Hasegawa 1/48 A6M2b Type 21 "Training Group"




$44.00 SRP


Three options


Scott Van Aken


2008 boxing


The A6M's history mirrored that of the Empire of Japan in World War II. When it was introduced, the Zero was the best carrier-based fighter in the world and it was greatly feared by Allied pilots. The IJNAS also frequently used the type as a land-based fighter. A combination of excellent maneuverability and very long range made it one of the finest fighters of its era. In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation, outclassing its contemporaries. Later, design weaknesses and the increasing scarcity of more powerful aircraft engines meant that the Zero became less effective against newer fighters. By 1942, new tactics and techniques enabled Allied pilots to engage the Zero on more equal terms. By 1943, American and British manufacturers were producing fighters with greater firepower, armor, and speed, and approaching the Zero's maneuverability. The Mitsubishi A6M was outdated by 1944, but remained in production. During the final years of the War in the Pacific, the Zero was utilized in kamikaze operations.

The A6M2b Model 21 was the most produced early variant of the A6M and saw action in all the early war battles with the Allies. Survivors were used for air defense or secondary functions such as advanced training or towing targets.


Hasegawa pretty well has the field for 1/48 Zeros, though Tamiya is making inroads. They box almost every known variant, including some rather rare types, like the A6M8. All use the same basic fuselage, cockpit and tail section as that was unchanged. They simply change the wings and the engine to match whatever version is being done.

This results in several inserts and add on bits that vary from one aircraft type to another. It also means that the main molds do a lot of service. My kit was boxed in 2008, and are in superb shape, which tells me that perhaps they cut another set of molds or have at least taken good care of what they have.  As one expects from Hasegawa, the level of detail is quite good. There are lots of aftermarket bits for the Zero should you wish that additional level of detail, but most of us will be quite satisfied with what comes in the box. I especially like that there are instrument decals provided that fit perfectly over the various panels. Saves my having to paint these things and looks a ton better than I could ever do myself.

Options for the kit are quite limited. You basically have the choice of leaving the canopy open or closed. As this is a training version, the choice to cut off the lower rear portion of the fuselage is there so that the included cast metal tail gear assembly can be installed. This was done to ease maintenance and make it easier for those doing target tug duty to attach the target. The tail hook was removed from these and a plate put over the well. These planes often did not carry radios and in some cases had the antenna mast removed.

Instructions are excellent and give all colors in Gunze references. There are options for three aircraft: Two are from the Tsukuba Flying Group in 1944. One still has the rear fuselage left intact for those squeamish about cutting on the kit. Both are in Nakajima Green over Orange-Yellow with black cowlings. The third option is for a target tug with the Kasumigaura Naval Flying Group. This one is in overall Orange-Yellow Grey/Green with a black cowling and a white tail band with the aircraft identifier in it. All of these planes have large under wing numbers, typical of trainers and other second line aircraft.


Overall, it is an excellent model. They say that more Zeros are built than any other aircraft model and I can see where that could well be the case. I've built several of these Hasegawa Zeros in the past and I don't see any reason why I won't do more in the future.

August 2012

Kit courtesy of me and the Great Models end of days sale.

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