I am sure everyone is asking if the world of modeling needs another 72nd, or divine scale Zero kit, but actually, I was rather impressed with this new Zero kit from Academy, despite Hasegawas recent Zero series re-tool. Featuring fully engraved panel lines and rivet detail, this kit consists of fifty four parts molded in gray and four clear parts. Of these parts, four parts are unused, and I am unsure that they necessarily signal further Zero variants from Academy. Of comparable detail and fine-ness to the 1994 Hasegawa releases, the welcome Academy version depicts the Type 52c, (not kitted by Hasegawa), with the three 13.2 mm machine guns, as well as the underwing racks for air-to-air missiles that are also provided. As such, Academys kit correctly depicts the Type 52cs unique wing panels, armament and the unique spinner common to Type 52s. The unusual staggered machine gun blast tube arrangement of the 52c is also reproduced on the engine cowl. The drop tank is of the correct, later four strut arrangement, as opposed to the single fairing type. Kudos to Academy! Of comparable detail to the Hasegawa kit are the slightly shallow main wheel wells, and exaggerated depiction of all control surface ribs. As with its rival kit, a session with sandpaper will correct the control surfaces to a more realistic appearance. Most serious, the graceful, curved profile of the cockpit canopy has been missed by Academys kit designers. For those who desire a better canopy, Falcon or Squadron aftermarket vac-form alternatives will fill the bill. Another nit is the shape of the individual exhaust stacks behind the cowling; but hey, Hasegawa did not get this exactly right, either! Academys cockpit is a bit more detailed than Hasegawas, which is to say it probably is the most detailed cockpit you can buy in a 72nd kit on the market today! Six pieces, (floor, instrument panel, gunsight, seat, stick and rear bulkhead), comprise the interior, and the fuselage side walls feature very nice detail. Both cylinder ly molded. Academy has also molded the prop blades as a single assembly instead of the increasingly common, (and more difficult to assemble), individual blades. Considering the very reasonable price Academy single engined 72nd scale fighter kits go for these days, it is great value for the money! A quick fit check of major kit parts showed a nearly impeccable fit, and looks to be a trouble-free build. Markings are provided for two aircraft: Naval Air Pilot 1st class Takeo Tanimizu of the 203rd FG, Kagoshima, 1945 (featuring his stylistic B-29 kills on the rear fuselage), and an aircraft of the 302nd FG at Atsugi in July 1945. While the markings look beautifully printed and colorful, save perhaps for the brightness of the Hinomarus, builders are reminded that this reviewer hasin the past found Academy decals to easily breakup in warm water. While of little interest to some modelers, the box art painting bears some comment. Striking at first, closer examination shows a rather oversized, Caucasian-appearing Takeo Tanimizu inside the cockpit of 03-09 as if running up the engine, while slowly taxiing forward. The aircraft pose is awkward because the fuselage angle is nearly horizontal, yet the tailwheel is painted firmly on terra-firma! Overall, the last comments do not detract from a very desirable and welcome new release from Academy. If you like divine scale Zeros, you will like the delicate detail found in this kit! I recommend it.
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