A6M5 Zero Type 52
by Rick Cotton
A6M5 Zero Type 52
scale A6M5 Zero is available online from Squadron.com
By now, several reviews have already been written about the new
Tamiya 1/32 Zero, so I won’t excessively belabor the point.
This kit is, in my opinion, the finest, most comprehensive, and best
engineered plastic model of any scale, type, or subject I have ever
had the pleasure of building. Its inaccuracies are few, the fit is
near-perfect, and the detailing is fantastic.
I am one of those nuts who loves to add bits and pieces, and I
could find next to nothing to add - the kit is that complete. I
added engine wiring, a bungee cord on the seat assembly, and that’s
about it. It didn’t need much, if anything, else.
I built my Zeke as a Nakajima-built example, which means using the
“bamboo color” Nakajima Interior Green (noticeably lighter than
Mitsubishi Interior Green) . I used Tamiya Interior Green (produced
especially for this kit) as my basic cockpit color, washed with a
dirty brown watercolor wash, and then drybrushed with varying
lighter shades of the cockpit green. A bit of silver drybrushed on
wear spots finished it off. The kit belts and buckles were
used…….these could be improved in future releases, but they’re OK
when installed. I recommend using lead foil or tape to replace the
A word about the operating landing gear. Mine work, but I will only
use them once. Up for the paint job, then back down again for good.
Mr. Tamiya, please leave the operating features to the 1/48 Monogram
kits from the ‘60’s. They aren’t worth the bother, and they just
complicate matters. ’Nuff said.
The canopy masks provided in the kit worked well, and came back off
with no problems.
Painting time. Okay, you want green over gray or gray under
I really wish there was another option for this bird. I have seen
paintings of Zeros based in Wonsan, Korea that had Trainer Orange
undersides with green topsides, but I have no good documentation for
them, so I went with one of the kit options.
I painted with Polly Sscale Acrylics, using IJN Green over IJN
Gray, and then gloss coated with Future. The thick decals settled
down nicely when I put Micro Sol UNDER them and allowed them to dry.
Watch the placement of the Yellow ID stripes on the wing leading
edge, it’s easy to get them mis-located.
Weathering was the usual mix of water color wash, drybrushing, and
This is a super kit…..but it isn’t perfect. The belts need
replacing and there are numerous sinkholes in the flap areas and on
the gear doors. The working landing gear unnecessarily complicate
things, although they do ease painting by being retractable.
Should these points keep you from building this kit? No way!
This thing’s more detailed than the Federal Budget, and fits tighter
than Britney Spears’ pants.
I just hope there are more of these super-detailed jewels coming
soon. Tony, Jack, George, better yet, Jill, Grace, Dinah. I can
dream can’t I?
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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by
Page Created 04 January, 2003
Last Updated 04 June, 2007
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