IJN Fuso
by Julian Marsh

1/700 IJN Fuso, 1944 (Aoshima)

My apologies that thereís no photo here that shows the entire model. To see the Fusoís full silhouette, take a look at one of the other builds shown on this site.

This is the first scale model Iíve built as an adult. Itís been several decades since my last model. I took my time and took a year to complete the model. All of the techniques were new to me, so I had to develop my skills. Iíve gotten innumerable pointers from all the skilled modelers of the local IMPS chapter here in Anchorage. Early on, I located a copy of the Anatomy of The Ship title for the Fuso. My model depicts the Fuso as it is portrayed in the Anatomy book, after itís final refit and shortly before the US Navy blew it to bits.

The Aoshima kit seemed sharply molded to my novice eyes, but with a few inaccuracies that required correction. The most significant correction I had to make was to the aircraft handling area at the aft of the ship. As molded into the kit, this area seemed to be more accurate for the Fusoís sister ship, the Yamashiro. Using the detailed drawings provided in the Anatomy book, I carefully shaved off the aft deck details, re-scribed the linoleum area, and reattached the deck details in the correct locations. I could have saved the trouble and bought the resin kit for the ship, but what fun would that have been? The other noteworthy correction was to the light AA tubs on the front and sides of the forward superstructure, just above the forward main turrets. The centerline tub for the two triple 25mm mounts had to be shortened and the gun directors removed. I scratch-built the adjacent wing tubs, which each holding a 25mm single.

The Flyhawk photo etch kits were a joy to work with. Flyhawkís Fuso-specific kit, 700008, contains an outrageous excess of detail parts. I ended up using only about half of the bits provided. The other two PE kits used were 700068 and 700069, which provided the 25mm AA guns. The Flyhawk guns in particular are extremely well designed for ease of folding and assembly, with relief etching providing not only additional detail, by also fold-grooves to help you get the folds in the right places. Prior to going for the Flyhawk single 25mm guns, I attempted to use the Joe World offering, which proved completely impossible to fold and assemble to my satisfaction.

Stuff I would have done differently given hindsight: overall, the ship is a bit darker than it should be for Kure Arsenal Grey paint. This is because, in the process of learning how to do the wash, which I did with thinned oil paint, I ended up inadvertently creating a filter effect; I forgot to do a degaussing cable around the perimeter of the hull; a bit more rigging would have been nice; everything was hand-painted, and in the future I hope to develop some airbrushing skills.

My trusty Sony T7 provided the microscope-like photographic views.

As of spring, 2011, Iím working on a kit-bash of Dragonís 1/700 USS San Diego, CL-53, which Iím building as USS San Juan, CL-54.

Julian Marsh

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