Mitsubishi A6M2b (Model 21) – 1:72
Mitsubishi A6M2b (Model 21) - Akagi Carrier, Lead ship of Carrier Div. 1, flown by Lt. Saburo Shindo, Air Superiority Force, 2nd Strike Unit - Dec, 1941.
The kit: Tamiya 1:72
I think Zeke needs no presentation, but let me drop a few facts about the aircraft I decided to built focusing also on the pilot.
The A6M2b - Model 21 was the first mass-production variant built for carrier use. The Model 21 was one of the most produced versions early in the war. When the lines switched to updated models, 740 Model 21s had been completed by Mitsubishi, and another 800 by Nakajima.
The aircraft presented (AI-102) belonged to Lt. Saburo Shindo (1911-2000) - one of few Japanese naval fighter pilots who survived the war. He'd distinguished himself in China in 1940 but later he was one of the squadron leaders in the initial attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and is credited with sending the infamous "Tora, Tora, Tora" message, indicating that the surprise attack was a success. He also participated in the battle against the USA in 1942, shooting down several Wildcats, however he was never assigned the "ace" title.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor the Shindo's squadron was responsible for escorting B5N2 bombers. After the bomber attack, his squadron, joined by fighters from the Kaga carrier, attacked the Hickam airfield targeting planes, offices, technical buildings and ground crews.
The single red stripe on the fuselage is a carrier identification mark - in this case Akagi, and the two yellow stripes on the vertical stabiliser denote Shindo's plane as a squadron leader.
The Tamiya kit is brilliant, well fitting parts with great detail. Building the model is fairly easy and it needed little amendments, however I had some problems with painting it. To cut my story short, I decided to use this model as a training kit to learn some weathering techniques - it was my first attempt at semi-heavy weathering. Consequently, due to lack of skills I had to repaint it and start from scratch but the lessons I'd learnt were worth it. The final result is far from perfect but I decided to leave it as a decent model in my small WW2 collection.
I will appreciate your comments.
P.S. Now I'm working on a small diorama with the BMW R-75 motorcycle in 1:35 but since I always work on two projects at the same time and I'm into 1:72 aircraft I have two kits to choose from, they were both given to me for my birthday back in April: Blenheim from my wife and Focke-Wulf from my son 🙂 Feel free to help me decide in the comments on what to go for next 😉 Cheers.
2 additional images. Click to enlarge.