Eduard's new A6M3 arrives in a very classy top-opening box, with the main parts and accessories bagged separately for protection in transit. The sample kit arrived perfectly intact, despite a couple of trips through the post.
The kit comprises:
105 x grey styrene parts (+27 not needed)
13 x clear styrene parts (+14 not used)
66 x photo-etched parts
A sheet of die-cut washi tape painting masks
Decals for 5 x colour schemes
Just over a year on from launching their range of new-tool 1:48 Zeros with a superb A6M2 Type 21, Eduard have now added new fuselage and wing parts and released a Type 32. The most obvious difference between the Type 21 and 32 is the clipped wingtips, but there's a subtler change ahead of the cockpit where the fuselage was shortened slightly to restore the centre of gravity after the longer and heavier Sakae 21 was installed.
The new parts fully match the quality of the originals. For my personal taste, Eduard pretty much lead the field when it comes to surface finish on mainstream kits, with exquisitely delicate embossed rivets, plus a few raised ones and precise engraved and applique panels. Control surfaces have quite a nicely restrained fabric-covered effect, complete with rib-tape stitching (which I will soften a tad).
Eduard's Type 21 fitted together precisely and the new Type 32 is no different to the original. Even without internal subassemblies fitted to give rigidity, the main components line up beautifully and promise a virtually filler-free assembly if you take care. Construction is marginally simpler than it was with the original boxing, because this time there aren't any drop-in underwing panels to install.
A Few Details
Construction begins, as you'd expect, with the cockpit - and it's a real cracker, comprising over 70 parts! There's a choice of starboard sidewall equipment depending on which markings option you choose and, thanks to the photo-etched fret, a plethora of extra details to boost the standard styrene parts. Eduard include pre-coloured photo-etched seatbelts and the option of either colour-etched instrument panels or styrene parts plus decals. A nice touch is that the nose guns are slide-moulded with hollow muzzles, which will save some fiddly work with a drill.
In a number of instances, etched parts are used to replace moulded details, and some of this requires quite tricky surgery (a classic case is the rudder pedals) which may be beyond the ability of inexperienced modellers. Obviously, you could simply not use the etched upgrades, but that seems rather a waste, so if you're not confident tackling the ProfiPACK kit, it may be better to wait for a Weekend Edition which can't be far off.
By contrast, the mainwheel wells are very straightforward to construct, with just 7 parts forming a very nicely detailed subassembly. The one-piece rear component serves as a spar to ensure the wings' dihedral is correct.
The gear legs are provided with photo-etched oleo scissors - but it will take a but of careful surgery to fit them. There are also etched towing loops and inner-door retractors (note: I found it safest to add the latter much later than the instructions suggest when I built the original kit, because they are so easy to damage).
The wheels have separate hubs and the tyres are moulded "un-weighted", so I'll file small "flats" to give the finished model a realistic sit.
The 7-part radial engine is crisply moulded and should more than suffice, but it's arguably a shame that no wiring harness included, given the number of photoetched parts in the kit.
Eduard have taken a much more conventional approach to constructing the cowling this time. Gone is the 5-part cowl supported on a jig, and instead there's a simple 2-part cowl plus an internal intake duct. The downside will be seams to hide, but assembly is undoubtedly simpler. The propeller is simple, but effective.
The transparent parts are beautifully produced - thin and crystal clear. Alternative parts allow the canopy to be assembled open or closed, and the interior of the sliding section is detailed with an etched lock and grab-handle. The clear-moulded gunsight is augmented by an etched ring and bead auxiliary sight. The inclusion of die-cut masks will be a huge time-saver painting the complex framing on the "greenhouse" canopy.
Instructions & Decals
Eduard have produced the instructions as a high quality 20-page A4 booklet, printed in colour with very clear diagrams. The construction sequence is very logical, although experienced modellers will almost certainly vary things a bit to suit their own styles and to facilitate painting.
Colour matches for Gunze Sangyo and Mission Models paints.
Decals are included for a quintet of aircraft:
A. Ldg. Sea. Kenji Yanagiya, Kōkūtai 204, Rabaul base, New Britain, April 1943
B. c/n 3018, Tainan Kōkūtai, Buna airfield, New Guinea, August 1942
C. PO1c Kyoshi Itō, 3. Kōkūtai, Koepang airfield, Timor Island, September 1942
D. Zuikaku Fighter Squadron, aircraft carrier Zuikaku, October 1942
E. CPO Takeo Tanimizu, Tainan Kōkūtai (II), Tainan airbase, Taiwan, September 1944
The decals look to be excellent quality, with thin glossy items printed in precise register and a correctly deep red for the Hinomarus.
In common with recent Eduard decals, there's noticeable carrier film around each item. This can be initially a bit off-putting in these days of "no carrier film decals", but it responds well to all the usual setting solutions and actually snuggles down invisibly. But one thing you do need to watch out for is a tendency for the decals to fold over on themselves because they are so thin. Just work slowly with a soft wet brush and you shouldn't run into trouble.
A comprehensive set of servicing stencils is provided, along with a full page positioning guide.
Eduard's Zero Type 32 is another gem in an excellent range of 1:48 kits of this iconic fighter. This Profi-PACK boxing is beautifully designed and presented and should present no problems for modellers with a bit of experience but, as noted above, beginners would be best advised to go for a Weekend Edition. Considering the level of detail straight from the box, the new Type 32 represents excellent value for money at less than thirty quid.
Item #82213 is available now from Eduard - Price: £27.86
Many thanks to Eduard for the review sample.
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