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1/32 A6M2 Zero - My first and very long build


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Hello people 👋🏻

 

I've decided to share my progress here with everyone. Could  be useful for someone in future. I started it back December and still in early stages. I've decided not to dump all my pictures at once, instead I will "feed" you day by day with my progress on various stages and little pointers. 😉

Please, keep in mind that this is my first model since my last one about 15 years ago in my school years. Also this is my first time ever working with airbrush (childhood dream), weathering techniques (had no idea about them) and array of quality tools/paints to make modeling more enjoyable. And yes, I had no idea about existence of aftermarket parts as well. It was a huge discovery for me when I first watched David Damek video on youtube. He is an exceptional modeller and his work brought me back into this interesting hobby.

 

The choice of the first model was quite weird, if being honest with you. I was going to do a Spitfire IX due to its huge significance in WWII. However, due to the complexity of the paint job and other building quirks (1/32 Tamiya with all opening parts), I opted for a “simpler” paint job of not less historically important A6M2 from the attack on Pearl Harbor. How little I knew… if you want to do Japanese aircraft as accurately as possible, you would need to do a ton of supplemental research in order to apply correct colors (Tamiya’s paint reference manual should be taken with a huge grain of salt or thrown away). There are not much reference material regarding correct colors, avionics, etc. and a lot of discussions continue up until this very day. I have to perform extensive research on different forums and picture references in order to come up with an idea of how correctly to paint this airplane. For example, endless discussions of Aotake and its shades; just like an outer shell in grey, mustard-green or grey-green... you get the idea. I’ve decided to spice it up with a few extras to make it more detailed (see: complicated) and more interesting in the end (of course, at the expense of the extra time it is going to take). Did I also say that I want to make it look perfect? 😀 Hardship of perfectionism...

 

So, here we go.. Buckle up!

lO1L2y0.jpg

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I will be watching this build with interest. A great selection of aftermarket, by the way.

 

Chris.  

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9 minutes ago, spruecutter96 said:

I will be watching this build with interest. A great selection of aftermarket, by the way.

 

Chris.  

Thank you Chris. I scooped up everything I could. Except for decent decals. I have Montex stencils but for misc lettering and other stuff I need decals. So far not much luck with HGW transfers. According to my research Im not the only one struggling with them.

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Alright. This is not in the order of my "manufacturing" list but extremely great news! I would like to announce that I was finally able to finish the prop!! It is a big deal for me because I was working on it since mid-June and just couldn't get the right finish of polished aluminium. I keep betting on a wrong horse (Mr. Metallic color Aluminium) and wasted 3.5 bottles without getting any closer to completion due to this paint particular property (you can read more about my issues here). Anyway, I decided to switch to Alclad II Polish Aluminium and.. oh boy.. this stuff is fabulous! I understand this is a well-known fact and I had great results with the Alclad Aluminium frame and it works splendid but somehow I got carried away by polishable Mr. Metallic color and kept trying to no avail. 

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A few pointers here:

 

1. Behind Mr. Color "IJA propeller color" over-sprayed with Alclad Clear Kote Flatt.

2. The "core" hub bears representation of raw/unpolished aluminum just like I've seen in brochures provided by a very nice and kind fellow Toryu. Thank you, Michael! It was sprayed with Alclad Aluminium 101 over not polished black Mr surfacer 1500.

3. Strips were sprayed on using my own masks and were a time-consuming project. Mr. Color "Hinomaru markings" color was used.

4. You may ask "hey, where are the yellow manufacturer labels?" well, this is something I put off and maybe eventually leave out. I cannot use decal softeners on Alclad paint and not even on their Aqua gloss (which is superior metallic finish protectant, tbh). I will not destroy my polished aluminum shine with traditional varnishes (Mr GX100, etc) so until I find any decent and thin solution for this yellow decal, it will be absent. In the worst-case scenario, I will have to omit it because the Tamiya decal without Mr Softener is just too thick. HGW transfers hit or miss so far... and they require Mr Softener anyway.

5. I don't even dare to count how many dozens of hours I spent on it in total on this prop. But hey, the prop can make or break the entire look of the aircraft. 😉

6. Thank you for reading this long post. Stay tuned for more.  😀

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And off we go. I've decided to start with one of the most exciting and the hardest parts of the entire model - the cockpit. This is hard because I decided to make it harder (see "more realistic") by adding extra details and constantly researching appropriate colors for details. As you can see, I've added photoetch parts from Eduard to the best of my abilities according to their manual sheet. But this all pales in comparison to scratch-built piping on the floor area. Bent by hand and tweezers out of assorted rolls of soldering wire. I know, they look too perfect and straight in comparison to the real thing, but I prefer them to be this way to keep everything in place and organized. The next step will be a primer and paint.

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The floor pan has been painted. Yay! [I did my best trying to adjust the color of the picture] Without any hesitation, I chose AK interactive Mitsubishi Interior color (RC306) because Zeros at Pearl Harbor were built by Mitsubishi and this is exactly what I'm coming after (not Tamiya's vague & generic "interior green"). I was hesitant whether I should paint piping or leave it as bare metal. After thorough testing, I chose to paint it with Mr. Color Silver (8). Black boxes on the floor were at first painted by hand with Vallejo Black but the paint didn't want to stick well and smooth no matter what I tried so I masked the heck out of this entire part and airbrushed it with Tamiya, the result is splendid. Red handles and switches were painted by hand with Vallejo, no drama here. Don't mind chips on the edges, they never going to be seen. 🙂

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A hefty bit of work was accomplished. Sides took a lot of time to complete. I tried to paint everything as separate as possible (for example black colored boxes, black handle knobs), while some parts required manual brush of a micro-size (silver piping in general). I also drilled the lightening holes on both sides, I don't understand why Tamiya did half-a$$ed job here.
The entire part was a piece of work by itself with all the details needed to be painted and lots of PE parts installed. The result is quite satisfying, imo.
On radio controls I used AK-interactive pencils, I couldn't trust myself a brush for such fine details. Maybe next time though...

h4TQX2r.jpg

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This little panel took me about 12 work hours (if you combine productive time only from start to finish of several days). A lot of meticulous details were involved, my eyes didn't like it :D Next step will be glass dials and light washing in order to give it a volume. Once again, sorry for colors, I'm working on improvement.

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Top notch work! 👍

 

On 11/08/2020 at 01:22, luftmodels said:

I know, they look too perfect and straight in comparison to the real thing, but I prefer them to be this way to keep everything in place and organized.

It looks quite natural, well done.

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22 hours ago, Nikolay Polyakov said:

Top notch work! 👍

 

It looks quite natural, well done.

Thank you Nikolay. If it really does then I pleased. 😉

 

2 hours ago, Thom216 said:

Exceptional stuff! The additional details and paint are great.

Thank you! The paint in pictures is very close to the one in real life, black background threw the white balance off and I will work this issue out. But thanks!

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This part was a project of its own. Assemble of quite complicated PE parts on top of the removal of original plastic details gave me a runaround. 😅 Being it a dual-color combo (green on one side and aotake on another), it complicated matters even further. Did I tell you how much I like to complicate things? 😆 To make it even more complicated (due to my shaky hands), I had decided to mask the entire thing just to paint black parts. It took me easily 4-5 hours to mask every nook and crany of this wall. The final result was well worth it: sharp and straight lines which are quite impossible to do freehand (in my case). I like the way PE look here, they do add some realism and don't look as clunky as original plastic.

spacer.pngGA74Jux.jpgmSkfHg9.jpg

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11 hours ago, luftmodels said:

Did I tell you how much I like to complicate things? 😆

We’ve already noticed... 😉

 

11 hours ago, luftmodels said:

The final result was well worth it: sharp and straight lines which are quite impossible to do freehand (in my case). I like the way PE look here, they do add some realism and don't look as clunky as original plastic.

It’s worth it. I’m starting every kit with an attitude to make things as good as possible - perfect, but it’s not so easy to hold the bar until the end of the build.

 

Keep up the good work! 👍

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1 hour ago, Nikolay Polyakov said:

We’ve already noticed... 😉

 

It’s worth it. I’m starting every kit with an attitude to make things as good as possible - perfect, but it’s not so easy to hold the bar until the end of the build.

 

Keep up the good work! 👍

Thank you! I agree with you. Sometimes it is very hard to achieve what we imagined in our mind. But we have to do our best because this is the only sure way to get the result we dream about. 😉

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Another fiddly job. I went the hard way and installed loads of PE details which are so hard to glue and keep in place because of the very narrow glue contact area. Also, I had to separate the oxygen tanks and remove their plastic holders and bases to use PE attachments, looks much more real but.. it will never be seen again once installed. Waste of time? Material? Both? Every builder has to answer these very questions to themselves when they build the model.

aF7Bxgb.jpg

________

The next part I'm going to make from scratch is a sort of bungee cord, which was used for seat suspension. It was bent out of copper wire wrapped in silky insulation, created a good appearance of bungee cord on a lower scale. The lower seat attachments were recycled from PE sprue parts. You are looking at a complete but unpainted cord. It will be painted in satin black afterward.

BqLzja3.jpgLn21acw.jpg

 

Complete and painted:

xfEzbvy.jpg

 

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Tough nut. Took me hours to get this result. Extremely small and fiddly just like neurosurgery where you can't touch anything with your bare fingers, the tools are must and the only mean of working with such tiny and delicate details. This half result took me hours to achieve, and still have more to accomplish...

8gc1nur.jpgoObWIVw.jpg

 

Seat belts on. Due to the stiffness of paper, it took some time to shape them in proper form. Being in a proper scale, they still seem a bit big without a pilot, and this made them a bit cumbersome to properly organize/place and attach to the seat. Just like I said before, I'm not particularly impressed with the amount of effort it took and the outcome I received. Next time I will try some PE option and see what is better.
But for now, this part/cockpit section is 100% complete.

5V6utUt.jpg

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Fantastic work on both the propeller and the interiors, The 1:32 is unforgiving and there is always the risk of making the models look like toys and not replicas.
I will follow you interested

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2 minutes ago, spartacus2000 said:

Fantastic work on both the propeller and the interiors, The 1:32 is unforgiving and there is always the risk of making the models look like toys and not replicas.
I will follow you interested

Thank you so much! Yeah, I start to feel the pressure of 1/32 modeling! 😅

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Looks great, and I love the attention to detail, so it takes a lot of time but that is not a problem as it is what this hobby is all about, hours of fun from simple bits of plastic being painted and glued together. Mind you the RB Seatbelts do test my patience at times but they are worth it.

 

Keep up the good work

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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On 16/08/2020 at 23:11, luftmodels said:

Seat belts on. Due to the stiffness of paper, it took some time to shape them in proper form. Being in a proper scale, they still seem a bit big without a pilot, and this made them a bit cumbersome to properly organize/place and attach to the seat.

The belts looks like real... Anyway, they’re real! 👍 All your current cockpit sub assemblies are eye candy.

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22 hours ago, spitfire said:

Looks great, and I love the attention to detail, so it takes a lot of time but that is not a problem as it is what this hobby is all about, hours of fun from simple bits of plastic being painted and glued together. Mind you the RB Seatbelts do test my patience at times but they are worth it.

 

Keep up the good work

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

Thank you! Yeah, I totally agree with you. However, I've seen results with PE belts as good as RB ones and they were much more inclined to shape accordingly. :) Eager to try on my next one.

 

9 hours ago, Nikolay Polyakov said:

The belts looks like real... Anyway, they’re real! 👍 All your current cockpit sub assemblies are eye candy.

Thank you, Nikolay! I appreciate it!

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The instrument panel was another project made of 20 parts (including PE). Painted with the same interior color (AK interactive Mitsubishi interior green) and used AK interactive pens for outlining black circles and black screws. For "glass" appearance I used Model Master clear gloss varnish (2 drops, let it dry 12 hours between applications). The dials are PE parts which were much better than original decals on clear plastic.
A very light application of [dark for green vehicles] wash just to recreate "in service" look.
Quite happy with the result!

J1bLw50.jpg

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On 8/9/2020 at 6:53 PM, luftmodels said:

Hello people 👋🏻

 

I've decided to share my progress here with everyone. Could  be useful for someone in future. I started it back December and still in early stages. I've decided not to dump all my pictures at once, instead I will "feed" you day by day with my progress on various stages and little pointers. 😉

Please, keep in mind that this is my first model since my last one about 15 years ago in my school years. Also this is my first time ever working with airbrush (childhood dream), weathering techniques (had no idea about them) and array of quality tools/paints to make modeling more enjoyable. And yes, I had no idea about existence of aftermarket parts as well. It was a huge discovery for me when I first watched David Damek video on youtube. He is an exceptional modeller and his work brought me back into this interesting hobby.

 

The choice of the first model was quite weird, if being honest with you. I was going to do a Spitfire IX due to its huge significance in WWII. However, due to the complexity of the paint job and other building quirks (1/32 Tamiya with all opening parts), I opted for a “simpler” paint job of not less historically important A6M2 from the attack on Pearl Harbor. How little I knew… if you want to do Japanese aircraft as accurately as possible, you would need to do a ton of supplemental research in order to apply correct colors (Tamiya’s paint reference manual should be taken with a huge grain of salt or thrown away). There are not much reference material regarding correct colors, avionics, etc. and a lot of discussions continue up until this very day. I have to perform extensive research on different forums and picture references in order to come up with an idea of how correctly to paint this airplane. For example, endless discussions of Aotake and its shades; just like an outer shell in grey, mustard-green or grey-green... you get the idea. I’ve decided to spice it up with a few extras to make it more detailed (see: complicated) and more interesting in the end (of course, at the expense of the extra time it is going to take). Did I also say that I want to make it look perfect? 😀 Hardship of perfectionism...

 

So, here we go.. Buckle up!

lO1L2y0.jpg

Good stuff, looks like you are making fine progress. I agree with you about David Damek (Plasmo models on YouTube). He is one of the world's best modellers and his videos are amazing! Add to that all the tips and tricks he shares and you have a complete modelling resource. 

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22 minutes ago, James G said:

Add to that all the tips and tricks he shares and you have a complete modelling resource.

Absolutely! And he makes it to look so easy.. until you start doing it yourself :)

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