Fine Molds / Model Graphix Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero Type 21
Reviewed by Rato Marczak (5/2009)

- High quality injected model
- 1/72
- approx. 27.00 USD for both volumes (2 volumes are necessary to complete the kit)
Contents & Media: 
- 116 plastic parts
- decals
- 2 volumes of Model Graphix magazine

- Excellent molding, with recessed panel lines and raised details where appropriate
- Super detailed cockpit
- Deep and detailed wheel wells
- Options include: three parts (open) or single one (closed) canopy; engine cowling flaps open or closed; wing tips can be assembled folded; two types of spinner.
- Step by step assembly shown in the accompanying magazines
- In this reviewer opinion's, this is currently the best Zero in 1/72 scale
Disadvantages - Just one, if I may: You have to photocopy the box (from one of the magazines) in cardboard paper and assembly your own box, if you wish... (sorry, couldn't resist).
- Highly recommended

Have you seen the box art above before? Do you know this kit? If not, no offense but that's probably because you are not a big fan of the Mitsubishi Zero (that's ok, I'm not, neither). Or, that is because this box art is buried inside a volume of Model Graphix magazine - and apparently it will not hit the shelves. This is the new 1/72 A6M2 Zero released back in 2007 by a joint venture between Fine Molds and Model Graphix (well, Modelkasten Publ. Co., actually). They swore that this kit would not be released again, but it was, and I didn't let the chance to pass.

Anyway, currently the only way to put your hands on this kit is by buying both Model Graphix (november and december, 2007 issues), since each volume brings half of the sprues.

The sprues themselves come in a very strong cardbox, while the assembly instructions are printed inside the magazines.

In fact, both magazines are very instructional, because besides the assembly sequence, they are filled with several samples of this model built by Japanese modelers, articles about the Zero, and step by step sequences fully illustrating (with photos) each phase of the assembly, painting and finishing. An interesting part presents the machining company which tooled the molds. Text is in Japanese, though.

Onto the kit. The complete kit contains 10 sprues in olive, black, silver and clear styrene, bagged in groups, with the clear parts bagged separately. There are 116 parts, including a couple of poly-caps, and a decal sheet.

Being a modern Fine Molds product, you expect a high level of molding quality, and you will not be disappointed. The panel lines are finely engraved, with raised details wherever appropriate. There is no flash at all to deal with, and cleaning will be restrained to sanding a seam line here and there. This particular model of the Zero has faithfully reproduced wheel wells, almost deep enough to assemble the landing gear retracted with all parts inside the wells (an old complain of Hasegawa Zeros). The underwing gun access panels are separated, but no detail is provided. The wing tips can be assembled folded, with the internal details provided as inserts to be glued inside the wings.

The ailerons and flaps are separated, with the inner of the flap molded on the upper wing halves. Interestingly, the ailerons have the correct airfoil, something rare in this scale. The roof of the landing gear wells is also molded, and no PE set will be necessary to spruce this area. All you will have to add are inner landing gear doors retraction arms.

Moving to the fuselage, the cockpit walls are finely molded on the inside and, important to mention, no sink marks are visible on the outside. The cockpit is superb, containing every detail of the Zero's larger scales cousins, down to separated radios, levers, throttle, and rudder pedals. Even the fuselage guns are provided. The control panel has nicely molded dials, and the instruments are provided by decals, as well as several sidewall gauges. The fuselage bulkheads must be drilled, but the corresponding holes are deeply recessed making this an easy job. Even the rivets of the cockpit floor plating are there. No PE necessary here, neither.

The engine is another highlight of the kit, bringing each row of cylinders molded in a single part, plus exhaust pipes and collector rings. The crankcase is beautifully molded, the propeler is correct in diameter and shape, and you have two types of spinner to choose from, depending on the version you want to depict. Another option are the cowling flaps, molded in both closed and open position.

The landing gear parts are very detailed, with the oleos represented in the correct height. Even the torque link bolts are molded, and the wheels have the openings for the tire valves!

Clear parts are free of distortion and very thin. The canopy can be assembled as either a one-piece (closed) or a three-piece set (open). Considering the detail level of the cockpit, it will be a shame to hide everything there inside with a closed canopy. The clear sprue also brings wingtip lights and a gunsight.

As for the decal options, you have three choices: Saburo Sakai's V-103 aircraft, Tetsuzo Iwamoto's EII-I02 aircraft based on the IJN aircraft carrier Zuikaku, and a green camouflaged aircraft from the 263rd Kokutai. They are very thin and well printed, and contain all necessary stencils.

Check out some pics of this excellent and exciting model:

Ah, you still want the box? Here is it:

I cannot recommend enough this kit. Tamiya has produced the best Zeros in 1/32 and 1/48, but as I said before, this one is undoubtly the winner in 1/72. Now what about a A6M5, Model Graphix?

PS: Thanks to Pál Biegelbauer, from Hungary, I was informed that Fine Molds released a A6M3 type 32 Hamp based on this very kit on January/2009. The kit comes complete (all pieces) with that issue of Scale Aviation Magazine. Thanks Pál.

Rato Marczak © 2009