Sweet 1/144 A6M2b Carrier Fighter Group and Flight Deck Set
|¥1360 (about $12.00) at Hobby Link Japan
|Scott Van Aken
|Two kits plus flight deck section.
Undoubtedly the most successful Japanese aircraft of WWII was the A6M2 Zero. This early Zero was much feared by the Allies. Piloted by the most experienced pilots on either side (most of whom were enlisted), the Zero was able to rule the skies during the early days of the war. It wasn't until Allied pilots finally were able to discover the aircraft's weaknesses (mainly the lack of armor plating for pilot and fuel) that they were able to develop strategies for defeating it. Combine that with the loss of many of the more talented pilots during the battles for Guadalcanal, and the Zero stopped being so feared by the time that 1943 and the Corsair came into the picture.
There is a reason why this model company is called Sweet. That is because it is one of the first things that you say when you open the box. These folks make the finest 1/144 fighters ever produced, and that is purely because they have thought things through before producing the kits. Engineering is excellent as is the detail, even in this scale. They are also quite easy to build with no real fussing and fiddling about to get things to fit.
The Zero is the third aircraft that they have done, the Macchi C.200, Hurricane, and FM-2 preceding it. I'm frankly a bit amazed that they did not start with this kit as the home market for Zeros is nearly insatiable, but I'm very glad that they chose an early war aircraft. Several reasons. One is that I think the early A6Ms are the coolest of the lot. Secondly, they were flown by many of Japan's Naval aces at some time during their careers, and third because the overall green-grey camouflage is easy to paint! Sweet has made the best of this aircraft kit and has done a considerable number of boxings of this and later A6Ms. This one is a bit special as it includes a section of flight deck.
Included in the basic Zero kit is a drop tank, and you can pose the wing tips in the raised position. The drop tank is not absolutely necessary and the kit is designed so that you do not have to install it if you don't wish. Providing a one-piece wing really helps with assembly as well.
Instructions consist of a single folded sheet with a four step construction sequence on one side and a full color decal placement guide on the other. Painting info is given though unreadable by me. The interior seems to be in a green color with the upper fuselage inside the canopy, the main gear legs, and the engine cowling in black. Markings are provided for 8 different aircraft from 7 different aircraft carriers. These cover a variety of campaigns including Pearl Harbor, Santa Cruz, Aleutians, Darwin and a cople home based prior to deployment. I usually show the decal sheet, but thought you'd be interested in the markings placement guide for this one. The decals are superb and there are enough insignia and common markings for two planes. Note that Sweet has combined two kits for this one. One kit is the fighter group kit and the other is part of the flight deck kit.
The other item in the kit is a flight deck section. This is a piece with the elevator in it. There are four main pieces along with several smaller bits that include wheel chocks and fasteners to hold the elevator in place. An addendum sheet is provided for construction and painting for this is shown on the back of the box. The back of the box also shows you how to place tie-downs though you'll have to fabricate those yourself.
These are really great kits and you deserve to treat yourself to one of them, even if 1/144 isn't your main modeling scale. They make into super little models and don't take up a lot of space. You never know, it may be the start of a new passion. As a final note, for those so interested, Sweet does make a full feline flight deck crew.
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