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"Zeros of the 3rd Kokutai, 1942" Topic

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1,872 hits since 7 Dec 2011
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Jemima Fawr Inactive Member07 Dec 2011 9:25 a.m. PST

Can anyone point me toward a good reference for painting Zeros of the IJN's 3rd Kokutai, circa 1942 (specifically for the air battles over the Dutch East Indies)? I'm doing them in 1/300th, so don't need astronomical detail, just an idea of colours and marking schemes.

I should add that I don't know the first thing about IJN aircraft colours or markings, so I will gratefully accept egg-sucking lessons.

RobH Inactive Member07 Dec 2011 10:22 a.m. PST

Nice "big scale" article on making/painting one:

Does contain a list of references for the scheme.

Personal logo Doms Decals Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member07 Dec 2011 11:57 a.m. PST

Zero colours remain a ridiculously thorny issue after all these years, but the popular "white" Zero is a fiction – they're sometimes depicted in grey-green, but that appears to have been prototypes only; best guess is a pale ash grey with just a hint of caramel to it.

Ryan T07 Dec 2011 2:39 p.m. PST

Although Zero colours have been somewhat contentious in the past, present research has resolved that until about April 1943 all Zero were painted an overall gloss olive-gray colour. Tamiya XF-76, as mentioned in the article cited by RobH, is a reasonable equivalent of the colour, albeit being something of a lighter shade. This is not a problem, however, as you will want to lighted the colour for scale effect.

No 3 Kokutai had a strength of 45 Zeros, presumabley divided up into 5 Buntai each of 3 Shotai of 3 aircraft each. Each Buntai was indicated by a single colored fuselage band. These band colours are believed to have included red and yellow and also probably blue, white and perhaps black.

Each Shotai was indicated by a horizontal tail stripe or stripes. A double stripe indicated a Shotai leader, whereas a single stripe indicated the two wingmen in each Shotai. The stripes were very likely to have been the same colours as the aforementioned fuselage bands. The result was a variety of fuselage band and tail stripe combinations.
The airplane tail code (X-1_ _) was painted in black on the top of the tail fin and rudder.

None of these planes would have carried the wing leading edge yellow IFF markings. These were only introduced in late 1942. Likewise no Zero should be depicted with a white edge around any of the hinomaru. Such markings were only introduced in about September 1942 on Nakajima built A6M2s.

Ryan Toews

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member08 Dec 2011 2:49 a.m. PST

Cheers guys, all very useful indeed! :o)


Jemima Fawr Inactive Member08 Dec 2011 11:25 a.m. PST

Does anyone have a Humbrol equivalent for XF-76? I've tried all the usual conversion charts, but none of them have it (though one teases me by going up to XF-75!).

I can mix it up with trial and error, but if someone's already done the work…

Ryan T08 Dec 2011 9:18 p.m. PST

Nick Millman, in his recently released study of Zero colours, provides the following Humbrol paint mix:

8 parts #40 Gloss Pale Grey
4 parts #225 Matt Middle Stone
1 part #86 Matt Light Olive

The Gloss Pale Grey nicely duplicates the original gloss finish. For scale effect on a 1/300th scale model you may want to increase the proportion of #40 Gloss Pale Grey by 1 part.

Ryan Toews

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member09 Dec 2011 4:20 a.m. PST

Cheers Ryan,

As I satin varnish everything anyway the paint finish doesn't matter, so I'll go with matt pale grey as it's MUCH better to work with and quicker drying.

MacSparty16 Dec 2011 8:57 a.m. PST

I use Floquil Concrete lightened just a touch with dirt white or white for scale. Some photos here. link

I did brush some stripes on, but for gaming purposes I didn't worry too much about specifics. If I were modelling a specific aircraft, I would be much more concerned about it.

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