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A6M2b Zero - shades of grey

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Hello Gentlemen,

 

Now to finish up the forward landing gear details by looking at the wheel well covers. On the Tamiya kit the middle cover should especially be rebuilt to eliminate the step in the lower section.  Perhaps more details about the construction of the "Earlier" and "Later" should be explained. The former was made by sandwiching a magnesium frame between two thing panels of aluminum. It thus had a slightly convex curve to the inner surface. The "Later" covers were a single aluminum panel reinforced by "angle irons" along the outer edges.

 

I also reference a flat alloy middle LG cover that so far I have not been able to find in any Zero photos. So next time anyone is paging through a Zero book, if you think of it, take a look at the wheel well covers to see if one can be found that appears to be thin metal without any reinforcing angle irons. 

 

Ryan

 

47 Upper Wheel Well Covers

 

48 Middle Covers

49 Alloy Wheel Well Covers

 

50 Lower Covers

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Such an interesting study of the Zero.  Thanks for all your info Ryan, you were a great help to me with the conversion to A6M3-22 I am doing by cross-kitting the 2 Tamiya kits.  I must get on and finish that...I am just stuck detailing in the engine ancillary bay between the engine and firewall.

 

I am so pleased you are stressing the skin.  I have been thinking about doing it to my conversion as well.  I just might now I have seen yours!

 

Cheers Anthony

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Again...absolutely great threat! I love "hair splitting"... at least reading about it! ;-)

A question to the experts while you are all here, and sorry for the de-tour. I am doing a 48scale A6M3 22 right now and tested the Colourcoats AC-J17 paint for the Nakajima birds...but now I have trouble finding a reference plane, so a A6M3 22 built by Nakajima in the overall Ame-iro paint. I would prefere one that was not over painted green. Any pictures or even decal suggestions?

 

thanks

Uwe

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All A6M3’s (Model 32, 22, and 22a) were built by Mitsubishi.  As far as I’m aware, Nakajima only built the A6M2 model 21, the A6M2N (floatplane), and the A6M5 series.

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Uwe,

 

Might it not be easier to repaint the kit rather than try to convert it into an A6M2? The details on the wings, tail and engine are noticeably different between the two. If you do stick with the overall olive-gray scheme I can give you at least one suggestion for A6M3 22 markings.

 

Ryan

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Here are my notes on detailing the tail wheel. Tamiya, as well as all other kit manufacturers, has not included the canvas tail wheel well cover, even though this cover was found on all Zeros.

 

Warren Pietsch, the pilot of the Blayd A6M2 when it was owned by Texas Flying Legends, mentioned that he always had to have the canopy slightly opened because exhaust gases were drawn into the cockpit through the tail wheel well. This must have been a problem for the Japanese pilots as well; thus the need for the wheel well cover.

 

I unfortunately do not have any evidence as to the colour of the canvas cover, apart from one report on the Koga Zero that it was “oil-soaked” However, given the tone of the canvas (dark but not black) in B&W images I would opt for an olive green shade.

 

I’m away from my computer for the next week but more to follow then.

 

Ryan

 

51 Tail Wheel Well Cover 1

 

52 Tail Wheel Well Cover 2

 

53 Tail Wheel Assembly

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9 hours ago, A6M said:

Uwe,

 

Might it not be easier to repaint the kit rather than try to convert it into an A6M2? The details on the wings, tail and engine are noticeably different between the two. If you do stick with the overall olive-gray scheme I can give you at least one suggestion for A6M3 22 markings.

 

Ryan

Hello Ryan

 

Yes, that wil be the best I guess. I will poilish the current paint a bit and put a new layer of Mitsubishi gray on...just have to decide on a suitable one since the WEM AC-J16 looks very dark and brown and the small scale even amplifies this. I have the paining guide of Nick, have to read through it again to see what would be best in 1/48 scale.

 

Mid term I want to start the big Tamiya Zero...and this one for sure shall become a Nakajima bird, carrier based with the white border around the sun and if possible no yellow wing edge yet... ;-)

 

cheers

Uwe

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I am not sure there were any Nakajima A6M2s with the white surround to the fuselage hinomaru and no yellow wing markings. The Army-Navy Central Agreement with Regard to Distinguishing Markings for Friendly Military Airplanes came into effect on 21 August 1942. It stated, in part, that the fuselage hinomaru should be surrounded by a narrow white border AND all aircraft were to have approximately half of the leading edge of each wing painted yellow.

 

Ryan

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Many thanks for the comments and input whilst I was away!

 

Glad you like the idea of the stressed skin Anthony. I'm sure you will have a good time doing it on the Zero judging from what I saw on your Mosquito engine nacelles.

 

Ryan, once again your information is superbly timed and detailed. Thank you!

 

I wanted to share this picture with you Zero enthusiasts. This is an illustration of how misleading restorations can be, since they are often about practicality and not the preservation of the original aircraft. This is the A6M2 in the Pearl Harbor (Pacific) Aviation Museum on Ford Island, and is the very Zero featured in the video link I posted earlier on about Bob Diemert's "Defender" and the Zero restoration for the CAF. It is hard to recognise the wheel well compared to Ryan's information...

 

wheelwell-XL.jpg

 

So, on with the kit wheel wells.They are sadly also a bit of a compromise since they include parts for the retracting gear, but in order to be practical I have to live with some inaccuracies. For those who might follow a similar path, a suggestion: before joining the part that secures the retraction mechanism, drill the lightening holes. I got this wrong on my first attempt and had a heck of a time getting a drill to the right place.

 

IMG_1957-XL.jpg

 

I would have liked to have scalloped the undercarriage join flange, but the kit's flange just isn't deep enough to get into it with a file. Practicality and strength first with the gear in my opinion. Anyone who has built a model of an F-105 will be able to attest to this! :blink:

 

IMG_1967-XL.jpg

 

Here are the nearly completed wells, with as much detail as I can add before joining the wings and fuselage. I will add some of Eduard's photo etch parts once that is done to help conceal the join lines.

 

IMG_1979-XL.jpg

 

The gear doors, like everything on the Zero, are extremely thin and light. Not so in the kit however. Here the Eduard photo etch parts really came to the rescue, and as you can see the gear door attachments are very well portrayed.

 

IMG_1969-XL.jpg

 

They are "handed" for the left and right doors, as are the kit parts, so beware if you are going to use them. How do I know? :whistle:

 

 IMG_1973-XL.jpg

 

The lower doors really do need a lot of scraping and sanding to get anywhere near as thin as the real deal. This is how I tackled them, leaving the structure in place to join the lower gear leg without compromising  the fit of all the other pieces - it is quite a complex piece of engineering. The upper doors also got some deepening of detail and a different hinge structure to the kit's complicated "working" hinge.

 

IMG_1974-XL.jpg

 

Once the leg is together it looks pretty convincing. I need to sand the tread off of the resin tyres, and change the weld line on the lower leg. The gear and the wells have been very time consuming in order to knock some of the "toy" aspect out of them, but I am happy that they should be structurally sound. 

 

IMG_1977-XL.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

 

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Hello Sean,

 

Great work so far. I hope you had a good holiday break. I was sent to western Manitoba 10 days back and suffered through 4 days of -35 C cold weather.

 

What is next? should I post fuselage/tail details or are you going to work on the wing? I want to tailor my postings to your progress on the kit.

 

Ryan 

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Hello again

 

Speaking of gear doors...I think on the A6M2 the colores to use are clear...but what about the later A6M5 that came in green/gray from the factories. Are the rules the same there? I see lot's of instructions and also restaured planes where Nakajima planes have the gear door insides in Aotake as well. Is that correct or should they be underside color like on the earlier A6M2s?

 

thanks

Uwe

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Hello Uwe,

 

As far as I can tell the painting of the LG components was consistent throughout the production of the Zero. The problem with restored planes is they are only as good as the research that has gone into them. And there is the tendency for one restoration project to simply copy what was done on an earlier project.

 

Ryan  

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