Cyberhobby 1:350 USS Buchanan „Tokyo Bay“
KIT #: 1030
PRICE: $40.00 or so
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Frank Spahr
NOTES: Includes photo etch parts


I would like to refer to the preview of the original kit available in these pages. This boxing is the late war version with modified AA and a tiny figure of Gen. MacArthur added, because this ship carried the General to the USS Missouri for the Japanese surrender ceremony. This kit is every bit as detailed and sophisticated as the original boxing.


I wanted to depict Buchanan on the historic day in September, 1945, slowly steaming through the muddy waters of Tokyo Bay with the General occupying a prominent position and a lot of the crew visible. So obviously I haven´t come this far yet, as I am still waiting for affordable figures of good quality (any manufacturer listening here?)

The base was made in my usual method, applying wall paint to the Trumpeter display box using a large brush so that the surface is slightly irregular, then spraying acrylics to the desired hue, and then sealing with clear gloss lacquer.

The ship needed hardly any modifications, as the kit is truly one of the best ship kits around. I bought the GMM PE set as it seems to be superior to Cyberhobby´s own set; not everything was used, but I sure gave each choice some thoughts. The hull was modified as the demarcation between upper and lower hull seems to be right at the top end of the boot topping, and I wanted to show a bit of it. Hence, 1 mm styrene was glued to the hull, trimmed and sanded. Four screws were placed through holes drilled through the hull´s bottom and the base, and secured with resin. The screws were ideal for fixing the model in my vise and will finally secure it to the base. Sadly, despite all care, the base isn´t entirely flat, so there is a gap between the bow and the base. It´ll be filled with acrylig gel upon final construction.

The rest of the construction followed the instructions, with most assemblies save one deck house fitting very well. Even though I used the rather bland Ms. 21 overall blue scheme, I had to paint before completing assembly, if only for the anti-skid area decals, which worked so-so but yielded to Micro Sol and some careful cutting open of bubbles.

Despite the excellent kit, building it took its time, and my motivation wasn´t always at its top. I often wondered about it and upon discussing the experience with my friends, have this theory: This kit is so perfect it doesn´t need much creativity and initiative. Instead, you really need to follow a very long list of tasks to be performed to specs, and you´ll end up with a fine result. And that sounded a bit too much like work to me. I have the deepest respect for Tim Dike and the Dragon engineers, and obviously upon seeing the company´s latest releases, they produce the finest ship model kits in injected plastic ever; but my personal rather playful attitude feels more comfortable sawing and hacking merrily away at some old kit.

So it was quite some while that USS Buchanan sat on my bench, with some parts being added here and there. The many subassemblies simply take time and need consistent commitment to look OK, so I saw no sense in hurrying through. So I built the various gun turrets, directors, and the many AA guns using a mix of kit parts and GMM PE. The masts were replaced with turned brass items as they needed to stand the strain of the rigging. The bridge windows were drilled open, one of the very few modifications I undertook. Something I really appreciate about the kit´s design is that many fittings are provided as extra parts and not molded integral to the decks or superstructures – this eases painting a lot as you can pre-paint and then assemble and save a lot of tedious masking.

The most fun part of the project was painting the kit and bringing the monochrome scheme to life. I used oil paints in various manners of application and in various mixes of white, black, grey and blue. In the end, I was quite satisfied with the outcome.

The model was rigged using UNI flyfishing thread gauge 8/0 in black and tan, and the ultrafine Caenis thread with a gauge of 20 denier. The thread was glued using white glue and tightened using heat from a dental waxing instrument. I prefer this instrument not only since I learned how to use it in dental school, but also because it loses heat the longer you apply it to the model. That way, I see less danger of inadvertently applying too much heat.

After everything came together, the model was given a flat coat and screwed to the base. Now it is waiting for a crew for the time being.


An excellent kit, especially in conjunction with the GMM set. Anyone being patient and committed enough will be very happy with it and end up with a credible model of this proud warship!

Frank Spahr

August 2010

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