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Mitsubishi A6M5 Type 52, Rei-Sen

This is the beautiful 1/32 Tamiya model of the iconic IJN fighter. The model is depicted as a toughnut veteran of Pacific sun and salt air, Rabaul Fighter Group, New Britain, 1943-44.

Principal paint finishes are White Ensign enamels, over Alclad Aluminium.

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a long-range fighter aircraft, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter (零式艦上戦闘機, rei-shiki-kanjō-sentōki).

The A6M was usually referred to by its pilots as the “Rei-Sen” (zero fighter), “0” being the last digit of the Imperial year 2600 (1940) when it entered service with the Imperial Navy.

The official Allied reporting name was “Zeke”, given in keeping with the practice of assigning male names to Japanese fighters, female names to bombers, bird names to gliders and tree names to trainers.

“Zeke” was part of the first batch of “hillbilly” code names assigned by Captain Frank T. McCoy of Nashville, Tennessee (serving with the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit (ATAIU) at Eagle Farm airport in Australia), who wanted quick, distinctive, easy-to-remember names. When, in 1942, the Allied coding system for Japanese aircraft was introduced, McCoy logically chose “Zeke” for the “Zero.” although the use of the name “Zero” was later commonly adopted by the Allies as well.

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

29 responses to Mitsubishi A6M5 Type 52, Rei-Sen

  1. The nice thing about Japanese aircraft of WW II is that you can weather them very well since the paint usually faded and chipped a lot. You captured that perfectly!!! Well done Rob

  2. Nice !! im Like.
    In my stash no 32 ZERO but 34 in 1/48 to build and 1/72 Fine moulds and nev Tamiya each one of type..

  3. Lovely model Rob. I particularly like the wear & tear on the paintwork.
    Did you rub the enamel back after airbrushing or jus go very lightly with the colour coat?

    • Thanks, Tony.

      As the base is Alclad lacquer you can use a buffing/light abrasive pad to lift/thin the top coat without affecting the lacquer. Where it’s not practical then I used a cotton bud (Q Tip) damped in thinners to lift the top colour along certain edges. All this is of course prior to applying flat varnish overall.

  4. Great job Rob. Love the weathered finish on this Zero.

  5. Great work and detailing there Rob.
    The finish on her is fantastic mate.
    Well done sir.

  6. Lovely model, Rob, of a really good looking aeroplane. It looks just right, the finish is perfect. Well done!

  7. The kit looks ragged out and well used. Rob, it doesn’t appear that you used any washes to accent the panel lines but, chose to use the underling Alcad to help pop up the details. I like the faded and warn out paint on the cowling especially around the gun openings. What did you do for the navigation lights they really add to character of you kit. Our they clear plastic,colored plastic or a transparent/clear paint?

    • “they really add to character of you kit”

      My editor is on vacation…it should read they” really add character to your kit.”

    • Hi Stephen, the clear parts are just that, clear. They’re treated with ‘clear’ red/green lacquer (Tamiya) and then a touch of Klear to seal the colours, but they probably are OK without the Klear.

      I’m not a big fan of pre-shading (or, within limits, washes). I’ve never seen an aircraft with anything like the shading along panel lines so often depicted in scale modelling. In the absolute worst case there would only be a faint ghosting in the panel line itself, and certainly nothing spread out along adjacent surfaces. Much more common is the general effect of atmosphere on the paintwork, where the paint simply oxidises and has a vaguely chalky look.

      Thanks for the comments.

  8. Nice build, Rob….good work.

  9. Nicely executed and detailed.

  10. Good work there Rob, nicely done.

  11. “Excellent”. Very well done, I especially like the distressed paint.

  12. Like the others have already said, you’ve achieved a very realistic weathered and worn finish on this, Rob. I’m with you on the pre-shading, it’s very easily overdone.

  13. Nice build, great realistic finish.

  14. Rob,
    I have always like the simple lines of the Zero and your build makes me like it all the more. This is a masterful build.

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