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Chuck A. Villanueva
119 articles

Tamiya 1/48th Mitsubishi A6m2 "Zeke" Type 21 PTO WWII

March 27, 2017 · in Aviation · · 33 Comments

One of my older builds from the mid 90's. I started building my current stash back in the early 90's. Living in the East Coast I started picking up more kits to bring back with me when I returned home to So California. Not only kits but others as well, Hasegawa, Revell/Monogram etc. With Tamiya I was buying them in sequence starting with the Frank Ki-84, then this one 61016 and so on. The Frank is one that did not survive one moving trip. My focus at the time was to build with decals and not much else. I didn't care about the decal options offered in the box so I got an Aeromaster sheet that had this unusual scheme. Flown by the flight leader 261 Kokutai in 1943. A field paint job, using Aeromaster Lt IJA Grey, IJA Green, a mixture of Lt tan & green for the rear section and tail to complete the camo. Blue black for the cowling. True detail fast frames. Fine raised panel lines for this 1st generation kit from Tamiya in this scale. Still a fine kit, fun to build straight forward. Just like most of their kits are today.

Fly Navy

17 additional images. Click to enlarge.

33 responses

  1. Sweet, Chuck! I like the odd markings as well. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your neat work and the unusual colour scheme and markings make the most of this classic kit.

  3. It appears you sprayed the wheel well color, Chuck - whadja use? The rest of the scheme looks pretty good.
    You may wanna paint yer house next - lol - ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Like everyone else has mentioned above, this is a scheme that you don't normally see. I like it a lot, and it really catches your eye. I especially like how it looks where the fuselage halves join together. It looks as if they built a plane out of two... The Zero was assembled from two sections, with the rear half of the fuselage and tail being one part.

    Isn't this the one that you sent me a picture of the cowling color from when I was building the Koga Zero ? These older Tamiya kits build up very nicely. Like Jeff said, thanks for sharing.

    • Yes Louis it is one of the two I sent images of for the blue black cowlings. I think this may be the case of making one aircraft out of two. Though it could also be a field mod paint scheme as well.

      • I thought it looked familiar. Your pictures really helped me during my build, thanks again. Field mod or building one plane out of two, either way it really looks cool !

  5. Nice build - those are still good kits - cockpit's not as detailed as you find from Tamiya or Hasegawa, but that's about it.

    A note about the "two tone" upper camo: this is a mistake made by the
    "hex-spurtz" back in the 60s-70s. It was a misreading of old photos and a mistaken identification of sun-fading. It's up there with "all white" Sea Hurricane IIc's from 824 Squadron on HMS Nairana (despite a plethora of photos demonstrating the reality).

    That's not a critique of Chuck's model, but rather information for folks going on with a similar project nowadays.

    • With the decals from Aeromaster during the 90's. Many of the Japanese schemes we brought to question. Then at that time information was still quite scarce and inaccurate so they went with what they had and at times missed it. Even the scheme I used on the Tam Frank kit was also not accurate in what color the side stripe was that I had chosen for that build, where it was blue on their sheet, I saw the same scheme in red on another sheet. So with more information that has come to light since more modern sheets will be more up to date, yet still some will get controversial such as it is.

  6. Good looking Zero - and I like the unusual markings - something different.

  7. This the outfit called the "Tiger" Corps? I think this is the leaders aircraft- note the wing stripes- and the fuselage ones, as well. Used while they were organizing in Japan prior to deploying to outside the home islands. I remember seeing something about this in Thorpes book on IJN colors way back. This is the only Zeke I've ever seen with wing stripes, and those on the fuselage are kinda unusual, as well. Wondering if the "two tone" paint isn't due to refinishing worn paint. There was a similar interpretation with the Zeke 52s we captured on Saipan. Supposedly the photos on the carrier transporting them back to the US were taken after they'd been washed down, and parts of it were not dry. I believe one of those is the one in the Smithsonian, on the Mall in DC.

    • You are correct in this case. I have not seen any other unit display the wing stripes like this scheme does. It is quite striking actually, but yet to see a photo of this particular Zeke. Though this is an Army unit, will Thorpes book get into any of the Army units or just IJN?

      • I have seen these stripes on several Ki-43 Oscars, which were operated by the Army. One particular plane comes to mind. It's a Ki-43 that was flown by Tateo Kato, who was an ace and was killed fairly early in the War. He too was a unit leader.

        However just like you guys stated, I've never seen another set of stripes like these on any A6M...

      • Chuck, Thorpe had two books, one on IJN and one on IJA schemes, and details like what the stenciling looked like. He also had a system for what the various colors of paint for each were, which is probably by the wayside, now. This was in the 60s, and was a pioneering work(s) which I think still has merit. The interpretations may have changed, but the basic work is still good. Sideviews in color, with unit markings. Great stuff! The IJA had wonderful tail markings, arrows, the "swoosh" on the Hayate...

        We have the IJA book in the museum, maybe someday we'll get the IJN, which I think has the Zero with the wing stripes on the cover. Drawn in glorious color. I also remember that there is a 3/4 rear shot of it in the book, and it's got that skeletal tail for target towing. (!) A friend has one, I'll ask what the caption says.

        Kato is the only other Japanese fighter with wing bands.

  8. A very nice Zero, Chuck and its good that it stood the test of time so well.
    The markings and the paint scheme is indeed very unusual and it is for sure a colorful one in your display cabinet.

  9. Unique looking Zeke-Cool Model!

  10. ๐Ÿ™‚ ... Greetings ... ๐Ÿ™‚ :
    Nice build Chuck, that paint scheme is a very singular one, for sure it is a eye stopper.

  11. One of the things I do look for is something different and unique. I try to avoid the popular schemes.

  12. Nice Zeke Chuck, never seen those marking before.

  13. Profile Photo
    said on March 28, 2017

    Good lookin zero Chuck. Good job.

  14. Very nice. I like the oddidity

  15. Thank you so much Chuck for sharing this is very timely for me, and the mystery deepens...

    Last week I received three brand new decal sheets from HobbyLink Japan, produced by H Model Decals, a Czech firm, plus several excellent Zero reference books.

    The new H Model Decals include this particular aircraft; its scheme showing three colors on this aircraft, (what appears to be dark green+a non-descript light green color topside over a light grey underside color), plus the various stripes and markings.

    ...and, there is a good black&white photo of this aircraft in Dainippon-Kaiga "Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Paint Scheme Handbook: Zero Fighter" 2014 publication, along with an artist's color rendition that interprets this particular Saipan aircraft's scheme as dark green + kahki over light grey, (a loose interpretation of the text claims that the stripes helped identify the lead aircraft?). Anyway, from this clear photo one can see Japanese personnel around the damaged aircraft, so the aircraft hasn't yet been tampered with by capturing forces on Saipan. So the conclusion has to be that this aircraft in a three-color scheme, did exist.

    Having to choose between a Czech or a Japanese interpretation, my guess would be to go with the Dianippon illustration, like yours, Chuck.

    And...I still struggle with this three color scheme issue, as it relates to the Saipan Zeros. The 2012 Burindo book, "Type Zero Carrier Fighter" has numerous clear photos of the Saipan Zeros captured by Marines. So for example, I can compare clear photos of one particular captured Type 52, tail number 61-131, both on the airfield (freshly captured) and shipboard; ... and a three-color scheme is apparent. (Careful study of the shipboard Zeros [including 61-131] shows two topside colors, not abraided aluminum surface.)

    As with the Saipan Model 21 discussion above, the new H Model Decals Saipan Zeros set interprets the Type 52s as all showing dark green with light green topsides over grey. Yet, a 1993 Hasegawa 1:48 Type 52 kit release shows a Saipan Zero in dark green + grey green over light grey. I can't imagine that Hasegawa was frivolous in their interpretation.

    I'm so confused...there are two new Tamiya 1/72 model 52s on my workbench, and for once, indecision is not the key to flexibility.

  16. 1st I need to thank everyone for their input for this Zero. Very humbled, the interest of this scheme is the very reason I wanted to build it as it captured mine. When I built this back around 97 or 98, the internet was still growing. Finding information on WWII Japanese aircraft was still limited. I basically went with the instructions that were in the kit. I believe it was James Lansdale at in 1998 was one that had pretty good research on camouflage and colors for the WWII Japanese aircraft used by the Navy and Army. Yet so much has come to light since. But there is so much more and the passion for this hobby continues I just hope that just as everyone of your builds inspire me to continue this amazing hobby that I can inspire you as well. Thanks everyone and in particular Martin for this amazing site.

    God Bless

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