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A6M5 Zero

A6M5 Zero

by Alan Greenstadt

Like many of you I always wanted to build an F4U Corsair. I finally completed the task and hunted for my next prey.

Quite simply, my next prey was the Corsair’s prey, and vice versa…..the Mitsubishi A6M5 “Zero”.

1/32 scale has always been a favorite of mine since I discovered that my hands were not cut out to do micro surgery. The level of detail on good 1/32 kits also saves a lot of the referencing and scratch building I do on 1/48.

A6M5 Zero

Tamiya acrylic paint was hand mixed to achieve Japanese Naval green and the elusive interior colors. Some small work in the cockpit was done with enamel to get the “shiny worn” look. Note that many of the reference works refer to the slightly metallic look of the interior architecture . This is apparently due to the use of a greenish tinted wash put over bare metal to retard erosion. Any comments?

What I wanted to achieve was a highly weathered aircraft, land based and flown on many sorties a day.

The entire exterior was started with two coats of primer sanded with 2400 micro mesh cloth, thus creating a “rough” surface with teeth.

Following this came many coats of dull aluminum/steel sanded smooth (again with micro mesh). On went the colors of the fuselage and wings. Wind blast and sand blast areas were achieved with various combinations of the tips of sanding sticks, Q tips and sponges covered with sanding cloths.

A6M5 Zero

Important! Start with fine sanding and stay with it as you gradually reveal the undercoat; This is the way it happens in real life and it works in our modeling

Leading edges are enhanced by rubbing a fine sanding stick or a buffing nail stick on a surface previously sprayed with Testors buffing paint and then applying it to the edges of the wings, horizontal stabilizer and tail. I also used this to accent the metal parts in the cockpit, especially the control panel. A typical wash was used in the cockpit and wheel wells and the landing gear with a bare metal foil oleo for luck.

The final touches were made with a Tamiya weathering makeup kit usually reserved for armor– a perfect effect for pacific land based aircraft. The use of the brown and black are obvious; but, I found the white also useful in creating contrast in the cockpit.

A final though was to stencil “@*#! Boyington” in Japanese on the cowl…..but thought better of it.

Photos by Alan Greenstadt