by Christian Hoeltge
1/700 T.101 class landing ship (Tamiya/5StarModel)
The T.101 class landing ship originated from the Japanese Navy's request to have fast transport vessels to supply the remote bases of the Japanese. First, the No.1 class landing ship was developed to take the Daihatsu landing craft and slide over a sloping rear directly into the water. On the other hand, there where the T.101 class and T.103 landing ship. The two classes differed mainly in the drive, the T.101 class had diesel drive, while the T.103 class had turbine drive. Sketches of American landing craft that had captured from Germany in North Africa were used as a template. The development took place in the second half of 1943 and already on 25.12. 1943, the first boat the T.149 was launched. The T.101 class landing boat was 80.5 meters long and 9.1 meters wide. It reached a speed of 13.4 knots. As a transport ship it could accommodate 320 soldiers and, for example, 26 tons of cargo and 13 type 95 Ha-Go tanks. The armament initially consisted of two 25 mm triple flak and a 76.2 mm cannon. This was constantly strengthened during the war.
My kit shows the boat T.149. This was put into service on February 20, 1944. On April 1, T.149 ran with a convoy from Tokyo to Saipan. It reached Saipan on April 10 and landed there nine Type 2 Ka-Mi amphibious tanks.
The model is from the already old Tamiya kit "Military Transport Set" where ever a No. 1 class and T.101 landing ship are included. The models are no longer state of the art, fortunately there is an update of 5StarModel for both ships. There is also a conversion kit from 5Star for the T.103 class 103landing ship, where another chimney is included. Only the fuselage is used from the original kit on the t.101 class boat. The superstructures are replaced by photo-etched parts. This brings a lot of better detailing without being unnecessarily complicated. Additionally, I replaced the 76.2mm cannon with one of 5StarModel as well. This is offered as a small kit itself with turned barrels. In addition I added boxes and oil barrels from 5Star on the deck to get it more fully packed. The Ka-Mi tanks are from L'Arsenal. The sailors are again from Shelf Oddity and Blue Ridge Model. The Daihatsu landing boats were also from 5Star to fill the water base. These are small models in themselves. The beach was created with Beach Sands by AK. On it I placed bushes from Warlord Games. The water was again made with the clear water effects of Vallejo. This was usefull here to create some depth effect on the beach.