Sunday 27 February 2022

That Frog Zero

Way back in 2008, the first year of this blog, a Kit Trivia article on the Frog Zero was published,  including a photo of that kit built, painted and displaying original decals as intended. Now the builder has kindly got in touch and still in possession of the model has dusted it off and sent new photos of it.  Mike Kirk cannot recall the exact date that he built the kit but it was most probably around 1960. The engraved panel lines reveal that it is from the original mould, before the AMT 'improvements' resulting in raised lines. The model was brush painted freehand without the use of masks and, most likely, with Humbrol paints, without any mixing of colours. 

Warts and all - it had no interior and no wheel wells, the undercarriage legs being plugged into slots - this kit has been a nostalgic favourite and rated as superior to its Airfix and Revell contemporaries, as well as to those early non-standard scale kits from Japan. It is a hybrid in terms of mark but still manages to look the part after 63 years of wonderful advances in mould making, kit engineering and accuracy. And it conveys oodles of nostalgia for those once satisfied by simpler things. This was the Zero that lurked in predatory pairs over jungle settings in many a Fleetway Library and Commando comic book.   

Frog considered a new mould for the Zero in 1971 which morphed into a kit of the floatplane fighter 'Rufe'. That mould was completed in 1975 and planned as kit F234 but was never released although decals and H1-type boxes were printed. The A6M2-N kit was subsequently released by Revell, of which more anon, featuring the originally intended Frog box art. Frog's only other Zero venture was to release 15,000 Hasegawa 1/32 scale kits of the A6M5 as F287 under the Frog logo between 1972 and 1974. 

With special thanks to Mike for kindly sharing these images of a survivor and a testimony to a gone but not forgotten classic.

Image credit: All photos © 2022 Mike Kirk


Dan Salamone said...

Great seeing these vintage kits. Thanks Nick for showing it, and to Mike for sharing his treasured replica.


WD said...

Thanks for bringing this to us, and to Mike for letting us see it and letting us revel in the nostalgia. It sure has held up well for all these decades.


Baronvonrob said...

What a great trip in the Way-back machine! …simply brilliant!

Thanks, as always, to Nick, and to Mike for sharing this wonderful throwback Zero.

Kevin Bade said...

How well this model has held up. Must be well cared for. Really neat to see the old Frog Zero built. I've never seen one assembled though I have one in my stash. Brings back memories of the old Hawk 1/72 Zero which didnt even have landing gear but at 50 cents or so was one I made many of as a youngster.

Mark Smith said...

Probably the rarest of all the Frog Zeros, Mike: a period build beautifully crafted and quite well preserved. And this is the place to show it off - thanks, Mike and Nick.

Ken Glass said...

Thanks for revisiting this one, Mark & Nick.