Sweet 1/144 A6M5b with underwing tanks.

KIT #: 28
PRICE: 2000 yen  at Hobby Link Japan
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes resin parts


The A6M5  Model 52 was developed to face the powerful American Hellcat and Corsair, superior mostly for engine power and armament. The variant was a modest update of the A6M3 Model 22, with non-folding wing tips and thicker wing skinning to permit faster diving speeds, plus an improved exhaust system. The latter used four ejector exhaust stacks, providing an increment of thrust, projecting along each side of the forward fuselage. The new exhaust system required modified "notched" cowl flaps and small rectangular plates which were riveted to the fuselage, just aft of the exhausts. Two smaller exhaust stacks exited via small cowling flaps immediately forward of and just below each of the wing leading edges. The improved roll-rate of the clipped-wing A6M3 was now built in.

Sub-variants included:

The A6M5 had a maximum speed of 540 km/h (340 mph) and reached a height of 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in nine minutes, 57 seconds. Other variants were the night fighter A6M5d-S (modified for night combat, armed with one 20 mm Type 99 cannon, inclined back to the pilot's cockpit) and A6M5-K "Zero-Reisen"(model l22) tandem trainer version, also manufactured by Mitsubishi.


This is the latest of the superb line of 1/144 fighter kits from Sweet. This continues with their A6M series by providing parts for the A6M5b with two under wing drop tanks. Unlike most of their kits, this one only has parts enough for one aircraft. There are sprues from three different variants, the A6M3, A6M5a/b and A6M5c. This provides enough parts from the various sprues as one has the proper wing, another the correct prop and another providing landing gear and tail planes. Seems like an odd way to do things, but it is easier to provide ready made sprues than to mold a new one.

As you might expect, the molding on the parts is first rate and the build should go rather quickly. The highlight of this kit are the underwing drop tanks. These are provided on a separate resin sprue. There are four tanks (which makes one wonder why there aren't enough parts for two planes) as well as a pair in crates. These crates have the covers as well so will make for a very nice diorama. The resin parts are superbly molded as one would expect from Sweet.

Markings are for five aircraft, all in the IJN Green over IJN Grey with black cowlings. The wing leading edge ID stripes are included on the decal sheet. There are four options for the 221 flying group and one for the 653 flying group. A variety of upper wing and fuselage roundels is included with most having the white surround overpainted in green. Stencils are included for the drop tanks and their cases. The decals are superbly printed  by Cartograf and are as good as any quality aftermarket sheet.


This is yet another superlative addition to the growing Sweet line of kits. Though it is a poser why Sweet didn't supply enough bits for two planes, the end result will be a fine representation of this interesting variant.



August  2010

Thanks to Hobby Link Japan for the preview kit. Get yours today at the link.

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