Okay, I stepped up to review this since nobody else asked, nor volunteered. I have never used a Big Ed add-on before and I have a Tamiya A6M3 so I thought, “Why not try it?” When the Big Ed arrived, I opened it with joy like a kid at Christmas who had a good year with Santa. Then, while looking at the instructions, I realized I had the new Tamiya Zero and this Big Ed is for Tamiya’s OLD A6M3 Hamp kit. So, for a few months, I watched a bunch of these kits on eBay sell for more than I could pay. I have been unemployed for two and a half years now, so I don’t get to buy kits any more unless I can get them for under five bucks. Earlier this week I was able to borrow an old Tamiya Zero so we can at least get the review done. Of course, that Zero did not arrive until today...
Now, these older Tamiya Zero kits are not bad. They also are not what today’s kits are. The newer Tamiya 1/48 Zero’s I have are awesome kits. This older kit needs work, and that is where Eduard comes in. In the Big Ed set you get EDU 48683 (A6M3 Model 32 Landing Flaps), EDU 49530 (self adhesive color cockpit and PE for the engine, wheel covers for the landing gear, wiring for the engine and other goodies), and EDU EX318 (the mask for the canopy). All in all, this is a great bunch of parts to turn this old girl into something decent. (Granted, you will still have to take care of the panel lines yourself.) I have included pictures of all the items so you can see what you get. You will have to cut and make your own flaps with the PE flap set, which also means you will have to do some cosmetic surgery and thinning on other parts. If you have the skills, the flaps alone would help this kit look as good as some newer kits.
I like the look of the color PE for the cockpit, which includes PE seatbelts and, of course, the instrument panel. This cockpit interior is really nice looking and should dress up an otherwise plain Tamiya interior. I have used Eduard PE cockpits before and I love the color zoom ones they do. I am not familiar, though, with the self-adhesive variety. I will probably still use a dab of CA glue on mine. I don’t want parts falling off, especially inside the cockpit.
The engine and landing gear PE look great. I have included a picture so you can see the detail on them. Granted, you might have to perform some surgery on the engine cowling if you want to show off some of your hard work, but if done right you will have a very neat looking engine. The landing gear parts are a very welcome addition as well, since you all know the older kit’s landing gear needs help.
I would definitely recommend this to those who have the old Tamiya Type 32. It is a great upgrade set, and if I ever find a job or someone willing to send me an un-started Tamiya Hamp for free (well, I will pay postage), I can’t wait to use this to see how much it will improve the kit.
A great big thank you to IPMS and especially Eduard for the chance to review this Big Ed set!