 - AMT11 Blue Grey ACS12 - AMT12 Dark Grey ACS14 - AE9 Grey ACS15 - A.11 Light Brown ACS17 - 4BO Army Green ACS19 - MK7 White ACS20 - Yellow Grey ACS21 - A14 Steel Grey ACS22 - K.11 KR Red BUT WAIT! THAT'S NOT ALL! We have also revised our Japanese colour ACJ16 - the ash-grey shade used on Mitsubishi built A6M2 Zekes (Zeros). This has been matched to the research of Nick Millman, probably the most respected authority on Japanese WW2 colours in the world. ACJ16 - Mitsubishi Zero Grey-Green
  7. After the A5M2b "Claude" (late version) (http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235000512-148-mitsubishi-a5m2b-type-96-claude-late-version-by-wingsy-kits-released/) , Wingsy Kits is to release in February 2017 a 1/48th A5M4 Type 96 fighter IV "Claude" kit - ref.D5-02 Sources: http://www.wingsykits.com/product/d5-02-ijn-type-96-carrier-based-fighter-iv-a5m4-claude-148/ http://www.wingsykits.com/2017/01/11/happy-new-year-2017/ https://www.facebook.com/Wingsykits/photos/a.961746970607307.1073741830.942347975880540/1191337384314930/?type=3&theater V.P.
  8. Doing this model I experienced mild disappointment Hasegawa. The model is a nice fit, but when it came to the red cabin, I realized that is not the best cast. On the windscreen are not nice Bases were defined, and the whole cabin was slightly twisted. Therefore I had a big problem that I install properly. Better than I could. The plane on the shelf looks quite correctly, while the camera shows the error. Here's the picture:
  9. Right so I've been getting myself back into the swing of things with this since the end of Jan/early Feb. I brought this little set last year sometime: I wont be using the Hobby-Design engine transkit though as I believe its designed after the evo IV-VI engines which were turned around 180 degrees compared to the evo I-III. The decals for the '93 Portugal event are yellowed somewhat: So I took a root around in my Decal stash and decided on these for the 1993 Monte Carlo: The only noticeable difference between the Monte and Portugal cars, aside from the obvious livery changes is that the Monte cars didn't feature roof vents. I have also decided to lower the ride height. But I'm leaving the building of the suspension pars until last so I can get a clear picture of how much needs cutting out the struts. I started by assembling the roll cage, though I left off the rear bar were the seat belts attach for reasons that will become clear later lol. I did have to repair the top bars as they had broken in transit. I don't think you can see the repair unless you look for it After priming and painting all the parts that needed to be white I made a start on the decaling. The large red, silver and black swoops on the rear were a bit of a pain and I had a bit of trouble around the C pillar. The decal instructions call for the rear spoiler to be painted TS-49 so hopefully if I decant a little I can touch up the tears. I still need to paint the red strip around the bottom of the car. The decals are useless so once I've clear coated the body I'll mask and paint them on. The wheels are ready for clear too: The past week whilst the body has been left for the decals to fully dry out I've been working on the interior. I did toy with the idea of using Kevlar decals on the sump and seat backs but I wanted a simple build to restart my modelling mojo and the seatbelts were daunting enough haha. I used Humbrol 93 as the colour matches the Kevlar decals I normally use. I think it looks good lol. The last couple of days I've been working on the seat belts and finishing off the interior parts. Now some may notice the rear bar for the roll cage in that last pic. Hindsight from my evo IV build, which erroneously uses the same floor and interior as these, taught me that trying to mount the seat belts to the bar when its attached to the rest of the cage and mounted to the interior tub is very fiddly and this way is much easier hehe. I've also got the dash 99.5% complete: I've just got to paint the bolts on the steering wheel and the row of switches above the kill switch. I should have the interior finished later today and maybe the body will get clear coated too. TTFN Ashley.
  10. Was a bit of a struggle at the very end but I'm calling it done. Build thread here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234998472-mitsubishi-lancer-rs-1993-monte-carlo-rally/ Kits built oob apart from the addition of the spare wheel and the lowering of the ride height. Pics ahoy: Thanks to those that have followed the build and as always comments are welcome TTFN Ashley
  11. As I have 3 Japanese trainers in the stash I may as well tackle one as a practice run once I return to the fold properly. However I will need the correct paint (or near enough as I can make it factory fresh or faded). Emptying boxes I found I have Revell #30 but am unsure about it's suitability. Is it passable or is there a Humbrol or Tamiya option as ideally I don't want to get into mixing %s or special ordering (preferably available in Antics) I know the it's been discussed before as I've read similar requests at least once, but as usual Murphy's law says if I want a specific thread I won't be able to find it... Even delving elsewhere on the webosphere simply brings up mixes, technical specs etc as opposed to a simple 'use paint X' .... Thx in advance. - or alternative schemes for a Dinah trainer is another option (the Willow is much easier!)
  12. Sword is to release a 1/72nd Mitsubishi J2M2 Raiden model 11 (late version) kit - ref. SW72091 Source: http://www.hyperscale.com/2015/reviews/kits/swordpreviewbg_15.htm 2 decals versions: - 301st Naval Air Group,April 1944 Yokosuka AB/Kanagawa - 302st Naval Air Group,March 1944 Kisarazu AB/Chiba V.P.
  13. Hi, this is my rebuild of a Lancer Evo VI
  14. 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
  15. Hi, Another archive model from my shelvs - Mitsubishi Ki 46 III Dinah. Except markings this is OOB work (LS kit), done in ... 1977 ... Some time ago. Markings are from 81 Direct Command Squadron JAAF, New Guinea 1944. I just cleaned it and added new Vallejo mat coat. Comments welcome Jerzy-Wojtek
  16. Hi Still some Japan airplanes from my archive shelvs remains not posted yet. Today I would like to share with Mitsubishi Ki 21 II type 97, in Allies code "Sally". Markings are from 12 Sentai, 1 Chutai JAAF, China 1942. NM is sprayed from can, green spots are painted with hairy stick. Original Hinomarus cracked with years - just before posting I had to replace them by a Techmod ones. Comments welcome and regards Jerzy-Wojtek
  17. The Mitsubishi A5M Claude is best known as the predecessor of the A6M Zero, but it was a very capable plane in its own right. I've always liked its looks, especially the curves of the rear fuselage are a thing of beauty. I picked up the Nichimo kit for a few quid while on holiday in Japan a few years back. I had never seen it before, and it was being rereleased at that time. It's an old kit, but it has some modern features. The flaps are separately molded, and the kit has recessed panel lines. Fit is ok, I needed some filler in the usual areas at the wing roots and rear wing to fuselage joint. Quite a few of the parts had extensive mold lines and flash, this was particularly an issue on the propeller, which was left a bit thin after all the carving I had to do on it. The main challenge on the kit was the windshield; it had a lot of flash, and after cleaning it I realized some of the flash wasn't in fact flash - this left a huge gap between windscreen and forward fuselage, which required filling. I used white primer, followed by red on the tail and locations of the hinomarus, subsequently masking those off, resulting in nicely sprayed markings in those areas. However, I forgot to do the hinomarus on the fuselage, and used the decals for those, which luckily had a similar shade of red. The rest of the kit was sprayed with Games Workshop Runefang Steel, which is my favorite NMF paint now; it hardens very quickly and doesn't pick up finger prints. I gave it wash with some dark grey water colors. All in all a relatively easy build, and one that looks pretty good next to much more modern kits.
  18. Anigrand is to release in February 2015 a 1/72nd Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin resin kit - ref.AA-2101 Source: http://www.anigrand.com/AA2101_ATD-X.htm V.P.
  19. Combat Models is to release (soon?) a 1/32nd Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" vacuform kit Source: http://combatmodels.us/home V.P.
  20. Mitsubishi T-2 Blue Interior Set 1:72 Platz While the New Tool Platz T-2 is great, there is always room for improvement over injected plastic parts. To complement their new kit Platz have brought out a double fret photo etched parts set for the interior. The set contains parts for; The Instrument panels, bulkhead vents, ejections seats, side consoles, canopy rails & frames, and the instrument coaming. Despite being called the "interior" set it also contains coloured landing lights, a few small landing gear compartments, along with a myriad of external antenna. The set is manufactured by Eduard and is upto their usual top quality. Even though not technically "needed" for the new kit it will make a difference of you wish to open the cockpits, and the antenna will look more to scale. Overall recommended if you like you photo etch, in addition if you are a PE newbie then there is nothing here which would tax you and it could be a good place to start. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Hi folks,with the 1/24 Hurricane finished and only a much smaller mustang on the go I thought I would try to re-visit my old scale of 1/48,I got this kit at Sunderland,s air museum a few weeks ago for the pricely sum of £7.all fully sealed and with the novelty of a motor and base.I was suprised by the recessed lines as I have come across other older Tamiya kits that featured raised details the kit is up to tamiya,s usual high standard with a seated and standing figure so with two other 1/48 builds gone west since joining BM let,s hope its third time lucky!
  22. Mitsubishi F-1 1:72 Platz The Mitsubishi F-1 is a single seat multi-role fighter which was designed and built jointly by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy industries. A total of 77 were built for the Japanese Air Self Defence Force. The F-1 was the first indigenous jet fighter to be made in Japan. In the late 1960s the JASDF looked at getting an advanced trainer which could also be used in the ground attack and anti-shipping roles. After looking at licence building both the SEPECAT Jaguar and the Northrop T-38 Talon it was decided they would develop their own trainer the Mitsubishi T-2. As is common with a lot of military projects delays and cost over runs in the T-2 programme initially lead to the cancellation of the proposed attack version. However problems in another programme, that to replace the P-2 maritime patrol aircraft would be the saviour for the F-1. With the cancellation of this aircraft would bring a freeing up of funds which would be used to bring forward the F-1. The new aircraft would bring in the absolute minimum of changes from the twin seat trainer. One of the most obvious differences is that the rear cockpit has been converted into an avionics bay and is plated over with an unglazed hatch. Two additional hard points were added for carrying weapons and an internal 20mm Vulcan cannon was fitted. A new radar unit was also fitted for the strike role. The aircraft has a total of seven hard points, the inner two being wet for the carriage of external tanks. The main weapon for the anit-ship role is ASM-1 & ASM-2 missile. Roughly equivalent to the Harpoon/Exocet. Sidewinders can be carried on wing tip rails for self defence and for use in a secondary role as an air defence aircraft. A full complement of mainly US designed rocket pods and bombs can also be carried. The aircraft is powered by a pair of licence built Adour Mk801 engines. Only a planned 77 of 160 were built. The F-1 was subject to a service life extension programme in the 1990s to add another 500 hours to the airframe. 70 aircraft were modified providing them with a modern fire control system, the ability to launch infra red homing bombs and a more robust canopy. The F-1 was replaced in some sqns by the new F-2s and in some sqns by the less than new (but upgraded) F-4EJ Kais! The F-1 finally retired in 2006. The Kit I must say as a fan of post WWII Japanese aviation its a pleasure to see this new kit from Platz. There is nothing wrong with the Existing Hasegawa kit but it is now starting to show its age. This kit appeared unexpected from Platz and most welcome it is. As you would expect from a new tool kit the mouldings are sharp and crisp with finely engraved panel lines and rivet detail where needed. The moulding are fairly conventional with a left & right fuselage, one part upper wing with lower parts fitting in. The main wing fits over the top of the fuselage so there are no butt joint wings which is good. In one break from tradition the vertical tail is one part which fits onto the top of the fuselage. Its good to see that one of the main weapons for the F1 the ASM-1 anti-ship missile is provided as a pair. You also get four external fuel tanks, a pair of sidewinders and unusually for a model kit a practice bomb dispenser. Its good to see this provided as it was more often seen in training than the other weapons. Construction with no surprise starts with the cockpit. As its the F-1 only the front cockpit is used with a solid fairing making up the rear with a bulkhead fitted to it to screen it off. The instrument panel and side consoles can be painted or decals from the decal sheet used. Once the cockpit is installed the fuselage can be closed up and the intakes fitted. These have a little bit of depth to them but are no where near full length. The main fuselage parts do not wrap underneath but separate inserts must then be added. A side insert for the 20mm gun is then added (as its an insert we can hope a gunless T-2 is coming!) Following this its time for the wings. The main wing comes as one part for the top to which the bottom inserts are added. The wings are designed so that the trailing edges are on the one part top wing, and separate leading edges are provided in order that they can be of a realistic scale thickness as well. Holes need to be added for the landing light clear parts and wing pylons at this stage. At least this mean if you dont want to use all the pylons you will not have holes to fill. The tail panes and vertical fin can now be added. Though I suspect some will leave the tail planes off until later. Following this a three part exhaust nozzle for each side is added along with airbrakes which can be posed either open or closed. The follows the landing gear which does not appear to be too complex. There are also quite a few nicely moulded intakes and exhaust for equipment bays etc to be added. Lastly the pylons can be added as needed and the weapons built up and added. Canopy The canopy is quite thin and seems very clear. A framed windscreen is provided alongside a one piece windscreen. The instructions indicate that the one part screen was fitted after 1989, so a double check on your reference if you can find them would be a good idea. Decals With this release Platz have given us a selection of standard squadron markings. The temptation could have been to go with one of the many special schemes worn over the years, however I think its good they have given us five standard schemes. 3 Sqn Late. 3 Sqn Early. 6 Sqn. 8 Sqn Early. 8 Sqn Late. The decals are printed by Cartograf of Italy and are up to their exact standards. They are glossy and in register with great colour definition. Fine sealant lines for the canopy are included in white on the decal sheet though its almost impossible to see these on the scan (top left corner). A full compliment of stencils are provided on the sheet as well as decals for the weapons, and what also look to be Remove Before Flight Tags. Given Platz's normal aftermarket decal sheets its pleasure to see all the stencilling on this sheet. Hopefully given the number of special schemes and the use of different camo we might see more boxings from Platz, or a release of some of their great decals in 1.72 scale to compliment this kit. Conclusion This is welcome kit from Platz, a great improvement on the older kits available, a great new tool kit for those of us who like to model modern Japanese subjects. Looking at the parts breakdown I am hoping we will see a T-2 soon. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Source: http://www.zoukeimur...tml#Ipms1211Lst After two years of research next Zoukei-Mura 1/32nd Super Wings Series will be a Mitsubishi J2M Raiden "Jack. V.P.
  24. Mitsubishi A6M2a Zero Type 11 Combo 1:72 Hasegawa The Mitsubishi A6M Type 0 which became more infamously known simply as the 'Zero' entered operational service in 1940 as a replacement for the A5m which its self only entered service in 1937. The brief was to design an aircraft that had to make use of available engines which was a limiting factor at that time with outputs of sub 1000hp. To meet the need for a high performance long range fighter, the solution was to keep weight to an absolute minimum. This was partly achieved through a clever design using a new light weight alloy, but also by sacrificing armour for the engine and crew as well as self sealing tanks. First going into combat against Chinese Polikarpov I-15s and I-16s, considerable success was achieved. On the first encounter, 13 aircraft were shot down without loss. Its success lay in its incredible manoeuvrability and range of about 1600 miles. The design had a low wing loading which heavily contributed to these characteristics as well as helping in its role of carrier based fighter for take off and landing. Early combat with US naval fighters enhanced its fearful reputation even further as it heavily outclassed its rivals in the Pacific. The balance began to shift in 1943 as new allied aircraft and better tactics began to appear where as the Zero became restricted by engine performance and lack of armour. Even the later variants only had engines of around 1100hp in comparison to engines delivering 2000hp in the US Navy line up. Allied pilots had learned not to 'mix' it with the zero's, instead they fought on their terms using tactics like the 'boom and zoom' where they would dive to make a high speed passing attack then climb to safety using the high energy they'd collected on the way down. US naval fighters of the time such as the Hellcat benefitted from more powerful engines allowing them to carrier plenty of armour. This armour often allowed the aircraft to take considerable punishment from Zero's and still get its pilot back. Although the zero remained in service and production until 1945, more capable aircraft had begun to replace it. By the war's end, around 11,000 aircraft had been built which had accounted for around 1500 US aircraft lost in combat. The kit When it comes to 1/72 Zero's, it's not surprising given its fame that there are several kits on the market. As well as the old Heller kits, Tamiya, Academy and Airfix have rivals on the market with the Airfix introducing a brand new kit recently. The kits contained in this pack aren't new moulds, they date back quite a few years. The artwork leaves you under no confusion as to what you might find in the box. On removing the lid you're presented with two packs, each containing one model kit. Each kit is supplied on 4 light grey sprues and of course a clear one. First impressions are good. Very little flash is evident, although there is some small amounts such as on one of the wing tips, but certainly nothing to give concern. Panel lines are recessed and very refined, in my opinion much better than the new Airfix kit which are much more pronounced and out of scale. The design of the kit is quite traditional, the fuselage being supplied in two halves with a one piece lower wing and individual upper wings. The control surfaces are moulded integrally to the wings and tail surfaces as is the tail wheel. Assembly starts with the cockpit. Typically Hasegawa, detail here is 'acceptable'. Compared to the cockpit detailing we've come to expect from companies like Eduard there is certainly plenty of room for improvement. There is a basic seat, rear bulkhead, floor, panel and control stick. If this bothers you, some additional detail to the panel and side walls as well as seatbelts might be an option to consider either through scratchbuilding or aftermarket if this leaves you underwhelmed. The cockpit is sandwiched between the fuselage halves and the nose gun panel fitted over the instrument panel once closed up. The wings are then mounted to the fuselage. The wheel wells are nicely detailed for the scale, although are quite shallow. The engine too is elegantly detailed with two separate banks of cylinders that need to be attached then the gearbox unit mounted to the front. The cowling is supplied on its own fret and moulded in one piece which is useful ensuring that you're not left with a seam to hide. The carburettor intake and exhausts are then mounted to this part to complete the nacelle unit. Taking a photo of the cowling was quite difficult due to the fret mounted around it in an unusual way. There is some flash and a fret cross member to remove from inside the cowling, so care should be taken in doing this to prevent any damage. The undercarriage legs and doors are excellent. The doors are very thin with some detail on both interior and exterior surfaces. Unfortunately the wheels have some protruding ejector pin marks on the tyres which will need to be sanded off which will be a delicate operation. The propeller comes with a hub, backplate and three individual blades that need to be fitted in place. The kit comes supplied with a long range belly tank typically used on long range missions. The canopy moulding is excellent for the scale, very thin and hardly any distortion. My only criticism here is the lack of an option to have an open cockpit. If you do prefer to have your cockpit open, an aftermarket option would be the solution. The decals Now here is a review of two halves. The decals themselves look very good. The print is very sharp and finely registered. Some stencil details are included to give the exterior some interest too. I am however disappointed at the options available. You have choice of a grey scheme with blue bands or a grey scheme with blue and white bands (see the box top shown at the top of the review). Four aircraft options are included as listed below, however I have come to expect somewhat more options included in my kits, particularly where two are included in the pack. At the very least, it would of been good to have some contrasting schemes included, particularly as this pack isn't placed at the budget end of the range. Decals are provided for the following: 14th Naval Group 1940: '9-182', '9-172' 12th Naval Group 1940 '3-163' and 1941 '3-183' Conclusion Well, this is certainly a good kit. It gives a good scale representation with some finely recessed panel lines and enough detail to give a pleasing build out of the box with typical Hasegawa quality. An open cockpit option and somewhat different decal option would of been a nice addition, however these are all available from the aftermarket if it's important to you. Out of the box by comparison, the new Airfix kit benefits from cockpit detail which is lacking in this kit, but the panel lines in Hasegawas representation are much more reserved looking much better in this scale. With two kits provided, you could build a pleasing little diorama of the two together which is something I'm considering with these. UK distributors for
  25. Pretty well there - beautiful kit to build - hopefully to be published in a future edition of Military in Scale: Iain
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