Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero Fighter
Inflight Photo Feature by Chris Beaumont
Although Tamiya's family of 1/48 Zeros date from the early 1980's, they stand up very well in comparison to today's kits. They feature a mixture of very fine raised (where appropriate) and crisp engraved panel lines and excellent detail. Figures are also included in each kit. As a bonus some kits like the Hamp have ground crew figures in typical farewell poses with hats being waved in hand above their heads like you often see in WWII Japanese newsreel footage.
The most noticeable design feature of the Type 32 Zero was its clipped wings. This was intended to improve roll rate, facilitate quicker handling on aircraft carriers and to take advantage of the uprated Sakae 21 engine. In the event most Hamps saw their deployment from land based airstrips in the southern island chains of New Guinea and the Philippines.
My model's paint scheme is the result of another one of those bemusing cases of the instruction sheet paint plan not matching the box top artwork exactly. I followed the simplified splotchy pattern directed by the instructions but these days after paying more attention to specialist photo reference publications I would copy the closely knit and murky green camouflage pattern seen painted on the kit's box art.The model's finish was enlivened by pinpricking the rivet pattern into the paintwork. A small battery powered motor operates the propeller and was idled with a hobby electronics motor controller kit to capture the propeller blur during photography for dramatic effect.
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Model, Text and Photographs Copyright © 1999 by Chris Beaumont