Fine Molds Nakajima A6M2 Zero of CDR Taketora Ueda in 1/72 Scale

This aircraft is Tora (Tiger) – 110, the mount of the CO of the 261 Kokutai.  This aircraft features prominently in Thorpe’s classic Japanese Naval Air Force Camouflage and Markings of WWII, being pictured on the cover, a photograph (below), and a color profile.  Very attractive, but also problematic.  The photograph shows a Type 21, with a dark finish on the forward fuselage and a lighter finish aft.  Various people (all of whom know much more about this than me) have interpreted the difference in colors as two greens, discoloration due to primer, dirt or fading, or even as the aft fuselage being painted red matching the Hinomaru.  Thorpe’s cover artwork depicts a Type 22 with the wing stripes and upper wing Hinomaru moved inward.

For my build I chose the primer interpretation and mixed the green a little lighter for the aft fuselage and sections of the upper wings, but I keep thinking it would look good in red.  Fine Molds kit, all stripes are painted, tail codes are Hasegawa decals.

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Tiger110

16 thoughts on “Fine Molds Nakajima A6M2 Zero of CDR Taketora Ueda in 1/72 Scale

  1. Gorgeous as always. I enjoy some of the more speculative finishes. So much was only shot in black and white, even wartime color can be problematic; I find it one of the great adventures in modeling!

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  2. In the period photo, that color division falls right on the seam where the fuselage is broken down for shipment. I wonder if the rear section, and the wings, came from a different airframe, and this a/c is cobbled together in that way.
    Like you said, the scribes and sages have gone round and round on this one I am sure.

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    1. Many of the Zeros captured on Saipan have unusual paint, look at the pictures on the deck of the USS Copahee. Another possibility is an incomplete paint job with the lighter shade being primer.

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      1. I want to say that some years back somewhere on the forum at j-aircraft.com the scribes and sages said that an incomplete hosing down of the accumulated dust and dirt on the A6M’s off of Saipan and carried by the Copahee resulted in a lot of the crazy, wavy two-tone appearing A6M5’s. The demarcation on this A6M2 is definitely along the assembly seam though.

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      2. Yes, definitely at the seam. It is possible that many of the Saipan aircraft were delivered in primer with patches of dark green, especially behind the Hinomarus. I was never sold on the dust interpretation.

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  3. Love the build and the historical references, but I don’t see where the lighter primer and color lightening showed up in the pictures. It looks mor dramatic in the reference photo, but I don’t see it in the pictures. Looking forward to more builds!

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      1. It is there but it’s subtle, more subtle than I originally intended. There is another photo of Tiger-110 where you can’t see it at all, but that is not quite as interesting. Maybe before an aft fuselage replacement?

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    1. It’s very subtle on my model, in fact more subtle than I’d intended. Most models and artwork show the scheme like this if they depict the fading at all, but I think one of the more dramatic interpretations is more likely – but which one? I have considered doing a series of “Tiger-110” in the different possibilities.

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