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 Marushin Model# S002 Mitsubishi A6M2-21 Zero Akagi Flying Group Tadao Kimura

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PostSubject: Marushin Model# S002 Mitsubishi A6M2-21 Zero Akagi Flying Group Tadao Kimura   Mon Feb 20 2017, 11:02

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Reisen-Zero-Sen
Producer Marushin ( This diecast line is occasionally active, but releases are limited )
Model Number  S002
Scale 1/48
IJNAS Akagi Flying Group, AI-101, Tadao Kimura, IJN Carrier Akagi, Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941



Specifications (A6M2 Type 0 Model 21)
General characteristics
   Crew: one
   Length: 9.06 m (29 ft 8 in)
   Wingspan: 12.0 m (39 ft 4 in)
   Height: 3.05 m (10 ft 0 in)
   Wing area: 22.44 m² (241.5 ft²)
   Empty weight: 1,680 kg (3,704 lb)
   Loaded weight: 2,796 kg (6,164 lb)
   Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima Sakae 12 radial engine, 709 kW (950 hp)
   Aspect ratio: 6.4



Performance
   Never exceed speed: 660 km/h (356 kn, 410 mph)
   Maximum speed: 534 km/h (287 kn, 332 mph) at 4,550 m (14,930 ft)
   Range: 3,104 km (1,675 nmi, 1,929 mi)
   Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,810 ft)
   Rate of climb: 15.7 m/s (3,100 ft/min)
   Wing loading: 107.4 kg/m² (22.0 lb/ft²)
   Power/mass: 294 W/kg (0.18 hp/lb)



Armament[/b]
   Guns:
Divergence of trajectories between 7.7 mm and 20mm ammunition

    Trajectory of Zero MG vs 20MM cannon.
   2× 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 97 aircraft machine guns in the engine cowling, with 500 rounds per gun.
   2× 20 mm Type 99-1 cannon in the wings, with 60 rounds per gun.
Bombs:
   2× 60 kg (132 lb) bombs or
   1× fixed 250 kg (551 lb) bomb for kamikaze attacks



Marushin diecast are impressive pieces of of metal. Very Little plastic, solid, great panel lines but completely bereft of cockpit detail. They need to be assembled but this as a rule is easily done. Saves on box storage space. Other than the Willow I encountered few snags that were not worked through with very basic modeling skills and a small screwdriver and swiss army knife. The canopies are snap in arrangements but a drop of clear elmers glue holds them in place. Some owners have used 1.48 plastic A6M model cockpit interiors and created astonishing detail to flesh out their Marushins, but I personally have never attempted this. The landing gear is also sparse on detail but not as noticeable.  Cannon, machine guns and pitot tubes are metal rods and should be painted. The rods can take a bit of filing down to place within the wings. Still this is more than worth the effort.  Until recently when a new Zero producer in 1.48 came on the scene this was arguably the best and truest to the actual aircraft exterior lines.  



The A6M2 really needs no introduction.  To any student of WWII an aircraft in general it is as well known as the Spitfire or Mustang.  The Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" was a long-range fighter aircraft, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter (零式艦上戦闘機 rei-shiki-kanjō-sentōki?), or the Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen. The A6M was usually referred to by its pilots as the "Reisen" (zero fighter), "0" being the last digit of the Imperial year 2600 (1940) when it entered service with the Imperial Navy. The official Allied reporting name was "Zeke", although the use of the name "Zero" was later commonly adopted by the Allies as well.  These names pretty much stuck through the series with the exception of the squared off wing tipped A6M3.  Originally called a Hap.  General  Hap Arnold of the AAF was not pleased and the A6M3 models were called Hamps.   In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation as a dogfighter, achieving the outstanding kill ratio of 12 to 1, but by mid-1942 a combination of new tactics and the introduction of better equipment enabled the Allied pilots to engage the Zero on generally equal terms. By 1943, inherent design weaknesses and the failure to develop more powerful aircraft engines meant that the Zero became less effective against newer enemy fighters, which possessed greater firepower, armor, and speed, and approached the Zero's maneuverability. Although the Mitsubishi A6M was outdated by 1944, design delays and production difficulties of newer Japanese aircraft types meant that it continued to serve in a front line role until the end of the war. During the final year of the War in the Pacific, the Zero was also adapted for use in kamikaze operations. During the course of the war, Japan produced more Zeros than any other model of combat aircraft.



Every possible weight-saving measure was incorporated into the design. Most of the aircraft was built of a new top-secret aluminium alloy developed by Sumitomo Metal Industries in 1936. Called Extra Super Duralumin (ESD), it was lighter, stronger and more ductile than other alloys used at the time, but was prone to corrosive attack, which made it brittle. This detrimental effect was countered with an anti-corrosion coating applied after fabrication. No armor was provided for the pilot, engine or other critical points of the aircraft, and self-sealing fuel tanks, which were becoming common at the time, were not used. This made the Zero lighter, more maneuverable, and the longest range single engine fighter of WWII; which made it capable of searching out an enemy hundreds of kilometres (miles) away, bringing them to battle, then returning hundreds of kilometres back to its base or aircraft carrier. However, that trade in weight and construction also made it prone to catching fire and exploding when struck by enemy rounds.

With its low-wing cantilever monoplane layout, retractable, wide-set conventional landing gear and enclosed cockpit, the Zero was one of the most modern aircraft in the world at the time of its introduction. It had a fairly high-lift, low-speed wing with a very low wing loading. This, combined with its light weight, resulted in a very low stalling speed of well below 60 kn (110 km/h; 69 mph). This was the main reason for its phenomenal maneuverability, allowing it to out-turn any Allied fighter of the time. Early models were fitted with servo tabs on the ailerons after pilots complained control forces became too heavy at speeds above 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph). They were discontinued on later models after it was found that the lightened control forces were causing pilots to overstress the wings during vigorous maneuvers.



The first Zeros (pre-series of 15 A6M2) went into operation with the 12th Rengo Kōkūtai in July 1940. On 13 September 1940, the Zeros scored their first air-to-air victories when 13 A6M2s led by Lieutenant Saburo Shindo attacked 27 Soviet-built Polikarpov I-15s and I-16s of the Chinese Nationalist Air Force, shooting down the majority  without loss to themselves. By the time they were redeployed a year later, the Zeros had shot down 99 Chinese aircraft. (266 according to other sources).

A great WWII training film starring Ronald Regan on how to recognize the Zero.



Just click on the Utube link.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_jJB23V7tM

  He stars as Lieutenant Jimmy Saunders (Ronald Reagan) learns how to tell a US P-40 from a Japanese A6M Zero fighter the hard way. (That's a very angry Craig Stevens aka "Peter Gunn" on the receiving end.) Contains plenty of interesting info about what US pilots were told about Japan's most produced and feared fighter and how to spot it. Includes rare footage of a captured Zero doing spectacular aerobatics. This was the Zero recovered in the Aleutians used in the film.

It proved a difficult opponent even for the Supermarine Spitfire. "The RAF pilots were trained in methods that were excellent against German and Italian equipment but suicide against the acrobatic Zero.  Although not as fast as the British fighter, the Mitsubishi fighter could out-turn the Spitfire with ease, could sustain a climb at a very steep angle, and could stay in the air for three times as long. Captain Eric Brown, the Chief Naval Test Pilot of the Royal Navy, recalled being impressed by the Zero during tests of captured aircraft. "I don’t think I have ever flown a fighter that could match the rate of turn of the Zero.



The Zero had ruled the roost totally and was the finest fighter in the world until mid-1943. As a by product of the diversionary attack at Dutch Harbor and invasion of the Aleutians, the Japanese lost a Zero to a crash landing in what the pilot had mistaken as a grass field.  His neck was broken when the plane flipped in the boggy soil.  His wingmen could not bring them selves to strafe and destroy the plane as ordered for fear he might still be alive.        The aircraft was discovered quite by accident  and recovered.  



The findings were surprising . The A6M's airframe was "built like a fine watch"; the Zero was constructed with flush rivets, and even the guns were flush with the wings. The instrument panel was a "marvel of simplicity ... with no superfluities to distract [the pilot]. What most impressed the experts was that the Zero's fuselage and wings were constructed in one piece, unlike the American method that built them separately and joined the two parts together. The Japanese method was much slower, but resulted in a very strong structure and improved close maneuverability.   American test pilots found that the Zero's controls were "very light" at 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph), but stiffened at faster speeds (above 348 km/h, or 216 mph) to safeguard against wing failure.  The Zero could not keep up with Allied aircraft in high-speed maneuvers, and its low "never exceed speed" (VNE) made it vulnerable in a dive.  



Soon, however, Allied pilots developed tactics to cope with the Zero. Due to its extreme agility, engaging a Zero in a traditional, turning dogfight was likely to be fatal. It was better to roar down from above in a high-speed pass, fire a quick burst, then climb quickly back up to altitude. (A short burst of fire from heavy machine guns or cannon was often enough to bring down the fragile Zero.) Such "boom-and-zoom" tactics were used successfully in the China Burma India Theater (CBI) by the "Flying Tigers" of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) against similarly maneuverable Japanese Army aircraft such as the Nakajima Ki-27 Nate and Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar. AVG pilots were trained under their commander Claire Chennault's instructions to exploit the advantages of their P-40s, which were very sturdy, heavily armed, generally faster in a dive and level flight at low altitude, with a good rate of roll.



Another important maneuver was Lieutenant Commander John S. "Jimmy" Thach's "Thach Weave", in which two fighters would fly about 60 m (200 ft) apart. If a Zero latched onto the tail of one of the fighters, the two aircraft would turn toward each other. If the Zero followed his original target through the turn, he would come into a position to be fired on by the target's wing man. This tactic was first used to good effect during the Battle of Midway, and later over the Solomon Islands.



Many highly experienced Japanese aviators were lost in combat, resulting in a progressive decline in the quality of the opponents faced by Allied pilots, which became a significant factor in Allied successes. The US system concentrated on turning out lots of good pilots where the Japanese focused on an elite and washed out far too many.  By the time they changes tactics it was too late.  Japan counted on a short war and   the unexpected heavy losses of these pilots at the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway and around Guadalcanal  dealt the Japanese carrier air force a blow from which it never fully recovered. Still in the hands of the remaining experts as late as 1945  it could be deadly as some F6F and F4U aircrews would learn.   The US forces lost more than a few its own aces as the war progressed.



[b]
Pearl Harbor Zeroes.

Lt. Saburo Shindo had combat experience over China prior to taking command of the second wave during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was convinced that by the time the second wave approached the islands, the skies would be a blur of activity as the Americans surely would have had a strong defensive force mobilized by then. This was not to be as he led his strike force into an ‘unbelievable’ attack run over Hickam Field. Shindo would be one of the few Pearl Harbor veterans to survive the war and assignments in the Solomons in 1943, and be at Truck during operation Hailstone when the best of the JNAF was ground to dust. Lt. Shindo helped clear up some confusion on markings. He was credited in many sources with using plane AI-101 but said he knew that it was not his plane. Leaders aircraft had specific markings . "Kodochosho" documents assure that AI-101 was in fact flown by Tadao Kimura, Shindo's #2 wingman.





On showing the photo to Kimura, he recognized himself. For years he thought he had flown another plane. The late Tadao Kimura flew the Zero AI-101. This aircraft marking choice may have been chosen due to confusion about its use and who was actually leading the raid. Or perhaps the owner of Marushin who supposedly had some family connection to a Zero pilot in WWII.



"TORA 101", the Wichita based Japanese Zero Fighter Replica, was actually built in 1952 by the Canadian Car & Foundry Company. The Royal Canadian Air Force accepted it as a Harvard MKIV advanced trainer on 1/14/53 as aircraft 20473. It was the seventh from the last Harvard made for the RCAF, and was first based with the First Flight Training Squadron in Penhold, Alberta, Canada, then at Centralia, Ontario. After 6000 flying hours, on 2/2/68 it was released through the Crown Asset Disposition Center.




The yellow tail bars are actually a mistake and this was later corrected as historical research

"TORA 101" was built up by Twentieth Century Fox Studios in 1969 as an IJN A6M2 Model 21 Zero Fighter Replica patterned after a real Zero used in the Japanese Pearl Harbor raid of December 7, 1941. Along with 50 other Harvards, AT6 Texans, and Consolidated BT13's, they were highly modified and transformed into Zero fighters, Val dive bombers, and Kate torpedo bomber replicas for their movie, TORA! TORA! TORA! This movie accurately recreated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. No expense was spared: in fact, the studio spent more than the Japanese did on the actual raid! "TORA 101" was also in the movie Midway and in the television series Baa Baa Black Sheep




[/b]

Sorry for the poor quality pics.   The I phone camera  has been acting up a bit of late.

The Mule had some of these back in stock and the Zero was not a bad price.  Not having the A6M2 I decided this may well be my last chance.    I have the A6M3 (squared wind tips) and the A6M5 as well as the FM A6M2-N Rufe produced by Nakijima.    I will post pics of the tail assemblies  below


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Marushin Model# S002 Mitsubishi A6M2-21 Zero Akagi Flying Group Tadao Kimura
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