Bandai 1/24 A6M5 Zero: "BLACK BEAUTY - Dressed for a Night Out Over the Homeland"

By Bob McElroy


Before you guys go crazy with thoughts whirling along the lines of " A night fighter ZERO, Absolutely NO WAY!" Just wait and let your mind wonder a bit. I built this nice Zero from the 1/24 scale Ban Dai Kit. According to the profile that exists w/in the kit, there was a zero painted in a black camouflage pattern. Apparently this aircraft flew with the Yokosuka Air Corps and is pictured in " Night Battle Camouflage" I liked it due to it being different from anything I had ever seen. I poked around a bit on J-A and asked a few questions concerning this paint scheme and decided what the heck! My night-fighter version of the zero. Here are a few shots of the construction processes, enjoy.

From the workbench

The photo (above) shows the details of the engine. A person with the skill and patience would have great time enhancing this engine with some scratch building. One may also chose to really add to the armament compartments with some ammo belts and a few extras. I chose to enclose this area on the upper wings. I did however drill out the gun barrels on both the machine guns and the cannons.

Since this kit is 1/24 scale I wanted to limit the usage of decals. This process was not extremely difficult to accomplish. For the Hinomarus I used my OLFA Compass/Cutter to make a stencil. I was very pleased with the outcome. I also masked off the "No Step" area on the wings and sprayed these with Model Masters Red. The only decal I did use was the tail number. I am going to redo that to match the aircraft of the YAC.


Ban Dai did a great job on the interior detail, and I was very pleased with the outcome of the construction process. The parts fit together extremely well, and I was even able to practice my dry brushing skills (THANKS STEVE). I am disappointed that I did not have my DC available when I completed the interior. I would have liked to get a photo of the cockpit before I installed it.


Ban Dai included several neat details that one can choose to do with this kit. The landing gear can be retracted and the cover doors with a bit of fine- tuning look decent. The canopy, like the landing gear is movable to the open or closed position. Yes, the canopy was nice and clear as well as thin. I was impressed. The tail wheel and the arresting hook both retract and have good details as well. The kit also has four bombs, which you may choose to use, but I opted not to. The kit does have a few faults. In the areas that I would think this kit would have the extra details like the seat and the cowling as well as the machine gun and cannon magazines, this model kind of leaves you hanging. The cowling for instance is one piece. A model of this scale should take full advantage of the fact that to be as realistic as possible the two- piece set could have easily been made. But in spite of a the few draw backs the kit has I had a great time building it as well a letting my imagination go a tad bit. I would recommend this kit. I got a great deal on it and I had fun building it. My 8th grade students love it as well!


Happy Modeling,

© Bobby McElroy 2003

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This article was published on Wednesday, July 20 2011; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016