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Floating Zero: 1/48th Tamiya A6M2-N Rufe

Released in the early 70s this Tamiya Rufe kit was very nice for its time, and it can still provide the base for a fun build, resulting in a nice looking model, but its engineering and detail don't compare with more recent Tamiya kits.


Notable Kit Features:


  • Few parts

  • Mix of very fine raised and engraved panel lines

  • Single and multi-piece canopy

  • Float cart included

  • Typically inexpensive




Build Inspiration:


I had been following much debate over the colour of the early Japanese Zeros, which was postponing any builds of these gray/green fighter types. After reading a number of articles including one by James Lansdale, I had the inspiration to finally commit to a build (or two or three) of this type, given some hope of it being close to correct (at least for the time being).

Ref: Zero Camouflage Schemes by James F. Lansdale (j-aircraft.com)


Heads-Up Report:


  • Built out of the box (with the exception of the markings) without any trouble as I recall



Kit Additions / Modifications:


  • Added seatbelts made of painted masking tape

  • Fuselage stripes and tail markings were airbrushed


End Result:


After settling on a custom mixed base colour, the paint was toned lighter in the center of the panels and darker at the panel seams to give a slightly worn appearance. Tail band and fuselage stripes were painted on as well as the tail code and kill symbols. Kit decals were used for the national markings. Panel washes were used to finish the weathering effect. Markings for this Zero were of Japanese Ace Lt. (jg) Keizo Yamazaki, of the 802 AG, while based at Shortland Island Seaplane Base in February 1943.



The After-Build Report:


This old Tamiya kit can still be used to produce a nice looking kit however obviously, it is not up to their current standard. Hasegawa also produces this Rufe kit which is more refined, particularly in the cockpit. If you have one or find a well priced one then you know you can still get the job done with this vintage kit. I would still recommend this kit for any skill modeler who wants a simple base build (possibly for adding detail to) but you may also want to look at Hasegawa's offering.



Completed build #194 - May 2016 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #MA117 kit.


Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers


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