A6M2 Type 2
by Chris Beaumont
This aircraft is the Nakajima built seaplane version of the Mitsubishi 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 carried out by Nakajima 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 "Rufe's" were said to have been built.
This photo feature compliments a six and a half page black and white
article done for Australia's "Plastics Modeller" magazine in
the April-May 1995, No.29 edition. The article features 27 photos to
illustrate the building and paint finish of the model.
The emphasis is on a realistic paint chipping technique applied to
Tamiya's 1/48 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.
If you ever need a boost of inspiration to make or finish building a model seaplane / floatplane then watch the movie "Murphy's War" starring Peter O'Toole. It involves dogged attempts by O'Toole's character to pilot a floatplane, a Grumman J2F6 "Duck", to sink a U-boat somewhere in the sunny Caribbean during the last days of Germany's involvement in WWII.
You will see a lot of great color action scenes of a wartime weathered floatplane in it's natural environment.
on the thumbnail images below to view the image full sized.
Model, Text and Photographs Copyright © 1998
by Chris Beaumont