IJN FUSO

 
 

As seen in 1938 on maneuvers in China Sea

 
 

Pit-Road Hi Mold Resin kit no. HM-037 

Scale 1:700 

See how I build the kit on the bottom of this page

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

 

 

     
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Fuso history:

(From Wikipedia)

Fuso (Japanese: 扶桑, an old name for Japan), was a battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of her class. She was laid down by the Kure Kaigun Kosho on 11 March 1912, launched on 28 March 1914 and completed on 18 November 1915. Her 14 inch (360 mm) main gun turrets were placed in an unorthodox 2-1-1-2 style (with her sister ship Yamashiro having her third turret reversed when compared to Fuso) and with a funnel separating the middle turret placement. This placement was not entirely successful as the armored section was needlessly lengthened and the middle guns had trouble targeting. However, Fuso's relatively fine hull form allowed her to obtain a speed of 23 knots (43 km/h) as completed.

Fuso took part in no major action during World War I, as the majority of the Japanese Navy was engaged in escort duties and various other work which did not require the use of the battle line. Between the wars, Fuso and Yamashiro received major modifications, in common with all of the Japanese battleships in service. Fuso was lengthened by an additional 25 feet (7.6 m), the twin funnels trunked together, the original 24 mixed-firing boilers replaced by six new oil-fired Kampon boilers and the ships' control tops dramatically added to produce the characteristic "pagoda" foremast which typified Japanese ships of the period. Armour protection was both increased in quantity and improved in quality on both ships, especially over the machinery spaces and below the waterline, a response to British capital ships' experiences against torpedoes (for example, HMS Marlborough was almost sunk by a single German torpedo just after the Battle of Jutland). The improvements included heavier armour belting over the amidships machinery spaces, made possible by the opening out of these areas when the original boilers were replaced, and the addition of a torpedo bulge. The Fusos were capable of 25.4 knots by the time these modifications were completed, a testament to the vastly improved efficiency of boilers in the 1930s.

Despite these modifications, the IJN considered that the Fusos were inadequately protected and too slow to be of any great use, and thus Fuso and Yamashiro were both kept in the Inland Sea as a strategic reserve force (which, as it turned out, was unnecessary) at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and for some time afterwards, mainly being employed on training duties.

However, Fuso was called to action before too long. She pursued but did not catch the American carrier force that had launched the Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942, sorted as a screen for the Aleutian Force during the battle of Midway in May 1942, rescued 353 survivors of Mutsu when that ship exploded at Hashirajima on 8 June 1943, and took part in the reinforcements of Truk in August 1943 and Biak in June 1944.

In October 1944, commanded by Rear Admiral Ban Masami, Fuso was part of Admiral Shoji Nishimura's Southern Force at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In the battle of Surigao Strait on 25 October 1944 at 03:09 she was hit by one or two torpedoes fired by the American destroyer Melvin and set on fire. She withdrew from the action but at 03:45 C or Q turrets' (or possible both) magazines exploded and she broke into two sections. The bow section was sunk by gunfire from the cruiser Louisville while the stern section sank off Kanihaan Island. Survivors in the water refused rescue so there were few, if any, of her 1,400 crew saved. She was removed from the Navy List on 31 August 1945.

Technical specification:

Launched 28.3.1914

Completed 8.11.1915

Rebuild in 1933, 1936, 1941

Sunk 25.10. 1944

displacement: 38,536 tons

length: 210 m

beam:  30.64 m

draught: 9.69 m

ship horse power: 75,000 shp

speed : 24,7 knots

main guns 12 (6x2) 14´ = 35,6 cm 

secondary guns 14 (14x1) 6´= 15,5 cm

medium guns AA 8 -(4x2)  5´12.7 cm

light guns AA 16 (8x2) 25mm 

3 aircraft (DAVE) 1 catapult

crew: approx 1400

Build process:


It was a real joy to assemble this kit there was no hard times in the build process whatsoever.
The kit is my first resin kit and I must say I was impressed wit the details and the way the pieces fit together, one of the things I was afraid of was the high tower of the command bridge - (many levels high and with potential risk of getting it all wrong! - but to my surprise it was easy and fun with no hidden bad surprises. The holes on each deck level are made to fit the tripod mast - A fine feature and it helped a lot on the chances to get it right. It is an expensive kit indeed (130.00 USD $) and I was very thought full about what to expect and also was the kit worth the money spent. A clear answer is YES, only two things is on my wish list - first a big PE set will have been a good thing, because some of the lattice structures on and around the stack is not very realistic in resin and also the right boat-davits and aircraft's would be a nice upgrade in the future.
Actually the kit is so fine made that there a not many things to improve on but a few things that I made is explained here:

Deck: 
I made the "Deck planking" by three colors of paint (sand, red-brown and white) first I paint the (Thin) sand paint all over the deck area there after I made a "deck paintbrush" by a bream flat brush and removed some of the hairs in groups by a pair of scissors (now the brush look like a hair comp) then I painted the deck again in small stroke with mixed paint colors to illustrate the different colors in the wood - I continued this process of mixing and apply paint in shades until it came to the effects I desired. At last I used a very soft pencil to apply the dark lines between the planks.


Guns: 
The 14in main gun barrels were made of brass and have very fine shapes so I left the inside of the barrels unpainted. All the secondary 6´guns was cast in white metal with the blast bags on so only thing needed was paint.
Superstructure: 
As mentioned before the Lattice structures was rebuild with spare parts PE I use the Tom model works Battle ship PE. But the height and beam was not right. The PE lattice was cut up and small Cooper wire was added to make the pattern right.

Superstructure:
The windows in the tower was on each level moulded very fine, so I decided to leave them as they were instead of "opened the windows up" with the use of PE latters because also none of mine had the right dimension regarding the windows frames. I painted all the windows flat thin black, and before they was totally dry I scratch with a finger nail to remove the paint on the windows frames - hereafter I painted the rest of the individual part Kure Naval Grey (now the vertical window frames was the color of the resin kit!) - but this is hard to notice because of the contrast from the black and grey colors - try to look at the pictures if you can see the the color of the window frames!
The grill on the stack was also moulded so I decided to leave it as it were, but bored the squared holds out with a small drill. Some of the splinter shields around the 25mm AA guns were in my opinion a little to small in height, so I lay a small metal thread around the top to increase the height

Aircraft and catapult: 
The catapult on the C turret was in 1938 smaller in length than the standard catapults of the sooner late 1940. I cut one "standard size" down to the right size and added some small "sidewalks" by a piece of silk ribbon. The stringers on the biplane aircraft's was made of invisible tread glued in cross sections before the upper wing was attached (A much more easy way than done after) on the kit there is only three different aircraft (one of each) and the FUSO had 3 Nakajima E8N2 Navy type 95 (DAVE) float planes. So luckily I have some spare from former plastic kits. According to kit instructions the paint scheme was green/brown camouflage, but on all photograph from Anatomy of the ship The Battleship FUSO by Janusz Skulsk The aircraft was in silver/red paint scheme until late 1940. So mine aircraft was as the later. 


Water and sky: 
My diorama was on an artist frame measured 60 x 40 cm with a black plastic bag on top just curled, to illustrate waves on the water secured with 3M tapes. The white wave tops was painted and cotton wool was added to illustrate bow waves. 
The background of the pictures is out on my balcony with the use of an old slide screen. Also a mirror was used as a background (Just to catch the blue sky and help to reduce to hard shadows on the model)

The last picture is made with Photo Shop.


Reference: 
A big thanks to the Royal Danish Navy library for lending me the book: Anatomy of the ship The Battleship FUSO by Janusz Skulsk - A fantastic book highly recommended even if you not going to build a model of FUSO.


The building time was fast= approx 2.5 weeks. 
Jun. 2006. 
Aeronautic

 

 
     

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