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A6M5 Kit

Hasegawa 1/48 A6M5 Type 52 Zero Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review October 2006 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject Mitsubishi A6M5 Type 52 Zero Scale 1/48
Kit Number 51510 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, nice details Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $31.95

First Look

A6M5 Kit
A6M5 Kit
A6M5 Kit
A6M5 Kit
A6M5 Kit
A6M5 Kit

By 1943, the A6M2 Type 21 model of the Zero was falling further and further behind the American aircraft it faced in daily combat, in both speed and firepower, as each more highly powered US fighter was replaced by yet another. This led to the development of models A6M3 Type 32, A6M3 Type 22 and finally the A6M5 Type 52.

The 12 meter wing-span of the 21 and 22 models was cut to 11 meters, the cowling was redesigned and a thrust type engine exhaust pipe was added to increase aircraft speed, resulting in a 25 kph increase over the Type 22’s maximum speed of 585 kph. About 6,000 of the Type 52 were produced, this fighter bearing the brunt of the war effort on the part of the Japanese Naval Fighter Arm until the end of the war.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The box art is not the usual color painting we see on most kits. It is an actual photograph of an A6M5 type 52 Zero parked on an Allied airfield in T.A.I.C. USA captured markings (Technical Air Intelligence Center). This center was located, during the war, in Anacostia, Maryland. A side panel of the box shows another small photo of a Type 52 Zero that is flying along in the captured markings of the ATAIU SEA (Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia), this was a British outfit. You get markings for both of these aircraft shown in the box.

The kit contains four sprues of medium gray parts., a tree of clear canopy parts, the decal sheet and the instructions. All the parts are in one large cello bag. I wish that the clear parts had bee put into their own cello to prevent scratching. I had a spare cello, lying around my workbench, so these went immediately into it. As it was, I found several parts had already broken off the parts trees and were floating around loose in the cello.

  • The letter A parts tree holds: the left fuselage half, pilot figure, drop tank, pilot seat , tail wheel, cockpit rear bulkhead panel, propeller spinner and engine parts (14 parts)
  • The letter B parts tree holds: cockpit floor and wall panels, the propeller, foot pedals, dashboard and cowling parts (13 parts)
  • The letter C parts tree holds: wing upper halves, main gear doors and the main gear wheels (10 parts)
  • The letter D parts tree holds: the single piece lower wings, the horizontal tail pieces. exhaust stacks, main gear struts, joy stick, DF loop etc. (11 parts)
  • Finally, is the letter D tree of clear canopy & navigation light lenses (6 parts). The canopy can be positioned open or closed
  • The decal sheet, as mentioned, has one marking set for the TAIC USA tail number 5 and one for the ATAIU SEA
  • The instructions complete the kit

The instruction sheet consists of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages. These pages start with a photo of the model made up in Japanese markings, followed by the history of the aircraft in six languages, including English.

Pages 2 thru 5 give a total of nine assembly steps, with a paint color listing below these assembly drawings as well as some cautions.

Pages 6-7 give the four different Japanese unit markings that are not used for this kit, nor do you get those decals.

Page 8 shows the parts tree drawings and decal application instructions.(again, in six languages).

This is a nicely done kit. The detail is all engraved and finely molded. I found no flash on any of the parts. Being as this kit is intended to be marked as a captured one, you can put the Japanese pilot in your spares box.

Highly recommended to modelers of Japanese aircraft.