by Pascal Huguet
1997, I have converted a Hasegawa's A6M5 to a A6M2-N (at this time,
I didn't know the many differences between the 2 versions). I must say
that, Swallow & Tomy's Zero were unreachable (more in France, then
anywhere in the world) and Doyusha have not released A6M2 yet. In 1999,
I bought two of them (I often do this when I "put my pawns",
on a model looked for a long time). Furthermore,
my original Rufe had been damaged by my Mum (once more again, sometimes,
I wonder if I shouldn't asked to Godzilla to help me for this moving).
Osprey had published his "Japanese Navy aircrafts of the aces",
with 1/72 zero's plans. I decided to build a new Rufe from Doyusha's
Zero and reusing some parts for basic shape for floats. On the whole,
Doyusha's Zero is good, but the structures engraving is a little too
hard and the modeller has to correct, two major points: cockpit interior
and gear-bays deepness & details. The model interior upgrading is
not hard to complete and the gear-bay is to be filled . To
protect the model's engraving, I put some masking tape all over the
area to be work on.
On the first cast, parts showed a large molding-joint and few little holes appears on surfaces. Horizontal cast molding with 2-parts molds may cause many problems like: large casting-ladle on parts. I had to sand all engraving, spray filler coats, and a few adjustments. I tried to create a vertical-casting molds, which let an easy sanding joint. Because of thickness of the central float, this part needs almost 24-26 hours to be handle. During RTV dryness, I worked on Rufe modified rudder. After casting this part, I was thinking of the hardness, to represent realist rudder canvas texture. So I carved chink between the structures of rudder, create a 2-part molds for it. I stretch a aluminium foil the perforated-rudder which I before surfaces sprayed with repositionable-glue (or you can use bare-foil metal). Softly cut the excess and with a finger press the aluminium, the result looks better, than a full resin part.
I also make a part to represent the stability fin of the Rufe. This fin is placed under the rear of the fuselage. Wing-floats, which casting problems were the same than their " big brother ", compelled me to make vertical-mold for the same reasons. Central pylon caused me similar problems because its radiator cavities. I must say that, I was about to give up this project, because of the material waste caused by all these casting troubles. I realized that the exterior parts, would be hardest to complete then interior updating parts, So hang on!. I made some adjustments test with central floats & lead legs.
installed floats on Zero's wings, struts are glued with Cyanoacrylate,
but I usually use Araldite glue (it can blow shocks, better than cyano).
I have to fill tiny gaps between struts, but it is usual adjustments.
rudder need a one-piece mold and I had to fill empty structures, with
paper to allow me a easier casting .. Big parts are finished, while
mold's drying, I work on Rufe's interior. First, with a Dremel (or any
similar tool), remove structures so interior is completely smooth. The
more the fuselage's inner side is thin, the more the cockpit will be
very thin Evergreen sheets for the sides of the cockpit, I glued some
strip for the structures. I wanted to use Eduard photo-etched set for
detailing, but it seems Doyusha's cockpit parts seems to be 1/33 1/34
scale (none of Eduard's most essential parts fit very well, on the contrary
of Hasegawa's parts). I decided to use Eduard's parts as pattern and
check with some Zero's wreck photos and create complete styrene cockpit
to cast resin copies. Casting problems I faced with the floats, were
nothing compared with those I will have up to there..(what a challenge
uh?). I have some documents of Zero's interior (often some wrecks with
parts missing or "war bird " with modern instrumentation),
I plan to make this interior set fit with Doyusha, Hasegawa & Revell
(Tamiya is out of question, those who had their model in hands would
knows why). I have not represented the all cables and tubing of the
interior because of molding hazard, but I drilled all their emplacements.
I glued sides L & R, into the kit's fuselage to check alignment of parts, but I should better build the cockpit "cage" and insert into after have glued the fuselage (this show me the differences between, create parts and simply build a model). The essential of the conversion kit is ready, so I can now build my Rufe. With a few hours of work, this is what it looks like.
I had to use putty for the horizontal rudder, which not fit very good. The canopy's sliding representation is too rough, so I had to remove it and recreate it with styrene strips. I refine the model's interior to reproduce the thinness of the plane's skin. I glued the windscreen & the canopy's back with tiny points of Cyanoacrylate then with Humbrol Clear Cote to have a good hold of the parts.
The Sakae motor is ugly and I had to remove all the position-pins of the cowling interior. I had an old Hasegawa's A6M5 Sakae motor which I improved accuracy with a little work, copper wire and Evergreen (although most of details, will be hidden by the cowling).
make the motor-cowling's parts fitting is not very good and a lot of
corrections has to be doing to have a nice representation. I paint all
the parts with Matt Black and dry-brush the motor with Silver, when
dry, I spray a coat of Tamiya X-19 smoke to have a satin finish (because
of oil leaks).