Something Completely Different: Airfix Mitsubishi Zero

I’ve been wanting to make another plane for a couple of months now. I had a couple of ideas in my head that would suit the theme of this blog nicely; the Bell X1 that was the first plane to break the sound barrier or perhaps one of the P51 Mustangs that are often used for air racing in the states. The P51 would look nice sitting alongside my DH88! Then, when I was having a clear out I found this from years and years ago, unstarted.

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So here we have the document of the build of a WW2 Japanese fighter aircraft on an English blog about motorsport. Fabulous. It’s a free kit in my eyes since I found it though and it’s all good practise! Theoretically you could say that Mitsubishi also built the Evo series of cars and therefore the two are connected in that way.. Who knows and quite frankly who cares! I’ll stop blithering now and will get on with it.

The 1:72 Zero is one of Airfix’s more basic kits a lot like the DH88 featured before. This casting isn’t from 1951 however so there is considerably more detail and more bits to put together which thankfully actually fit together without the aid of filler.

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This is the colour that all the plastics left the box. Before going any further I primed the entire kit with Halfords’ grey primer. I painted the interior before assembly so I could get a good amount of detail into it.

The pilot was first to meet the dreaded brush!

pilot

I then did the floor, sides and front panels of the cockpit in a flat green and highlighted any details. As with all my builds I’m using Vallejo acrylic paints.

floorside 1side 2

You’ll notice that I “coloured outside the lines” with the two walls of the fuselage. By rights we should only be able to see where the details are once the two halves of the fuselage are together. I added a little paint outside of that though just in case one can see past the detail once it’s all together.

Next up was adding the dials onto the instrument panel. All the markings and some other details come in the form of waterslide decals with Airfix kits. They come on a sheet, as pictured, then when you need a decal you cut it out, put it in water and slide the decal off of the backing paper onto your surface! Super easy!

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I could not get my camera to focus on something so small so apologies for that, you get the idea though.

instrument cluster

Now to put the interior together!

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This is the fun bit. You put the two sides of the fuselage together and all that detailing work is hidden forever! I know it’s there though!

Side note, I don’t actually own a vice so I’m using a pipe cutter as a vice. This pipe cutter is about a million years old though, the blade is very blunt and I only put the slightest of pressure on it. If you don’t want to hold things whilst they dry though please just buy a proper vice!

fuselage

Then the wings, tail and other body parts all go on…

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Then painted! The top is a Mitsubishi green and  the undercarriage is white.

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Next things to add are the engine and cowl.

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These were simply sprayed black then stuck on. See what I mean about sometimes it’s easier to paint before assembly? That would have been so annoying to have to mask the whole plane up to spray that one tiny section black haha!

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The wheels and propeller assembly were also painted before putting on the plane.

wheels

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Now for the Achilles heel: The canopy!

Firstly, I couldn’t find a brush paint the same colour as the one the body is sprayed in (I know… p*ss poor planning = poor performance lesson learnt!) so I had to mix my own. It’s very close but it is just a little too dark. I tried spraying the aerosol into the lid to use as a brush paint but it was just too thin to use.

Secondly, if you have any tips on painting canopies and making them look good please get in touch! I used vinyl strips on the DH88 but this is far to complex to get around.

canopy

It doesn’t look terrible on the plane but it’s not amazing either.

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Now all that is left to do is add the rest of the decals and we will call this little bird done!

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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed! If you would like to help me make even better quality content on a more regular basis please join my Patreon here: http://www.patreon.com/motorsportformentalhealth

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