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1/32 A6M5 Zero - Meiji 1944


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  • 1 month later...
On 11/3/2020 at 8:26 PM, MikeMaben said:

Super work Kirby  :clap2: shame to hide it away  :crying:


Thanks a lot Mike. Yes, test fitting has shown a lot of it will be hidden away unless someone really gets in there with a pen light. Oh well, you know what they say, at least I know it's there!


On 11/4/2020 at 6:42 AM, Troy Molitor said:

Wow.  That office is cracking good Kirby.  


On 11/8/2020 at 3:01 AM, Jamme said:


Really nice job !

That cockpit looks really great.





Thanks Troy and Jamme, much appreciated!


Sorry for the long break on this one folks, an exceptionally busy period at work has kept me off the bench for the best part of the last 2 months. Unfortunately my modelling goes in fits and bursts like this. Anyway, I'm on summer break now so hopefully I can get the mojo back and make a bit of progress...


So I left off last time with a few last things needing to be done to the cockpit. One of those was fitting of the seat and harnesses. I ended up using the Eduard PE harnesses which I think have come out quite well, but were very fiddly to put together and bend into shape for this relatively complex harness arrangement. Given my time again, I think I would just opt for the HGW belts. The bungee cord supporting the seat formed from styrene rod was also installed. Here are a couple of last looks at the cockpit dry-fitted before the tub is put together.





Eduard also provide replacement parts for the Type 97 machine gun barrel jackets. Even though these will only be partially seen underneath the cowling, I think it is a modification worth doing as the moulded kit parts aren't that great. The kit barrels were removed leaving a small stub to support the PE barrels, which were formed around an appropriately sized drill bit. Another small section of the kit barrel was then glued into the kit muzzle part and inserted into the other end of the PE barrel. Looks a lot better I think.


Thanks for stopping by guys and hopefully not as long until my next update!


Cheers, Kirby


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On 12/30/2020 at 3:36 PM, spyrosjzmichos said:

Great work on the cockpit Kirby!


19 hours ago, Jamme said:


Great job you did on the barrels.





Thanks Spyros and Jamme, appreciate it!


10 hours ago, Thunnus said:

Welcome back Kirby!  I really like the job you did on the PE belts... they look comparable to the HGW-style fabric belts, which is no mean feat with brass.  Those gun barrels are killer!


Thanks John, the belts  really were fiddly construction and a lot of bending, breaking, and reassembling parts so I don't think I'd do it again!


6 hours ago, LSP_Kevin said:

Some fantastic work here, Kirby!




10 hours ago, Out2gtcha said:

Wow, that pit is amazing


Thanks Kev and Brian. Yes, the pit has been a little model unto itself - certainly took me long enough! So, it is at long last time to put it together into the tub structure that will be fitted into the fuselage halves. First though, the engine firewall and oil tank were painted and weathered. Eduard provide some detailing for this area in the BigEd kit but, as I've decided to leave this area buttoned up in the finished model, I've kept it fairly basic. The Type 97 machine guns were painted flat black and dry-brushed with gunmetal enamel.




With Tamiya's usual precise engineering the cockpit tub went together perfectly, I made a few tweaks to the IP to take into account Ryan's suggestions, including adding markings to the magneto switch with a sharpened toothpick. Here's a look at the tub before it is entombed in the fuselage.




It feels good to have this completed and be ready to move on with the build...

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On 1/2/2021 at 1:44 AM, John1 said:

Simply stunning.  One of the best looking cockpits I've seen.  


Thanks John, high praise indeed!


So, it's time to get the cockpit into the fuselage. Tamiya would have you insert the cockpit into the already joined fuselage from below, but it quickly became apparent that this would not be possible without breaking off detail I have added aft of the cockpit due to it contacting the moulded ribs or other detail and plumbing on the fuselage sides as the cockpit is slid up. The only option, therefore, is to go the traditional route of fitting the cockpit prior to joining the fuselage halves.





This approach came with its own problems however as there was still interference between some of the added detail and moulded kit parts. As is often seen with Tamiya's kits, their engineering tolerances are so fine that once you start adding modifications you run the risk of causing knock-on effects elsewhere. That is certainly the case here and something I would warn others building this kit about. In the end, it was necessary to do a bit of selective grinding to make sure the fuselage halves and later the lower wing would fit together properly. For example, sections of a couple of the moulded ribs had to be removed from the lower wing to accomodate the PE oxygen bottle platform. My David Union rotary tool came in very handy here for precise removal of elements without wrecking the whole area and having to sand and repaint.






It's a good example of the importance of test-fitting, test fitting, and test-fitting again since if this issue had not been identified now it would have resulted in poor fit of the lower wing later in the build and me probably breaking off the whole oxygen bottle assembly as I tried to wrestle it into position!


Speaking of test fitting, here is a last look at the fuselage interior with the radio transmitter/receiver now installed before it is obscured by the cockpit.




The cockpit was inserted into place held just by tape at this stage and the fuselage halves joined. I did not glue the cockpit to one half as you normally might do as I wanted to be able to fine tune the cockpit position once the fuselage halves had dried as per Tamiya's original intention.





Lastly, a couple of questions for Ryan @A6M or anybody else that might have detailed knowledge of the A6M5. What is that rectangular gap immediately behind the rollover pylon and should it be there (probably something I should have figured out before joining the fuselage halves!)? Also, immediately aft of that is the position for the RDF loop antenna. The RDF system has been removed from this aircraft so would the loop antenna have also been removed and should there just be a round hole remaining?


Cheers, Kirby



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Hello Kirby,


Great work on the cockpit. You have put your summer break to good use. (Summer break, eh? Today my wife and I went for a walk to enjoy the balmy weather of +2° C, a good 20° above the usual temps at this time of year.)


The opening behind the rollover pylon is to accommodate the fitting of the RDF loop antenna. The base of the antenna fits into the rear of the opening and the antenna mount is then held in place by 3 bolts. You are right that if the RDF controller is not present the antenna would also be removed. The three holes could either be left open or the bolts could be threaded back in place. I suspect it depends what the crew chief ordered. The rectangular opening should also be extended to the rear.


As well, note that all the rivets on the cockpit decking, both in front and behind the cockpit, were raised and not flush as is depicted on the kit.



232 Rear Cockpit Deck

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20 hours ago, A6M said:

Great work on the cockpit. You have put your summer break to good use. (Summer break, eh? Today my wife and I went for a walk to enjoy the balmy weather of +2° C, a good 20° above the usual temps at this time of year.)


Ha, hope you're enjoying the heatwave Ryan! The summer here hasn't actually been much chop but will be improving towards the end of the week when I'll be heading down the coast for a surf...


Thanks for the pictures above, the information you're providing for this build is both invaluable and fascinating! I can easily extend the gap backwards and drill three small bolt holes. The gap on the model looks too wide so I'll either have to live with that or perhaps try and add some shim to try and achieve the correct width. I can probably represent the raised rivets with drybrushing after paint.


So my next dilemma is the wheel wells. I have taken the liberty of lifting this diagram that Ryan contributed to Sean's A6M2 build here which has drawings of A6M5 wheel wells.





Here are the kit parts - two things are immediately apparent. Firstly, there are several ejector pin marks on the roof of the wheel well - a rare design snafoo by Tamiya. These are not easily accessible so I'll need to think about the best way to address these. Secondly, the wheel well walls are devoid of any surface detail including lightening holes and the arched braces are clumsily thick and also devoid of lightening holes needed to run various cables and brake lines I would like to add.




Fortunately, Eduard provide nicely detailed PE parts to adress this, but there is one issue - the arrangement of lightening holes in the PE side wall parts you can see in the picture does not seem to be correct when compared to the drawings. I could drill out the "correct" pattern rather than using the PE, but I would then lose the other nice panelling and rivet detail on the PE and the PE arch braces may not fit. And I'm not sure the PE is actually "incorrect" - was there a difference between Mitsubishi and Nakajima built machines for instance?


I'm thinking of proceeding with the PE as it will just look a lot better but any further perspective on this or suggestions for the way forward would be appreciated!


Cheers, Kirby


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