The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen (popular name: Zero
, American code name Zeke
) is one of those planes that does not require special presentation. As it played the role of main long-range fighter plane of Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service it saw action in probably all major battles and campaigns on Pacific. In the early stage of warfare it was also considered as the best fighter plane of the PTO. Today it is simply a must-have plane for many modelers and aviation enthusiasts. Thank to Airfix we get a new model kit of this famous fighter in 1:72 scale.
Side the top opening box we find following stuff:
- three sprues of light grey styrene
- single sprue with clear cockpit canopy
- decal sheet
- assembly instruction
There is no glue nor paint provided in the set.
This model kit represents improved quality of latest Airfix products but not the best seen. Parts are nicely moulded, almost without any flashes. In comparison to earlier Airfix kits we can notice improved panel lines which are much thinner and more subtle, but in later releases (like bf 109E-4 or P-51D) Airfix made further progress.
OK, so let's take a closer look on the sprues. The smallest sprue is cockpit glazing. It is made as single part which will require careful cutting if you would like to make it opened (or replacing by some aftermarket set). Glazing have great transparency. Although it may look a bit thick it does not distort details inside cockpit. There's no way to shortcut anything inside fuselage while building as it will be surely visible.
Sprues are full of major and small details but following assembly instruction should ease building process. Some flashes are visible in usual places on the joint line of moulds. This affects mostly landing gear legs and engine cowling. Cowling is in my opinion the worst part of whole kit. It looks to ma as if moulds were incorrectly designed or assembled in this place. It will take some time to clean this part and make it usable. Other details are definitely much better. Cockpit is full of details and smaller parts, it is not anymore well known Airfix-style of instrument panel, pilot seat and control stick. Some details are made as optional, like tail wheel (retracted or extended), landing gear covers or wing tips, however to make them folded you will have to cut off existing tips and replace them with new ones. Precise cutting line is depicted in assembly instruction.
At the end I would only also like to mention that I've noticed some shrink marks on my kit affecting fuselage and lower surfaces of wings. I have marked them of photos as red lines (if the shrink is elongated) or circles. There are also many other nice details, like double-row radial engine or cockpit walls on fuselage sides, but I hope that attached pictures will tell you the whole story.
Of course inside the box we also get a decal sheet. Although it is not stated directly on the back of box we can find a logotype of Cartograf producer of premium quality water slided decals. Looking at the trasnfers we can notice great improvement in comparison to some earlier Airfix decals. This time we get very thin carrier film, saturated colours and large markings absolutely free of any raster.
Decals covers all major, if not all, national markings and stencils necessary for decaling one painting scheme. There is no option of painting schemes provided by Airfix. The given scheme represents machine of 201st Kokuta, Tobera Airfield, Keravat, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea, 1944. This is a two colours of green and beige machine. Airfix suggests to use Humbrol enamels and the recommended colours are chosen from their palette.
There's not much to say here. Large fold-out sheet with plain drawings leaving no doubt of how the kit should be assembled, even when you consider optional configurations of landing gear or wing tips. Of course it starts with the assembly of cockpit interior, it couldn't be different. At the first glimpse you may be only confused by many numbers seen around each part, some in square, other in rectangles, other just as numbers. These markings refers to plastic parts (numbers followed by letters in circles), decals (numbers in rectangles) and numbers of colours (plain numbers in a small size) which should be used for painting particular detail at this step. As I said before, it may be confufsng but after few minutes of study becomes straight like a banana.
Latest Airfix kits are great examples of value to money ratio. Youngsters will have a great fun for just few quids or bucks, depending where you live. Older guys may use it for training of new techniques, as a base of advanced replicas (although personally I would use other brand for advanced modeling) or for a relaxing weekend modeling. Maybe it will not be very objective but I'm an enthusiast of latest Airfix kits in new top-opening boxes. Beside, you can always buy it just for fun of buying new kit. It's also a part of our hobby.
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