Aoshima 1/350 I-20 Submarine

KIT #: 000380
PRICE: 3000 yen SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Cruiser submarine Type-C (巡潜丙型 Junsen Hei-gata?) was one of the first classes of submarine in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) to serve during the Second World War. Type-C submarines were better armed than the Type-A and Type-B. The Type-Cs were also utilized as Kō-hyōteki or Kaiten mother ships, for this reason they were not equipped with aviation facilities.

The I-20 was part of the basic type C class and completed in September of 1940. Her record is:

Damaged HMS
Ramillies on 09-05-1942 by Kō-hyōteki.
Damaged RMS
British Loyalty on 09-05-1942 by Kō-hyōteki.
Sank Panamanian merchant ship
Johnstown on 05-06-1942.
Sank Greek merchant vessel
Christos Markettos on 08-06-1942.
Sank RMS
Mahronda 11-06-1942.
Sank Panamanian merchantman
Hellenic Trader on 12-06-1942.
Sank RMS
Clifton Hall on 12-06-1942.
Sank Norwegian merchant ship
Goviken on 30-06-1942.
Sank RMS
Steaua Romana on 30-06-1942.
Damaged unknown merchant ship on 03-12-1942 by

Her exact fate is in question. According to the reference she was either sunk by USS
Ellet at New Hebrides on 03-09-1943, or sunk by USS Eaton at Vella Lavella on 01-10-1943.


Aoshima's I-20 kit depicts a o-hyoteki carrying submarine. The ko-hyoteki was a class A midget submarine, one of 50 built by Japan of which five were used in the Pearl Harbor operation. It is I-20's ko-hyoteki which damaged the HMS Ramilles at anchor in the harbor of Diego Suarez, Madagascar.

The kit itself is superbly molded and free from any molding glitches. There are five sprues with two of them in black. It is obvious from the sprue IDs that the I-20 is only their most recent Class C boat as four of the sprues are labeled for the I-16, I-19, and I-27. The kit is designed to be built either on the surface or submerged. If you choose the latter, the total parts count in the build is quite reduced with most of the deck stuff and the periscopes being retracted. In both instances the midget sub is included.

There is a small photo etch fret included with the kit and that is designed for the midget sub in terms of tube guards and the hold down straps. The other pieces of the fret are apparently not used. The kit also includes a display stand. One will be installing nuts to the inside of the lower hull through which screws are used to hold the boat to the stand. Aoshima recommends one of their photo etch frets to provide additional detail and etched rails. One neat item provided and not shown is a brass barrel for the deck gun. This is an optional part.

The instructions are well drawn and show two different build sequences. One is for the surfaced sub and the other for the sub as under water. The vast majority of the instructions are in Japanese with the first third of the booklet being a history of the sub. What English is used is a bit difficult to understand, but you'll get the idea. A nicely done decal sheet is included. It is obvious that this sheet is for all their similar sub kits as one only uses the I-20 conning tower markings. The completed sub will measure out to a bit over a foot in length, a decent size for the display shelves.


We do not see many Japanese submarine kits on this side of the big pond and it is nice to be able to have one available to us. Looks like a pretty straight-forward build that should turn into a fine model.


My thanks to for the review kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or ask them to order it in for you.

February 2012

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