Sweet's 1/144 scale Zero is molded in light gray plastic and features beautifully-done recessed panel lines typically seen on much larger kits. (See photo #1) Dare I say "exquisite"? That was my overall impression of the finesse and crispness of all the parts. Two complete kits are included in the box, with seven choices of markings given on the Cartograf decals. This kit was a big step (in a smallish sense) for me. I had never built a Sweet kit before, and don't know much about Japanese subjects other than airliners.
Part II - The Build
First, for any of you who may have been waiting for part two of this review to help make a decision on whether to buy the Hasegawa kit, or one offered by another manufacturer, I apologize for the lengthy build period on this one. But, for those who have been waiting, read no further. BUY THIS KIT! If it is sitting on the shelf down at your favorite hobby shop, GO BUY IT NOW! Don’t wait to buy it on the internet, go pay the folks at your local hobby shop their more than reasonable mark-up to have this kit sitting there waiting for you, because YES, IT IS THAT GOOD!
The Northrop F-5E found a home with both the USAF and USN as a dissimilar air combat training aircraft, more commonly known as an Aggressor or Top Gun Adversary aircraft. A former brother-in-law of mine was kind enough to invite me to Nellis AFB in the late 1980’s as he was going through his Aggressor pilot training before being posted to Bentwaters, UK. Getting a chance to see a group of “cheap” F-5E’s “shoot down” a flight of F-15’s was quite an impressive achievement, but then that was the purpose of these highly trained adversary pilots, to teach tactics used by Eastern Bloc pilots and their satellite air forces. I previously was a big fan of the uniquely painted aircraft and getting to see them in person and watch them in action just solidified my interest in them. (Yes, I know that the 527th patch is USAFE based, but I didn’t have a 26th AS patch in my collection).
Loon Models (Roll Models brand) has added another aircraft seat to their 1/72 aircraft accessory line. This one is for the Messerschmitt Me-262. Loon Models don’t specify a kit for this seat, but you will want to use one that has a normal cockpit in it. The kit I picked out for this review is an older Hasegawa kit of the Me-262A.
The LOON seat is two quality pieces of resin; smooth, seamless and bubble free. The detail is also very nice, and it doesn’t need any extra work to bring out the detail. The beauty of this piece is that all I had to do was paint it, assemble the tow parts, and add a drop of super glue for the install. No cutting needed on the original cockpit floor, just drop it in. This seat has no seatbelts molded on it, which is good if you want to add a pilot or add PE seat belts.
Frederick A. Johnsen has been a fire bomber enthusiast since childhood. He saw his first, a TBM Avenger, in 1961 and was hooked. Mr Johnsen has been an Air Force historian, NASA public affairs officer and is currently the director of the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards AFB, California. He has written over 20 aviation books and articles for numerous periodicals.
Fire Bombers In Action is an 8.5 x 11”, 144 page, softbound book containing 120 black and white and 114 color photos. It includes a 60 minute DVD (more on that later.)