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MOC: Mitsubishi A6M Zero-sen fighter


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#1 Ralph_S

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:17 PM

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Back again with another military MOC!
After building an American Avenger torpedo bomber and a Vought Corsair for my friend Lego Monster's Intrepid project, I now turned my attention to building something used by the Americans' adversaries. It just wouldn't be complete without a Japanese fighter ready to plunge onto its deck.

So, here it is, my rendition of the famous Mitsubishi A6M 'Zero-sen' fighter.  
  
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The model has an opening canopy, with room for a minifig inside, and a retractable undercarriage. Early models of the A6M had curved wing tips that could fold up for storage aboard aircraft carriers. On the A6M3 Type 32 these were deleted and the wings ended up with a squared-off look. It wasn't a success. The smaller wing area lowered the climb rate and increased the stall speed. Still, I was happy to avoid the complexity of folding wing tips and the relative scarcity of 3x3 plates with a round corner in light blueish grey, so it is the version I chose. The leading edges of the wing should be slightly swept back. However, the angle is so small, making the edges straight seemed acceptable. Most LEGO models of Zero fighters that I am aware of are either white or green. I considered green for mine, but regular LEGO green is far too bright and LEGO dark green is too rare.
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Many Zeros were painted in a very pale grey in real life, and using white makes some sense, but somehow the result tends to look too bland in my opinion. I am also running low on white plates, so I chose grey instead. It also gave me the option of having a nicely contrasting white band around the fuselage and a white outline for the rising sun symbol.    
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The fuselage band is largely brick built with only a tiny part (just about visible in this picture) being made with tape.
The Rising Sun symbol was also made with tape. I made two separate circles by sticking the tape to a Pound coin for the white and cutting around that, and doing the same using a Penny for the red.

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Cheers,
Ralph

Edited by Rufus, 02 July 2011 - 11:25 AM.
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#2 RoryoCox

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:40 PM

I love it. The fighter is really realistic.
I like how you done the tail and cockpit.

Well Done  :classic: :thumbup:

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#3 Milan

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:38 PM

Man, you are fast builder!
Another great MOC. Well done!
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#4 gunm

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 10:23 PM

Very well done!  I like that it's minifig scale and true to the lines and angles of the actual aircraft!

#5 Capt. Stabbin

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 12:41 AM

Nice job!  Your airplane mocs are always a treat! Thanks!

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#6 Ralph_S

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:43 PM

Thanks guys. I always build fairly quickly, but I usually spend a fair bit of time researching what I want to build. I pretty much built this one on a whim. From start to finish, this aircraft took far less time than most things I've done recently. I started leafing through books to find a new plane to build on Friday after completing my M113. I decided on a Zero on Sunday and started collecting more pictures. I started putting bricks together on Monday. I finished it Tuesday evening.

There are two things that made it possible build quickly. The things that I normally find difficult and that cost a fair bit of time to work out on minifig scale fighters are the cockpit and the undercarriage. When looking at Zeros I realised that even though it has a bubble canopy, only the central section slides aft when it opens. That meant I could basically copy the canopy from the Corsair. It also has a fairly straightforward undercarriage. What ended up taking most of the time was the SNOT work and the half-stud offsets on that tail boom.

Cheers,
Ralph
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#7 lightningtiger

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 03:15 PM

AWESOME 'Ralph_S' - as always you keep out doing yourself !
Excellent design and it takes a minifig pilot - so COOL ! :grin:
But what's that hanging on the undercariage, a fuel tank, bomb or torpedo ?
Anyway fantastic job again 'Ralph' so keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#8 Ralph_S

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 04:55 PM

 lightningtiger, on Apr 23 2010, 04:15 PM, said:

AWESOME 'Ralph_S' - as always you keep out doing yourself !
Excellent design and it takes a minifig pilot - so COOL ! :grin:
But what's that hanging on the undercariage, a fuel tank, bomb or torpedo ?
Anyway fantastic job again 'Ralph' so keep on bricking ! :sweet:

Thanks. These are great fun to build. You can expect to see a few more in the next few months. Zeros could carry bombs, but the thing under the plane's belly is an external fuel tank. It was a fairly common fit.

Cheers,
Ralph
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