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A6M

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  1. Hello Sean, Good to see you back again. As far as I can tell Nakajima did NOT reposition the fuselage stencil. Below is a pic taken of Nakajima built manufacturer number 3471, HKK 1033. The fuselage stencil can faintly be seen in the left hand image and when compared to the close-up on the right its position is quite clear. HKK 1045 is seen in the photo below. The very left edge of the stencil is visible and I have added in the rest of the stencil. On page 10 of this thread Ed DeKiep wrote that he believed HKK 1045 to be Nakajima m/n 5459. This would place the date of manufacture in early December 1942. In November of 1942, the Japanese Navy revised the nomenclature for the Zero. The Type Zero Mark 1 Carrier-Based Fighter Model 2 was henceforth to be known as the Type Zero Carrier-Based Fighter Model 21 (Rei Shiki Kanjo Sentoki Ni Ichi Gata). Nakajima revised its stencil accordingly. Therefore use Tamiya Decal 125. Decal 126 is for the earlier named A6M2. In October of 1942 the Navy also ordered that the date of manufacture was no longer to be applied on Navy aircraft. To comply with this order Nakajima left the third line of the stencil blank. The two “dashes” ( - - ) printed on the third line of the stencil should also be deleted. Lastly, the m/n of 5459 should be added in line two of the stencil. The same m/n should really be added to each of the stencils next the sub-assembly plates on the undersides of the ailerons, the horizontal stabs, and the elevators as well as the right side of the rudder – good luck. LOL Ryan
  2. Hello Uwe, The answer is, it depends. I did a quick look through my M5 files and here is what I found: Mitsubishi A6M5 c/n 4043, built Sept 43 – overall coating of green aotake Mitsubishi A6M5 c/n 4340, built Dec 43 – Mostly NMF aluminum but ribs and some sub-assemblies with aotake. Nakajima A6M5 c/n 196 – NMF aluminum Nakajima A6M5 c/n 1303 – NMF aluminum Nakajima A6M7 c/n 23186 – NMF aluminum So if you are doing an early Mitsubishi built M5 (the kit markings of 9-151 would be one such Zero) use overall aotake. A Zero built in 1944, either Mitsubishi or Nakajima, would be in unpainted aluminum. Below is a picture from a mgazine article on the restoration of the NASM A6M5 c/n 4340 (Airpower, March 1977). Up until late 1943 aotake would be repeatedly sprayed on a sub-assembly as it moved through the assembly line. Thus some components would be heavily coated with aotake while others just received a light overspray. As it appears that in late 1943 aotake was no longer being used in during the assembly of at least the rear fuselage some components (such as the ribs in this case) must have been completed a little earlier and so they still got the coat of aotake. Ryan
  3. That Zero is looking really great. I wish my modeling skills were half as good. I’ve considered using the HGW decals but I have a good stash of the Hobbydecal dry transfer decals for the Zero so I think I’m set for a while. I took another look at the instruction sheet on the HGW website and saw several problems. For the most part the instructions differentiate between Mitsubishi and Nakajima specific markings, but several times a ”?” is next to a decal. Let’s see if those questions can be clarified. Decals 3 or 4 - use Decal 3 (black) if the Zero is painted olive gray. Decal 5 - Mitsubishi A6M2 with external aileron balance weights Decals 6 or 7 - I can’t see the individual kanji on the decal but see below. Decal 14 - Mitsubishi Decal 15 - Nakajima The instructions should include the 14/15 option on the rudder as well. Decals 16 or 17 – Use the red decals as shown below. The black decals are wrong. Decal 18 (long arrow) – Mitsubishi Decal 19 (short arrow) – Nakajima Decal 19 goes in the same location as Decal 18. It is not an option for Decal 20. Decal 20 - do not use (see below in Decal Research) Decal 30 – Mitsubishi and Nakajima used different sized arrows. I am not sure which decal is supplied by HGW (or Tamiya) Decals 31 and 33 - Nakajima Decal 32 - Mitsubishi Last of all neither HGW or Tamiya provide the yellow jack point marker found just top the rear of the tail hook. This marking measures 110 x110 mm in size. Again see below. Decal Research Way back in 2004 Kim Keumho, the owner of Hobbydecal.com, contacted me and asked if I would provide the research for a decal sheet for the recently released A6M5 Tamiya. Accordingly, I sent him the drawings of what I had already done for the 1:1 scale Blayd Zero. Keumho added an additional marking decal at the last minute – a small square and arrow pointing to a lifting point on the front wing spar on the underside of the wing. However, this marking was based on a photo of the restoration of the A6M5 found on Guam in the early 60’s. No problem, when the instruction sheet was printed up it simply did not mention this particular marking. Shortly after the decals went on the market I received an e-mail from Keumho. He had found out that Tamiya was about to release a 1/32nd scale kit of the A6M2. He had been told about this at a model show in Seoul from some reps from the Tamiya booth. And they had also bought several sets of the Zero decal sheet. In 2006 the Tamiya kit was released and included Decal 135; a small square and arrow that was supposed to be applied to the front wing spar on the underside of the wing. Interesting… So now if I see a new Zero decal sheet out on the market the first thing I do is look to see if any decals are indicated to be placed on the front spar on the underside of the wing. As they say - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. LOL Ryan
  4. My apologies, I should have included this image of the colour coding of the different lines. And the mention of "woven aluminum conduits" should more properly refer to "braided aluminum conduits". Ryan
  5. Sean, thanks for your Tamiya paint mix. I'm going to mix some up and add it to my list of suggested paints. My understanding is that the red hinomaru was painted directly onto the underlying olive gray paint. Bear in mind that as paint deteriorates an overcoating of one layer will protect the layer beneath, leaving a “shadow” of the first layer as the single layered paint erodes away. Look at A on the image below. The red hinomaru has disappeared but the underlying olive-gray paint, now oxidized to white, has remained protected. But the adjacent unprotected olive-gray paint has largely disappeared, revealing the red primer underneath. Photos B and C shows a similar erosion of the red hinomaru paint, but here the white surround, seemingly brush painted, has largely remained in place. The lines in the wheel well were left unpainted but were also colour coded with bands of paints to indicate their usage. Air lines, such as those leading to the pitot tube, were banded with blue. Oil lines were indicated with yellow and gas lines were colour coded with red. Electrical lines in exposed locations such as the wheel well were enclosed in aluminum tubing or woven aluminum conduits. However, the bare aluminum lines could subsequently be partially over-sprayed with aotake. In the image below it can be seen that from the “top” side the lines are bare aluminum. However, the “bottom” side of the lines have some aotake present. Note too the rubber flex pipe on part of the brake line. The answer probably is that aotake was repeatedly applied during the course of construction. A good example of this is visible on this inner wheel well cover that I also posted earlier. As component parts were added it has been given addition layers of aotake. For the modeler then, any painting of aotake should probably vary in its density and darkness. Ryan
  6. After 10 or so cm of snow on Wednesday the weather has cleared and I could do another colour comparison in direct sunlight. The rear tail cone I used for the 2019 comparison has since been returned, so I used a small paint sample from A6M3 22 c/n 3753 (manufactured early June 1943). In direct sunlight the closest match is Model Air Beige 023 Hemp. Be careful as Model Air has a almost similar named paint which is way too dark. And although it says FS 34201 on the bottle it is not a good match for that shade either. Ryan
  7. Sean, I should have posted the following pics before you completed the canopy. However, you got the canopy handle done correctly. Its position can be seen here. On the opposite side of the canopy is the locking mechanism. It is detailed below. On the front windscreen are three small lips that serve to hold the sliding canopy tightly in place when it is closed. I didn’t really want to get into the great Zero colour debate. I think Sean has pretty well summed up the reason for the initial light gray colour. One additional factor was that the IJN called for the use of the colour designated as J3 – which was a neutral gray according to the paint guidelines put out by the Navy. This has lead to reinforce the old assumption of gray Zeros. However, although analysis of extant paint samples indicates only the presence of white and black pigments, the paint binder appears to have had an amber tint to it. This tinting has been attributed to the binder yellowing as it aged, but several things indicate that this “yellowing” took place very quickly. Many B&W images of the Zero show the fabric surfaces to be lighter in tone. This would be consistent with a neutral gray dope on the fabric surfaces that had a different chemical composition compared to the paint used on the metal components. A good example of this difference in tone can be seen on the rudder of Nakajima-built A6M2 m/n 6544. This Zero came off of the assembly line the last 3 or 4 days of December 1942. It was assigned to the Zuikaku, which left for Truk on 17 January 1943. From there the Zuikaku fighter complement flew to Rabaul on 29 January. A1-1-129 was shot down over the Russell Islands on 1 February and photographed shortly after the Americans occupied the Russells on 21 February 1943. Given this timeline the paint on this Zero is probably no older then 8 or 9 weeks. For at least about some of this time A1-1-129 was protected from direct sunlight inside the hanger deck of the Zuikaku. My conclusion is that even if there was a delay in the yellowing of the paint applied to the metal surfaces of the Zero this process was well underway within a very short time after the aircraft’s manufacture. Last of all, I was asked what paint in my earlier list best matches the Mitsubishi colour. Right now the weather here is heavily overcast with occasional blowing snow. The forecast is for the sun to return only on this Thursday but I will do a comparison then and post the results. Ryan
  8. In January of 2019 I tried an experiment to try and match fifteen different paint mixes to the paint applied to two Zero artifacts. These were skins from the tail cones of Mitsubishi A6M3 32 s/n 3285 and Nakajima A6M2 s/n 6345. The paint used was: Polly Scale Concrete Polly Scale USSR Topside Green Tamiya XF-76 Tamiya XF-76 / XF-49 (2:1 ratio) AK Interactive AK-2062 J3 Sp Lifecolor UA 039 (FS34201) Lifecolor UA 019 (FS30277) Lifecolor UA 755 Model Master Acryl Armor Sand (30277) Model Master SAC Bomber Tan (FS34201) Model Air CamBeige 023 Hemp Model Air 71.311 IJN Ash Grey Mr. Color 60 RLM02 / 336 Hemp (1:1 ratio) Mission Models MMP-107 J3 Hai-iro Lt Grey Mission Models MMP-110 J3 J3 SP LT The artifacts were partially wet sanded with 3000 grain sandpaper to remove any surface oxidization. The area I matched to is circled on the artifacts. The matching was done and the photos were taken in direct sunlight. It should be noted that the match was for full scale colour – for scale colour the matching paints should be appropriately lightened. The best match for the Nakajima color appears to be first Lifecolor UA 039 (FS34201), second Model Master SAC Bomber Tan (FS34201) and third Mr. Color 60 RLM02 / 336 Hemp (1:1 ratio). None of the paints were an exact match for the Mitsubishi sample. On this weekend I picked up some Model Air Tan Green 71.023 Hemp. It is said on the bottle that it matches FS34201, but it is not anywhere close to the other two paints described as 34201. It is much too green and much too dark. Ryan
  9. Hello Ed, Thank you so much for hijacking the conversation. That sounds like a very valuable addition to your HKK list. That Nakajima applied the numbers in reverse definitely worked to stymie HKK analysis. So here is another image to work with. I have manipulated the contrast and brightness of the original and think I can see a “164” on the tail and maybe a “25” as part of the HKK number. Does your list include a 1025? Now note the lack of any fuselage bands or chevrons. In the period we are looking at there were 4 Kokutai operating in the Solomons. 204 Ku used narrow fuselage bands and had the tail code either as T21xx in one line on olive-gray Zeros or T2 / 1xx in two lines on camoed planes. 252 Ku had a broad fuselage band and a tail code of 11XX. 582 Ku used fuselage chevrons and the tail code 21xx which later with the application of camouflage became just became a three digit code of 1xx. That leaves 253 Ku – did it use no fuselage banding and was first to introduce the very early use of a three digit tail code of 1XX? Sean, I’ll post some painting notes next. Ryan
  10. Uwe, I have the Hasegawa 1/32 A6M5, it looks pretty nice. I will have to look at doing a tweak list for it as well. Sean, I can supply images of all three HKK numbers (1033, 1045 and 1053) on the Diemert wrecks. Depicting the Zero at the moment of delivery is definitely an option. However, it may be possible to work towards a closer depiction of these Zeros in actual service. All three rear fuselage sections with HKK numbers show evidence of having wide fuselage bands on the rear fuselage. Given the time frame and the photographic evidence I believe these three Zero were most like part of 252 Kukutai or less likely 253 Ku. Here is my reasoning. HKK 1033 can be matched to construction number (c/n) 3471 which was completed about mid-December 1942. Given transit times it would have arrived in the Solomon no sooner than early January 1943. 252 Ku was active in the Solomons until mid-March 1943. At the time the only other land-based Zero units were 204 Ku, 253 Ku, and 582 Ku. Photos indicated that 204 Ku used a narrow fuselage band close behind the fuselage hinomaru and 582 used a fuselage chevron as supplementary markings to the tail codes. The big problem is we have only one photo of a Zero that can be linked to 253 Ku. It did not have any fuselage banding, but one photo is a very small data base. The carrier-based Zeros that made an appearance in the Solomons during the January to March time frame all had one or more narrow fuselage bands. Assuming all three HKK marked fuselages all belonged to 252 Ku we can venture a partial conclusion about their tail codes. As I outlined in my J-aircraft article on the 252 tail code ( http://www.j-aircraft.org/smf/index.php?topic=14430.0 – and please pardon the mess that Photobucket made of the illustrations) the tail code in part would have read 11XX (painted in red). Other 252 Ku tail codes can be identified as 1130, 1135, 1146, 1157, and 115X so arguably any number in this range is a possibility. Here is HKK 1033 c/n 3471 photographed on Ballale island in 1945. Note the dark (red?) fuselage band and the lack of any dark green field-applied camo (the dark patches on the wings are more likely red-brown primer). The fuselage band follows the same “cut-out” pattern to avoid the HKK numbers as seen on the other HKK fuselages. Ryan
  11. I have finally completed the prop and spinner details. The prop blades are NMF aluminum with the rear surface painted a dark red-brown. There are two red warning stripes on the outer edge of the front of each blade. A decal indicating the manufacture details is also found on the front of each blade. Spinners were painted with aluminum paint applied over red primer. There were several patterns of spinners. Most obvious are the two different sizes. The Mitsubishi built A6M2s all had a blunt spinner. This was changed to a longer spinner with the start of A6M3 32 production in June 1942. Early Nakajima A6M2s also used the blunt spinner, but Nakajima adopted the longer spinner at the about the same time Mitsubishi made the switch. Tamiya has included both types of spinners, but for a mid-production Nakajima A6M2 be sure to use Part 22. There was also some variation in the configuration of the base of the spinner. Until late 1942/early 1943 the most common pattern appears to have been a spinner in which the base plate was overlapped by the spinner. This is also the pattern used in the Tamiya kit. The front section of the spinner was fastened by four screws held in place by lock wire threaded through a stud on the front section of the spinner. The configuration of the four fasteners can be seen on the diagram below. Also included are some additional details on the red stencils applied to the spinner. Tamiya has included these decals; note that they were used on both Mitsubishi and Nakajima Zeros. I’ll look at marking issues next, but it may be later in the week before I have time to open that can of worms. Ryan
  12. Kevin, the LSP message bounced indicating the mail box was full. I have sent a message to your address listed on the KLP Pub site. Ryan
  13. Kev, reply sent. I assume all I have to do is reply to the LSP e-mail? Ryan
  14. Hello Sean, Fantastic work on the aileron actuator. I am seriously thinking about a book, but as I said earlier the exact format needs to be worked out. Dave did 38 side profiles of the Zero running from the A6M2 to the A6M7 as well as the A6M2-N and the fighter-bomber version of the A6M2 used in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Unfortunately the only detail drawing he did was the tire. Now this is embarrassing, I didn’t realize that there were two sets of wingtips in the kit. I thought the choice was either down or folded up. Accordingly here is some detail info on the internal details of the wingtips. Note that in the bottom image the circles indicate the steel components – they should be painted gloss black. When Blayd wired the electrical line for the wingtip lights the wiring did not follow the original. As can be seen the cable should run out of the rear lightening hole to a plug connector. This would allow the line to be disconnected should it be necessary to detach the wingtip. I suspect the line ran into the wingtip one lightening hole to the front, but this cannot be confirmed. The square hole on the inner face of the wingtip was used to slide in a wingtip protector when the wingtip was folded up. The top of the folding wingtip had a small indicator tab that would show if the wingtip was properly locked down. If the red base was exposed the tip was not locked in place. When the wingtip was properly locked there should be almost none of the top tip of the tab visible. I still need to work on the prop and spinner details and I’ll also look at your markings issue. Ryan
  15. The centerline drop tanks used on the Zero came from a number of different sources. Allied Intel reports give the names of at least five and possibly six manufacturers and there very likely were more. Because of these various sources there were differences in the details of the tanks, both in their assembly patterns and the colouration. Each of the manufacturers would have affixed their specific identification plates to each tank, but unfortunately the links between the noted differences and the particular makers cannot be established. The drawing below is specific to one pattern of tank from an unknown manufacturer. However, as I have a number of photos of this artifact it is the best documented to reconstruct the pattern. These two tanks show the differences between manufacturer’s plates on two different tanks. The tank on the left is the one that has been detailed in the drawing above. In 2008 Jim Lansdale described the colouration of Zero tanks. His article can be accessed here: www.j-aircraft.org/smf/index.php?topic=5759.0 Unfortunately the original colour of the two tanks pictured above cannot be determined. Obviously they are not bare aluminum, but the paint remnants could be any of Lansdale’s aluminum paint, olive-gray paint, or blue-gray paint in a heavily oxidized condition. Ryan
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