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1/32 A6M5 Zero - Meiji 1944


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Thanks very much guys! 


So, I've made a call on the subject for the build at last - it's going to be tail code 210-105 of the 210 Kokutai. The 210 Kokutai was formed on 15 September 1944 to defend the home islands which were by then coming into range of allied bombers. Based at Meiji air base near Nagoya, the 210 Kokutai would defend the home islands against air attacks and later in 1945 fly against allied forces invading the Ryukyu Islands as part of the Divine Wind.


I don't have any reference photos of 210-105 or much information such as c/n  so any information would be gratefully received! It is a Nakajima built machine and, in the absence of information to the contrary, I'm going to call it built after late december 1943. Nailing down the subject will allow me to make some calls on the cockpit layout, particularly the radio equipment set up.


More on this shortly but in the meantime the painstaking process of surgery on kit parts and bending and fitting of PE detail continues...




Cheers guys


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  • turbo changed the title to 1/32 A6M5 Zero - Meiji 1944

:popcorn:We are getting so spoiled lately with all these amazing WWII Japanese subjects and Kirby, your efforts are no exception.  Lovely efforts going on here.  I see that new D360E router is in good use as well as that D400 sander.  I just switched to the D360E myself and just love it.  No more melting plastic.  Following with Great interest as usual.  .   



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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi folks, I'm afraid work has kept me off the bench for the bulk of this month so no updates but a bit of progress. As of my last update, I'd decided the subject of this build will be a Nakajima-built A6M5 based at Meiji air base in late 1944. Deciding on a land-based bird has allowed me to make some decisions on the cockpit layout, particularly the radio equipment set up.


Zeroes carried 2 radio systems, one for voice communication and another for radio direction finding. The Type 1 ku Model 3 RDF system consisted of (from left to right in the image below) a control box located in the cockpit, a receiver/signal processor box which sat on the rack on the starboard side of the fuselage aft of the cockpit bulkhead, a loop antenna (sitting on top of receiver in photo below), and a dynamotor. The RDF system was most important for carrier-borne aircraft to find their way home to a small target in a vast ocean, so was often removed from land-based aircraft in the interests of saving weight. As my subject is land-based, I'm going to represent it as having been removed.




By late 1943, the Type 3 ku 1 radio for voice communication was in use which consisted of a control box (first image) located in the cockpit and a transmitter/receiver that was suspended by bungee cords between the fuselage roof and a horizontal spar just behind the pilot aft of the cockpit bulkhead. This was also sometimes removed from aircraft in the interests of saving weight, but I'm going to say it was retained on this aircraft.





The locations of the racks for the various controllers are shown in this picture of an A6M5 cockpit that I borrowed from Sean's excellent A6M2 build thread.



The rack on the left is for the RDF controller box, the rack with the 6 lightening holes for the radio controller box, and the small rack with the single lightening hole for the loop antenna controller. The racks are represented on the kit with locating tabs for the separate controller box kit parts, a thoughtful design feature from Tamiya allowing different radio configurations - a bit of surgery still required though. Speaking of which, another thing noted in Ryan Toews' tweak list for this kit is that, following introduction of the Type 3 ku 1 radio, the fire extinguisher system control box located on a platform on the port cockpit wall was relocated to the aft cockpit bulkhead next to the pilot's left elbow. So, out with the cutting and sanding tools...




The locating tab was removed from the RDF control box rack and screw holes added with the point of a sharp pin. The cockpit lamp was removed from the kit RDF control box part and attached to the side of the rack. The radio control box rack was left as the kit control box will be added later. The loop antenna controller was removed from the kit part and a single lightening hole drilled out of the remaining rack and the part attached.



The fire extinguisher control box was carefully removed using my Tamiya PE saw, leaving a stringer behind - this was fiddly!



Finally, the kit Type 3 ku 1 radio transmitter/receiver is a fairly bland affair with just a couple of randomly placed plugs. As it will be quite visible behind the pilot's seat, I thought something had to be done about this.



Using the old photo above as a reference, panels and screws were scribed, knobs and meter faces added with styrene rod and card. and finally wiring added. If you're going to do some work on this part, beware the lower spar, it breaks easily :whistle:


Looks better I think. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully not as long until my next update!



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Thanks guys! I feel like I've been messing around forever on interior detail, so it's time to get to paint and feel like I'm making some progress on this build! My first step for interiors is usually black-basing, so the fuselage interior and interior sub-assemblies were sprayed with semi-gloss black enamel scaled with about 10%white.






Selected sub-assemblies were then partially sprayed with Tamiya flat alumimium. This serves the dual purpose of highlighting areas of the pre-shade that would receive more light and serving as the base for some hairspray chipping later. I'm using flat aluminium rather than a metalliser to provide a little tooth for the hairspray chipping, which is important to control chip size and pattern.




So with that I'm just about ready to get to the basecoat, which raises the thorny issue of Japanese interior colours! This is a whole subject unto itself but, fortunately, from the research I've done there seems to be general consensus that by the time of the production of the A6M5 Nakajima had switched to a more yellowy green "bamboo" cockpit interior colour described as FS 4255. Mr. Color offer a Nakajima cockpit colour paint but, when I inspected it at my LHS, it seemed a bit too light to my eye compared to the colour swatch below and I also wasn't sure how well the Mr. Color lacquer paints would chip. 


The late Nakajima cockpit colour is variously described as sitting somewhere between US interior green and zinc chromate green/yellow so this gave me the bright idea of making my own aqueous acrylic paint mix using a mix of, erm, Gunze aqueous US interior green (H58) and Tamiya yellow/green XF-4. I tried a few different ratios and lucked out on what I think is a pretty darn good match first shot with a 1:1 mix of the 2 paints.






With that sorted out, I decided to give it a test run on the fuselage interior. The section aft of where the cockpit bulkhead will be was sprayed flat aluminium predominantly from the direction of the cockpit, using the black base to create various shadows that increased further back into the fuselage. The interior paint mix was similarly applied, creating a highlight towards the top of the cockpit and some subtle shadows towards the bottom. I sometimes think I'm a bit mad doing this, but it does pay dividends when it can actually be seen!




I'm pretty happy with the colour match. Don't worry about the ejector pin marks, they won't be visible once the cockpit is fitted. Ones that would have been visible based on test-fitting were eliminated earlier.


Thanks for stopping by, next step painting of the sub-assemblies and some hairspray chiiping - just need to raid the better half's cosmetic supplies without her noticing...



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Hello Kirby,


This is looking to be a great build and I would be to add some advice details. That way the differences in modelling the A6M5 can be brought to the fore. At this point i have only two comments. The image below shows how the mounting base for the tail hook disengagement handle should be removed (as you have already done) and the lightening holes drilled out so they match on each of the left and right ribs.


224 Sidewalls


The second image provides details on how the fire extinguisher control box was mounted.  It hangs suspended on bungee cords at both the top and bottom of the box. Incidentally, the radio transmitter/receiver behind the cockpit was mounted in a similar fashion.


225 Mit A6M5 sn 4444


It also should be mentioned that Nakajima cockpits had all the components made of steel painted gloss black. In many current Zero wrecks this would be any rusted components such as the seat mounts seen in the above photo.


I haven't yet been able to find a photo of 210-105. I'm therefore going to make a plea for 8-13. I have a dozen images of this plane, which is always good for details. As well, the c/n is known (Nakajima c/n 2282) and the pilot is also probably known - OZAKI (尾崎), Mitsuyasu. And it too is lacking the RDF equipment.



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The augmented radio controller looks great!  I'm looking forward to seeing progress on your hairspray-chipped interior.  I've always just cheated and applied aluminum paint with a sponge to do "chipping" on cockpit surfaces, so perhaps I'll have to try to emulate your method next...

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