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PeterB

IJNS Jintsu Light Cruiser

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Back in around 1970 I came across the Japanese 1/700 scale waterline ship series, which was a collaboration between 4 of the main Japanese kit makers – Aoshima, Fujima, Hasegawa and Tamiya, intended to produce examples of just about all classes of ships operated by the IJN during WWII. Initially each company was allocated a particular class and built at least 2 - one early and one late version. In the case of smaller classes such as Carriers and Battleships they usually built the whole lot.

 

Later they introduced a small number of British, German and US ships, and other companies joined in such as Trumpeter and Matchbox. I built a lot over a 10 or so year period then gave up. However, there was one ship I needed to complete all the main IJN light cruisers – a Sendai class, and about 10 years ago I got one. I now intend to build it as part of this GB.

DSC02605

There is not much in the box but it will give me something to do in between the various stages of my EA-6A.

 

A little background seems appropriate. In very general terms, before WWI cruisers fell into 2 groups – large, heavily armed “protected or armoured” cruisers and the smaller “unprotected” cruisers with little or no armour and smaller guns. By the end of the war they mutated into 3 groups. The armoured cruisers generally were reduced in size and restricted by treaty to 8” guns max – these were the Heavy Cruisers. However some countries also built even larger versions which were Battlecruisers. The unprotected cruisers became Light Cruisers with max 6” guns. One of the more successful wartime classes of light cruiser were the British “Town” class and the follow up C Class, and the IJN brought out their own versions starting with what I will call the Tenryu Class – there is some debate about class naming with authors varying on which ship name to use! All the following data is from Anthony Watts Ian Allan book “Japanese Warships of WWII” of 1966 – length is between perpendiculars (pp) not waterline, displacement is standard not full load, ie no crew, stores, fuel and ammo.

 

The 2 Tenryu's of 1918 were small ships of 3230 tons, 440 ft long pp and armed initially 6 single 5.5” guns and 6x21in Torpedo Tubes (TT) – I say armed initially as armament changed on all ships over a period of time. They were followed a year or so later by the 5 ship Kuma Class – 5870 tons, 490 ft pp, 7x 5.5” and 8x24”TT, and a couple of years after that the 6 ship Nagaras – 5170tons, 490ft pp, 7x5-5” and 8x24inTT.

 

Following the one off experimental Yubari the last of the “Town”/C Class variants was to be the 6 ship Sendai class, but only 3 were build due to a combination of tonnage restrictions in the Washington Treaty and the decision to build something more modern. Their particulars were 5195 tons. 490ft pp, 7x 5-5in and 8x24inTT. The rearrangement of the boilers and turbines meant that they had 4 funnels instead of the three in the preceding classes.

 

More once I start.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Nice Pete, great to see a Japanese subject in here!

 

Rob

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Hi Rob,

 

Apologies for hijacking your Belfast thread. Must be my computer but I cannot see NARN 34 on Jamie's site.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Gidday Pete, I'm looking forward to this. I very nearly did Fubuki but opted for a Fletcher instead (still to be started). I want to do some IJN ships soon.

     Thank you for the background info. I think these ships have been somewhat overlooked in favour of their heavier, more modern counterparts, and I'm guilty of that also. I'm very interested in how your build turns out. Regards, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff,

 

As you say the Japanese Light Cruisers get very little mention compared with the heavies.  They were mostly used as flagships of destroyer flotillas and so were involved in a lot of the night actions, particularly around Guadalcanal. However, their relatively weak gun armament meant they did not deliberately get into the big shootouts that most people read about. Most of the early types I have mentioned survived until 1944 when they were effectively wiped out. Only one survived the war to be scrapped.

 

The IJN seemed to be more impressed with the heavily armed 8" cruisers, and unlike the RN and USN did not build many more light cruisers - 5 "proper" ones, one experimental "oversized destroyer" (Yubari) and 3 curious "training cruisers" (Katori's) and all were seriously under gunned compared with their western counterparts, with a maximum of 6 x 6.1".

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Gidday Pete, it seems to me that the Japanese developed a love affair with float planes. Mogami, the two Tone class and Oyodo all had the rear half (almost) of the ship dedicated to them. Which left less room for guns - Oyodo was bigger than the Sheffield class but had only half the fire power.

     As for the small cruisers like you are doing, I read that even Adm Mikawa looked down his nose at them a little - until one of them took out a heavy cruiser with her torpedoes. Yes, somewhat overlooked ships. I'm impressed that you're doing one. 

    Regards, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff,

 

Know what you mean. Even these small light cruisers had at least 1 plane, originally operating from a platform built into the front of the bridge. Eventually a more normal catapult was fitted at the back.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Carrying floatplanes on cruisers was normal for all nations.  However the Japanese took it further with Tone and Chikuma by using these ships for reconnaissance, allowing a larger striking force of aircraft on 

the carriers.  Mogami was converted to this role after battle damage.

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Hi Graham,

 

Yes, they even went one step further and converted the back end of the Battleships Ise and Hyuga to carry 22 float planes, However I gather it was a waste of time as at least one of my sources says they did not have enough pilots and the "special float planes" whichever they were, were not ready in time. The also did it on the one and only "improved Agano" class light crusier Oyodo which was apparently built to carry 6 "large reconnaissance bombers" which again were never available. I am unclear exactly which floatplane these 3 ships were meant to be using - possibly the Seiran, but that was intended for use on the I-400 class subs AFAIK so perhaps they were hoping to build another type - any ideas?

 

Later - the Osprey book on Japanese Battleships says that Ise and Hygua were intended to carry D4Y Judy dive bombers but they were in short supply. They were meant to supplement the carrier force with 44 dive bombers which could not land back on board so had to find a carrier or shore base - that or do a Kamikaze. Clearly they were getting desperate by then.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Here is a slightly better pic of the parts.

DSC02708-crop

And here is the history lesson!

 

In the early inter war period the IJN, like other navies, made plans for any possible future war. Realising that in spite of their building programme (8 Battleships and 8 Battlecruisers, most of which were never completed due to the Washington Naval Treaty), for some considerable time their most likely opponent the Americans would substantially outnumber them, they planned to lure the US Pacific Fleet into a series of “ambushes” where IJN submarines and destroyers would fire torpedoes at them from long range. Only once they had “peeled off” the layers of the defensive screen of US destroyers and cruisers and hopefully damaged the odd battleship would there be an engagement involving the heavy units. With this in mind the IJN Light Cruisers were initially intended as flagships for their destroyer formations like the small but fast RN Arethusa class, and in many ways the first batch were designed as large destroyers. After the 2 ship Tenryu class however, the IJN decided to build somewhat larger ships similar in size the the RN pre war Town class and wartime C class, combining the functions of both scout cruiser and flotilla leader.

 

The second of the Sendai class, Jintsu was built at Kawasaki's yard at Kobe and completed in December 1923. She took part in operations off China in the late 1930's and was the flagship of the then Captain Raizo Tanaka who was later to find fame as the leader of the so called “Tokyo Express” during the Guadalcanal campaign. Tanaka led the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla.

 

Once WWII started she was involved in the landings in the Phillipines, and Battle of the Java Sea, before becoming part of the escort for the Midway invasion force. She was damaged during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, part of the invasion of Guadalcanal, and had to return for repairs, where she parted company with Tanaka. She returned to the fray in January 1943 as part of the force carrying out the evacuation of Guadalcanal, and in July of that year she was the flagship of Rear Admiral Isuka in charge of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla again, when she was hit by at least 10 6” shells and a torpedo at the Battle of Kolumbangara, sinking with the loss of 482 of her crew according to Wiki. Her wreck was discovered in April of last year.

 

As stated earlier this series of kits often includes both early and late versions of each class. I cannot be certain but I think the kit depicts her as she was either pre-war or early war as the floatplane is shown in silver with a red tail. The usual way of dating these ships is by the armament so I have done a bit of digging. Originally all 3 ships of the class carried 4 double torpedo mounts, but later they had 2 quad mounts fitted instead. The kit still has twins so again that suggests prior to March-May 1941 when the torpedo tubes were changed. However, several supplementary weapons kits were released including guns, torpedo tubes, boats etc, perhaps to provide spares for bits that got lost or broken. Whatever, I may be able use a set to modify Jintsu to the state she was in at Midway - we shall see.

 

I am waiting for some paint but should be able to make a start by the end of the week.

 

Pete

 

 

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I have checked all 4 of my relevant books, and online, and it is clear that there is still a lot of confusion about the changes in armament of these ships. About the only thing they can agree on is that the 4 double torpedo tubes were replaced in 1941 on Sendai and Jintsu, and yet in the Osprey book on IJN Light Cruisers they then show a drawing of Sendai "in 1943" with the old layout of tubes!

 

Years ago Tamiya and I believe Aoshima produced seperate "weapon sets"and at least one of them is hiding somewhere in my stash. I have however found a more recent Skywave aka Pit Road set.

DSC02715-crop

This is one of 3 identical sprues in the box and as you can see it includes paravanes, rangefinders, anchors, boats and davits, catapults, radars, light AA gun barrels and mountings, a few heavier guns (12cm and 12.7cm) and turrets suitable for destroyers, and various types of torpedo tubes. I believe they made similar sets for a number of navies covering both WWII and "modern" together with IJN floatplanes but they may no longer be in production as the prices on e-bay are silly. I will probably use some of the twin and triple 25mm AA guns as they seem finer than the kit ones, and perhaps replace the kit stern twin TT with a set of quads, plating over the forward mounting. If I then paint the floatplane (E8N "Dave" I think) in green/grey it will look more or less as it did at Midway.

 

Pete

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Hello Pete, this looks to be a very interesting subject, and looks to be quite some project. The weapons set looks pretty good too and should make quite a difference. I have had some Tamiya IJN ships with another set like that, and the difference in moulding between the weapon set and the kit is considerable.

 

Look forward to seeing this progress,

 

All the best, Ray

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Posted (edited)

Actually I have just realised that the Osprey version of Sendai in 1943 was correct - for some reason that ship did not have the twin TT replaced. I believe there was a shortage of quad mounts so not all of the 14 5500 ton cruisers got them.

Edited by PeterB

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An interesting build and nice history lesson, I do like these ranges of ships so will tag along!

Bob

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Posted (edited)

Hi Bob,

 

I have 16 boxes of the ruddy things in my roof. Most were built between 1972 and 1982 and the majority suffered some damage, particularly during a 150 mile house move. Several lost the tops of their masts and their jackstaffs, the floatplanes fell off and the odd boat came off the davits, but they are in a fair condition considering their age. To give you a feel for Japanese light cruiser development here are some pics of the first 3 classes.

Tenryu, lead ship of 2

Tenryu

Tama - 5  ship Kuma class

Tama

Natori from the 5 ship Nagara Class

Natori

 

I will complete the sequence once Jintsu is built.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Gidday Pete, Nice set of light cruisers you have here. Are you going to do Yubari, an Agano and the Oyodo? Regards, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff, 

Never did get Yubari and Oyodo, nor the Katoris, but I have Yahagi from the 4 ship Agano class. My Mogami kit was also in the "pretend" light cruiser mode with 15 x 6" guns on a heavy cruiser hull, which surprised me when I opened the box as I did not know about that little wheeze to get round the Washington Treaty limits. Like the IJN I rebuilt it to 10 x 8" Heavy as it was after they renounced the treaty. I will do a full "montage" once Jintsu is finished, which should not be long (famous last words)!

 

For those out there not familiar with IJN ships, the Yubari was an experiment in hull design by Vice Admiral Hiraga, and crammed 6 x 5.5" guns on a displacement of only 2900 tons. I won't go into the details, but the design allowed the IJN to build their later cruisers with more "bang" per ton of displacement that most equivalent allied ships to get round the treaty limits. The Oyodo was the only ship completed of the so called "modified Agano class" which, as in the Tone and Chikuma, put all the guns up front to allow a clear rear deck for more of thier beloved floatplanes, whilst the 3 ship Katori class were strange birds. With only 4 x 5.5" guns they were supposedly designed for "training seamen in ocean cruising" according to one of my books. With a speed of only 18 knots they were of limited use and at least 2 of them seem to have been used for anti submarine patrols.

 

Hopefully I will make a start on Jintsu today.

 

Pete

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Gidday again, the majority of my model ships to date are Airfix, and hence RN, RAN and Kriegsmarine but I would like to do some USS and IJN ships also. Decades ago I did Kumano (OOB and unpainted) and Yamato, both in 1/700. I'd like to do Yahagi and Suzuya in 1/600 one day, and some destroyers. They say "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". To me the Mogami class in their original form (15 x 6.1-inch) were the most beautiful of the IJN cruisers, followed by the Agano class. I have Mikuma and Tone in 1/350, unbuilt as yet. I don't usually make models in that scale but these were too much of a bargain at the time to pass up.

     Anyway, this is your thread, not mine so I guess I should stop yacking and follow your build.   Regards, Jeff.

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Hi Jeff,

 

If you did get the urge to build any of these 1/700 kits a word of caution. Tamiya and maybe some of the other manufacturers produced new mouldings for a lot of them at a later date, and some were also released with etch, brass barrels, wooden decks and even a wooden stand - though not always all of the above in any particular kit. Ads on e-bay do not usually distinguish between the different versions though the price can sometimes be a giveaway. If you want any of the smaller RN/US/German ships or any Italian and French ones you probably need to look at the likes of Trumpeter and Pit-Road (which incidentally are still available though mainly from Japan). The original series only really did "foreign" battleships, battlecruisers and carriers - perhaps they felt that the Japanese home market would have heard of say HMS Hood but not the likes of HMS Sheffield, which would be about the same as modellers over here when faced with IJN ships at that time. Incidentally, of the 4 main manufacturers, it is generally agreed Tamiya and Hasegawa were the best with Fujimi not far behind- the early Aoshima ones were crude by comparison.

 

Feel free to chip in anytime you want - that is one of the things I like about good GB. As I have said many times before,  it can be a bit like being in a modelling club where people don't just talk about the actual kit they are building, but all sorts of topics, not always related to modelling. One or two GB I have been in were a bit limited in dialogue and so not half as much fun!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

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So, time to start and the first thing to do is sort out the torpedo tubes.

DSC02734-crop-crop

As you can hopefully see the torpedo tubes were mounted fore and aft on both sides initially. The front ones were in a "well" in the deck and the rear ones were roofed over and fired through an aperture in the side. The twin tubes in all 4 positions, as seen on my "chopping block" by the front position were replaced by 2 quad mounts as seen to the rear, and the front position was plated in and used as crew space. I will use card to achieve that effect, and have filed down the top of the quad housing so it will fit correctly in the rear position, which is not actually tall enough for the ones from my Skywaves/Pit-Road set of spares.

 

The front space is rather complicated by a panel that goes over only part of the top and a set of moulded stairs that will get in the way. I will try and start on that on Saturday and after that it should be relatively easy.

 

Pete

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Posted (edited)

OK, I am up and running.

 

DSC02740-crop

I have "plated" over the well for the forward tubes, stuck the mine rails on the stern and assembled and fitted the 4 funnels. The Sendai class had their boilers and machinery rearranged compared with the previous 5500 ton light cruisers to reduce the risk of a single hit knocking all of them out. This meant that they were further apart so an extra funnel had to be fitted. In spite of this they are still the same length as the Nagara class and the Kuma class. As you can see I have given it a blast of primer, and will start painting it shortly.

 

When I first starting building the 1/700 waterline series of kits nearly 50 years ago I knew very little about warship paint schemes and the only “naval paints “ readily available were in the Humbrol Authentic HN range. There were 2 greys, HN1 which was a light grey, presumably meant to be RN overseas service grey, and HN2 which was a dark grey similar to RN Home Fleet Grey. I painted all my IJN ships in HN2 which was of course discontinued years ago, but Humbrol suggest H27 Dark Sea Grey is close – Jamie from Sovereign Hobbies says it is too blue for RN Home Fleet Dark Grey!

 

In reality HN2 is is probably too dark for IJN ships although the artwork on the box tops does usually show a dark grey. In his Colourcoats range, Jamie lists 4 different Japanese greys – Kure Arsenal, Sasebo, Maizuru and Yokosuka, whilst Tamiya do both Kure and Yokosuka - they vary in terms of darkness and green or maybe blue tinges. As far as I can work out Jintsu was last refitted before the war in Kure so I will use that grey even though it means it may not match all the other kits in my collection. As to camouflage patterns, the IJN did not seem to use them much until late in the war when the surviving carriers had some quite eyecatching dazzle pattern applied to break up their shape (doesn't seem to have worked very well as they were still sunk). As far as I can see, the only camo applied to the light cruisers was on Tama and Kinu when they participated in the diversionary landings in the Aleutian islands at the time of Midway (my wife has just got a free download of the new Midway film – must watch it). They both had the so called “Northern Waters” scheme consisting of white on the bows, near the stern and in patches on the superstructure - there is a lot of ice and snow in the Aleutians I gather. Anyway, Jintsu will be plain Kure Arsenal grey with “linoleum” red/brown decking - the fine raised lines running across the kit deck are the metal (brass?) strips that held the lino down, She would have a dark red /brown waterline, and all of these kits come with a thin plate in red plastic to glue to the bottom of the hull, so that makes painting somewhat easier - they also include a ruddy big weight to make them less prone to falling over if bumped.

 

More as and when.

 

Thanks for watching.

 

Pete

 

Edited by PeterB

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Starting to take shape now. The rear tubes are in and the base painted hull red and glued on.

DSC02750-crop

It has probably become clear by now that there are a number of inaccuracies/omissions with this kit, together with the fact that I am adding wartime modifications which require small changes. Starting at the bow, it would appear that all IJN surface warships had a gold painted round cast “Imperial Chrysanthemum” at the top of the bow- in some of the larger kits this is provided as a separate part and can be a sod to glue on. The part is not provided in this kit so I have used one from the Skywave/Pit-Road set (SPR from now) then painted it a mix of gold and “antique bronze” - need to tidy it up a bit.

DSC02746-crop

Moving back slightly, some of the kits have separate anchors but this has them moulded on the hull. I guess they would have been painted hull colour but they would no doubt rust pretty quickly so I have mixed a suitable colour and painted them and the anchor chains in it. The first time I saw one of this series of kits was in about 1970 in the window of a model shop in Bold Street in Liverpool, and somebody had made one up and weathered it, complete with rust streaks – I was smitten! I have never done that before, but I thought I would give it a go. Of course there should be rust all over the hull but that is a step too far for my limited skills as it is very small and the result would probably look well overscale..

 

Moving further back we come to the bridge and that is quite complicated. The actual “tower” structure contains a number of levels one on top of the other a bit like a pile of Lego bricks and there are various platforms both in front and behind. As originally built most if not all of the 5500 ton light cruisers actually had an aircraft hangar built into the bridge and a short flying-off platform at the front for a single landplane. However it required a very skilled pilot to get off without crashing and then they could not land back on so common sense prevailed and a catapult was fitted at the rear for a float plane, but some of the ships still had traces of the hangar in the bridge structure. The platform at the front was used to mount the quad 13mm mg, but I have not fitted that as part of my update so the platform is empty. However, where it is would be the flying off platform and behind it the plain face of the bridge is where the hangar was I believe. The bridges of those with the hangars still there are noticeably higher that ones without.

 

There are still another couple of layers to go on the bridge and the foremast behind it (yes I know it is the biggest mast but old sailing ship nomenclature still applies), but the lower rear platform should have 2 x 5ft directors on it. The kit only provided one for some reason and it was rather crude so I have replaced it with a pair from the SPR box. The platform above, like several others should have railings round the edge which were covered with canvas as a spray screen but is moulded with a solid rim. I have painted it as a canvas screen which illustrations show to be white, but I have toned it down a bit with grey - several other platforms will get the same treatment. The round "plinths" with a hole in the middle are where the 5.5" guns will go.

 

A lot of small fiddly bits to go on and the painting will be a pain, but it should not take that long - a lot easier to build than most of the other ship kits in the GB!

 

Cheers

 

Pete

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Posted (edited)

OK, final post for today.

DSC02753-crop

I have added the "navigation bridge" and its roof, together with what Osprey say is a 13ft optical rangefinder for the main guns - I used the one from the SPR set as the detail is better. For those of you who remember the 1950's film "Battle of the River Plate" this is similar to the thinly armoured box the actor Conrad Phillips (aka William Tell) was supposedly sitting in together with several other "crew" when it was hit by a shell from "Graf Spee" and when the Captain (John Gregson if it was supposed to be HMS Exeter as I recall) asked how he was doing he said words to the effect that it was "rather draughty". I also found that the SPR set does after all include some quad 13mm guns so I put one on the platform at the front - may not be right for Jintsu at Midway but what the heck - Sendai had it in 1943 according to at least 1 source.

 

I will not put the masts and boats/davits on at this stage as they are easily broken. Hopefully I will get the rest of the deck fittings on tomorrow. Still playing around with the "rust". This particular kit, like many of them, came with Japanese instructions - there is a colour call out but I cannot make sense of it. Some of the early ones with an "English" translation were a bit amateur - phrases like "for happy results use ----- paint" can't remember if Tamiya or Gunze Sanyo but nothing I had come across in the UK at the time.

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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Posted (edited)

A bit more progress today.

I am working on the 7 x 5.5" Type 3 gun mounts but in the meantime I have added a few more bits.

DSC02755-crop

Alongside the 2nd funnel are the tubs containing the twin Type 96 25mm AA guns from the SPR set and behind the 4th funnel are the triple Type 96 mounts. I have no idea what the "T" shaped object between the 2nd and 3rd funnel is, but between the 3rd and 4th is the secondary gun director for the main guns. the curious looking thing on the deckhouse behind the 4th funnel is a Type 90 Radio Direction Finding tower. In real life it was a lattice tower with a large DF Loop on top. Finally, at the rear we have the Kure Type No 21 Catapult Model 3 from the SPR set. Again it was a see through lattice structure in real life and probably replaced an earlier "powder" type catapult whatever that was.

 

Next I will put on the masts and the boats. In these kits the boats are always shown hanging from the davits, but in reallity most of them seem to have actually sat on a cradle on the deck with cables running up to the davits. I think I will uses some boats from the SPR set as they look better. Just found the bit on colour schemes I knew I had somewhere - with thanks to Osprey.


"All Imperial Navy light cruisers were painted in a dark navy gray. The basic shade was made up of a 75 percent white/25 percent black blend with a blue tint (this is very similar to the current color of modern Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ships). Each of the major naval depots in Japan exhibited an unintentionally slightly different shade of the basic dark-gray color. Maizuru was the lightest with Kure, Yokosuka, and Sasebo
each becoming darker. Later in the war as material shortages occurred, the base color became more silver gray in tint. The hull below the waterline was painted in a reddish-brown mixture of 65 percent brown, 20 percent red, 10 percent black, and 5 percent white. Black semi-gloss paint covered the upper part of the stack and the fore and mainmasts. Canvas was used in all blastbags and to cover reels and searchlights and as windscreens at various levels of the ship. This was white in peacetime, but in wartime was replaced by light-brown or gray canvas. Linoleum
covered the weather decks and was a dark-brown color. The linoleum was laid in 6.6-foot-wide sheets and joined by brass strips. On the training cruisers of the Katori class, the deck was covered in unpainted teak".

 

Pity it does not say what colour the ship's boats were.

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Edited by PeterB

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