Fine Molds' 1/72 scale
A6M2b Zero Type 21
by Glen Porter
Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero Type 21
Heller's 1/72 scale Ju 52 is available online from Squadron
Fine Molds’ 1/72 A6M2b is without a doubt the best Zero of any Type in the scale with a host of detail and many optional parts. The next best would be the Hasagawa, good shape but let down by a lack of detail. Third would be the Academy kit, good detail though still no where near Fine Molds and has some shape problems.
As good as the Fine Molds kit is, it is not perfect but it’s mainly the way they’ve marketed it that causes problems. I’m told it was ordered and paid for by Model Graphix magazine from Japan and was initially sold with their November and December 2007 issues and it still comes with those two magazines today.
The complete instructions are part of the magazines along with some history and articles for improvements. Now this still doesn’t seem like a problem until you realize that all of the optional parts, open or close canopy, cow flaps, folded or deployed wing tips, early or late ailerons, wing ammunition doors, wing gun and camera ports are all in the text in Japanese with no clear indication of which goes with which to non Japanese speakers. You can work it out by carefully looking for the part numbers in the captions but that’s not the end of it.
The colour of WWII Japanese aircraft is still somewhat controversial and yes, you guessed it, all of the colour recommendations are in the text. Fortunately for me, I found some people on the net who were able to give me a good indication of the required colours and that seems to be the way to go.
The kit was built straight from the box with one exception. When a Zero’s canopy is open, the canopy rails, like a P-40s, are visible but these are not supplied in the kit.
They are not hard to scratch using some fine plastic strip and this is the only criticism, apart from the instruction or lack there of, I could make.
This is the aircraft flown at Pearl Harbor on the 7th of December 1941 by Japanese ace Iwamoto. As all Zeros at Pearl Harbor were Mitsubishi built, the wheel wells and interior of all gear doors should be Grey Green not metallic Blue/Green as seen in most kit instructions.
I use enamels only for basic colours, mainly Model Master or Tamiya and in this case Tamiya only as they were able to supply all that was required. Acrylics are used for gloss (Tamiya) and matt coats (Gunze) and Tamiya acrylic colours thinned with Methylated Spirits for washes, in this instance, German Grey. Colours used were:
Interior - Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green (IJN).
Black cowl and decking - Tamiya Mat Black and Dark Blue.
Overall Exterior - Tamiya XF-14 J.A. Grey.
Wing Interior (Flaps) - Tamiya Clear Green over Flat Allum.
I didn't add quite enough blue to the black for the engine cowling but this will be rectified for later builds.
The kit decals were used except for the upper wing National Markings which I damaged on application and for which I substituted two from an Aeromaster set which were a bit lighter than those from the kit.
I remarked above that this is the best Zero in 1/72 scale. It is not just the best, it is aeons ahead of anything else. What with the gorgeous detail in the cockpit, engine and wheel wells, options like open and closed cowl flaps, folded wing tips and open or closed canopy which are exactly what the modeller is asking for.
Add to that the quality of the engineering which goes into the parts, an example of which is the sliding canopy which fits in the open position exactly as it should, something that is very rare in Braille Scale kits.
Model, Images and Text Copyright ©
2010 by Glen Poretr
except images with blue background Copyright ©
2010 by Brett Green
Page Created 13 July, 2010
13 July, 2010
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