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Flight Craft 22: Mitsubishi A6M Zero (Paperback)

Aviation Colour Books Military > Modelling Photographic Books

By Robert Jackson
Imprint: Air World
Series: Flight Craft
Pages: 96
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526759948
Published: 18th November 2020



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The quality of Japanese aircraft came as an unpleasant surprise to the Allies at the outbreak of the Pacific War, and it was personified in one type, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero.

One of the finest aircraft of all time, the Mitsubishi A6M Reisen (Zero fighter) first flew on 1 April 1939. It soon showed itself to be clearly superior to any fighter the Allies could put into the air in the early stages of the Pacific campaign. Armed with two 20mm cannon and two 7.7mm machine-guns, it was highly manoeuvrable and structurally very strong, despite being lightweight.

Instead of being built in several separate units, the Zero was revolutionary in that it was constructed in two pieces. The engine, cockpit and forward fuselage combined with the wings to form one rigid unit; the second part comprised the rear fuselage and the tail. The two units were joined by a ring of 80 bolts. Although the Mitsubishi Zero had some serious drawbacks in combat, the greatest of which was its inability to absorb punishment because of its lack of self-sealing fuel tanks and armour plating, its greatest assets were its manoeuvrability and its long range.

In 1942 the Americans allocated the code-name Zeke to the A6M, but as time went by the name Zero came into general use. During the first months of the Pacific War, the Zeros carved out an impressive combat record. For example, in the battle for Java alone, which ended on 8 March 1942, they destroyed 550 Allied aircraft. As the war progressed, however, the Zero gradually came to be outclassed by American fighters such as the Grumman F6F Wildcat and Vought Corsair. In the latter months, many were fitted with bombs and expended in Kamikaze suicide attacks.

This book provides a perfect introduction to the design and combat career of a fighter that made history. Why was the Zero conceived? What was it like to fly in combat? How did it compare with Allied types? Who were the engineers and designers who brought it to fruition and the pilots who became aces while flying it? Here is a feast for the modeller, with a wealth of technical information, photographs and colour profiles.

"Illustrated with a good selection of contemporary and modern museum exhibit photos, this is a very useful overview of the subject...This title deserves a place in the library of any modeller of Japanese aircraft, from the casual dabbler to the expert."


This book will be of great interest to anyone who plans to model the Zero.

Read the full review here

History of War

Featured in

Panorama Difesa, July 2021

Featured in

Air Fan, June - July 2021

Full review here

JP4 Aviation Monthly

"A good read, and contains a lot of useful information".

IPMS Magazine, Issue 3 - 2021

A great addition to the highly popular Flight Craft Series. This book reviews the history of one of the most important fighter aircraft of WWII and model kits of the A6M Zero – Very Highly Recommended

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Interesting is the historical part in which the author also analyses the clashes against the RAF, hard engaged in Asian theatre with the campaigns of Burma and Darwin. The photographs are almost all of good quality, supplemented by 24 particularly valid profiles.

Panorama Difesa, July 2021 - reviewed by Marco De Montis

Essential to support our work.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

"The more I read the 'Craft' series of booklets, the more I find that wargamers can get a nice, encapsulated history of the featured plane, tank, car, etc., a marvelous selection of artwork for painting, and numerous tips and tricks for painting."

Click here for the full review

The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

The joy of this book, however, is in the artwork and modelling sections. The colour illustrations of Zeros are out the top drawer as are the many photographs of them. Jackson’s modelling section is thorough with a history of model kits and photographs of some of them built to extraordinarily high standards. Modellers interested in building a Zero will love this book, while those of us who just enjoy the aesthetics of the plane and want some background on it will enjoy this book too.

Beating Tsundoku

...a book well worth picking up.

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As featured by

Cocardes International, February/March 2021

The Zero (or Zeke) of Mitsubishi has been the subject of many books and memoirs (one above all "Samurai" by the ace Saburo Sakai) as well as films such as the beautiful "Eien No 0" or in UK "The Fighter Pilot" and it represents one of the immediately recognizable aircraft, with its clean line, of the Second World War. In this beautiful book the focus is more on the creation of splendid models of the aircraft in various scales than on the operational history and its pilots. All that remains is to make the most of Jackson's book and precious advice and try your hand at assembling and painting a little Zero!

Read the full Italian review here

On The Old Barbed Wire

This offering as part of the Flight Craft series looking at the Mitsubishi A6MZero does a surprisingly good job with the amount of information it provides both in written and visual terms. I thoroughly enjoyed what was offered here and found some things very interesting and informative; the colour prints are a great mix with great reference value. The aspect of this title which I greatly appreciate is that the text covering the aircraft is not split by the graphic and modelling sections and I feel this allows the book a better flow for the reader.

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This is a useful illustrated history of the Zero, and accompanied by a first-class guide for modellers over the variety of kits available whatever your preferred scale.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

I love these reference books: so much information in what is essentially quite a small publication. By this I mean the publications covers the essentials to give the enthusiast and the modeller especially enough information for their necessary research without going too deeply. This book as others, runs through history and design, uses and theatres along with the list of kits for the modeller. Excellent!

Review by Andy Thomson

It was a good read and contains a lot of information.

Gary Wenko

About Robert Jackson

ROBERT JACKSON is the author of over eighty books on military, aviation, naval and scientific subjects. He was defence and science correspondent for a major British newspaper publishing group. Among the other books he has compiled for Pen & Sword are on the Bf-109 in the FlightCraft series, whilst he has written extensively on the T-34, the Panzer I and II, the Centurion, and Chieftain main battle tanks, as well as the Russian T54/55, for TankCraft.

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