Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Mushroom Model Magazine Special - Yellow Series
by Artur Juszczak
reviewed by Mark Smith
This is a book published in 2001, and a brief perusal of its 96 pages made me think of the earlier Maru Mechanics, only expanded and in English. That's certainly not bad news for Japanese aircraft aficionados.
The usual Mushroom format (about 7 by 10 inches) mitigates against any 1/48 scale drawings, but the 1/72 ones are nicely done and note the small type variations so dear to the heart of the compulsive modeler, nicely placed with complementary photos. Most of the photos in this book are of existing airframes, mostly restored aircraft, and almost all in color. The sections move through History, Versions, Color Profiles, and Details. Of course, a subject like the Zero could merit three hundred pages with the same layout, but within the parameters of a smaller book, author Artur Juszczak has done a great job of presenting a great deal of information together.
I would say that this is more a book for the modeler than for the historian, as its strong points are its color "walkaround" photo presentation of details, and its superb color side views, which are drawn by the author. At two per page they are large enough scale to show details and marking well. There are a lot of open panels and partially disassembled aircraft here if you want to go to a cabin alone above the Arctic Circle and spend a year building a Zero. Cockpit, landing gear, engine, cowling, and flight controls are all well covered, although if you are detailing a cockpit in a larger scale you would probably want supplementary references. The most interesting of these might be the shots of the cockpit section of the A6M2 "BI-12" which has been preserved intact (with its paint undisturbed) at Duxford. As far as the side views, you will recognize many of them, but these are interspersed with some interesting birds that haven't seen a lot exposure. My favorite ones are the captured aircraft, including three natural metal birds flown by the USAAF, RAAF, and RAF. The latter two were highly polished and would provide a model that would really stand out among all those green and gray Zeros!
Only one complaint here, and that is a general one for all of Mushroom's books: the thin card covers. The excellent material inside as well as the asking price rate better protection.
A few years back AJ Press of Poland offered a book on the Zero in their Modelmania series worth having, and this one reminds me of it, though I like the Mushroom book a little better. Obviously there is a glut of reference material on the Zero, but as one who has collected everything he could on this bird since the early sixties, I can strongly recommend this title.
Rev. Mark Smith
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