A6M5c Zero Project
I took these construction photos with a very simple digital camera.
I built the model from a Royal kit (formally Marutaka) that I bought about six years ago (1999). I started it back then but kept putting the project to one side while I got on with other models or rebuilds.
I had seen a picture of a this model flying in one of the modelling magazines and thought that its scale dimensions looked very good. I never intended that it would be an full F4B model but it was sure to make a very smart Sport scale model.
The kit wood quality was very good but by my standards was too hard and heavy - I prefer medium / soft density. I did at one point decide to build the model as it came but later I changed my mind and substituted about 1/3 of the wood for lighter grade.
I decided that it would have Throttle control (of course), it wouldn't be fitted Flaps but would have a Drop Tank and Retracting Undercarriage to give a good impression while flying.
I'll be using my Bek 4 electronic unit to control the model.
This photo shows the amount of block that is required to construct the rear of the model. I added lightening holes to the Fin, Rudder, Elevator and Tail because the wood was so heavy.
The aluminium cowl is a very good shape for an A6M5c Zero (the early kits had an inferior plastic cowl ) - it took some time to file, cut and shape the gun troughs, louvers and air vents but it was worth the trouble.
Other areas required re-shaping to get the scale outline correct, the undercarriage is a little short but when retracted it won't make any difference. I used pneumatic retracts on my FW190 but this time I have used mechanical units with a retract servo that takes about 1 second for full retraction (not too fast). I found some light wheels on the internet, those wheels and the additional retract mechanism hasn't made much difference to the overall weight, which is just over 5 1/2lbs with engine and retracts fitted.
The finished model, test flown then entered at the Peterborough club's Cabbage Patch Nationals '05 - It won !
It has survived many flights and in some areas (mechanical) has been improved.
I finally found a photo of the original aircraft via Google, so I entered the Zero at the 2014 British National Championships - It won !
The colour scheme :
Hiroyoshi Nishizawa (Japan's Ace of Aces) was the pilot of the aircraft. He was officially credited with 87 kills but unofficially it is thought that he probably shot down as many as 102 aircraft. He was killed while in a transport aircraft (age 24).
Nishizawa's nickname was 'The Devil of Rabaul'