|KIT:||Tamiya 1/72 A6M3 Type 32 'Hamp'|
|KIT #:||FA 101|
|PRICE:||$1.25 when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Undoubtedly the most widely built Japanese fighter of WWII, the A6M was seen in all theaters were the Japanese Navy operated. As good as the earlier A6M2 was, it was realized that more speed and somewhat better roll rate were needed. In order to meet this need, the A6M3, type 32 was developed. This version had a more powerful engine and the folding wing tips were replaced with 'clipped' tips that squared off the wing shape.
Pilots had mixed feelings about the aircraft as clipping the wing tips did provide a higher roll rate, but overall maneuverability suffered a bit and thanks to the more powerful engine, the range of the aircraft was less than previous versions. Relatively few of the type 32 Zeros (called HAMP by the Allies) were built and later variants returned the standard wing shape.
Tamiya produced a rather respectable number of 1/72 Japanese aircraft kits in the late 1960s and this is one of them. The dark green plastic is well molded with somewhat deep engraved panel lines for the major panels and very petite rivets to add additional detail. Interior is basically non-existent with just a few pegs for the pilot figure. All of these kits had some working feature and in this case it is droppable flaps. There is no wheel well detail though the shallow wells are completely boxed in. A display stand is supposedly supplied, though my kit's had disappeared some time in the distant past. A one-piece canopy tops things off.
Instructions consist of three steps. No color information is provided, but there is a written sequence that accompanies each step. Markings are provided for three aircraft; two in overall light grey and one anonymous aircraft in 'emergency camouflage' with green segments over the light grey. The two light grey aircraft are presentation planes; one from the Tainan Flying Corps and the other from the 2nd Flying Corps. General color info is provided. Despite their age, the decals are in pretty good shape and like all Japanese decals of the time will be thick and stick well. These instructions were made just for the US market and are in English.
Though this and other Tamiya 1/72 kits have been totally eclipsed by more recent Hasegawa productions, they are still nice models and are perfect for those who are transitioning from snap to glue kits. Even we older modelers would find these to be a nice change.
Kit courtesy of me and my ability to get bargains at the swap meet!
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