1:48 JPN A6M2 Zero
1:48 JPN A6M2 Zero - 61016
1:48 Japanese A6M2 Zero
Birth of the ZERO FIGHTER
In the summer of 1937 Japan started action against China and threw into the front a great number of the newest planes which Japan had created with their original ideas and technique. Concerning fighters in particular, Japan had abandoned biplane type which was counted as the common sense of the then world and already employed the Type 96 Carrier Fighter (96 Kansen) that Japan had produced on the basis of many pieces of new technique and ideas such as all-metal, internally braced low wing monoplane design and the engine cowling designed to reduce air resistance. 96 Kansens always successfully engaed with I-15 and I-16 fighters and SB-2 bombers of Russian make as well as Gladiator fighters of British make. The 96 Kansen appeared as a fighter having a speed as high as 450 km/h and superior maneuverability at the time when conventional fighters of Japan and other nations of the world had a maximum speed of 350 km/h, winning admiration in Japan and abroad. This overthrew the deepfooted view that foreign planes were superior to those of Japan. After the appearance of the 96 Kansen, the modernization of Japan's aircraft industry was rapidly promoted and original planes came to be born.
The battle with China became fierer with years and China transferred her capital from Nanking to Chungkin in the Chinese hinterland to ward off the attacks of the Japanese. The Japanese in pursuit the enemy, particularly the Japanese Naval Air Force, could not escort the bombers as far as to enemy bases in the hinterland because of the 96 Kansen's limited cruising range, and was forced to fly bombers without fighter escort. The Japanese bombers were intercepted by Chinese fighters and easily suffered great losses. The fighting over China taught the Japanese Navy what air fights should be in future and how great would be the loss inflicted on bombers attacking without the command of the air before the air force of other countries became aware of them. The Japanese Navy came to know that fighters should be used not only in conventional interception and air defense missions around their bases but also to escort bombers and other planes as far as to the sky over the target by beating enemy fighters and to secure the command of the air, and realized the importance of fighters capable of doing so.
In October 1937 the Naval Aeronautical Establishment formed a plan for the 12-Shi Experimental Fighter (later called Zero-Sen), a new fighter to succeed the 96 Kansen which was expected to have a maximum speed of more than 500 km/h and apeed well over that of the 96 Kansen. Heavy armament consisting of two 20mm machine guns; maneuverability not inferior to that of the 96 Kansens; and a longcrusing range corresponding to over 6-8 hours; flight at a cruising speed which was based on combat experience in China. The Naval Aeronautical Establishment made a request to Nakajima Aircraft and Mitsubishi Aircraft for competitive trial manufacture. Mitsubishi's deign staff led by engineer Jiro-Horikoshi, who had previously designed the masterpiece plane 96 Kansesn, set to work. Increased cruising range and speed naturally required large horsepower, engine and fuel capacity and therefore large fuselage. In the basic design, the 12-Shi Kansen was two times as heavy as the 96 Kansen. Pilots who attached the greatest importance to maneuverability made complaints and requested that the new fighter should be made smaller. On the other hand, some people took a stand against them saying that maneuverability could be made up for by training and skill and that greater importance should be attached to speed and cruising range which could not be compensated for by training or skill. No definite conclusion could be reached on this matter and Mitsubishi designers continued to be troubled with the severe figures prescribed. Horikoshi and his designers firmly believed that they could save weight by using Extra Super-Duralumin