Tamiya 1/48 A6M3 'Hamp'
1500 yen SRP
Scott Van Aken
The A6M3 was the first major variant of the Zero that dominated the Pacific and
Southeast Asia in the first six months of the war. Initially, the model 22 was
very much like the A6M2 model 21, but incorporated an uprated Sakae engine. The
model 32 went one step farther and had clipped wing tips. This did two things.
One is that it improved roll rate and the other was that it helped facilitate
handling on carrier decks as crews did not have to fold the wing tips to get the
plane below deck.
A total of 343 were produced between July 1941 and August 1942. While the type
served throughout the war, it mostly served in New Guinea and the Philippines
from land bases.
This is not a new kit, being initially tooled in 1982. Still, the level of
detail is quite good with a nicely done cockpit that includes a floor piece
with raised detail consoles and other small boxes built in. A rear bulkhead
takes the seat while the instrument panel piece has gun butt shapes molded
in. Rudder pedals are molded into the floor. There is a pilot figure to fit
into the seat.
The interior can be fitted from underneath after mating the fuselage halves.
Wings are a single lower piece with upper halves and there are aileron
balances. The engine is two generic 7 cylinder pieces with no pushrods and a
prop gear box. No polycaps for this one, but a prop shaft that fits between
the two engine cylinder pieces.
Landing gear legs trap the wheels between them and the gear doors. The inner
gear doors, tail gear, and tail hook are separate. There is a two piece fuel
tank for the centerline. You can also build this gear up and pieced are
provided for that option. The engine cowling can be built with cowl flaps
open or closed and you get a choice of open or closed canopy. The prop has
the spinner built in with a separate backing plate.
are well done with generic paint information. I'd think twice about some of
the color information as I'm sure the cockpit was not Aotake but Mitsubishi
interior green. Same with some of the external colors as I doubt the
airplane used any light grey. Four markings option are provided. Two are in
the overall 'grey' color while the other two are from 1943 so have the
yellow wing leading edge bands. One is the box art plane based in Rabaul in
1943 with a mottled upper surface and the other is from Taiwan in 1944 in
the green/grey scheme. Even though this is an old tooling, it has been in
production all the time so the decals are quite nicely done and fresh.
While somewhat eclipsed by newer toolings, this one is still well worth building
even if it isn't quite a detailed. Best of all it is inexpensive and I'm sure
will make into a very nice model for your shelves.
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