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  #1  
Unread May 19th, 2011, 09:59 PM
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Default 1/48 Tamiya A6M5/5a Zero Type 52 Tweaks & Tips

When first released in 2008, the Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M5/5a Type 52, Allied codename ‘Zeke’, was widely hailed as the ‘Best Zero’ in 1/48. That certainly holds up today, even though it now shares that crown with it’s brother, the Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M3 Type 22 in 1/48. What you get when you open the box is 115 parts in grey plastic that compose the airframe, eight parts in clear; four standing pilot figures made up of 21 additional grey plastic parts; polythene caps; self-adhesive canopy masking sheet; and decals for three marking options.

Those familiar with Tamiya’s 1/32 family of Zero’s will notice some commonality between these kits, as much of the 1/48 kits fine details are based on their superlative large scale brethren. The cockpit is one of the most complete that has ever been presented in a quarter scale kit, lacking only some piping (which is easily recreated from fine solder) and either Mitsubishi or Nakajima style seat belts (Mitsubishi built have a shoulder restraint, while Nakajima built planes did not). Take note of whether you plan to builds a Nakajima or Mitsubishi built Zeke, as each manufacturer used a different interior green color. The Mitsubishi color is close to US interior green, and its Nakajima counterpart is close to British interior green.

I can make the following comments about the construction of this model:
  1. Overall fit is excellent, but care must be taken in several places: Attach the vertical fin to the fuselage halves first. This will eliminate any steps at the tail base. Also be careful with the insert panel at the base of the tail on the left side. Carefully remove it from its frame and you will have no problems.
  2. The attachment points to the fuselage halves are on the mating surfaces. Try to not sand a gap like I did when cleaning them up. If you do, wedge a shim of .005 styrene in the gap as filler.
  3. The wing gun inserts on the leading edge are the one place of poor fit in the kit. Align them to the top wing, and will on the bottom. That’s the best I can come up with.

Here are some general painting notes for the Zeke:
  1. The decking under the greenhouse portion of the canopy is not the color of the cockpit. It is blue-black on Mitsubishi built planes, and flat black on Nakajima built planes. Same goes for the engine cowling based on which company built the Zeke. While we’re discussing black, the inside of the canopy frames were also painted flat black, so reduce glare. Tamiya XF-69 NATO black is a good in-scale choice for the flat black, while White Ensign Colour Coats makes the blue-black in their range.
  2. Gear bay color also depends on manufacturer: Mitsubishi built planes have their gear bays painted the same color as the undersurfaces whereas Nakajima built planes have gear bays that are over all Aotake (clear blue-green over aluminum). The gear doors from both manufacturers are the underside color. Struts are black, and wheel hubs are either aluminum or undersurface color. Check your references.
  3. Flap interior from both manufacturers are Aotake. I mixed my Aotake from a TLAR (That Looks About Right) recipe of Tamiya Titanium silver, Metallic Blue, and clear green. No two batches are the same, and this works. Aotake exposed to air turns becomes more green than blue, such as the artifact from the Zeke that crashed in the Enterprise off of Okinawa that I photographed at NAS Pensacola this summer.
  4. The demarcation line between the Midori-iro upper surfaces and the Tsuchi-iro lower surfaces varied by Manufacturer. On Mitsubishi built planes it extended in a straight line from the wing root to the end of the fuselage. Nakajima built planes featured a swooping demarcation line where the Midori-iro arched up to the horizontal stabilizers and then back down to the tail cone.

I hope this helps everyone attempting Tamiya's wonder late model Zeke!

Will
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Unread May 25th, 2011, 01:48 PM
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Thanks for sharing

Got a kit number?

Obrigado!

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Unread May 27th, 2011, 12:20 AM
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Kit 61103
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Unread May 27th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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Thx

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Unread July 28th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Thanks Will! Wow, I have this kit three years in my stash. I am still awaiting the Maru Mechanic Hardcover #5 which is supposedly the bible on this airecraft.

Regards,
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Unread March 1st, 2012, 11:36 PM
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I'm pretty new to building models and the two i've done so far have had raised line. I've been reading every thread I can find on recessed lines and the fine art of scribing and am eager to try. I don't feel confident enough to buy this model just yet but I have been looking at cheaper tamiya zeros with recessed lines to practice on. Anyone know if one of the following models is better than the other? A6M2 Type 21, A6M3 Type 32 or A6M5C Type 52, all Tamiya.
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Unread March 2nd, 2012, 03:17 AM
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Nice- thanks.

I have recently bought one of these for when I need some therapy after a particularly challenging build- that's the way I view Tamiya kits now. I also bought the add-ons pack, and the Eduard canopy masks, all sitting there in the box just waiting for me.
Frankly, this kit appears to be utterly beautiful from the "playing" I have already entered into!
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Unread March 2nd, 2012, 09:45 AM
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Mental,

here's the link to our club newsletter last year w/ my full build article on the Zeke:

http://www.phantomphlashers.org/feb11.pdf

These are some of the nicest kits I've ever built.
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Unread March 5th, 2012, 03:31 PM
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Do pay attention to the wing gun inserts, they are quite tricky!
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Unread March 5th, 2012, 04:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james84 View Post
Do pay attention to the wing gun inserts, they are quite tricky!
Here's what I've found to remedy this:
  • fit the insert to the top wing. It may take a little filing, but it will go in better
  • this will leave a smaller gap on the bottom wing, easier to fill w/ Mr. Surfacer, etc.
It's not perfect, but its worked best for me so far.
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Unread June 1st, 2012, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baltimore08 View Post
I'm pretty new to building models and the two i've done so far have had raised line. I've been reading every thread I can find on recessed lines and the fine art of scribing and am eager to try. I don't feel confident enough to buy this model just yet but I have been looking at cheaper tamiya zeros with recessed lines to practice on. Anyone know if one of the following models is better than the other? A6M2 Type 21, A6M3 Type 32 or A6M5C Type 52, all Tamiya.
Definitely, the A6M3 Type 32 or A6M5c Type 52c. The A6M2 Model 21 and A6M2-N Model 11 are trickier with their spinner and prop being a bit out of proportion. The fit of the parts on the A6M2 kits is good for their era, but the shape and locations of the panel lines is VERY accurate; but I think you'll enjoy building the A6M3/32 and A6M5c/52c better.
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Unread June 11th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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Thanks for your input, much appreciated. I actually picked up the A6M2 a few weeks ago but havn't touched it yet. Looking forward to it!
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