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Hasegawa Mitsubishi A6M5c Type 52 Zero

By 1943, the Zero was being out-matched by U.S. Navy Hellcats and Corsairs, and Army Air Force’s P-38. Mitsubishi moved to make the Zero more competitive by developing the A6M5, which bolstered armament and pilot protection.

Hasegawa’s all-new 1/32 scale Zero release replaces its old 1970s A6M5, which is still on the market. The new kit is beautifully molded in light gray plastic. Features included a detailed engine, cowling flap options (open or closed), external fuel tank, and a seated pilot figure.

The cockpit module comprises 35 parts and looks impressive with careful painting. I liked the fact that it is installed into the assembled fuselage from underneath before attachment of the wings.

The fuselage assembled perfectly with the inclusion of two bulkheads and a locking plate. I didn’t need to apply any filler.

As with the fuselage, the wings went together without issues. A wing spar which doubles as the back of the wheel well helps assure the wing dihedral is set correctly. The assembled wing attached snugly to the fuselage.

Locking tabs between the horizontal stabilizers ensure proper alignment. 

The engine consists of nine parts and includes a complete exhaust. Take care during assembly; any misalignment of the exhausts will interfere with the cowl’s fit. The instructions are a little vague, and it took me a half dozen dry runs to get things lined up.

The canopy comes in three parts, which allows it to be posed open (as I did with my kit).

The inclusion of a number of unused parts indicates Hasegawa will be issuing other A6M5 variations in the future.

My primary reference was Aero Detail 7 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighter (Model Graphix, no ISBN). Also, I found useful Famous Airplanes Of The World: Type Zero Carrier Fighter Model 22-63 (Bunrin-Do, no ISBN).

I painted my Zero with a combination of GSI Creos acrylic and lacquer IJN paints. As a side note, there were variations in color shades based on whether the Zero was manufactured by Mitsubishi or Nakajima, which the painting instructions note.

Decals are given for two aircraft. They applied well over gloss. But be careful, as they are fragile and will break under heavy pressure.

I completed my Zero in 32 hours. It was a most enjoyable project due to the quality of the molding, positive construction, and attention to detail. Hasegawa continues to balance detail and buildability with this kit. The kit can be managed by modelers of all skill levels. I highly recommend Hasegawa’s new Zero to 1/32 scale builders and Japanese aircraft enthusiasts.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2016 issue.

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