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Alfredo Cofré
12 articles

The Akutan Ronin: Captured Mitsubishi A6M2b-21 Zero, Airfix 1:72, “Caged Warbirds” serie

April 3, 2018 · in Aviation · · 25 · 16.3K

As the third specimen of my "Captured Warbirds" serie this one is quite interesting. This was shoot down over Akutan, Alaska, in the Aleutian islands, in July of 1942. The plane was shoot in the oil return line so the pilot, Tadayoshi Koga, tried to land in a seemingly hard field which happened to be a marsh.

The plane flop upside down and Koga died instantly. Nevertheless, the Zero had only minor damages, so was recovered by the US and put to fly again. This was the first Zero successfully recovered, so finally the US forces were able to descipher the incredible agility of this machine and study its weaknesses. Sadly this plane was destroyed when an out of control fighter landed over it, so there are only a handful of pictures to work with. Edit: For a better recount of this amazing history and the built of this plane before being captured, see Louis Gardner's article:

For the kit I used the excelent A01005 box of . All the paints are Vallejo plus a bit of Humbrol enamel coat. The cockpit instruments are just the kit decals and I added a candy paper seatbelt with a bit of PE as the belt buckle. Wonderful. The chipping was done with salt. There are no aftermarket pieces.

As I said, this is a serie of captured warbirds. This are my Circus Rosarius Mustang and my US Navy FW-190:

I fixed the Mustang canopy. Actually put a new one, given that I fog the former with lacquer. Learnt lesson, and now you can really see the interior.

I hope you liked this machine. I loved every second building it. Next, the Bolshevik Ritter, captured ME-109.

Reader reactions:
10  Awesome

25 responses

  1. I remember seeing the story about this've done a nice job on it (along with the others in the series). Good all-around work, Alfredo.

  2. Very nice models Alfredo! You certainly picked a unique aircraft in terms of paint scheme and history to it. I also like the weathering!

  3. Interesting story and you did a fantastic job on this Airfix Zero. The salt technique is something I want to try as well. All together you have build a unique trio of aircraft. Great work!

    • When you try, don't forget to coat with enamel lacquer before.

      The salt techique is easy but is a bit hard to control. I think I'll try the hairspray technique again, this time with more knowledge about how to protect the model.

  4. Liked.
    It is a strange feeling to see models of warplanes in the "wrong" colors... but they are replicas of truly existing samples, not an experimentation of a modeler in the mood to joke: the good historical accuracy makes your collection very valuable.
    Looking forward to seeing your next creation!

  5. Hello Alfredo,
    Thanks for sharing this story with us. Your replica looks great.
    Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

  6. Wonderful Zero!
    It shows just what you can do, by basically building out of the box, adding a few details and then doing a good paint job.
    Hat off.

  7. I love your whole series (so far) of captured warbirds. It's a sub-group of the WWII propeller engined planes I love so much.

    Well done, Alfredo! I hope you build many more!

  8. Very nice looking Zero ! Back in June of last year we had our "Battle of Midway" Group build. I built Koga's Zero as it was the day it crashed. I posted some other photos of the man and his machine. I like how your plane looks in US Navy colors. It tells the "rest" of the story. The plane met it's end when a Curtiss Helldiver ran into it while taxiing and the prop just shredded the Zero .

    Here's a link to the plane I built if you are interested in it. I have more pictures of the Akutan Zero there, including some of the plane when it was flown by the US Navy.

    Thanks for sharing your build with us. I like it a lot !

    • Louis, your article is great and complements very nice my article, so I will link it. Also, your build is very good. The only backside is that I found I should paint stars in the upper wings... not a big problem but I though I had finished hahahahaha

      • Thanks Alfredo.

        This tells the story well between our two articles and builds. Sort of like a before and after account of what happened.

        I like all of your builds posted "under new ownership " with markings and paint from other countries after they were captured. (Or recovered).

        I think that all of us have realized that we did miss something on our builds. So don't beat yourself up for not painting the US Insignia on top of the wings.

        I am still hesitant about painting the yellow stripes on the fuselage of the Koga plane that I built.

        Now having said that, I'm sure that a picture will show up that has the yellow stripes present.

        Thanks again for adding a link between our models.

        Later today I will do the same, and add a link between our models on the article I posted on the Koga Zero.

        This way our readers can see the whole story.

        Take care my friend.

  9. Really nice collection, nice job. Unique subjects!

  10. That's my favorite of the three! Very nice weathering and finishing.

  11. Nice builds! I like the captured plane idea.

  12. I agree with Peter's point that the historical accuracy adds to the mental shift you have to make seeing these birds in such unusual plumage. If it were done for fun or a 'what if', it wouldn't seem 'right'. I'm all for a fun build but the legitimacy of historical correctness give these lovely builds an added interest and legitimacy.

    Huge well done!

  13. Alfredo,
    Very nicely done model of a pretty significant aircraft

  14. Only kudus for your models, Alfredo. All are special.

  15. Nice work. I believe that Fw-190 was a captured "joy ride" from the 79th FG in Italy. The Navy Fw-190 was in the tri-color scheme. The "wild" scenes (which look great) are almost all associated with captured airplanes (there's some great 109s) in the Mediterranean theater. Curious about the lack of upper wing insignia on the Zero.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • I didn't find at the time any picture showing the upper insignia so trying to see under water I decided not to put it. I should fix it but that project is already done...

      The 190 is documented somewhere. I saw a few pictures depicting this particular FW, under tarpauls mostly. Maybe it was in Italy.

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