Tamiya 1/72 Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero build report

My latest build has been Tamiya 1/72 Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero. The Zero was developed as a long range Carrier fighter for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The various types of the Zero where in service from 1940 till 1945. The type i build was in service with the IJN in 1941 during the Pearl Harbor attacks.

I had a lot of fun building this kit. The fit of the kit is absolutely amazing and above all everything fits together verry wel there is a lot of detail straight from the box. There are 3 different decal options to choose from in the box, all of aircraft that where used during the Pearl Harbor attack.

The cockpit

As with most aircraft models the construction started with the cockpit, First i separated all the parts needed from the sprue and cleaned them up. I drilled some holes in the back of the seat to add some extra visual intrest. After finishing the clean up work i assembled some of the cockpit parts in preparation for painting. There where some small ejectorpin marks inside the fuselage, therefore i filled these with some putty and sanded them smooth.

Now that i had most interior parts cleanded up and assembled i gave them a primer coat of Mr. Surfacer 1500 “Black” after that the primer was dry i started with the paint work. First i sprayed the metallic blue interior colors. For this i used a mix of Mr. Hobby H88 “Metalic blue” and Mr Hobby H67 “Light blue”. When that was dry it was masked off and the rest of the cockpit was painted with AK Real Color 306 “Cockpit Green”. Finally I painted all the small details with a brush. After the painting was done i gave the cockpit a drybrush with a metalic color followed with a coat of gloss varnish in preparation for decalling.

I applied the kit supplied decals for the cockpit, these included an instrument panel and seatbelts. I sealed the decals with a second coat of gloss varnish. When the varnish dried properly i applied a black wash to make the details stand out a bit more. All the cockpit parts where sealed with a coat of flat varnish. The last thing i did was apply a drop of gloss varnish on the instrument dails to give them a glass like appearance.

Engine and wheelbay’s

After finishing the cockpit i shifted my attention to the engine and wheelbay’s. Therefore i removed the engine and cowling parts from the sprue and cleaned them up. The crankcase was painted in a 50/50 mix of “Japanese Navy Grey” and “light Blue”. When the paint was dry i masked it and i painted the rest of the engine parts black. Followed by a drybrush of aluminium. When the paint was dry i removed the masks, applied a black wash and glued the engine togheter. The engine nacelles where painted AK Real Colors RC036 “Blue Black”. When the paint was dry i added some scratches with some AK Weathering penciles and applied a grey wash. During the paint drying times i weathered the wheelbays aswell.

Assembly time

As i finished the painting of all the interior parts it was time to assemble everything. First the fuselage halves and wing parts where glued togeheter, so far the fit was perfect and there where only some small seamlines wich i filled with Mr. Surfacer 1500. The second step was glueing the cockpit inside the fuselage, the cockpit slides into the fuselage from the underside wich gives a verry sturdy fit. Then i attached the the wings and tailwings. Lastly i glued the cockpit in place and masked it with a some pre cut masks from Art scale in preperation for painting.

Painting time

I started the paintwork by spraying some AK Real Color 306 “Cockpit Green” over the cockpit frames. So that when you look at them from the inside they have the right interior cockpit color. When that was done everything was ready for a primer coat of Mr. Surfacer 1500 “Black”. For the exterior color of my Zero i used AK Real Color 303 “Amber grey”. After checking references online i found that this would be a good match for the color of a Mitsubishi Zero from 1941. I also tried adding some tonal variation to the color by spraying some thinner layers in some places.

Now that i finished painting the main exterior color i continued with all the smaller details. Some of these where masked off and airbrushed while others where painted by hand with a small brush. As i sometimes had to wait for the paint to dry i worked on some other parts aswell. For instance i added some hydrolic lines to the landing gear, i made these of streched sprue. I also painted the smaller parts like the landinggear, geardoors, arrestor hook and the prop and spinner.

Decal time

Before i started the preperations for decals i give my Zero a last dryfit to see if i missed out on anything. Everything fitted like a glove. I gave everything a nice and shiny gloss coat, for this i used Mr Hobby GX100 “Super Clear II”. Before i started the decal work i let the glosscoat dry for a couple of days. With the use of some Microscale Set and Sol the decals went down perfectly. After applying all the decals i sealed them with a second coat of GX100 in preperation for weathering


Most Zero’s on reference pictures i found of early in the second world war looked pretty clean. So i kept weathering pretty minimal. I started with a panelline wash made of Abteilung 502 “Burnt Umber” oil paints diluted with Oderless Thinner. After the panelline wash i added some fuel staines, i made these with a mix of Abteilung 502 “Burnt Umber” and “Black”. When the oil paints where dry i sealed everything with a mat varnish, for this i used Alclad II “mat varnish”. when the varnish was dry i added some chipping with AK Interactive pencils. The last thing i did was adding some exhaust and gun stains, for this i used some Ammo Mig weathering powders. These where sealed with another coat of Alclad II “mat varnish”.

Final assembly

Now that all the weathering work was done it was time to assemble everything. I started with glueing the gearbay doors in place. After that i constructed the wheellegs, wheels and gearbay doors togheter and glued them in place. Followed by the tail wheel and arrestor hook. Earlier in the build i had all ready assembled the engine into the cowling so now i only had to glue it in on and place the prop. After that the droptank was glued in place. I unmasked the canopy and glued it in place, i have to say i am pretty happy with how it came out from under the mask. The last thing to do was to glue a antenna wire in place, i made this with some fine EZ-line.

The final result

I am verry happy with the end result of my Tamiya 1/72 Mitsubishi A6M2b Zero. The detail of the kit is really amazing. I especially like how the cockpit turned out, it took me some time and effort on the paint work but i think it really paid off in the end. It was the first time i worked with AK Real Colors, but i have to say they really are a joy to airbrush, are verry sturdy and give a great result. Here are the pics of the end result.


One Comment

  1. Wow! You’ve done a great job again. You brought so much detail and precision to such a small Zero model. Well done!

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