Smeg's Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Sweet)

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Smeg's Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Sweet)

Postby smeg1959 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:42

The other half of the adversarial pairing of my failed attempt to contribute to Group Build 4 way back when, the Sweet Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero built as "31-130" of the 331st Kokutai operating in Burma in the final year of the war. Whilst I had some fit issues with the two Spits, the Zero went together beautifully. Top marks again, Mr Sweet. Having said that, I got no further than I did with the two Allied fighters - cockpit finished, fuselage and wings primed, then diddly squat.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - 331 Kokutai (02).jpg

Start on masking and painting once GB5 has concluded, the same modus operandi as for the two SOS Spitfires. Well, that's the theory, anyway. :roll:
OTB ...
Group Builds - GAF Canberra Mk 20 (GB7; 2 Sqn RAAF), Bell P-63C-5-BE (GB7; G/C3.6 Armee de l'Air)
Shelf of Shame - Spitfire FR Mk IXc (GB4; 16 Sqn RAF), Arado Ar196A-3 (GB2; 2./Aufkl.Gr.125)
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Re: Smeg's Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Sweet)

Postby smeg1959 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:36

Start on masking and painting once GB5 has concluded, the same modus operandi as for the two SOS Spitfires. Well, that's the theory, anyway.

And, as theories go, this one had more holes than a colander. In terms of reality, one of the Spits (the Mk VIII) finally left the Shelf a couple of weeks back. The second sits forlornly with a custom blend of very pale pink acrylic waiting in its bottle. Moreover, the primary focus of GB6, a Hungarian CR42, has not progressed much further than reported a fortnight ago. So, with SWMBO back from her sojourn - this time with rellies in tow - what DID I achieve in her absence? The answer is one A6M2.

At the start of the week, I gave the beast a coating of XF-12 IJN Grey. Upon drying, I masked the model with Tamiya tape, then sprayed it with AS-21 IJN Dark Green 2. This is the rattle can version of XF-11 (translation: couldn’t be bothered cleaning the airbrush again). Other small bits and pieces were painted using either rattle cans or hairy sticks.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (05).jpg

At this stage, I noted that the grey-green interior colour extended either end of the pilot’s enclosure. To ensure I painted only the area necessary, I placed the canopy in position, taped around it …

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (06).jpg

… removed the transparency …

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (07).jpg

… and hand-painted my modified Lifecolor UA004 between the masks. The result …

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (08).jpg

A few minor touch-ups and I decided it was decal time. Having learnt the hard way in the past, I decided to leave the undercarriage aside at this point. It paid immediate dividends when I applied the first pair of decals, the yellow strips on the wing leading edges. Predictably, it took a little cajoling and a modicum of Mr Mark Softer to get the decals to bend around correctly, but the result was well worth the effort.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (09).jpg

And, as each of the decals was affixed, I grew ever more in awe of Cartograf. These are an absolute pleasure to use and the crispness of the printing cannot be faulted. I now thoroughly appreciate modellers who buy Revell Microwing kits and Minicraft rehashes of Crown mouldings simply to get the Cartograf decal sheets. And hats off to Sweet, too. How many kit manufacturers would note that the “compliance stencil” (for want of a better term) that appears on the fuselage of the Zero just before the tailplane is different for aircraft built by Nakajima versus those built by Mitsubishi? 8-)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (10).jpg

To give you a sense of scale, the red band/blue band decal is the one that appears on the undercarriage door of many Zeroes, whilst the single and double red bands appear on the propeller blades. You’ll see both of these very shortly. Suffice to say the only decals not supplied by Sweet were the pair of “31-130” tail codes for the aircraft I had chosen to represent (i.e. not one of the numerous options provided in the kit). Oh, and all those lubberly IJN green frame lines for the canopy! Both were printed using work’s HP colour laser onto clear decal film.
OTB ...
Group Builds - GAF Canberra Mk 20 (GB7; 2 Sqn RAAF), Bell P-63C-5-BE (GB7; G/C3.6 Armee de l'Air)
Shelf of Shame - Spitfire FR Mk IXc (GB4; 16 Sqn RAF), Arado Ar196A-3 (GB2; 2./Aufkl.Gr.125)
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smeg1959
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Re: Smeg's Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Sweet)

Postby smeg1959 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:40

Once all the decals were in place, the undercarriage legs and prop were attached, along with a stretched sprue pitot tube. The whole shebang got the mandatory clear coat finish, the canopy was affixed using Testors’ Clear Parts Cement and, drum roll, I used Merlin’s CA glue/Zip Kicker method to apply an aerial wire using Uschi’s rigging thread. My first build to have such an attachment and there’s a very real chance I’ll be revisiting my completed builds and doing a lot more “wiring”. It may not be scale thickness but any thinner and it would be invisible!

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (16).jpg

And so to the finished item …

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (11).jpg

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (13).jpg

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero - IJN 31-130 (17).jpg

Final thoughts?

I really enjoyed building the Sweet Hurricane during the Black/Night GB and the A6M2 was equally satisfying. Given my open criticism of Japanese kit manufacturers and the abundance of kits/gashapon featuring the type, did I really say that about a Zero? If you’ve never built a Sweet kit before, you’re really missing out. The only negative here would be the lack of cockpit detailing, though I suspect we’ve heard that once or twice before in relation to 1/144 aircraft kits. Given that it was originally paired with the Spitfire Mk VIII as “adversaries” for GB4, I have to say that I’m happier with the A6M2, though this is in part because I didn’t try to weather it with panel line goo. :oops:

Postscript: On the workbench, I am now returning to the subject of the current GB, namely my Hungarian Falco. In keeping with the Italian theme and given there's a pair of Macchi MC200 Saettas in the stash, I know what might get promoted up the modelling "To Do List".
OTB ...
Group Builds - GAF Canberra Mk 20 (GB7; 2 Sqn RAAF), Bell P-63C-5-BE (GB7; G/C3.6 Armee de l'Air)
Shelf of Shame - Spitfire FR Mk IXc (GB4; 16 Sqn RAF), Arado Ar196A-3 (GB2; 2./Aufkl.Gr.125)
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smeg1959
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Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:12
Location: Knoxfield, Victoria, Australia

Re: Smeg's Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Sweet)

Postby ajmm » Tue Jul 11, 2017 17:49

Beautiful! Well worth the wait I reckon - and that's from someone otherwise pretty uninspired by Zeroes. What a little gem and great choice, execution of paint scheme. Bravo!
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Re: Smeg's Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero (Sweet)

Postby smeg1959 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:38

Cheers. One of the Sweet options is similar, but with orange in place of grey on the tail. Oh, and I'll fess up ... I watched Tora!Tora! Tora! the night before revisiting this build. Very impressed how Texans were reworked to look like Zeroes and Kates, whilst a Vultee Valiant was transformed into a Val.
OTB ...
Group Builds - GAF Canberra Mk 20 (GB7; 2 Sqn RAAF), Bell P-63C-5-BE (GB7; G/C3.6 Armee de l'Air)
Shelf of Shame - Spitfire FR Mk IXc (GB4; 16 Sqn RAF), Arado Ar196A-3 (GB2; 2./Aufkl.Gr.125)
User avatar
smeg1959
JV 144 6 Star
JV 144 6 Star
 
Posts: 3344
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:12
Location: Knoxfield, Victoria, Australia


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