I finally made the move! Knowing that my time the US was limited, I pushed to complete a couple of builds that friends wanted, and wouldn’t be making the move. So I doubled up my efforts and finished two. Hasegawa’s 1/48 A6M2b Zero, and Tamiya’s P-51D. The Zero got photographed along the way, the Mustang, not so much. So here’s the short version of the Zero odyssey:
Long ago in a country far away, this build began… ok, it’s not so dramatic! Several years ago I made what I thought was a pretty good deal on EBay. Hasegawa’s 1/48 A6M2b type 21 Zero, with markings from the Tinian Air Group, for the grand sum of 10 USD delivery included! The catch was it was started. The pictures showed that most interior parts were painted with what reminded me of Pactra’s blue metallic color, a strange color grey on the wings and the hinomaru decals were on them as well. Oddly none of the parts had been glued. All in all, this was something that I could work with, and give some paint removal methods a go. I bid, and won! It arrived a few days later, and I promptly tried the oven cleaner paint removal method. After 24 hours all paint and decals were off the kit parts. Inside the box was also a clipping from the NY Times with Saburo Sakai’s obituary, passing away on Sept 22, 2000 at the age of 84.
In my mind this made for a good build, all the contents were promptly filed away in the box and placed on the self, satisfied that I’d gotten a new Hasegawa Zero minus some decals for 10 USD. There it remained for four years.
Since then I focused on getting my skills up to a new level, and building my stash of kits, knowing that a move to a new and exciting country lay in my near future. There the kit sat, until I’d completed the 56th P-47 group build, my first, and upon completion of a pretty ambitious build I felt the need for something a little less involved. Giving myself a self-imposed goal of completing Zero in a month seemed reasonable…
Off to the races I went, figuring pretty much out of the box, and trying a new base to enhance the color of the plane. Based on some research regarding color there is a debate about the color of early Zero’s. Since this was a land based aircraft, and there was eyewitness accounts of this Zero being a pale green, I felt Tamiya’s grey/green would do nicely. I also wanted to cover my bases, so I figured I’d give a base coat of brown/red (the original primer color of the aircraft) and let some of it tint the grey/green.
The build began in the cockpit by thinning the seat, drilling out the lightening holes, and adding a wire to represent the heater conduit. Overall, this was the best Zero kit I’d worked on. Being my first attempt at the Hasegawa Zero surprised even me, given that I really like this plane.
Some pics of the build:
Love the way the decal conforms to the instrument panel
The only fit issue was a slight step between the fuselage and wing. This happens a bit on older Hasegawa kits. However, it is nothing serious.
Painting was done using a black basing method, only using Tamiya Red/Brown as a base. I really liked how it turned out.
The build took a slight hit when I discovered that the sliding portion of the canopy came from another kit. Fortunately I had a Hasegawa Rufe to steal from! Techmod decals for the hinomaru’s were used, as I hadn’t tried them and had a few in the stash. This didn’t go so well. Getting them to conform was difficult, and the use of Micro Sol damaged the paint.
After spending 10 hours masking the canopy, and the discovery that the sliding canopy that came in the box was for some other aircrafts, use of Techmod decals, and the start of the CBI campaign doomed the project to my desk. Not quite the self of doom, but one step from it!
reworked paint on the wing
With renewed enthusiasm, and a November 30th deadline, I hit it hard.
I’d already wired the engine, so putting brake lines on was in order.
A little weathering, a lost gunsight, and the addition of the pitot tube, and it was done. I gave it to a co-worker on my second to last day of work.
That’s it for the queens in my collection this year. I did manage to pack up 5 builds that are in a hangar status, so Michael, I’d be more than happy to lead next year’s Hangar Queen Campaign.
Till then, Merry Christmas!