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Paul Barber
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The Empire of Japan Group meets The Movies Group…

December 11, 2020 · in Aviation · 30 · 1.7K

'For Those We Love' and 'The Eternal Zero' are two films that broach the difficult subject of Kamikaze. For David Leigh-Smith’s movies group I chose to build various subjects from these films.

As I moved to a new house this time last year, I put the original Ki-43 and A6M3 on the roof of the car as I carefully placed a half-built Avenger in one of my son’s hands and a Storch in the hands of the other. I then became distracted.

We retraced our route once I realised what had happened. The Ki-43 was nowhere to be seen. The Zero was a battered wreck by the side of the road. Extreme weathering…

I migrated the ‘recovery’ build to the Empire of Japan Group, hosted by Louis Gardner. After nearly 2 years building (tinkering really) on and off, I’m calling these done. The Zeros A6M5, A6M3 and A6M2 are old Tamiya kits and the Ki-43 is Hasegawa. They are all 1/48th scale.

It should be said that these represent ‘representations’ from the films and are not meant to be ‘real’ planes. They are not based on researched schemes, although weathering is based on patterns I found in old photos as I researched Kamikaze, and decals are for Kamikaze planes. I posted those weathering photos in the original WIPs, along with the screenshots from the films.

I have added a couple of photos of the A6M5 and A6M2 together as in the final scenes ‘The Eternal Zero’ the instructor swaps his A6M5 for an A6M2 his student is about to fly, as they prepare for their final suicide mission. There is a twist of course.

I’d recommend that anyone interested in aviation, and especially Japanese subjects, watches these films and draws their own conclusions. They were the cause of controversy when released – some said they glorify Kamikaze. The politics behind the films is difficult and not for here (please). I don’t think these are great builds, but they are done, and I will build better because of them!

Thanks to David and Louis and anyone who became involved in the WIPs and the discussion!

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

30 responses

  1. Beautiful models Paul, and when I think heavy chipping if the green paint I saw the movie pics, you nailed them right

    • Thanks Pedro - the films convey the feeling that by the late stages of the war the planes were looking worse and worse for wear. Especially those on one way trips.

  2. Love them! Great work matching the film aircraft. Nicely done.

  3. Nice work, Paul. Those older Tamiya Zero kits still stand up well and are quite affordable.

  4. They all look great, Paul. Nice job

  5. Why DID he want to swap to that old zero?

  6. Two fantastic models, Paul @yellow10!
    I am really tempted to watch the films, and I will definitely do so very soon!
    Well done!

  7. Good work on these!

  8. I really like the very realistic paint wear and chipping. Nice work on all!

    • Thanks, Tom. I’ve recently finished John Toland’s ‘The Rising Sun’ and have just last night read the first chapters of a book you may know called ‘I Will Run Wild’. I’m expecting great things!

  9. Excellent. Your weathering is perfect. I watched the trailer for "The Eternal Zero". Looks very well done, maybe more realistic than that last version of "Midway". Thanks for posting.

    • Thank you Eric - I only got to watch Midway a couple of days ago. Very different films as you say.

      Midway is supposed to be accurate with respect to individuals and events. The Pearl Harbour scenes especially are heavy on effects. The dialogue in the film is basic - but I think it just supports the fast pace of the film. The two Japanese movies are very different too. The Eternal Zero looks back from 2004 as a family seeks to learn about their grandfather and his trials as a pilot and instructor of young men. For Those We Love is set mostly in the time of the Kamikaze. At times they are ‘basic’ too. Although they both questioned the role of Kamikaze and how Japan sees the war and those men today.

  10. "Hear the roar of my Hyabusa engine..." For Those We Love" is a great film. It had a similar effect on me as reading "All Quiet on the Western Front". While reading the novel I ended up forgetting it was being told from a German perspective and just wound up relating to the characters as people. Although seeing them on the screen I never forgot they were Japanese pilots but I could empathize anyway. (Also beside the story the planes were done top notch. I'd swear they were restored warbirds!)

    I like all the threadbare paint schemes here set off by the lone pristine example!

    • Thanks, Josh. We are are on the same page regarding that film. The planes in both films are very well done.

      I had to build one clean plane! Not only to represent the A6M5 from the back end of The Eternal Zero but also to keep sane around all the chipping medium! There is a model plane in one scene of the film too - so I could get away with a more ‘toy like’ build.

      Stalingrad and Das Boot are also fantastic films about real people on the ‘wrong side of history’ and the terror of war.

  11. Paul, @yellow10
    I am so happy to see that you have posted these builds in the headlines section. You have done an outstanding job with these... which is your typical way of doing things. I sincerely appreciate the continued support that you have done with our Empire of Japan group build. These were welcome additions to the group.

    I know that you are probably getting a little tired with building things that have a red Hinomaru marking on the wings, but as we have previously discussed, the 80th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack is now less than a year away... You have my wheels turning with the possibilities for some future projects.

    I am honored that you decided to migrate your work from the Imodeler at the Movies group build, over to our Empire of Japan group. I sincerely thank you for everything you have done for me over the years, including sending me the final missing part of the puzzle, with the perfect sized RAF roundels for a Hurricane build I had that was stalled. Had you not done this kind offer of generosity, one of the Hurricanes I built for the 100 Years of the RAF group might not have made the deadline.

    You're a true friend... 🙂

    Stay safe, and I pressed the "liked" button too.

    • Thanks for those very kind words and thoughts, Louis!

      I have to admit - getting 4 builds off the bench was a relief! This afternoon I’m going to have a big tidy up of the workshop. Tomorrow I’ll be building again - the school
      Hols get me going - and in Aus this is the long break. We’ve got a lot of rain currently - so I’ve got no excuse but to get some more planes with Hinomaru a little further along.

      I remember well you sending me the instructions for the Jake during the Midway 75th Anniversary build! I’d have been lost without them!

      These things make a huge difference!

  12. Wonderful builds, Paul.
    Really like the idea of building the aircrasft just like in the movie.
    You did a great job to achieve that.

  13. Great work Paul. Such a good looking airframe. Nice one

  14. A great collection of very realistic builds. Thumbs Up sir.

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