Zero Pictures

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1st Lieutenant
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
Here are a couple of Zero pictures put out by Flight Journal.

The first is a color shot by Brian Silcox of a beautifully restored A6M2. Does anyone know who is the current owner of this airplane? The only A6M2 I knew of is the one in the USAF Museum, and this one is flying.

The second one is a B&W shot of a captured A6M. Note the caption. This can't be right! Koga's Zero was an A6M2 and that airplane looks more like an A6M5 to me. A third picture shows Koga's Zero at the Langley NACA facility after wind tunnel test and clearly it is an A6M2.

Screenshot 2023-01-27 at 18-54-11 Last Dogfights of WW II – The Last Victory was By Seafire or...png
Screenshot 2023-01-27 at 18-57-18 Last Dogfights of WW II – The Last Victory was By Seafire or...png
Screenshot 2023-01-27 at 18-59-00 Akutan Zero - Wikipedia.png
Your first photo shows the A6M2 when flown by the CAF, now at Ford Island.

Your second photo is A6M5 #5357 (61-120, TAIC 5, 29) while at Pax River for testing. Now at Planes of Fame, Mitsubishi A6M5 'Zeke' | Planes of Fame Air Museum

You are correct on the third photo.
The Akutan A6M2 was #4593.

Here's a nice shot of it in a hangar at NAS San Diego after it was ferried back from NAS Anacostia in 1944. If you see this picture anywhere else, anywhere, you're looking at just a copy, I have the original first print, complete with official USN stampings on the back . . . plus several other photos from different angles taken at the same time.

This #4593 shows up in my father's pilot's log 6 times in September and October 1944. And not only flying in the famous Akutan Zero, but the A6M5 #5357 (Planes of Fame as above) shows up as well, three times in February and March 1945.

What is interesting in this shot, and others in the series, is that the darker colored panels are those replaced by the NAS San Diego A&R shop in the initial restoration with US aluminum panels and the lighter are the original Japanese metal work

4593 5x4 25.jpg
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Many prints could have been from the original negative and then copy prints from the first generation prints with the attending degeneration of sharpness. I have no doubt the print by Mr. Leonard is first generation.
Well, please note that to put it in the magazine they scanned it and then I scanned the magazine, Huge difference in quality, right there.

Source given in the magazine is "11th Air Force." That was the force for Alaska, and obviously that photo was not taken in Alaska, However they did fly a Zero up there to train pilots because we have an article by a pilot who flew it back down to the ZI.
The image in Post #6 is a "half tone" as it would appear on a printed page - note the clearly visible dots in the image.
The original photo is re-photographed onto negative film, through a half tone screen, which is a clear film with "X" lines of dots per square inch, for example, 90 LPI, when more lines per inch produce a finer, better quality reproduction. The half tone screen is in direct close contact with the required size film sheet being exposed, being drawn down on the process camera back by vacuum.
Once the neg is processed, it is then exposed, again in direct close contact, onto the printing plate. On the printing press, ink is picked up where there are dots, and no ink where the plate is "clear", thus producing a printed "illusion" of a black and white continuous tone image.
Described above is the "traditional" half tone process, now replaced by digital methods, but the basics remain the same.
I think all that they are trying to say is, while you have a photo made from the original negative back in 1944 it most likely isn't the only copy that was made from that negative and you don't have the negative. If the negative wasn't destroyed and lives in an Archive (NARA?) it's available to all that want it.

I also have various WWII US Navy photographs, Press Releases, etc., but I'm not the only one with them.
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