Hasegawa 1/48 A6M2-K Model 11
A two-seater was developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Flight Technology Center No. 21 - the A6M2-K Model 11, modified from the Model 21 fighter. The first conversion prototype flew in November 1942, with the first production trainers coming off the production line in January 1943.
The Zero trainer used the same Sakae 12 engine, with the airframe identical except that the cockpit was shifted forward to maintain the center of gravity with an instructors cockpit behind the standard cockpit. Two strakes were placed on the rear fuselage ahead of the horizontal stabilizers for spin stabilization. The student’s forward cockpit did not have a sliding canopy. A sturdier, lighter, heavy-duty tail wheel replaced the small solid rubber tire of the fighter. The two 20mm cannon were removed from the wing to save weight, while the 7.7mm machine guns in the fuselage were retained for gunnery training.
Over 500 A6M2-Ks were produced until production ceased in July 1945. In addition to its use by flying schools, many front line units kept at least one trainer available for proficiency training as pilot standards continued to deteriorate through the war.
Hasegawa has “owned” the Zero since they first released their A6M2 Model 21 in the mid-1990s. Over the years since, they have managed to release models of every sub-type of Japan’s most famous airplane, including the original prototype and ending with the A6M7. This “Special version” provides a complete kit of the A6M2, with two new sprues that include a modified fuselage and the interior parts for a two-seat cockpit (shown), and new clear bits. I have to say that this release is so “special” that it has never shown up on the stock list at HobbyLink Japan, and I have only ever heard one other modeler mention buying the kit. According to Dave at my LHS, this kit I bought was literally the only one of two that the distributor had.
The parts are standard Hasegawa: crisp, with enough detail in the cockpit that one will only want to add seatbelts. The decals provide markings for three different A6M2-Ks, and there are sufficient serial number decals one could attempt just about any A6M2-K you have a photo of.
Review kit courtesy of my wallet.
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