HobbyBoss 1/72 A6M5 Zero

KIT #: 80241
PRICE: Ä8.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: Easy Assembly kit

HISTORY

Considered by many as the most effective Zero variant, the A6M5 featured shortened wings with revised ailerons, aileron trim tab and flaps, in order to increase speed and dispense with the folding wing mechanism. A new exhaust system (seemingly appearing from a point onward and most probably retrofitted to all A6M5s) provided incremental thrust by aiming the stacks aft and distributing them around the forward fuselage.

Subsequent A6M5 variants featured, among others, differences in armament (including rockets or small bombs), a  larger propeller spinner (suggesting a change to the propeller), a different type of ventral drop tank, armored glass at the headrest, an armor plate behind the seat and ,possibly, a different Sakae engine subtype.

Up to seven examples were ostensibly converted into A6M5-K two-seat trainers.

THE KIT

This is yet another HobbyBoss kit of their ďEasy AssemblyĒ series, not overly complicated and with most parts designed to snap-fit together, aimed basically at younger and/or inexperienced modelers. The subject kit is the initial 2009 release, bought in 2022 from the sole remaining hobby shop in my hometown, Chalkis, Greece at a very good price.

The kit comes in a small high quality top opening box, featuring a digitized  artwork of a  finished model flying in the sky. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 31 light gray styrene parts. Of them, the fuselage and the wing are separately provided, whereas all the rest are nicely arranged in two small sprues. Packaging is superb, with all parts neatly arranged in a very handy transparent tray.

Molding is nice and crisp, with only minor flash/mold lines at the fuselage centerline and the wing leading edges, all easily scraped off. Panel lines are engraved and very well done. The cockpit is one piece with everything molded on and looks acceptable for the kitís nature. The engine features separate cylinder rows and a rear firewall. The cowling is well done as is the prop. The wing guns are provided as one piece with the surrounding leading edge, so some gaps are expected there. Landing gear is also good looking and the same can be said for the drop tank provided.

The one piece canopy is crisply molded and, though not too thin, is clear. Instructions are a 4-page color leaflet, containing the box art in the front page, a sprue diagram, with the simple construction spread in two main steps, each containing a couple of sub-steps, all nice and clear.

Two schemes are provided, for Tanimizu Kagoshima and Saburo Sakaiís birds, both in IJN Green over Gray. Decals are well done and even feature the quite prominent wing walk lines. I noticed some sort of residue on them, which, normally, will dissolve once soaked in water. No mounting base is provided, which would be a very welcome addition.

Instructions want you to first trap the cockpit between the fuselage and main wing, then attach the wing guns and tail planes. The engine is next to be assembled and attached, followed by the landing gear, the external tank, the prop and finally the canopy, ending a simple and pleasant build. 

CONCLUSIONS

This is  by all means an excellent kit for what it stands for, i.e. an easy assembly, introductory model. Molding is very good, parts count is low, with most of them able to be snap-fitted, detail is right for the kitís category, instructions are clear and decals look well printed. Out of the box, a simplified but very nice representation of the iconic Zero will occur.

Initially released in 2009, then reboxed by Doyusha three times (the latter two with the parts pre-painted) and, again, by HobbyBoss in 2020 and offered in pleasantly low prices, this looks to be a perfect kit to introduce a youngster to the magic world of modeling.

Happy Modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

February 2023

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