Tamiya 1:48 scale Mitsubishi A6M3, Model 22 “Zero”

March 12, 2013 · in Aviation · · 13 · 5.9K

Tamiya had released a bunch of Japanese WWII aircraft way back in the late 1970's early 1980's and, at the time, they were the cutting edge of modeling technology. Even today with all the advancements they are still pretty good and can be had for a very reasonable price, about $15, IIRC.

These days however, in order to keep up with other quality model kit manufacturers, Tamiya has redesigned this model of the world famous "" from the ground up, and man what a terrific model it is.

Everything pretty much goes together without the slightest hitch. The detail of the cockpit, engine and other interior areas is phenomenal. The surface detail of the kit is very crisp and clear, the whole kit is just screaming to be built...and you will want to build it too after you get a look inside the box.

There is one other 'redesigned' "Zero" out as well, which is the A6M5, and it is equally as awesome as this one. I can only hope that Tamiya releases an A6M2 to cover the early war period, and maybe an A6M3, model 32 ,"Hamp"

This kit ranks as one of the best models I have ever built as far as fit and finish, and is just a really, really enjoyable build.

I painted the model in Model Master Enamels, FS-34201, SAC Bomber Tan as it looks to be the same color as the preserved pieces from Zeros shot down during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Weathering was by thinned oils and pastel chalks and the paint chipping was by brush and sponges, (Dry dabbing with a sponge basically)

Antenna was by stretched sprue. Seat belts are paper and the decals are Aeromaster.

Thanks again for looking at ANOTHER one of my posts. 🙂

Have a great night folks!

Reader reactions:
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11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

13 responses

  1. That's a very, very nice zeke! Great detail work, thanks for sharing!

  2. Really nice work. Enjoy the subtle weathering instead of the peeling, mangy paint jobs on "experienced" airframes.

  3. Nailed the color by the way, I got to see a small piece of zero that had been cleaned up at the Arizona memorial, your paint is very close

    • Thanks Rob, I had seen that also and a friend suggested this to me. Model Master, SAC Bomber Tan, FS#34201. As you said, looks VERY close to preserved pieces of shot down Zeros at Pearl Harbor

  4. I agree with every one else, Fred...nice job all around.

  5. Excellent work.

  6. One thing, and I am asking because I am not sure of the color as seen on-screen: what color did you use for the cockpit interior? "Mitsubishi cockpit color" is very close to British grey-green (Tamiya has released a new paint called "Japanese cockpit color" that is it), while Nakajima did cockpits in a color that approximates US Interior Green. What I am seeing is closer to that (which only means you have done a Nakajima-built A6M2, since both companies used the same exterior paint).

    BTW - the A6M2b IS the "early war Zero."

    • I used a plain flat green for the pit which, looks a LOT greener in pictures than it does in real life. I attribute that to my NOT being much of a photograher, lighting and this little point and shoot digital camera I have. I know I can change settings but have not because I have no idea what I'm changing, or how it will effect the pictures.

      I also corrected the subject title as the model is an A6M3, NOT an A6M2 as orginally posted. To my knowledge, Tamiya has not released a 'Retool' of the A6M2 in 1:48 scale...yet. They did a recent outstanding job on the 1:72 kit and because of that I can only imagine a 1:48 scale will follow soon. The kit is supposed to be a Mitsu built aircraft, but as I mentioned earlier the pictures don't reflect that.

      Thanks again or the help AND the information Tom, as always it is much appreciated. 🙂

    • I do have a question though, regarding Mitsu and Nakajima built A6M's. I had read that Mitsu built aircraft had their interior surfaces like wheel wells and cockpits painted light grey green as you mentioned earlier, whereas on Nakajima units, the pit was a slightly darker shade, but the rest of the interior spaces were painted in blue-green Aotake. Any truth to that?

  7. I think its a great-looking model. FWIW, Brian Criner wrote an excellent book on the A6M in Osprey's aircraft modeling series. It might provide more definitive answers to what colours Mitsubishi and Nakajima were using for cockpit interiors. I wonder if that series will be updated and revised...

    I like the colour too!

  8. said on May 16, 2013

    Hello Frederick!

    Love this zero. I am currently building a radio control model of this airplane with a 102 inch wingspan. I've been looking for a different color scheme and I think this is the one. I've looked all over for a model of this and can't seem to find it. Do they still sell this plane? Did the color scheme (decals) come with this kit or did you order the decals from somewhere else? If I can get the decals, I can have them scanned and sized for paint masks. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I can send pics of the finished plane. Should look just like yours, but bigger. I compete in a competition called Top Gun in Lakeland Florida and that is where this one will be going in 2014. Thanks again for any help!


    • Hey PJ,
      Thanks for the compliment! I got the marking from Aeromasters Special sheet, "Eagles of the Rising Sun" SP48-04. Good luck and I would LOVE to see a flying model of this aircraft.

      • Hey Frederick,

        I am having a hard time find a distributor that will get this set to me in Kentucky in the US. Any chance you could email me? My email address is: [email protected]. I can make everything else. Just need more detail on the writing on this side...Plus would love to show you some pictures.

        Thank you,

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