Aoshima 1/700 IJN Battleship Mutsu








Garry Beebe


New tool kit


Mutsu Data: After 1936 reconstruction
Length overall : 737 feet
Beam : 113 feet
Weight : 36,800 tons
Armament : 8x16 in. Guns (4x2's)- 20x5.5 in. Guns- 4 twin 12.7 cm AA Guns- 10 twin 25 mm AA guns
Machinery : 4 Kampon Turbines, 80,000 SHP - 4 Shafts
Speed: 25 knots
The Mutsu, along with her sister ship the Nagato , were completed in 1920-21. Japan designed and built this Battleship superior to any possessed by any of the  traditional Naval powers. The Mutsu introduced the 16 inch gun, and were extremely well protected. They were even faster then the British 15 inch gun Queen Elizabeth class fast Battleships. The hull design was modeled on that of the Ise class, but with many improvements added in the area of, speed, armament and Armour .

From 1934 to 1936 the Mutsu was reconstructed along the same lines as the Fuso and Ise classes. The massive Pagoda type bridge structure or tower was constructed, the stern was extended , increasing length to 737 feet. Anti torpedo bulges increased its beam  to 113 feet 6 inches.

After Armour and superstructure were added on, that added another 3,000 tons extra to the ships weight. In December 1941, the Mutsu and Nagoto formed the first division of the first Battle fleet.
The Mutsu played little role in a war dominated by aircraft carriers. And on June 8, 1943, the Mutsu was destroyed by an internal explosion in the fitting out Basin at Yokosuka navy yard. The cause of the explosion that sank her remains unknown! This kit is a model of Mutsu at the time just before she sank.



The kit comes as a one piece hull, with a separate flat waterline base. 5 sprues of parts, plus 2 sprues of upgrade parts which include the ships boats, float planes, AA guns, catapult and other hardware for detailing your model.The instructions are in Japanese so you are on your own, and must find references for the paint colors and detail. There are good step by step drawings though, taking you thru the construction of the kit. The parts are all numbered for placement.



Starting off with the hull, before doing any painting. I decided assemble the superstructure first, which is done by gluing  and stacking the parts in the correct sequent according to the instructions. There are 4 poles that each part must slide down to fit each level in the proper place. The parts fit well and were easily lined up with the corresponding pegs and holes.

There are three main body's to the superstructure, the main forward structure which contain the bridge. The stack, which support the structures for search lights and AA guns, and the aft structure for fire control and the main mast. All these fit well with no problems.



Next I wanted to paint the deck before I added the smaller hardware and turrets. I used Model Masters flat tan # 2021 for this. For 1/700 scale I like to brush paint the model, having good results. I first painted all the molded on deck hardware the hull color, this makes it easier then waiting till after the deck is painted. Then I started brushing the paint on beginning at the bow and working my way back carefully painting around all the deck hardware and structures.

Next I painted the flight deck. Painting the turntables and deck fixtures the hull color first. Then I painted the deck itself with Tamiya acrylic red brown XF-64 , the color of the linoleum they used on the steel decks. I came back after the paint dried, and dry brushed the rails and deck fixtures with the hull color to touch them up and highlight there appearance. I decided before anymore painting to attach the 5.5 inch guns to the hull so they would bond plastic to plastic. Also attaching the search lights, fire control units and antennas.

Now it was time to paint the hull and superstructure. I was to use model masters gunship gray # 1723, which by itself is a little to dark for IJN ships in general, so I added flat white # 1768 and mixed to just lighten it up a bit. I painted the hull, then the superstructure. Using a fine pointed brush, I carefully painted along the edges of the painted deck. Then finished painting the rest of the larger area's.


I next assembled the main gun turrets, attaching barrels and range finders. I painted the blast bags on the base of each barrel before gluing them in place. I then painted the turrets the hull color. But the barrels I painted with straight gunship gray as they are darker in the photo's I have seen. For attaching the turrets to the deck, the kit comes with rubber grummets . they are glued in place and the pegs on the turrets are pushed in these grummets  allowing the turrets to swivel. Next I painted all of the ships boats, AA guns, catapult and float plane. Note: Don't use these items that are on the main sprue. as they are crude at best. But use the replacement parts that come with the kit, in the upgrade set. These are nicely detailed.

For the AA guns, I painted them with Model masters titanium Metalizer, the 5.5 inch guns also. This gives them a realistic metallic finish. After these are all painted and detailed , they were attached to there places according to the instructions. Following this I attached the aircraft lift crane to its position on the side of the deck. The mast was painted after the three piece structure  is assembled. It is painted in two colors, the lower half is painted the hull color and the upper half is painted flat black. This was done because the smoke from the stack would stain the upper mast and by painting it black , the stains did not show!

Now I attached the mast, lining it up so it was strait from all angles. At this time I also added the ships boats crane, just in front of the rear superstructure. I also painted the anchor chains and anchors titanium , and attached them to the mortises in the bow and stern. I painted the search light lenses flat white for this is how they appear in photos.

The last part of construction is adding the waterline bottom. The edge of this I painted with testers flat red # 1150. After painting, The steel ballast weight can be attached to the inside of the waterline bottom inside its mortise . I use putty to hold this in place. Then the waterline bottom was glued in place to the hull and weights set on top of the deck to hold it down and left set over night.

For a Final touch to the model, I used gold paint to put the sun insignia on the tip of the bow.



I have to say, This was the best fitting and most highly detailed 1/700 plastic kit I have ever built! I can not add anything else to that. It was a pure pleasure to build and I look forward to building its sister ship the Nagoto. I would recommend this kit to anyone beginner or artist that enjoy IJN 1/700 scale Warships!



Janes Battleships of the 20th century by Bernard Ireland

 This kit courtesy of myself

December 2002

Garry Beebe


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