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1/48 FineMolds Mitsubishi A7M2 Reppu

by Rai

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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. 

The instruction 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 undersidesI 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. 

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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.  I 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 modeling again.

Rai

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Photos and text © by Rai

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