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Alex

A6M2b Zero - Attack on Pearl Harbor - 1/32 Tamiya

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This is by far the most complete/complex model kit I've ever seen, and the polar opposite of the approximate fit / approximate instructions Special Hobby Ki-27 "Nate" that I just finished.

 

This large box:

 

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Contains six large and another half-dozen small sprues of parts:

 

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And a bunch of ancillary parts and pieces:

 

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I bought the Eduard canopy masks for it because the Tamiya-supplied ones are just printed on a sheet of tape - you have to cut them out on the printed lines.  I figure that I'll use the die-cut Eduard ones on the outside of the canopy and then cut the Tamiya sheet just a hair small and use it to mask the inside.  The kit also includes a bunch of features that I don't particularly want - landing gear that retract, movable control surfaces, etc, with elaborate spring systems to help move the gear.  I am going to build these per the instructions, because I suspect that any deviation might make it difficult to get the parts attached strongly and in the right alignment.  Then I'll glue them in place at the end of the process.

 

This is an intimidating subject to approach - the Zero is such a cult airplane, and there has been SO much research done on it that it's effectively impossible to build it as "right" as someone out there has figured out how to do.  Even with the impressive level of detail that this kit embodies, there are pages-long articles on how to fix its many minuscule errors, as well as a very impressive writeup on LSP about how to rework this kit as a Nakajima- rather than Mitsubishi-built Zero.  I'm not saying this one will be strictly OOB, but I'll restrict myself I think to adding things in the cockpit that are missing like wires and conduit.

 

While I plan to paint on all of the national and unit insignia, the kit also has an extremely complete set of stencil decals that should really help the wow factor of the final product.

 

The quality and detail in the moldings is beyond anything I have ever seen in another kit.  I tried to capture this in the shot below - the super-fine rivet lines that follow all of the internal ribs (which the truly obsessive tend to hand-apply in other kits) are molded in.  Also, the plastic is impressively thin and super-crisp - no sign of obvious out-of-scale thick edges to parts.

 

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The kit provides seven (!) schemes to choose from, all planes from the carrier groups that attacked Pearl Harbor.  The scheme on the box lid, a plane from Akagi, looks too much like the Nate I just built with the horizontal yellow stripes on the tail.  I'm leading towards scheme D (lower left) flown by a Lt. Iida from the Soryu.  I'll need to whip up the right shade of blue; based on the color of the decals they supplied, the KLM Blue enamel I already have, with just a touch of Royal Blue added, should do the trick.

 

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The kit instructions actually have you assemble the fuselage sides together first since, like the Hasegawa Shiden-Kai that a couple of folks are building now, the cockpit assembly can be inserted from below into the finished fuselage.  I'm cleaning up cockpit parts and getting ready for some painting, but am not going to go too far down the road of assembly yet.  I ordered a copy of the Aero Detail book on the Zero, and I want to wait until it arrives to figure out what I want to do vis a vis adding plumbing detail to the cockpit.

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Posted (edited)

Make sure to check out Ryan Toews tweak list for the A6M2 if you're so inclined (https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=3339).  There are some ambiguities and incorrect color references in the Tamiya instructions that Ryan straightens out.  Also, know that all the aircraft that took place on the Pearl Harbor operation were built by Mitsubishi.  The Nakajima built A6M2's apparently hadn't been deployed to the fleet before it sailed on November 26, 1941. This information will come into play when you're building and painting the cockpit and the overall exterior of the aircraft.

 

It is a great kit but watch out for the retractable landing gear.  I will recommend you do not operate them any more than is absolutely required during your build.  They're  very easy to break and a real pain to fix.  You can get aftermarket wheel wells and such to eliminate this problem but I didn't bother with that and just installed them at the end of the build in the down position.

 

There's also some great reference builds in this forum.  I can't remember names at the moment but if you search for zero, you can probably find most of them.

Edited by Juggernut

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Posted (edited)

Way to go Alex, a real treat after the Nate, it's worth getting Nick Millman's "Painting the Early Zero Sen" from the Aviation of Japan Blog, and as Juggernut has said the tweak list from Ryan Toews.

The Rolls Royce of builds is below, extremely useful information though the skill level involved is very much above my level it is still mighty useful

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

Edited by dennismcc

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51 minutes ago, Juggernut said:

Make sure to check out Ryan Toews tweak list for the A6M2 if you're so inclined (https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=3339).  There are some ambiguities and incorrect color references in the Tamiya instructions that Ryan straightens out.  Also, know that all the aircraft that took place on the Pearl Harbor operation were built by Mitsubishi.  The Nakajima built A6M2's apparently hadn't been deployed to the fleet before it sailed on November 26, 1941. This information will come into play when you're building and painting the cockpit and the overall exterior of the aircraft.

 

It is a great kit but watch out for the retractable landing gear.  I will recommend you do not operate them any more than is absolutely required during your build.  They're  very easy to break and a real pain to fix.  You can get aftermarket wheel wells and such to eliminate this problem but I didn't bother with that and just installed them at the end of the build in the down position.

 

There's also some great reference builds in this forum.  I can't remember names at the moment but if you search for zero, you can probably find most of them.

 

Thanks for the pointer - I had seen that tweak list and meant to go search for it again.  At a minimum I want to be sure I have the best color info I can get.

 

It's interesting that Tamiya seems to have their research wrong.  One of their schemes (F from Shokaku)is explicitly stated to be a Nakajima Zero.  Perhaps that plane only joined Shokaku after Pearl Harbor and they just assumed it was there earlier.  

 

And I hear you on the retractable gear - I plan to use the parts but just glue them in the deployed position.  Has to be sturdier that way. 

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33 minutes ago, dennismcc said:

Way to go Alex, a real treat after the Nate, it's worth getting Nick Millman's "Painting the Early Zero Sen" from the Aviation of Japan Blog, and as Juggernut has said the tweak list from Ryan Toews.

The Rolls Royce of builds is below, extremely useful information though the skill level involved is very much above my level it is still mighty useful

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

 

Thanks for the pointers Dennis.  I've looked at that Aviation of Japan site a few times (it is EXTENSIVE) and am intending to go back and absorb everything Zero from it now that I've started this.  I am also planning for now to try and copy (steal) as much of Madmax's great engine detailing as I can manage with my clumsy fingers.  I have hopes of making both the cowling and the access panels aft of it removable on this model to make it possible to display everything forward of the firewall.  We'll see how far I get with that.  Try to push the limits of my abilities which each of these things.

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Oh yeah and I definitely need to read "Samurai".  After I finish the ten books waiting on my Kindle now.

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12 hours ago, Alex said:

  I figure that I'll use the die-cut Eduard ones on the outside of the canopy and then cut the Tamiya sheet just a hair small and use it to mask the inside. 

 

Hi Alex, don't do that with any flat glass panels, only the curved / radiused panels.

The flat ones should be the same inside and out.

Have fun.

 

 

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5 hours ago, MikeMaben said:

 

Hi Alex, don't do that with any flat glass panels, only the curved / radiused panels.

The flat ones should be the same inside and out.

Have fun.

 

 

Makes sense!

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One of the great things about this website/forum is the huge number of very experienced and well-read people who generously share their learnings here.  Having spent all evening and a chunk of today carefully re-reading Ryan Toews tweak list for this kit and the epic Ryan/Sean collaboration on a 42/43 vintage Nakajima A6M2, I now have 15 pages of to-do notes for this build.  And some AM photo-etch and resin wheels on the way, as well as some more scratchbuilding stuff that I didn't have and decided was essential.  So much for OOB!  I'm even more excited about this project now.

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Shopping is incredibly dangerous.  I looked at the Tamiya kit seatbelts and decided that something better was in order.  Looked around the web for a while to find someone with HGW belts in stock.  Look!  Victory Models has them.  Great.  Start browsing their website.  Turns out the have a Lukgraph 1:32 Nakajima KO-4 biplane kit on hand.  I tried to resist for about 3 seconds then bought it too...

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Looking forward to this Alex! I've got a A6M5 in the works so will be taking plenty of notes! :popcorn:

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