Fujimi 1/3000 Yokosuka Naval Port

KIT #: 401294
PRICE: 2600 yen
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Michael Dudek
NOTES: 2015 release

HISTORY

The Yokosuka Naval Arsenal opened in 1866, to produce modern, Western style, warships and equipment for the Japanese Navy. Located in the city of Yokosuka near the entrance to Tokyo Bay, it was eventually one of 4 major ship building facilities of the Imperial Japanese Navy (The others were Kure, Sasebo, and Maizuru). Besides ship building and repair, it was also a center for research and development, and technical training for naval personnel.

Yokosuka Naval Arsenal was a key player in Imperial Japanís war effort in World War 2. Many vessels were built or repaired there, and planes designed at the close by Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal. Despite its importance, the facilities there largely escaped American attention until near the end of the war, when there were some air raids.

The relatively undamaged facilities at Yokosuka were occupied by the U.S. upon Japanís surrender at the end of the war, and developed into a major forward base for the U.S. Navy, a role it continues to fulfill to the current day. Also of note is that the Japanese pre-dreadnought battleship Mikasa is on display nearby.

 

THE KIT

Something a little different from Fujimi here; this was the first of several small diorama sets released featuring major facilities of the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War 2. This all plastic kit comes in a small top opening box. The diorama base is a single large plastic piece, with fair detail, although due to the limits of the injection molding process, there is no detail on the sides or ends of the buildings. The ships are on a number of smaller separately bagged sprues that look like they were broken up from a larger main sprue to give the ships needed in this kit. Ship detail is good, and ranges from single piece, up to a dozen or so parts. The instructions are a single sheet, folded into 4 pages, all in Japanese. It gives the build instructions and a suggested setup, and references the Gunze paint line. The sole decal provides the flight deck markings for the carrier.

I am not an expert on the IJN, but can usually identify the major classes of ships, if not individual members. Here is a list of whatís in the box Ė

1x Yamato class battleship. The Kanji on the bottom of the hull identifies this as the Musashi. From the configuration, this is pretty late war, with some of the secondary mounts removed in favor of more AA guns.

1x Nagato class battleship. Could be Nagato or Mutsu, but likely Nagato based on the late war elements in the rest of the set.

1x Shokaku class carrier. Might be Shokaku or Zuikaku.

1x Takao class heavy cruiser.

1x Oyodo class light cruiser. One of a kind cruiser; converted from a hybrid cruiser/carrier to a flagship.

4x Fubuki class destroyer.

1/3000 is not as strange a scale as one might think at first. While tiny at 1Ē=250í, there is at least one major line of war gaming ships in this scale, with more available from places like Shapeways. The size allows one to have a reasonable scale and identifiable ships, without needing a gym floor for the battle. These plastic ships are better detailed than most of the metal ones Iíve seen. Fujimi has also made sets of the ships available separately, as well as photo etch sheets. These provide more detail for the ships, building, cranes, tiny aircraft for the carrier, etc. Based on the ships included and their configurations, I am proposing this set would date from around the spring of 1944. Several of the vessels were definitely at Yokosuka at the time receiving refits, and would be lost later in the year in the battles around the Philippines.

CONCLUSIONS

This is a nice little set that will make an interesting diorama, without taking up a lot of space. I would consider it appropriate for pretty much all modelers. Although some pieces are small and might require assistance from an adult, the kit is pretty is simple overall.

Michael Dudek

September 2017

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