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Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just to let you all know this project has stalled.  It's not so much on the shelf of doom; more on the bench of dust.  My computer has been playing up for a while thanks to corrupted Windows files which turned out to be caused by 2 stuffed ram chips.  That's taken a lot of time to figure out.  It's a good thing I got it fixed late last week as my favourite flight sim add on company finally released a plane for MSFS, and I'm finally enjoying this new sim.  That is, I am when I get time as SWMBO has lots of medical appointments at the moment prior to getting a knee replaced next week.  I'm sure that will be followed by more medical appointments.  My daughter is in Europe for 10 weeks, so I'm looking after her dog, which needs a lot of exercise.  While I'm very jealous of her trip, at least the exercise is doing me good.  I saw my cardiologist yesterday who told me my condition has stabilised and I have the best cholesterol numbers I've ever had.  So I could live for a couple more years :lol: and you guys are stuck with me for a little longer.


At least, you will be once I get back to the workbench.  I'd better find time soon as I have what may be my next project in the mail to me as I write this and the stash ids growing too fast.





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  • 4 weeks later...

It seems that, apropos my last post, the next TWO projects have arrived in the mail, so I've dusted off the workbench and made a small start on this.  Since I'm working on the cockpit, I guess every part is as small as this start.


Over the last couple of days, I've been working on the instrument panel.  This comprises two parts from the kit, and many tiny parts from the etch sets I have for this kit.  The first is the frame which holds the main panel, plus four gauges, and an electrical box.  The kit supplies clear plastic for the gauges to which you attach printed gauge faces.  In my case, I've substituted paper prints for coloured etch parts.  However, two of the gauges are purely Eduard etch with a printed gauges and a bezel over the top to which I've added a drop of Micro Kristal Klear to better show the glass lens.  There's also an etch piece attached to the electrical box which add wiring, as well as an etch top for this box which is more obvious in the last shot.




The cockpit green supplied in the Eduard etch set is for a Mitsubishi built plane, whereas mine will represent a Nakajima built plane - I hope!!  Unfortunately, the camera flash obscures some of the detail of the kit lens/etch gauge.


The main panel is largely the same as the panel mounting frame in construction; just more of it.  There is seven etch pieces, three clear pieces for the lenses, as well as the IP itself here.  The white patch in the middle represents the compass correction card.




Here is the two parts put together.  This requires some care with the glue tube as the attachment points are very small.




I managed to avoid camera flash in this shot, thankfully.  It's not looking too bad, but if I feel brave, I may try to touch up that Eduard etch gauge surround and try to get it to blend in a little better.


I'm now working on the seat and seat belts, both of which I hope to have mounted and on the rear cockpit frame for the next update.





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I'm now almost at the point at which I can assemble the cockpit.  Looking at the last picture in my last update, I realise I've forgotten to repaint the Eduard etch piece at the bottom of the IP.


First of all, as promised last time, the pilot's seat.  This plane needs four seat belts for the pilot, one sash belt at the top, one lap belt to the left, and two lap belts to the right.  Haven't figured out the mechanics of that one yet, but here they are in all their etch glory, and attached to the said seat.




A seat needs a mount, so I've also added to the part finished rear cockpit frame.  Since you last saw the frame, I've added the bungee for the seat height adjuster as well as the bungee runners in black, and also picked out the seat mounts also in black.  The fire control switches have also been added to the pilot's left, this part having been removed from the left side cockpit wall.  It is incorrectly molded into the left side wall, and I'd previously cut it off that part for later use here.  OK for an A6M2, but not a -5 as this one is depicting.




Lastly, the seat was attached to the frame.






Here's the now complete right side of the cockpit.  This is mostly stock kit except for the etch gauge parts at the right of the picture and some cabling attached behind the frames.  I may add some more wires but these can't go in until the cockpit is assembled.  There are pieces for this in the Eduard etch set, but I think it may be easier to make my own rather than use these.  All of this is dependent on my "skill" and patience, but mostly on whether I can get a drill into where I need to attach the wires.  There is also some etch parts on what I think is the pilot's map pocket just above the gauges and handles.




Lastly for this update, we have the left side of the cockpit.  This side was a little more complex.  Some cabling was added to the radio (at least, I think that's what it is) and there's more etch gauges poking out from under the console.  I've added etch two levers to a quadrant at the back of the console, just below the trimmer which to me is mounted too low in the kit.  That part also has some etch chain, though it looks a bit short.  Perhaps it would otherwise disappear if the fire control panel was still here.  That panel was molded into the two middle lateral ribs, but was carefully cut off a while back in accordance with the tweak list.  The last part to go on was the throttle quadrant.  There is a better looking part in the Eduard etch kit, but after trying unsuccessfully to bend it into the right shape and set in the other etch pieces which appear to attach to nothing at all,  I decided to use the kit part with some careful painting and the addition of the operating rods that were part of the Eduard pieces.  It's OK, but I'd rather have been able to use the etch part as I think it looked more convincing.






So my next task will be to fix those two jobs I mentioned earlier in this update, then assemble the cockpit.  After that, I'll be working on the radio unit that resides behind the cockpit as well as the bottles that are mounted to the back of the cockpit rear frame.  Those things are for the next update, or updates as time avails itself.





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23 hours ago, MikeMaben said:

Seat help ? ...





Thanks Mike.  That's a good picture, though it makes me wish I could have bent my seatbelts to look like that.  Alas I find the metal ones don't bend as well as the HGW type fabric belts, but me and fabric belts are not friends.  I tried bending them a little more, but they come apart.


I can only assume that the belt clasp/buckle is in the right hand belt in this picture.





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A little more progress.  Now I feel like I'm starting to get into this model.


Most of the cockpit bits are together now.  I followed the instructions here, which is unusual for me, and attached the left side to the floor.  I used the back frame taped in place to check alignment while it dried, as I'd like it to fit into the fuselage later on. :rolleyes:  While this was drying, I fixed up that wrong green on the lower part of the instrument panel, and managed to add a couple of wires on the right side, as mentioned in my previous update.




Here are the remaining bits so far.




Once the left side to floor joint had dried sufficiently, I glued on the right side first, followed by the back frame and seat.  This was because the back frame has a number of things passing through it.  These shots were taken after I'd removed the tape that held them in place, pulling the rear frame into vertical and the right side into proper alignment with the panel.  During test fitting, I found that the black topped lever to the right of the IP very slightly fowled the right side frame, so I put a tiny notch in that part and touched it up with cockpit green.  You can just make out that notch in the second picture.






Next up, the instrument panel was glued into place and taped up.  Here's a few shots of the result.










I'm very glad I've reached this point, as maybe now I'll stop breaking bits off this lot. :BANGHEAD2:


My next task will be to add the gun magazines, front cockpit bulkhead/firewall and guns etc, then and add the bottles at the back of the cockpit.  After that, I'll do something with the rather blank radio and at that point I think I'll be able to put the fuselage together.  That should feel like an achievement :).





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A bit more progress on this one.


The gun magazines on this one are apparently cockpit colour, so this part was dutifully painted as per the kit guide and glued into place.  While that was drying, I put the guns together and drilled out the gun barrel ends as well as deepening the cooling holes. These were then painted a lighter shade of gunmetal, as indicated by the tweak list on this site.  After the paint had dried, a black was was applied to bring out the cooling holes in the barrels.  I did have some Eduard etch bits to replace the kit gun barrels, but I didn't think the juice was worth that squeeze.  They're almost entirely hidden by the gun cowl in front of the windscreen.  Anyway, bending them into perfect tubes was a nightmare. :rolleyes:




Next, was the engine firewall, which is just two pieces - the wall itself and an oil tank.  The firewall was painted AS12 on one side, and the cockpit side was painted in cockpit green.  The tank was painted titanium silver, though it probably should have been AS12 too.  I just wanted to highlight it a bit more.  I've also drilled out a couple of holes in the bottom for possible oil lines to the engine later on.




This was set aside and used as an alignment tool for the engine mounts which comprise left and right pieces to form the mount, then an engine mount ring that goes on the front.  Since each half of the mount is glued only at one small point, I glued these halves together, placed this assembly in the firewall, then immediately added the front mounting ring to ensure I got this bit right.  Hopefully I'll be able to attach the engine in the right place now!!




This piece, once the glue had dried, was painted semi gloss black.  While that was happening, the guns were fitted.  These required some test fitting and adjustment, as the mounting slot on the guns is formed by two halves of the gun breach glued together.  The resultant excess glue has to be properly cleaned out before fitting the guns to the magazine and immediately after which, the firewall was glued into place.




Here's the view from the back.  Notice also the etch rib/fuselage stringer reinforcement plates attached to the back wall of the cockpit.  One in particular (top left in this view) kept falling off, so I glued it back on, only to have it fall off again when I test fitted the cockpit into the fuselage halves.  So I glue it back on again, add some more bits, and it falls off again the next time I test fitted the cockpit.  More glue, more test fitting, more falling off - you get the picture :BANGHEAD2:.  Word from the wise.  There is no way the top left and top right pieces can be seen when the model is closed up.  Don't waste your time on these.  The others are doubtful too unless you're fitting all the etch bits to the bottles that go onto the back of this.  I didn't.  Too little juice; too much squeeze.




So the next thing was to fit the engine mount to the front wall.  The instruction say to leave this until the fuselage is together, though it also says to glue the halves together much earlier in the piece then slide the complete cockpit tub into the now complete fuselage.  This might be OK if you add no extras as I have, but if anything from those extras gets in the way, sliding that tub will be a no go.  Adding the engine mount now ensures proper alignment in the fuselage, and gives the bottles at the back a horizontal surface to adhere to when you glue those in place on the back wall.  So the mount was glued into place, then the whole sat vertically on the mount and the bottles added. 






As you can see, I've added more pipes to the bottles.  I think these may add something, as there's no armour plate behind the pilot to obscure  all this detail.  Speaking of which (details, that is) here's the DF radio that goes behind the cockpit.  Only fit this if you're adding the DF loop to the outsides of the model. 




I've added more details to what is a rather blank piece of plastic based on an image I stumbled on.  Or, at least, my memory of it, as I couldn't find it again.  Only the white knobs are molded into the kit piece, but I've added access panel detail and extra knobs and wiring.  I've yet to add a cable securing tape to this, but you may make it out in the next picture, in which I've started gluing this piece and the cockpit to one side.  Adding the engine mount now also means that you can't just push the cockpit into previously joined halves, but does have the advantage in the the engine mount can be glued properly to the very front of the fuselage for extra engine security.




You can see how the DF radio is visible behind the pilot in this picture, so definitely worth a little more attention.






I could now trail fit the other fuselage half as well as the lower wing piece, which has more detail to go into that space behind the cockpit.  It's busy back here in this model. 




The instructions say to fit these after building up the wings, but before fitting them to the fuselage.  The aotake bit/thingy is from the kit.  There was an etch set, but I decided against this.  It's going to be dark back there.  It's a juice/squeeze thing.  Working on these parts now has allowed me to trial fit all this stuff into the space behind the cockpit and ensure that all the extra details I've added like the wiring/cables and etch pieces fit without clashing.


So this evening, just before doing this update the fuselage has gone together.  I did have to fit the tail wheel leg too, as well as a vinyl piece for the elevator to pivot in.  I've also drilled out the three lightening holes in the rear fuselage which are revealed when the elevators are moved from the neutral position.






That's all for now.  Next I'll be working on the tail surfaces, but not fitting them, as well as more work on the wings.  This entails lots of fiddly stuff getting the undercarriage to go up and down, as well as doors to close in unison on this rather toy like model.


It's different :lol:.





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I've now started on the wings after having done some more work on the fuselage and built the tail planes.  First of all was the fin and rudder which are the Tamiya typical etch rudder retainer pins on a steel shaft clamped between the rudder halves.  This is then inserted into the fin then mounted onto the fuselage.  No photo of that bit but here it is attached to the fuselage.




The join is very clean and only needed some Mr Surfacer applied to the joint.  This was also all that was needed for the fuselage joins.  The above picture is after clean up.


Next was the tail planes.  This was a little different from the rudder as the hinge pieces (E8 and E9) are cutouts in plastic from the lower elevator surfaces where the butt up against the tail plane.  They're retained to the tail plane with more etch steel retainer pins.  On the left tail plane, I followed the instructions which are a pfaff. You're supposed to put the hinge between the etch pins, CA glue the three pieces to the lower tail plane half, then add the top half, after which once dry, you glue the elevator to the hinge cutout.  This didn't work very well for me and the elevator barely moves.  So on the right side, I put one retainer pin on the hinge piece, glued that, then lifted it slightly to add the other pin.  After gluing the tail plane halves together, and allowing to dry, I then shoved the elevator pins into the slots in the tail plane.  Much better, and heaps easier.




The next night, I sprayed aotake on everything I could in the wing components.  There's quite a few more than in this shot, but you get the idea.




Alas as I was trying to put the airbrush down, as well as sort out all the parts, I had a little accident with a paint spill.  Mostly over my left hand.  I think that hand looked like something from a cheesy '60's sci-fi horror film as I was trying to clean it up  :blush:


At least I can now get to grips with the wings.  So the next day, I painted the wing guns and added them.  While this was drying, I made up the inner wheel well doors.  These consist of four parts each, two of which are the kit supplied metal hinge and the closing mechanism for the door itself, which hooks onto the closing undercarriage wheel.  These are held between two plastic pieces for the inner and outer door surfaces.  One part of the inner door is painted cockpit green, and the closing hook is painted semi gloss black.




One it's all dry, they can be placed onto the wings, and are retained by part H4.  Except mine was missing.  I know I had it, but it must have gone missing while I was painting all the parts and my hand in aotake.  I've got a carpet protector beneath my chair, which is very handy for stopping parts disappearing into the carpet.  Not there.  I even cleaned my bench.  Not there.  So I finished up making my own from stock plastic sheet.  It's the white between each wheel well.




Once dry, it seems to work quite well.  Panic over.  Next up is to make the outer doors and the wheel wells themselves.  These have the spring latch mechanism for the retractable main wheels.  Then I can put the wings together and attach them to the plane.  That's for next time.





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Work has continued on this model as it edges closer to looking more like a plane, rather than just a collection of plastic bits.  Here's the wheel wells, one assembled and one still to assemble showing the retraction mechanism.




Attached to the wings and ready for the top wings to go on.  The outer gear doors have also been set in place and are trapped by the gear well outer edges.




Before that happens, the inner doors need to connect to the closing mechanism.  You can also see the outer doors in place.




Wing tops on.




While waiting for that to dry, the flaps, ailerons and drop tank were built up.  The drop tank is removable and may be useful in protecting the gear doors when I put the model down, before I attache the undercarriage.  Also in this shot are the tail surfaces built previously.




So here's the fuselage and wings ready to go together.  However, notice the gap in the wheel wells.  This will be filled in by the fuselage when these two components are assembled.




Just make sure that part of the fuselage is also painted aotake.  You could paint it after assembly, but I think this way is easier.




One last job before assembly.  I decided to paint the yellow wing leading edges now.  Again, I think this will be easier to mask now and paint, before the fuselage makes the job more awkward.




Possibly tomorrow, I will remove the masking, then remask the actual yellow leading edge.  The band starts very close to the fuselage and it will be easier to peel away after paint, than try to mask this area off later when it's all together.  Digits crossed this idea works out well.


Next time, the model will look like a plane.





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