Review: Tora, Tora, Tora! Eduard's New A6M Type 21 Zeros
Today I received a shipment from Hannants with Eduard's first release of its A6M Zero series. Think of what Eduard has accomplished during this time of the Covid Pandemic: continued their Bf 109 series, made good progress on the early Merlin Spitfires, and now a two-kit boxing of the Imperial Japanese Navy's early-war miracle fighter.
The moldings are what we have come to expect from this Czech company. There is a minimum of flash, the panel lines, inspection panels, and riveting are incredibly fine - maybe a bit too fine in some instances, and the cockpit detailing is exemplary if you have the fingers for small photo etch parts or positioning well detailed decals.
The photos show a few of the features Eduard has lavished on this release. I'll leave it to the real experts to fill in the parts I've not shown.
As with any kit, some questions do arise. The riveting on the top wings is noticeably finer than on the bottom. There is a mandrel to guide the placement of the several cowl parts, and Eduard has several reminders not to glue the parts to the mandrel, but I wonder about structural integrity. At the rear of each wing fillet there is a raised panel that I've never noticed before - neither have Otaki, Tamiya, or Hasegawa. There is a PE part for each main landing gear that goes on but then never again shows in the instructions. Eduard provides color call outs for Mr Color, Mr Hobby, and Mission Models paints, but apparently none has a satisfactory Mitsubishi interior or exterior color without mixing except for Aotaki. The assembly alignment pins and holes are incredibly small.
On the beyond simply good side, the engine is complete except for wiring (no Fw 190 flat plates), and the extra unused parts include a nice bomb rack for those who want to build a late-war special attack version. The decals are in register, look to be more heavily inked than some earlier releases that drew complaints, and include a color variety that features two shade of red, one for the Hinomaru and another for the ID bands.
This kit helps you to see how much work went into its design and realization, and also how much Tamiya and later Hasegawa put into their earlier kits.
The instruction booklet has a brief description of the planning and execution of the Pearl Harbor Attack, and the markings schemes feature pilots who played an interesting role during the earl war years. One even survived.