Aside from the early-morning raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, perhaps the biggest shock for American forces in the Pacific was the outstanding performance of the Imperial Navy's main carrier fighter, the beautifully proportioned Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero-Sen. Some 10,500 Zeros were built by Mitsubishi in no fewer than eight different sub-types, and although outclassed by more powerful US fighters from late 1943 onwards, the Zero retained a modicum of 'combatibility' due to its weight.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a Mitsubishi "Zero" fighter was flown by Pilot PO2/c Shoichi Sugita, of the 204th Kokutai, based at Lakunai A/D (Rabaul East) Rabaul, New Britain, in 1943. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Release Date: November 2005
Historical Account: "Honor Guard" - In April 1943, Sugita was selected to escort the Betty bombers carrying the Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto and his staff. They were ambushed by P-38’s and the bombers were destroyed. In the dogfight that ensued, Sugita hit and damaged a P-38. But the air victory rang hollow, because Sugita blamed himself for the loss of the Admiral. Given every chance to redeem their honor, the escort pilots threw all caution to the wind. Sugita relished the increasing combat, and he honed his already impressive skills to the point where he became the deadliest of foes. Sugita became the top ace of the 204th Kokutai and was one of the JNAF's top scoring pilots.