Friday, 28 October 2011

Rising Decals 72-040 - Zero 零戦 and Airfix Dogfight Double

Continuing something of a Reisen-fest, Rising Decals new 1/72nd sheet for the Zero Fighter contains a selection of 10 interesting schemes, including two which are suitable for the new Airfix kit, three if you don't mind a bit of modification. One is a battered, veteran A6M2 with interesting tail markings from the Phillipines in 1945, there is a Houkoku marked A6M2 from the carrier Shokaku in 1942 and a bomb carrier with wing tanks from the carrier Zuiho in 1944.

What I like about this sheet is that the markings cover the A6M3 and A6M5 as well, so there is something for everyone who wants a representative collection of Zero marks. Whether we will ever see the A6M3 and A6M5 from Airfix is an interesting ponderable but there are now good kits available, from the Fine Molds megastars to the Hasegawa classics and even the Hobby Boss A6M5 is a reasonable kit  - certainly good enough for a bit of painting practice or experimentation.

There are no less than five A6M3 Model 32 in the amber grey scheme, including an aircraft captured, repaired and test flown; the classic Tainan Ku V-187 (with a correctly coloured fuselage band) and three other Houkoku adorned aircraft, one with double red chevrons on the fuselage. The two A6M5 subjects include the Saipan '8-13' and, most interestingly, a very early machine '9-109' from 204 Ku at Rabaul in 1943-44. This one requires a bit of kitbashing, basically adding A6M5 wings to an A6M3 for a very interesting new look, and until Airfix pander to my daydreams Hasegawa is the way to go. Whilst there are ten markings options on the sheet the number of Hinomaru is limited. Included are some Hinomaru with the painted over white borders (see pic). This is another comprehensive and well thought out Japanese subject sheet from Rising that further narrows the gap for Zero markings. Special thanks to Mirik of Rising Decals for the sample sheet.

Hot on the heels of their new mold A6M2 Airfix have also released a Pearl Harbor 'Dogfight Double' containing kits of the new P-40B and Zero together with paints, brush and glue. Obviously aimed at the 70th anniversary of the attack this set seems pricey at £18.99. The single Zero option is for the lead aircraft from Akagi but it would have been good to see a more representative selection of alternative markings for PH Zeros in this special set. The box art invokes the classic "whitish grey" Zero which will just not go away. Airfix again recommend 90 Beige Green to approximate "IJN Light Grey Green" (whatever that is) but (on soapbox) it baffles me why their researchers go with information which is out there but has little evidential merit and ignore scholarly data which has been around since 1996. I think it comes down to a basic determination for Zero colours to be what many people want them to be rather than what they actually were. Would you use 90 to represent even a faded and scale colour RLM 02? Of course not (off soapbox).

There is also a starter set featuring the Zero kit alone with paint, brush and glue for £7.99. The markings option seems to be the same as in the 'Dogfight Double' but the box art image on the Airfix website appears to be of an unfinished version (see below). The art on both sets is excellent but would have looked even better with better visualised colour on the Zero.

Image credits: Decal sheets © 2011 Rising Decals; Box art and schematics © 2011 Hornby Hobbies Ltd

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Painting The Early Zero-Sen - PDF e-guide


To coincide with the release of the Airfix 1/72nd scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero kit I have produced an e-guide in PDF 'Painting the Early Zero-Sen' which will be available on a limited basis. It contains a run down and comparison of all relevant hobby paints which have been measured and tested. 28 pages, 6,000 words, with two colour photos and 53  sRGB rendered colour chips. See side panel for ordering details.

Sections are as follows:-

Personal Interpretation and Choice
Imagery and Paints Circa 1970-1996
The Historical Evidence
Hobby Paint Colours
Painting the Details
Sample Pages

What they have said about it:-

" . . . a belated thank you for the guide which I have found an excellent and very informative read."

" . . . your article is superb-I think my OTB project may be the Tamiya 1/32 A6M2!"

" I cannot remember if I told you so, but the Zero paint guide is excellent."

"I appreciate the work you've put into this, it's some really good analysis."

"Thank you for the Zero painting guide.  Lots of great information."

"It was exactly what I'd expected and solved many of the lingering questions that I'd had for quite a while (since 1996 I think!)."

"Great stuff. I can see a lot of work here. Congratulations on a great effort. I'm looking forward to the other titles on the website."

"I love the format. This is going to be so useful for anyone who wants to paint an early Zero accurately!"

" . . . this is AMAZING stuff. Wow what a feast for Zero fans! I am most impressed at the way you have laid this out very comprehensive and very complete. A one stop shop for all your paint needs for the early Zeros. My congratulations!" 

" . . . thank YOU for all that great work! The material is perfect, extremely useful."

"Congratulations on a job well done with your early Zero paint guide. Very informative and I now have a much clearer idea on the exterior finish to apply to my 32nd A6M2."

"Great job with the painting guide for the early Zeros."

"Hi Nick - an excellent piece of work, congratulations."

"Your approach of recreating the original paints and then experimenting with the aging process is probably the closest that we can get to the actual colour at this time. Recognizing that paint has such variables should temper much of the over-specific concentration on one colour as the only correct one."

"Painting the Early Zero-Sen is a very well thought out document, It will be very useful to have in regards to figure out appropriate Japanese colors for profiles and models."

" This is really great!  Now, if you would write one up for the early Kate and Val!"

"What a fantastic Job! Well done. Now I have no excuses to go wrong."   

"I have only looked at the first two pages, and it seems a great piece of work- you must have put a lot of time and effort into it."

"Thanks for sending me the's just great."

Image credits: PDF cover and sample pages © 2011 "Straggler"

Friday, 21 October 2011

Stop Press! New Mold Airfix Zero Released!

Some sprue pics here.

And an in-box review here.

Image credits: Photograph © All-Japan Model Show 2011; Painting guide © 2011 Hornby Hobbies Ltd