Hasegawa 1/48 A6M5 Type 52 '302FG Night Fighter'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Limited reissue with extra bits.|
Considered the most effective variant, the Model 52 was developed to face the powerful American Hellcat and Corsair, superior mostly for engine power and armament. The variant was a modest update of the A6M3 Model 22, with non-folding wing tips and thicker wing skinning to permit faster diving speeds, plus an improved exhaust system. The latter used four ejector exhaust stacks, providing an increment of thrust, projecting along each side of the forward fuselage. The new exhaust system required modified "notched" cowl flaps and small rectangular plates which were riveted to the fuselage, just aft of the exhausts. Two smaller exhaust stacks exited via small cowling flaps immediately forward of and just below each of the wing leading edges. The improved roll-rate of the clipped-wing A6M3 was now built in.
The A6M5 had a maximum speed of 540 km/h (340 mph) and reach a height of 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in nine minutes, 57 seconds. Other variants were the night fighter A6M5d-S (modified for night combat, armed with one 20 mm Type 99 cannon, inclined back to the pilot's cockpit) and A6M5-K "Zero-Reisen"(model l22) tandem trainer version, also manufactured by Mitsubishi.
By now, most of you are aware that Hasegawa has, with the release of the new tool A6M5 version a couple of years back, now pretty much owns the 1/48 A6M market with a full offering of all the major and some minor variants of Japan's most well known fighter plane.
Typical of all their A6M boxings, the A6M5 has a very nicely done cockpit with both engraved instruments and decals. The engine is equally nice with good detailing. Unlike the earlier long wing versions, there is no oil cooler insert piece, which most of us like as inserts tend to be a bit fiddly. The model does have, however, lower wing inserts for the gun bays and it does have separate flaps that you can display in the lowered position. A three piece canopy tops things off with a separate sliding section that can actually be slid back.
As this is a specialized boxing, one gets a separate sprue with a new rear canopy section as well as a gun sight glass and a 20mm cannon, all molded in clear. One will also need to trim off a few bumps, but nothing major
The instructions have the usual Gunze paint references and are very well drawn. Markings are for no fewer than seven planes. The box art option is the only one with a red fuselage band and spinner tip, the rest of them being pretty well green over grey planes with little more than a tail code change. Decals are quite well done and should work as well as any aftermarket versions.
This is a very nice kit and provides an interesting variant that, I believe, no one else has modeled. If you are a fan of WWII Japanese planes, then this is one you should seriously consider. Like all limited production boxings, this one may well sell out quickly.
My thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com
for the preview kit. Get yours at your local store or on-line retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please
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