Hasegawa 1/48 12-Shi prototype- The First Zero
In 2005, Hasegawa offered a very limited-edition "65th anniversary" box set of Mitsubishi A6M "type 0" fighter kits in 1/48 scale. Fifteen different kits were included in the set, some of which were never previously released individually, all with first-rate Cartograph decal sheets. The set also included white metal IJN pilot and ground crew figures, and the beautiful box art paintings by Koike Shigeo, Japan's premier aviation artist. I was fortunate enough to get the very last set that Hobby Link Japan (hlj.com) had in stock, and have never seen another full set since.
The A6M1 12-shi prototype was one of the never-before-released kits in the set, although since then it has become available individually, as well as the A6M2-K two-seat trainer, and the other late Zeros such as the A6M8.
The A6M1 prototype is the Zero in its purest form, and Hasegawa got all the details right, including the Zuisei engine with two-bladed propeller, shorter rear fuselage with different fin and rudder shape and lower mounting of horizontal stabilizers. The Cartograph decals are very good as well, better than Hasegawa's usual decal quality over the years. Markings for both the first and second planes are provided.
A very fun build overall. I recommend this kit to any Zero enthusiast!
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.