The Mitsubishi A7M
Reppu was designed to succeed the famed Imperial Japanese Navy’s A6M Zero. The
name translated to mean “Violent Wind” or “Strong Gale”. The Allies gave
it the codename “Sam. Performance objectives were to achieve superior
maneuverability, speed, climb, diving and armament over the Zero. All this
criteria increased weight and requires space and as a result, the wing area and
overall size were significantly greater. The first prototype was underpowered
and not until the powerplant was replaced was the performance parameters met.
Top speed achieved during trials was 630km/hr (390mph) and the Reppu can climb
to an altitude of 19,685 ft in 6 minutes. Plans were initiated to put the Reppu
into production but by then the Japanese aircraft industry was in desperate
straits at this stage of the war. The Reppu therefore never saw combat.
The FineMolds kit
external detailing was excellent, the cockpit even better – the best I’ve
seen without aftermarket additions. Fit was also excellent but for a small
gap (that was cured with filling) at the underside wing-fuselage fit.
sheet came with suggestions for the prototype color scheme as well as for a
production type. I decided to go for the production example, no particular
squadron in mind. I painted the kit in overall Tamiya
XF-11 JN Green with Tamiya X-11 Chrome Silver enamel undersides.
I actually got the unique Japanese recognition markings on the wing leading
edges wrong. I painted them Tamiya Lemon Yellow, influenced by some computer
renderings. After I started on my next Japanese plane then I realized it should
be more orange-yellow. I therefore came–up with a compromise and decided that
all subsequent Jap planes I built would have the Tamiya Lemon Yellow so that my
collection would have some degree of uniformity.
images below to see larger images
Weathering was confined to
mainly paint chipping, mostly at the panel joints, using sticky-tape and
blade-peeling to achieve this effect. This was also my first time using
this technique and I must say I liked the results. I also added some oily
and sooty streaks at the gun ports and engine exhaust using the Tamiya
Weathering Master Kit B – snow/soot/rust.
I added a spare decal from
my yet to be built A6M5 Zero to denote a commander’s mount with 2
diagonal stripes at the fuselage. This addition was simply for aesthetics
rather then any historical accuracy. As the Reppu never went into combat
and therefore never went to any squadron, I exercised my ‘creative
control’ over the subject matter. In the end, I might have gotten it all
wrong but what the heck.
I was happy with the
end-result as I have not been building models since my early twenties.
decided to get back into this only because I was put on long medical leave
after breaking both my ankles. Got to find something to do or I’ll go
bananas and so I told my wife. Actually, been itching like hell to restart