Nakajima A6M2 Type 2 Floatplane Fighter

by Chris Beaumont

Tamiya's 1/48 Scale "Rufe"

HyperScale regular Chris Beaumont describes his "Zero on Floats". Two more images in the text and eight more at the bottom of the page:

I n t r o d u c t i o n

This aircraft is the seaplane version of the famous Japanese Zero fighter, code named "Rufe" by the Allies. The Allies used a system of Japanese aircraft identification code names as simple references instead of a potentially confusing series of numbers or letters (to use a fictitious example - IJN-459AZ). Male names like Tony, Frank and Rufe were assigned to all fighter types and reconnaissance seaplanes. Rufe is actually an old-fashioned American hillbilly name.

The floats are obvious additions. Less noticeable modifications to the Mitsubishi Zero fighter included a slightly larger rudder and additional measures to waterproof the airframe. The Rufe was active throughout the Pacific campaign with roles including fighter - bomber, reconnaissance and escort. Many seaplane bases were built throughout the string of island outposts set up by the Japanese to facilitate their planned conquest of the Pacific. 327 Zero floatplane/fighter "Rufes" were said to have been built.

T h e   P h o t o   F e a t u r e

This photo feature compliments a six and a half page black and white article I did for Australia's "Plastics Modeller" magazine in the April-May 1995, No.29 edition. The article explains via 27 photos and text the essence of my ongoing approach to seamless aircraft model making.

The emphasis is on a realistic paint chipping technique I applied to Tamiya's 1/48 Japanese WWII Zero floatplane fighter "Rufe" as described in a step-by-step painting guide. Also mentioned are the valuable influences of the well-known modeller Francois Verlinden and the Japanese aviation artist Shigeo Koike, whose exquisite paintings are featured on many of Hasegawa's model kit box tops.

Final coverage is devoted to highlighting the superb quality of the Japanese aviation photo reference manuals available from the webshop "Hobbylink Japan" or your nearest specialist hobby shop.

Plastics Modeller magazine No.29 is available from

Ropomod Productions Pty. Ltd.
PO Box 30
Tullamarine 3043
Victoria, Australia.
The editor is of Plastics Modeller is Frank Morgan.

M o r e    P h o t o g r a p h s

More detail photographs of Chris's Rufe are listed below. Click the thumbnail to see the full sized image. Click the "Back" arrow on your browser to return to this page:


Exploded view of painted cockpit parts.




Note the salt-sprayed appearance of the airframe.This kind of weathering was hinted at in a couple of my IJN seaplane reference books


The boarding ladder would have been removed before takeoff.

Note the shiny undersurfaces. The hot tropical sun beat down on the upper surfaces only, fading the paintwork, leaving the undersides relatively factory fresh. Aircraft wrecks can still be discovered in jungles of the Pacific these days in the same condition.

Eye-candy shot of underwing surfaces. Note that the ladder would not be attached during flight.



For More Japanese Aircraft Visit
Mark T. Wlodarczyk's Japanese Aviation Page and
Dave Pluth's Japanese Aircraft Modelling Page

Model, Description and Photographs Copyright 1998 by Chris Beaumont
Page Created 12 August 1998
Last updated 26 July 2007

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Feature Articles