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A6M3 Type 22 Zero

21st Century Toys 1/32 A6M3 Type 22 Zero Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2006 Manufacturer 21st Century Toys
Subject A6M3 Type 22 Zero Scale 1/32
Kit Number N/A Primary Media Styrene
Pros Excellent paint and improved detailing inside and out Cons Wings halves had come loose on my example but were easily fixed with liquid cement and claps
Skill Level Novice MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

A6M3 Type 22 Zero
A6M3 Type 22 Zero
A6M3 Type 22 Zero
A6M3 Type 22 Zero
A6M3 Type 22 Zero

Many of you are familiar with the fantastic aircraft and armor releases from 21st Century Toys. In this release, 21st Century Toys has developed a new tooling for the A6M3 Type 22 Zero. The aircraft comes in the usual 'armor-plated' packaging.

I saw a few of their earlier releases in 1/32 scale including the Me 262. At that time, their 1/32 offerings were much like the early releases in 1/18 scale - toy-like. Today, the 1/18 scale releases are extremely well-done replicas. They've definitely stepped up their game in this scale as well. Check out the other A6M release review here.

A6M3 Type 22 Zero

On removing the kit from the box, I was rather impressed with the paint job. The exterior is nicely finished and the Japanese stenciling is clear. What is even more interesting is the differentiation of the Aotake primer (blue) in the visible portions of the aircraft interior and Mitsubishi cockpit green inside the cockpit.

If you look up into the fuselage bottom before installing the wings, you'll see oxygen cylinders and other details behind the pilot that you'd have serious trouble seeing once the aircraft is assembled. Nice!

The fuselage fits snugly into the wings and there are no seam problems. Very nice engineering here too. The only problem I did encounter is that the wing tops and bottoms in my example had started to de-bond - the glue didn't hold. Careful application of liquid cement and some clamps remedied the problem.

The wings are firmly attached to the fuselage with a single screw (included). Once the screw is installed, you simply plug the centerline drop tank into the next holes, add the horizontal stabilizers, antenna, pitot tube, and wing gun barrels. That's it, you have a completed Zeke.

The working (movable) features of the aircraft are:

  • Sliding canopy
  • Retractable main gear
  • Retractable tail wheel
  • Extendable tail hook for carrier landings
  • Movable propeller

You can definitely tell that there is a world-class modeler working at 21st Century Toys to achieve this level of detail and fidelity while keeping the final product affordable.

This release is definitely recommended. You can find these at any one of the retailers listed on the 21st Century Toys website.

My sincere thanks to 21st Century Toys for this review sample!