Japanese A6M3 Model 32 Zero Relic Display 35 x 11

Very rare Japanese Navy A6M3 Model 32 Zero (Hamp) original aircraft fragment in display with original art of this specific aircraft from the start of its combat life until its end by Ron Cole.
 
Framed ready-to-hang display is 35 x 12, with glass. Includes two paintings by Ron Cole of this specific aircraft from the start of its combat life, the interception of Lt. Louis Zamperini's B-24, and its later combat life c. 1944 when Taroa was attacked by American Hellcats. The original piece of aluminum from this specific aircraft is from the main wing spar and includes very nice Aotake blue-green primer paint. The part is roughly 5 x 8 inches.    
 
This aircraft (serial number 3145/3148) was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in September 1942.  It was one of only 343 built.  It was assigned to the 252nd Air Group (Kokutai) and deployed to Taroa in the Marshall islands, and was likely flown in combat by pilot ace Isamu Miyazaki.  When Miyazaki was asked shortly before his death if he ever flew this specific Zero while based at Taroa he said, "Almost certainly". This was a very rare sponsored aircraft, paid for by the Manchurian Secondary Schools and given to the Japanese Navy (note the fuselage markings aft of the hinomaru). Its tail code and markings changed throughout the war, from 'S-112' to 'Y2-128', and finally to '52-133'. Originally painted overall gray, the aircraft was camouflaged in the field after May 1943 with green upper-surface paint.  
 
In April 1943, the 252nd, and possibly this specific aircraft, intercepted and badly damaged Lt. Louis Zamperini's B-24D bomber.  This action is described in the best selling book 'Unbroken', being released as a major Hollywood film in 2014.

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