Kagero | Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Zeke, Volumes I & II

Reviewed by Kevin Williams

Publisher: Kagero
Author: Dariusz Paduch (both volumes)
Publishing date(s): 2020 (Volume I), 2021 (Volume II)
ISBN: 978-83-66673-01-4 (Volume I)
ISBN: 978-83-66673-33-5 (Volume II)

For me, the Monograph series books from Kagero, represent great value for money, featuring great archive imagery from WWII regarding the chosen subject, many of which I’ve never seen before (and that’s saying something, as I have a ton of Zero stuff). Also included in every book, are several marvelous (color) profile illustrations of chosen and representative subjects.

These particular two books (Volumes 72 & 73 in the Monograph series), depict the venerable and iconic Japanese A6M Zero (Zeke) Reisen. The Pacific theater of operations (naturally) is what these books focus on, and it’s chock full of representative material; live in air shots, as well as photos on the ground (sometimes wrecked all to heck), and illustrate a nice cross section of early and later A6Ms in action during WWII.

Summary: Volume I

Volume I primarily covers the A6M2, and derivatives, such as the A6M2N (Rufe). There is a lead-in section that delves briefly into the development of the Zero. Photos throughout are, for the most part, quite excellent. One of the highlights (at least to me), are the many very detailed drawings of the air-frames and their subtle differences, one from the other. Featured drawings include profiles, plan views and inverse plan views, as well as myriad details that the average reader will most likely enjoy. The Monograph volumes typically do not have additional decals, masks or photo-etched parts included, a shame, as that would make for a great additional selling point, not that this series necessarily needs them.

Summary: Volume II

Volume II continues coverage of the A6M2, and derivatives, such as the A6M2N (Rufe), with a bit more emphasis on the Rufe this time around, and, to a lesser extent, the A6M3, leading me to conclude that there may eventually be a third, and possibly fourth book in the series, one(s) that would cover the A6M5, A6M7, etc. Much (actually most) of what applies to volume I, applies here as well, so I won't bother to repeat it, aside from stating that, once again, overall quality of what is represented, is very high, in my opinion.

Typical photo quality to be found throughout

Volume I

Volume II

To me, the high point of the Monograph volumes (and these are certainly no exception), is a toss up between the great photographs and the splendid drawings/illustrations.

For me to loudly proclaim that these books are a desirable addition to the aviation library, is nothing more than an honest appraisal of what I feel is the great value these books bring to the table.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate these two volumes as a pair of 10s, no question about it.

My review copies compliments of Casemate Publishers. Thanks a ton to Casemate, they're truly awesome pieces of reference work (as are the majority of the Monograph series), and a pair that will surely fill the bill for any WWII aviation enthusiast/modeler that has a passion for the venerable Zero, and it's initial impact on air combat capabilities, especially during the early war time-frame.

© Kevin Williams 2021

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This review was published on Tuesday, September 14 2021; Last modified on Monday, May 23 2022