Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero (oz532)


Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero (oz532) by JA Fleming 1973 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Mitsubishi A6M5. Scale Japanese WWII carrier fighter, for FF or RC.

Quote: "World War II fighter aircraft are always favourite subjects for scale models - they appeal immensely to builders and spectators alike as they are instantly recognisable and have attractive lines - no-one could call a modem day fighter 'pretty' as they all have minute wings which are simply cluttered up with underwing stores, and to the layman, look so alike.

The only snag with a World War II fighter is that so many aircraft have been 'done' before (just look at the number of Spitfires and Messerschmitts seen around) and very few appear suitable for free-flight or single-function radio control.

Any experienced modeller will tell you that a low wing scale subject would be an instant disaster flown free-flight, but with a little cheating the impossible can be achieved. Most obvious change to this Zero is the increase in dihedral for greater stability plus the enlarged tail-plane. Purists may be offended, but the overall impression remains, and the design flies well which is what really matters anyway!

The original model was flown with single channel pulse-proportional radio control, utilising the Mighty Midget electric motor. This servo is no longer available, nor indeed has 'Galloping Ghost' been able to survive in the face of progress, and it is thus suggested that those who prefer to control the flight pattern of their model rather than to allow it to fly free, should install single channel equipment or else one or two function proportional radio control. The latter could be used to control the elevator and rudder, but in this instance a 1 to 1.5 cc engine would be recommended and every effort to save excess weight should be taken. However, do not save weight fitting ultra-light wheels - low down weight such as these aid stability by lowering the CG. The detachable wing provides access to R/C equipment but is also useful even if the model is to be flown free-flight as it is a good device for preventing damage in a crash.

The fuselage is built around a 1/4 x 3/16 in hard strip balsa crutch. Pin this balsa to the plan view and add the upper half formers F2A to F9, omitting the top part of F8. Cut the tailplane from medium 1/8 in balsa, sand to section, separate the elevators and then hinge to tailplane with tin plate strips. Cement tailplane to F7, F7A and F8 and slot 1/8 sheet fin and rudder in position after separating and hinging rudder. (Use tinplate not stitching if for F/F).

Remove fuselage from plan and then add the bottom halves of the formers F2A to F9. If a beam mounted motor is to be used, check the motor spacing between bearers, face F1 and F2 with ply and cement with bearers to F2A. If a radial mounted motor is to be used, omit facing ply on F2 and install former FB after drilling motor bolt holes.

The tailwheel assembly is formed from 18 swg, wire pushed through then bound and epoxied to the 1/8 in ply strip; this slots into F8 and F9. The fuselage is now ready for planking with medium 1/16 in sheet, in convenient width strips, from F2A to F9. The extreme tail cone is from scrap block and the space between F1 and F2 is best filled in with soft block balsa. When fully planked and sanded smooth, cement a 1 in wide strip of 1/4 in balsa between F2A and F4 to provide a strong seating for the wing. Trim to wing upper profile after assembly.

A scale canopy can be built up or moulded but a good compromise is possible with an 8 in Micro Mold canopy with lines painted on to represent the original metal parts of the canopy. Finally, sand the fuselage to a smooth finish and dope on lightweight tissue. Add wing dowels. Now is the time to install the R/C equipment if desired bearing in mind the final CG position.

Wing construction is quite straightforward. Cut out a complete set of ribs, main spars and leading and trailing edge. Make the port panel first, pinning the main spar in place over the plan, together with the notched tapered trailing edge (which must be packed up to suit the rib sections) and dihedral braces.

Slot ribs in place, making sure that they are aligned correctly. Add leading edge and tip piece, then when dry remove from board and add the grooved U/C block. Pack up to suit dihedral angle, then build starboard panel in same way. Sheet centre section with 1/16 in sheet.

Cover the wings with lightweight tissue, and apply three coats of thinned dope, taking care to avoid warps, then apply colour scheme - keeping this as thin as possible. The original model was based on the drawing in the Aeromodeller plan pack No.2768, price 40p and use the colour scheme detailed thereon.

Make up the U/C legs and 'doors' and retain in position with wood screw heads (this allows them to fall free in a 'hard' landing without damaging the structure) and check the CG, ballasting if necessary (or move batteries around if R/C).

As for flying - there are no hidden vices in this low model, just use standard FF trimming techniques. If flying R/C there seems nothing to be gained from glide testing - but check the CG position and that the rudder has no more than 3/16 in movement each way for 'bang-bang' control - then fire up the engine and away you go! The elevator may be used for trim changes, but only alter it a little at a time as it is quite a powerful device - and we don't really want any aerobatics!"

Supplementary file notes

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Mitsubishi A6M5 Zero (oz532) by JA Fleming 1973 - model pic


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