Hasegawa 1/48 A6M2b Type 21 w 60kg bombs




2400 yen


Two options


Scott Van Aken


2005 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 The Mitsubishi A6M was outdated by 1944, but remained in production.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 2005 and is 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. This kit has a pair of 60kg bombs and racks. To get these items, a sprue section from the A6M2-N Rufe kit is included. One does have to open the holes for these in the lower wings prior to completing the wings.

Instructions are excellent and give all colors in Gunze references. There are options for two aircraft. One is the box art plane with the orange fin from the 381st Naval Flying Group in the Philippines during 1944. The orange fin is provided as a decal, but you may wish to paint it instead. The front half of the spinner is white, as are the outer upper wings. As much as I'd liked to have the second plane on the box art as an option, it is not included. Instead a plane from the Shokaku fighter group in 1942 is included. Decals are old school so the whites are off-white. Note that you get a bunch of extra fin numbers for the first option if you wish to substitute any.


Overall, it is an excellent model. I know that the Eduard kit is the current darling of modelers, but one shouldn't overlook the Hasegawa offerings. They can be picked up for a decent price nowadays and are well worth building.

May 2023

Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission from the editor.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page