Thursday 27 November 2014

Mitsubishi (Nakajima) Zero-sen - Bibliography #1

We promised this subject some time ago so here it goes.
From the hundreds of books published about the Zero in Japanese we present and "evaluate" those that would be the most useful to the modellers. So, no autobiographies of Zero pilots or purely historical books about the development of the aircraft.
First up is the "Famous Airplanes of the World" (FAOW) series published by Bunrindo
The very first one was published in January 1969 and was Number #10 in the series. The cover is rough "white", 66 pages, all black/white with no color illustrations. There are 89 photos, mostly of the A6M2 and A6M3, five photos of the A6M2-K trainer and only two of the A6M2-N seaplane. There are also eight pages with technical drawings by illustrator Hashi Kiichi. A very early effort by Bunrindo. 
Our friend Jacob Terlouw sent us an alternative cover version from his collection.
Thank you Jacob.

The next number was published in October 1974, was number #54 in the "blue cover" series and focused mainly on the Models 52-63. There are 75 photos, six in colour of restored aircraft, eight of the A6M2-K (the same with the previous #10 and more), six of the A6M2-N different than those in #10. There are colour illustrations by Hashimoto Kikuo an article by veteran pilot Abe Masaharu who flew the A6M5 with the 304 hikotai of the Atsugi Ku, a short article about the "Reppu" and others. Not all the photos of #10 are in this one and the opposite. 
In June 1974 Bunrindo released a new number in their new series with the new cover. It was number #10 and focused mainly on the A6M2 Models 11-22. There are 59 black/white photos some never reprinted in any other previous or future publication. For those who have this one, check the photos on pages 9, 22 lower, 39 top right and the fantastic photo on p. 42 top. There are a few colour illustrations, this time by Hasegawa Ichiro.  
In October of the same year they released their number #54 focusing on the Models 52-63. It is a reprint of their previous #10 of June 1974 with the only difference the colour photos in the middle pages and the illustrations by Hasegawa Ichiro, instead of Hashimoto-san.   
The first number in their well-known "red/black cover" series was released in July 1987. It was number #5 focusing on Models 11-21 with 135 black/white photos and colour illustrations by Nohara Shigeru. 21 photos of A6M2-N and 13 of the A6M2-K trainer are included. The original blueprints of Models 11-21 are included but the reproductions are fairly poor.
Many of the photos were never included in the previous publications. 
Number #9 was released in March 1988 and covered Models 22-63. There are 161 photos, 20 of them in colour of restored aircraft. Unfortunately most of the black/white photos are too dark. Much more material than before is included and the series is finally reaching the well-known Bunrindo quality.  
The last number dedicated to the Models 11-21 was released in November 1995 as number #55 and is the best of all on these models. There are 153 photos, 18 of them in colour, eight of the A6M2-K and nine of the A6M2-N. All of them are more brightly printed but many of them are too small compared to their larger print in previous releases. Illustrations are again created by Nohara Shigeru, completely different from the previous and no manuals are included. 
The last number on the Models 22-63 was released in January 1996 as number #56. 145 photos, 16 in colour, all of excellent quality. 
All the above publications are long out-of-print but limited numbers are available from our on-line shop. The very early releases are not particularly useful to modellers compared with the high number of photos and the higher quality of numbers #55 and #56.

Bunrindo decided to re-release #55 and #56 in one FAOW Special volume, number #6 in September 2012. It includes 298 photos, 38 of them in colour, eight of the colour photos are vintage. All the photos are of the very best quality; big and clear enough. There are colour illustrations by Nohara Shigeru and Watanabe Rikyu and all in all is the very best Bunrindo publication on the Zero so far. It is very useful to any modeller and highly recommended. It should not be missing from any library of Japanese aviation enthusiasts and perhaps most importantly it is IN-PRINT, and ofcourse available from our on-line store.

ALWAYS keep in mind that all the above publications are in Japanese only but especially Special #6 is invaluable for the collection of photographs.

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