As with all Oxford's Aviation series, each release has a fascinating story. This model of the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero as flown by Flight Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga is no exception.
The A6M Zero was a long-range fighter aircraft designed by chief designer Jiro Horikoshi, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy between 1940 and 1945. It played a pivotal role in the bombing of Pearl Harbour. At the time of its introduction it was considered the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world, causing immense damage to Allied aircraft fleets due to its excellent manoeuvrability and long range.
The aircraft carrier Ryuho was a light aircraft carrier, having started life as a submarine tender Taigei but was later renamed and recommissioned as Ryuho (Dragon Phoenix). Its small size created a number of shortcomings, not least of which was a limit to the size of the aircraft it could carry. As a result, the Mitsubishi A6M2-21 was a Zero modification with folding wingtips to allow the fleet to fit on to the aircraft carrier.
During an air raid over Dutch Harbour on 4th June 1942, the A6M2 fighter flown by Flight Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga was hit by ground fire and losing oil, he attempted an emergency landing on Akutan Island. However, his Zero flipped over in soft ground and he was killed instantly. The plane was relatively undamaged and picked up shortly after by an American salvage team who shipped it off for evaluation.
Our 1:72 scale aircraft is a replica of that very plane. Decorated in all-over silver with yellow fuselage band, terracotta brown solid roundels feature on the upper and lower wings and on the side of the fuselage. A similar colour denotes the plane number on the tailfin D1-108. The engine cowl and gun barrels are black, while final detail sees the propellers and propeller spinner in silver with red propeller blade bands.
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