Tamiya 1/48 A6M3 'Hamp'
KIT #: 61025
PRICE: 1500 yen SRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1982 tooling


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.

Instructions 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.


Kit instructions

September 2019

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