A6M5 Zero Type 52 Eggplane

Gallery Article by Steve Nelson on Apr 14 2010


This project began as part of last year's "Easter Eggplane" group build, but naturally didn't get finished in time.  I've always loved Hasegawa's eggplanes, and wanted to see just how far I could take one (to an absolutely absurd level it turns out.) 

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I began by filling the mounting holes for the landing gear and moving it forward to a more "accurate" location, and scratchbuilding wheel wells.  I also filled and rescribed the aileron and flap hinge lines.  The cockpit consisted of a simple tub, so I scratchbuilt a "zero-ish" seat and instrument panel.  The canopy frames were too thick for my liking, so I sanded and polished the canopy and masked and painted better looking ones.  The kit engine was, well, a joke..so I found an old one in the junkbox from a long-dead Monogram C-47.  The Pratt & Whitney R-1830 makes an acceptable substitute for the Zero's Sakae 21.  I also scribed the cowl flaps, drilled out the exhausts and cowl gun openings, and added the side vents to the fuselage.  I actually toyed with scribing a complete set of panel lines, but decided to keep what little sanity I have left.  I finished off construction with brass tube wing cannon and a wire pitot tube, and added an antenna from strip styrene and invisible quilting thread.

The model was painted with Gunze IJN Green and IJN Gray, and the decals came from the spares box.  The tail codes are for the YOKosuka Naval Air Group, naturally.

This was a fun little project, and strangely it actually got me my second award ever at an IPMS National Convention, when it took 2nd place in "Miscellaneous; Military" last year in Columbus.  Hasegawa recently re-released most of the Eggplane series, and even added a P-51.  I've got all the WWII aircraft, but would like to find another TBM Avenger.  I've got this crazy idea of converting it to an F4F Wildcat.

Steve Nelson

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Photos and text by Steve Nelson