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Bfam's Zero


Bfam4t6
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Hi All,

Just wanted to share my build with everyone.  This is my first part work airplane, and I must say, so far I am pretty pleased.  I've noticed a few minor shortcomings, but overall, the detail and production quality of this kit has been excellent.  It allows me to focus on sprucing things up, and not fiddling with ill-fitting parts or poorly executed details that require modification.  

I'm still trying to decide how weathered I want this model to be, but ultimately, "at least slightly weathered" is the answer.  I've been assembling model kits for over 30 years, but weathering is still a bit of a new skill.  

Anyways, in my typical fashion, I refer to lots of various reference photos.  I aim for accuracy, but do so loosely.  I realize that 99 out of 100 viewers will never notice most inaccuracies, so as long as it looks good to me, then it's good enough.  

 

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The engine was a joy to build.  The only real issue required a bit of trimming of the 008-06 parts.  Some of the exhaust pipes are a tad short, but most casual viewers wouldn't notice.  I ended up completely repainting the exhaust pipes, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.  

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Here are the exhaust pipes, pretty much stock.  In these photos I have added a bit of wash.  

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Here is the first repainted pipe, next to the originals.  You can see in this view how some of the pipes are a bit short.

 

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And with all the pipes repainted.

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The next area requiring a bit of sprucing up is the cockpit.  It's still a WIP, and I'll save that for my next post.  Until then, here's sneak peak, and some of the rest of my progress with some parts test fitted.  

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Looking good so far.  Here's the plane we're building, and some history:

 

This particular Zero, 8-13 was found on Saipan with other intact Japanese A6M5 aircraft.  The picture below, was taken August 8, 1944, on the island of Saipan.  The aircraft belonged to the 261st Kokutai (Air Group), 8th Hikotai, Aircraft 13.  The kanji on top of the tail translates to "Bi."  This is believed to be an abbreviation of the pilot's name. The cap (chevron above the kanji) meant he was a more senior pilot.  Other planes of the unit had similar kanji that would say "victory," etc.  If someone has another interpretation, please chime in, but this is according to the Smithsonian Museum.  The 261st was flown from mainland Japan, to Iwo Jima, then on to Saipan, to be used for air defense of the island.  It's interesting to note, that despite the plane being a total wreck, the intelligence guys seemed interested in this particular bird, it has even been tagged by the antenna mast.  Many Zeros were removed from Saipan, and shipped aboard the USS Copahee, to be taken back to the States for study.  Charles Lindberg even test flew one.

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