Build & Review : Airfix #A01005 : 1/72 Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero

The Kit

a01005-front (1)I don’t build many planes. I like the subject but I just don’t seem to get the results I want. Maybe if I built more I’d get better. It’s a radical idea!

The Zero is an iconic aircraft and the Airfix box art really catches the look.

It’s a relatively new tool (2011) and about the time Airfix really started getting their act together for nicely engineered kits. As such I wasn’t expecting much problems with this build.

The Build

As it’s an aircraft, I started by assembling, painting and detailing the cockpit.

I gave the frame a base coat of Tamiya cockpit green and a wash of UMP dark dirt (old formula, but the new one is even better).

I fashioned a seat belt and buckles from masking tape and tiny bent piece of wire. I doubt they are to scale, or even the right shape, but you won’t really see them when the canopy is on and it’s fun to play 🙂

I added the decals for the instrument panel and put a tiny dot of gloss varnish over each one.

Again, no-one will ever see it, but I’ll know it’s there 🙂

The cockpit just needed a bit of weathering and it was ready to fit into the body.

I prepared the cockpit walls in a similar fashion.

The rest of the build followed the simple airfix instructions and it didn’t take long to have the rest of it assembled.

Next I turned my attention to the exterior. I was going with the box art all the way.

After an undercoat with pounland primer, I preshaded the panel lines with Tamiya black and then base coated the underside with white, focusing on panel centers and fading out to the panel lines at the edges. I followed this up the sides a little so I had something to mask against for the wavey line.

I base coated the props, wheels and fuel tank.

Next masked off the wavey lines along the back with a mask cut free hand from a strip of masking tape. Don’t have pictures of this >.<

I base coated the upper half with tamiya Dark Green. I over did it a bit and lost the panel lines. Never mind, I’ll bring them back. I attached the engine cowling now too,

I glossed the whole piece ready for decals and pin washing.

I gave the black cowling a liberal wash with UMP Concrete, making sure it got into all the panel line and let it dry.

I then cleaned off the panels with water on a cotton bud.

It took a couple of goes to get the panels clean.

Decals next, thankfully not too many. A wash with Solva Set helped any awkward ones conform.

Having handled the plane for a while I decided the panel lines were Ok on the upper half. They aren’t too in you face. I masked off the leading edges of the wing and gave them a blast of Tamiya Yellow. This is one of the better yellows for coverage but it still took a couple of passes.

Next I stippled silver and gun metal onto the plane. I’d seen some *very* chipped reference shots so I wasn’t too worried about going OOT.

I gave the whole piece a flat coat of Vallejo Matt and assembled the components.

I used a pin vice and .5mm drill to open up the wheel sockets. They were a bit tight after the layers of paint and if I’ve learned anything building planes it’s never force anything.


And did a shonkey job of the canopy. Another skill I need to practice…

Milky Joe was not amused.

The metal parts were given a coating of Tamiya smoke and the finishing touch was the radio wire – made from stretched sprue.

I took the Zero outside for some daylight shots.

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