Mitsubishi Zero Fighter Type II – 3-116, Saburo Sakai, 12th Kokutai, Japanese Navy 1940-1941 1/48
2 in stock
2 in stock
Hobby Master 1/48 scale HA8807: Mitsubishi Zero Fighter Type II serial 3-116, flown by Saburo Sakai, 12th Kokutai, Japanese Navy, 1940-1941
Length 7.5 inches Wingspan 9.75 inches
The 12th Kokutai was formed on July 11, 1937 equipped with 12 Type 95 fighter aircraft. In the summer of 1940 the new A6M Zero arrived and between August 1940 and September 1941 Zeros claimed 103 aerial victories and 163 aircraft damaged or destroyed on the ground with 2 Zeros lost and 39 damaged. There are 28 victories painted on the tail that represent the unit score.
Saburo Sakai is probably Japan’s best-known pilot of World War II, with the possible exception of Captain Mitsuo Fuchida of Pearl Harbor infamy. In a seven-year combat career, Sakai survived horrible injuries and impossible odds, and almost got a chance to kill Lyndon Baines Johnson. The fact that Sakai never made a combat launch from an aircraft carrier in no way detracts from his significance as a naval aviator and Japan’s third-ranking fighter ace.
Sakai came to prominence in 1957 when his memoir, Samurai!, was published in English, with Japanese journalist Fred Saito and American Martin Caidin as coauthors. It became an instant classic and is still in print today, well after his death. Sakai was credited with 64 aerial victories.
The Mitsubishi A6M entered service in 1940 and became known as the Zero because of the Japanese designation of Type 0 Carrier Fighter. The Zero technology was years ahead of any other fighter and had no problem clearing the skies of opposing aircraft. There were numerous variants of the Zero including the folding wing A6M2 Model 21 designed for carrier operations. The A6M2 was the most produced Japanese aircraft of WWII. As the war went on the Model 21 would be the Zero variant that most Allied pilots would encounter.