1⁄351/700 IJN Chikuma Heavy Cruiser
The History of IJN CA Chikuma, Tone Class
Commissioned in May 1939, IJN Chikuma, Tone class CA (heavy cruiser) of 11215-tons, was designed to provided a large seaplane capacity for long-range scouting missions, and was extensively employed with aircraft carriers. One of her planes flew a pre-strike reconnaissance mission over the Pearl Harbor on the infamous December day, and she participated in the capture of Wake Island. After six months of victories, Chikuma suffered the decisive defeat of the Japanese navy at the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Later Chikuma operated with the carriers during the Guadalcanal Campaign, moderately damaged by American SBD attacks during Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October.
Sent to Rabaul to counter the 1943 Allied landings on Bougainville, Chikuma was lightly damaged by U.S. carrier planes on November '43. In 1944 she participated in a cruiser raid in the Indian Ocean, then fought in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Oppossing our invasion of Leyte, Philippines, Chikuma engaged U.S. escort carriers in the Battle off Samar, helping to sink USS Gambier Bay (CVE-73). Subsequentally, after a TBF blew her stern off with a torpedo, she scuttled later on 25 October 1944. The DD that rescued her crew was soon sunk and only one of Chikuma's survivors survived.
The Small rendition of the Chikuma
The AAA guns are pretty good, as is the deck detail, but the rest of the kit features seam lines, sink marks, troublesome fit, and basic detail. The waterline base is a bit too big for the one-piece hull, trimming suggested. The funnel halves are off-register, and the exhaust cap doesn't fit well, either, leaving a gap between the exhaust and funnel. The ship had a white line around the stack, so I covered the gap with a piece of unpainted styrene--two birds, one stone.
But the emperor has new clothes. Fujimi released a version with decals for the brown linoleum that IJN covered its decks with. Brass bands ran between the segments (these are the raised lines running accross the deck), and brass band decals are here, too. The decals worked well. Amazing how well they lined up over the deck details. However, they were to tight, overlapping the barbettes and superstructure. One might want to cut small incisions in the clear areas that overlie metal deck fittings. Originally I used the Micro Scale system. Micro Sol crinkles the decals irrepairably. But Solvaset on decals applied over Micro Set settled great. The deck brass bands are excellent! There are Hinomarus for the five scoutplanes (They also reflect their age) supplied in the kit. Planes from a Skywaves' Heavy Ship detail set replace them, as well as the 20cm main battery, the 9m motor launches and davits for the forward whaleboats. Stretched sprue and fine copper wire rig the vessel, and copper wire makes the mast atop #2 main battery. Model Master acrylic IJN paint was airbrushed on, sealed, and weathered with water-soluble oils for rust and shading.
Overall, it is still a reissued old kit with sinkholes and mold marks, fair detail and some fit problems. Rivet-counting from a tome of IJN Cruisers of the Pacific War shows the AAA compliment is for late-1944 Tone. Chikuma mainly had single AAA guns in lieu of the triple mounts of the kit. I find the decals are novel but think they are not much a work saver over painting--except for the brass bands. Last night I checked Hobby Link Japan and this kit is out of stock.
Chikuma History www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-c/chikuma2.htm
Under attack, Santa Cruz www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h82000/h82404.jpg
Rabaul raid www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/g80000/g89107.jpg
Hobby Link Japan (online shop) www.hlj.com
Copyright ©2020 by Fred Rick Boucher. Images and/or videos also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely the views and opinions of the authors and/or contributors to this Web site and do not necessarily represent the views and/or opinions of Armorama, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2005-08-16 00:00:00. Unique Reads: 25353