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Eduard Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero Tora Tora Tora,


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Eduard Tora Tora Tora

Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero over pearl harbour

Dual Combo set 1/48 scale

Part No 11155

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History,

I don’t think anyone hasn’t heard of the Zero but for those who haven’t here we go.The Allies' main opponent in the Pacific air war, the Zero is the most famous symbol of Japanese air power during World War II. The fighter first flew in April 1939, and Mitsubishi, Nakajima, Hitachi and the Japanese navy produced 10,815 Zeros from 1940-1945. Zeros were produced in greater number than any other aircraft. Its distinctive design and historical impact make the Zero an important machine in air power history.

The Zero got its name from its official designation, Navy Type Zero Carrier-Based Fighter (or Reisen), though the Allies code-named it "Zeke." The Zero was the successor to the A5M Type 96 "Claude." Mitsubishi designed the A6M from Navy requirements set out in 1937 for a fighter that was fast, maneuverable and had great range. Designed as a carrier-borne fighter, it was exceptionally light compared to its opponents. This requirement was not only necessary to provide maneuverability but also was caused by the Zero's low-powered engine. Lack of interservice cooperation in engine development limited the horsepower available to Japanese designers. Other consequences included omitting armor protection for the pilot, not using self-sealing fuel tanks, and building lightweight wings as an integral part of the fuselage.

The A6M first saw combat in China in the late summer of 1940, and it quickly helped Japan dominate the air in Asia. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, 125 Zeros from six aircraft carriers participated. In the early part of the war, Allied aircraft such as the Curtiss P-40 and Seversky P-35 were at a disadvantage in a dogfight with a Zero flown by a skilled pilot, and the A6M became a well-known and dangerous opponent.

The Japanese advantage, however, began to disappear as American tactics evolved. American pilots gained experience fighting the Zero in China with the American Volunteer Group, known as the Flying Tigers, and at the Battle of Midway. The key to fighting the Zero was to stay out of dogfights, and instead use superior armament and hit-and-run diving attacks against the relatively fragile A6M. American fighters introduced in 1943 were more powerful (2,000-hp engines), faster, and had much more firepower than the Zero. As Allied pilots used their heavily-armed aircraft to advantage, the Zero's dominance ended. At the same time, the number of American aircraft and pilots increased, and the number of experienced Japanese aircrew shrank.

While development of the Zero continued by adding self-sealing tanks, armor plate and increasing horsepower to 1,150 hp, the later Zero was much heavier and thus less nimble. Weight increased 28 percent, but horsepower increased only 16 percent, degrading overall combat performance.

Beginning around October 1944 during the battle for the Philippines, Zeros were used in kamikaze attacks. Kamikazes used A6Ms more than any other aircraft for these suicide missions.

The video below shows the last original surviving A6M5 a later vesion of the aircraft 

 

 

The kit,

The Zero is one of the most kitted aircraft out there particularly by the Japanese manufacturers in 1/48 scale with Tamiya, Hasegawa, Fujimi, Otaki, and Fine moulds, who have all produced kits since the 70’s and they all hold up relatively well today, I build a Fujimi kit dating back to the 1970’s recently and it was a very nice easy kit to build, but we haven’t had a modern kit since the Hasegawa kit and some are now getting long in the tooth.

About 2 months ago eduard announced that there would be a new tool Zero and a New tool Wildcat with the Zero release tying in with the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941. Rumours abound that this is going to be along the lines of Eduards take on the FW190 series and just about every variant will be tooled, this will not be as difficult as some of the others out there so I see no reason why this shouldn’t happen. Anyway that’s in the future we have an A6M2 in front of us so lets have a look.

This is a dual combo boxing and has an RRP of around £50 for two kits Photo etch, masks, and 12 decal options, there is a lot of talk of the hobby getting too expensive but with this if the kits are good I would say it is possible to keep the cost of kits down.

In the box there is 8 sprues of medium grey plastic, 2 clear sprues, 3 decal sheets a mask sheet for canopies and 2 frets of pre painted Photo etch. And a comprehensive instruction booklet. Added to this of course Eduard also produce other aftermarket sets for the kit (more at the end of the review).

Sprue A

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This for a change is the clear sprue and be aware that there are parts not used throughout the build marked off in the instructions and this is the case here as Eduard have produced a sprue for what looks like all zero variants are covered on the same sprue as there are two windscreens and 4 different rear sections to the canopy, for the centre section there is a trait that I believe is still unique to Eduard and that is a separate open and closed section for the sliding section of the canopy, meaning no awkward forcing the canopy on if you want to display the canopy open. Clarity of the parts is crystal clear as is the rivet detail. A lot of people will be happy to see separate wingtip navigation lights and other lights which are really tiny so be very careful when using these. Finally there are a selection of gunsights that are nicely produced, just make sure you get the right one.

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Sprue B

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This one has the fuselage parts and this follows the traditional Eduard theme of producing different sprues for wings and fuselages then a single set for all of the little parts that are generally common to all versions. Surface detail is as I have come to expect with nicely recessed panel lines and fine restrained rivet detail. Fabric detail on the rudder looks nice with great stitching detail. Tailplane detail also looks very good which then brings me to the cowling, OK so we have a multipiece cowling (bearing in mind that there are different cowlings for different variants of the aircraft). When I first saw the cowling I had visions of the early 190 series kits and the difficulties of putting that together, yes I know others now use slide moulding for this but this technology is very expensive and can cause clean up problems with mould lines. If you look at the instructions the kit comes with a jig for assembling the cowling and this should make building it a piece of cake. So the first step involves putting the cowl ring on the jig then gluing the two side pieces to the cowl ring. Then the lower faring is glued on, after this the jig is taken away and the top of the cowling is inserted. This looks like Eduard have thought this through well so take your time and the cowling should go together nicely.

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Sprue C

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Wings, and firstly my sample had both the lower wing sections in the kit loose in the bag, not a problem as it was very tightly packed. And its here that you can see where the aircraft got its spectacular turning performance from. A large wingspan with long ailerons again rivet detail is very nice. There are inserts to put in from the inside of the wing before it is joined together showing different cannon fit outs, there are also different ailerons depending on the mark as well as elevators, again rivet and stitching detail is spot on. The wing fold at the tips is nicely restrained also, there are scores for lowering the flaps and folding the wings inside the wings.  My guess is there will be a different sprue for the A6M3 with the clipped tips.

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Sprue D

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This is the first of two sprues covering the internals and first a word on the cockpit, this is one of the best appointed cockpits I’ve seen in a 1/48 for a single seat fighter I would put this over their spitfire for detail and complexity. Made up with various boxes on the fuselage sidewalls followed by a bulkhead and floor with a seat the seat looks very nice and pre-drilled. The seat frame looks very delicate indeed all lightening holes are opened out as it should be for this aircraft. The sidewalls then have a separate panels to go in followed by a front bulkhead that sits behind the multi piece instrument panels and the cowling machine guns Of course if you don’t want to use the photo etch panel you can of course use an alternative panel with decals included. Also on sprue D there are the wing internals for the wheel bays, my suggestion here will be to take your time when assembling the wheel bay as the undercarriage mounts are on the roof of the wheel bay so it will be mega important to make sure this lines up. The engine is on sprue D and after the flat panel engine for the 190’s its nice to see a full engine in here with both rows of cylinders and both sets of push rods, there is a ignition wiring ring on round the reduction gear at the front of the engine some fine wiring will be needed here if you want to show the wiring however you wont be able to see a great deal in there. Finally there is a very nicely detailed arrestor hook assembly which I haven’t seen on any other 1/48 Zero kit.

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Sprue E

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Propeller and Undercarriage parts are the main parts on this sprue, detail is as I’ve come to expect from Eduard, of note is the bomb racks for later aircraft these look really very nice indeed, there are two different spinners, (not sure what the difference is) a drop tank and wheels are also on here with nice crisp detail on the wheels and the undercarriage legs.

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Photo Etch,

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Two frets of etch for the cockpit and undercarriage pre painted and looking to be the standard for Eduard with replacement parts for Oleo scissors for the undercarriage, chain drive for the trim wheel, and a new seat adjustment handle, the IP etch looks nicely done for the size. Seat belts are well made and show the characteristics of these unique belts for the Zero.

Decals

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Standard Eduard fare here 12 options all from the Pearl harbour attack from all of the carriers and the first and second waves they are well printed and in register, they look to have the carrier film that Eduard have started to use but I would be more than happy to use them. The options are:

Lt. Cdr. Shigeru Itaya, Akagi Fighter Squadron, First attack wave.

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PO2c. Akira Yamamoto, Kaga, Fighter Squadron, First attack wave.

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Lt. Masaji Suganami, Soryu, Fighter Squadron, First attack wave.

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PO1c. Kazuo Muranaka, Hiryu Fighter Squadron, First attack wave.

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Lt. Tadashi Kaneko, Shokaku Fighter Squadron, First attack wave.

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Lt. Masao Sato, Zuikaku Fighter Squadron, first attack wave.

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PO1c. Tetsuzo Iwamoto, Zuikaku Fighter Squadron, Patrol during first attack wave.

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Lt. Saburo Shindo, Akagi Fighter squadron, Second attack wave.11155_08.thumb.jpg.7f9fcaea822f709aa10aa793e0f72cdd.jpg

PO1c. Yoshikazu Nagahama, Kaga Fighter Squadron, Second Attack wave.

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Lt. Fusada Iida, Soryu Fighter Squadron, Second attack Wave.

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PO1c. Shigenori Nishikaishi, Hiryu Fighter Squadron, Second attack wave.

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PO1c. Yukuo Hanzawa, Shokaku Fighter squadron, Patrol during the second wave.

Instructions

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Standard Eduard instructions, but Jan Bobek has written a very nice piece on the pearl harbour attack in the front of the instruction sheet, I will say the cockpit assembly looks really complex and will need concentration. The colour call outs now are going to cause some problems for some people, because of the tricky area of Japanese colours

Call outs are in either Gunze Aqueous, Mr Hobby laquers or Mission models. The problem is some of these colours are not carried in any of these ranges for example Mitsubishi interior green. Even to the point that Eduard call out a mix. and we then have to mix to match the PE, this of course is not Eduards fault, but it seems that IJN paint is criminally overlooked, but then when you see how wrong some manufacturers get RAF or Luftwaffe colours maybe its no surprise after all,

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Conclusion,

I think we have a new state of the art kit in 1/48 for the Zero, and this will be a red rag to the likes of Tamiya or Hasegawa who have always been those to go to for these kits. Detail is very comprehensive indeed and the construction looks well thought out, I do think the cockpit while very detailed looks great it could be maybe a little too complex in this scale (but then if it wasn’t there people would complain, I guess you can’t please everyone. If its as well thought out as recent Eduard kits it will build well and will be a welcome addition to any display cabinet. It is obvious that this has been designed with other versions in mind so maybe we will now get the state of the art 1/48 Zero that has been missing since the Hasegawa kit came out, (I know Tamiya do the Zero also but it is an old kit with a mix of raised and engraved panels. The PE brings the cockpit to life and the whole thing will benefit from careful painting bear in mind that you really only get one choice of colour scheme for this aircraft so you cant get it wrong. This does bring me to value for money? I would suggest that this kit will bring many hours of enjoyment, in comparison to other Zero’s out there? Well really there isn’t but a quck search shows the Tamiya kit to be quite cheap, But see above, and I saw the Hasegawa kit on a certain well known auction site at £91.00!!! I would suggest that around £50 for two kits is a reasonable price when you consider the extras and it really is next generation to what has gone before.

Verdict

 If you are a Fan of WW2 pacific aircraft or for that matter a fan of beautifully tooled models full stop this is for you. I won’t hesitate to recommend this kit to anyone.

The Kit is available to buy Here.

https://www.eduard.com/eduard/tora-tora-tora!-1-48.html

There is more however, that very nice person Jan at Eduard send me some other goodies for those who want to bling up the kit even more, or buy some over trees to make the most of the decal options in the kit,

Brassin Seat Part no.648698

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A rather nicely 3D printed resin seat with a set of steel seat belts to replace the kit original this is ultra-detailed and very refined with it being a marked improvement over the kit seat if you want the canopy open. Be warned it will be very very delicate, but it looks exquisite.

Extra Stencil set Part no. D48098

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Because the kit has enough stencils for 2 aircraft Eduard have packaged the airframe stencils separately to make the most  of the decal set in the kit if you were to buy some over trees, good call there are also stencils for Nakajima produced aircraft as well as Mitsubishi.

Steel seat belts and Masks Part No.s FE1238 and EX821

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Again for those who want to build the Overtrees these extras are available to buy should you wish and the mask set I’m sure will appear in a future Profipack boxing

Brassin Wheels Part no. 648693

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Main wheels and tailwheel assembly cast and 3D printed in resin, again these are bits that just cannot be replicated to this level of detail in Plastic. Nice touches like tyre wall lettering and brake and main wheel details are really sharp and well produced. The tailwheel is a masterpiece in itself.

Look Instrument panel and cockpit set Part No. 644128

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Now these sets I love 3D printed instrument panels because they are so much easier to work with then the PE and if you are a PE phobe then these really are for you colours are generally accurate and the clear faces of dials are nicely replicated also. Look panels really come into their own on the larger scales from 1/48 upwards, there is a set of PE seat belts in here to and a small amount of photo etched detail.

Space 3D decal set Part No. 3DL48050

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This set is a mix of 3D decals and a photo etch parts, the photo etch is nicely done and is pretty much a replica of the kit parts, as for the 3D decals see my review of the space set for the FW 190 they are very easy to use and give a fantastic result with little effort just don’t leave them very long in water, and make sure you use the right plastic part when assembling the cockpit.

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All in all a great set of extras, well done Eduard and they will improve or add to what is already an exceptional kit, Well done Eduard.

My thanks to Eduard for the review sample.

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Not really my bag Darren,but they do look lovely kits.

Great video too,don't the Sakae 14 cylinder radials sound very "staccato"(much like a BMW 801,was the Sakae a copy?)

compared to the usual 18 cylinder P&W's.

The Allison P-40(all three in the video)certainly sounds different than the Merlin P-40(P-40F).

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8 minutes ago, Tolvcat said:

I have enough A6M2s, I have enoug... Hello, Eduard, I'd like to order some...

Cracking review. I was going to resist as I already have plenty of Zeroes in the stash, but that is too nice to pass up.

Andy

Let's face it they didn't have to work hard to be better than what went before but by god they went FAR better 

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1 minute ago, Grunhertz said:

Let's face it they didn't have to work hard to be better than what went before but by god they went FAR better 

And on a per kit price, they've seriously undercut the opposition too, at least as far as UK RRP goes. Any complaints from me are being drowned out by the sound of gnashing teeth coming from the East.

Andy

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10 minutes ago, Tolvcat said:

And on a per kit price, they've seriously undercut the opposition too, at least as far as UK RRP goes. Any complaints from me are being drowned out by the sound of gnashing teeth coming from the East.

Andy

my guess will be there will be a new tool from tamiya or hasegawa soon but there is NO WAY it will match the value of this 

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Here's me been trying to avoid mention of this kit, I've been studiously avoiding mention of it so as not to fall into temptation. Oh well, it's Christmas, might as well order one...

I'm not surprised they've gone down the multi-part road for the cowling, the real one has a fiendishly complex set of compound curves that I'd guess would be next to impossible to do one-piece, even with slide moulding.

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8 hours ago, Paul Brown said:

Here's me been trying to avoid mention of this kit, I've been studiously avoiding mention of it so as not to fall into temptation. Oh well, it's Christmas, might as well order one...

I'm not surprised they've gone down the multi-part road for the cowling, the real one has a fiendishly complex set of compound curves that I'd guess would be next to impossible to do one-piece, even with slide moulding.

To be honest Paul with that jig the cowling should be fine 

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Something I've just picked up on that is praiseworthy all on it's own; take a close look at the artwork for the colour schemes. particularly the second one which makes this really clear - the Japanese Navy used two different reds for markings, one for Hinomaru, and a darker one for unit markings and codes. Eduard have shown this in the artwork, and although it's not as clear, you can see they've gone to the trouble of doing it on the decals too. Think that's a first, even my aftermarket sheets seem to use the same red for everything.

Andy

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To pick up on Darrens comment regarding paint........and I'm NOW looking at YOU Andy @Tolvcat! Just (last week) invested in a full set of the latest AK '3G' paints which includes Mitsubishi interior green, the correct 'amber grey' J3SP and the anti glare Q1 Blue-Black. Available from your favorite stockist(s)!

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3 minutes ago, phoenix54 said:

To pick up on Darrens comment regarding paint........and I'm NOW looking at YOU Andy @Tolvcat! Just (last week) invested in a full set of the latest AK '3G' paints which includes Mitsubishi interior green, the correct 'amber grey' J3SP and the anti glare Q1 Blue-Black. Available from your favorite stockist(s)!

Guilty as charged. I've been using that same set on my Pearl Harbour Val - Mitsubishi interior green, Q1 and both J3SP for the metal airframe and J3 for the fabric control surfaces. Took a bit of shoogling to get the pigment and carrier re-mixed enough to work well with a brush but no worse than any other acrylics. I have the same colours as lacquers but haven't tried them yet.

Andy

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7 hours ago, Tolvcat said:

Something I've just picked up on that is praiseworthy all on it's own; take a close look at the artwork for the colour schemes. particularly the second one which makes this really clear - the Japanese Navy used two different reds for markings, one for Hinomaru, and a darker one for unit markings and codes. Eduard have shown this in the artwork, and although it's not as clear, you can see they've gone to the trouble of doing it on the decals too. Think that's a first, even my aftermarket sheets seem to use the same red for everything.

That's a good shout Andy. Never knew that before.

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1 minute ago, Col. said:

:cool: Nick Millman certainly seems to know his stuff when it comes to Japanese aircraft.

He certainly does. His technical knowledge and explanations of how he arrives at his conclusions often leave me totally baffled though - there's a LOT of jargon in there that I just have to take on trust. Equally I can be fairly certain when he says something he didn't just take a best guess from a third party description of a black and white photo :D 

Andy

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