KIT REVIEW: Tamiya Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero Fighter (Hamp)

by : Jason Aufderheide

Tamiya's Hamp reminds me a lot of Hasagawa's A6M5 Zero. Obviously any Zero kit would resemble another but each of these kits offer a mix of recessed and (mostly) raised panel lines. Both are examples of older kits in their respective manufacturer's lineups.

Tamiya's A6M3 is a simple, yet well designed kit. It offers two different canopies. One is a single piece, making a closed canopy subject easier to build. The other is in the typical 3 sections for the builder who wants to display an open cockpit.

The cockpit detail is average. An instrument panel decal is the only option for gauges and dials. A seated pilot figure is included as well as two mechanics and an officer. Engine detail is good. It can be built so the prop and engine cowling can be removed to get a better look at it. A nice touch is the inclusion of an option to build the engine cowling flaps open or closed.

Decals are provided to build 1 of four early or mid-war Hamps. One of these options offers a nice challenge: it is a spotty field applied green camo over the JN gray.

There is little to comment on concerning the construction of this kit. This is a compliment. The parts fit well and I didn't experience any more than minimal sanding or filling.

Tamiya's A6M3 is a great kit for any model builder, especially inexperienced modelers. It is easy to construct, offers easy paint schemes, and doesn't have many parts. These qualities plus Tamiya's usual large, well laid out instructions makes this a superb kit despite it's elderly status in their product lineup.

Experienced builders may opt for a kit offering recessed panel lines. They may also wish to add scratch built or after market details. Most importantly, this Hamp does look great even if built straight from the box.

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