Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day

Since the first post proved popular enough and it follows the daily scheme, I present the Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero (Zeke).

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With the A5M just having entered service, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service called on Nakajima and Mitsubishi to come up with a replacement based on results from the planes performance. After initial reports were brought in, more requirements came from the IJNAS that Nakajima felt were unattainable. Mitsubishi continued on and in 1939, the A6M made its first flight. After presentation for approval, the Rei-sen (Rei meaning Zero and sen from sentoki, Japanese for fighter) was first introduced on 1 July, 1940.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day
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Pressed into service over China, the Zeke, the Allied designation for the Zero, proved itself to be the best carrier-based fighter in the world at the time. With excellent maneuverability and firepower, the Zero became a deadly aircraft, even out-maneuvering the nimble Spitfire.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day
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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day

However, some of the requirements forced Mitsubishi to take liberties with things such as armor, making the Zero vulnerable to cannon fire. Subsequent variants, including the A6M5 here, were improved or modified to fulfill various roles and needs of the IJNAS. Oddly enough, Nakajima went on to manufacture most of the A6M5 model. You all know Mitsubishi but Nakajima you know these days as Fuji Heavy Industries, makers of Subaru.

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day

Again, MBX has produced a fine model, through the Dinky line of toys with accurate markings and reproduction of exhaust. The meatballs are reproduced faithfully and the kills are represented as well. As this was an aircraft of the Axis Powers, most flying examples are reproductions, using the T6 Texan airframe and modifying it to show as a Zero. Most of the actual aircraft were either shot down, destroyed on the ground or used in Kamikaze missions.

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Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising (Rei-sen) Sun-day

[Source]

The Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, CA has restored the only known flying example of a complete Japanese Zero Fighter, an A6M5.

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