Every new LifeLike decal set is a real treat and this one is no exception. Thanks to the relatively recent releases of the A5M in this scale by Fine Molds and Wingsy, Lifelike felt it was time to produce some sheets for modelers who want something a bit different. To say they have produced more than we could have hoped would be a bit of an understatement.
This is the first of three sets dedicated to the 'Claude' and covers a dozen aircraft of different variants and a very nice selection of markings. All of these are based on photographs and the majority of planes are in natural metal with red tails scheme that is most often associated with the A5M. Unless noted, the variants are A5M4s.
First is a 12 Kokutai A5M2b based in China in 1938. This plane has no after wheel spat and the lower cowling is some color darker than the NMF. It is surmised that this plane used to be camouflaged.
Second the flight commander's A5M4 from the Soryu Group in 1940. The white and black area on the fuselage will need to be painted.
#3 is a line bird from the Soryu Group in 1941.
Fourth is from the 14th Kokutai based at Nanning China in late 1939.
Next up is one from the Kaga Fighter Group in late 1938
Another commander's plane, this time from the Akagi fighter group in late 1939. Again, you'll need to paint the red and white rear fuselage.
T-153 is from the Tsuiki Kokutai in the fall of 1942.
We then have one from the Hoso fighter group from April 1941 to March 1942.
Our first one without a red tail is from Zuiho Fighter Group in March of 1941. Ǝ-186 is from the Yokosuka Kokutai in December of 1939.
The one in green and grey is from the Tainan Kokutai based on Formosa in early 1944, hence the late war camouflage.
Finally a trainer from the Kasumigaura Kokutai in January 1944. Note the raised head rest and lack of radio mast.
Instructions are superb and provide additional information on each subject as well as a reference for the photos used. The decals themselves are superbly printed by Microscale. A most welcome set and one that I think you will find most interesting and useful.
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My thanks to Lifelike Decals for the review set. Check you local hobby shop for availability.
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