Tamiya 1/700 IJN Shikinami

KIT #: 7753
PRICE: $9.95 (originally 65 cents)
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Part of the original waterline series


Shikinami (敷波"Spreading Waves"?)  was the 12th of 24 Fubuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. When introduced into service, these ships were the most powerful destroyers in the world. They served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, and remained formidable weapons systems well into the Pacific War.

Construction of the advanced Fubuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's expansion program from fiscal 1923, intended to give Japan a qualitative edge with the world's most modern ships. The Fubuki-class had performance that was a quantum leap over previous destroyer designs, so much so that they were designated Special Type destroyers (特型Tokugata?). The large size, powerful engines, high speed, large radius of action and unprecedented armament gave these destroyers the firepower similar to many light cruisers in other navies. Shikinami, built at the Maizuru Naval Arsenal was the second in an improved series, which incorporated a modified gun turret which could elevate her main battery of Type 3 127 mm 50 caliber naval guns to 75° as opposed to the original 40°, thus permitting the guns to be used as dual purpose guns against aircraft. Shikinami laid down on 6 July 1928, launched on 22 June 1929 and commissioned on 24 December 1929. Originally assigned hull designation “Destroyer No. 46”, she was completed as Shikinami.

The 4th Fleet Incident occurred only a year after her commissioning, and Shikinami was quickly taken back to the shipyards to have her hull strengthened.

Operational history

On completion, Shikinami, along with her sister ships, Uranami,Ayanami, and Isonami, were assigned to Destroyer Division 19 under the IJN 2nd Fleet. During the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Shikinami covered landing of Japanese forces in Shanghai and Hangzhou. From 1940 on, she was assigned to patrol and cover landings of Japanese forces in south China.

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Shikinami was assigned to Destroyer Division 19 of DesRon 3 of the IJN 1st Fleet, and had deployed from Kure Naval District to the port of Samah on Hainan Island, escorting Japanese troopships for landing operations in the Battle of Malaya at the end of 1941.

In January–February, 1942, Shikinami was assigned to the escort of the aircraft carrier Ryūjō as it conducted air strikes in the Java Sea. During the Battle of Sunda Strait on 1 March, Shikinami entered the battle late, but contributed by firing the final torpedo, which sank the United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Houston, She escorted troopship convoys from Saigon to Rangoon through the remainder of March. From 13–22 April, she returned via Singapore and Camranh Bay to Kure Naval Arsenal, for maintenance.

On 4–5 June, Shikinami participated in the Battle of Midway as part of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s main fleet. Shikinami sailed from Amami-Ōshima to Mako Guard District, Singapore, Sabang and Mergui for a projected second Indian Ocean raid. The operation was cancelled due to the Guadalcanal campaign, and Shikinami was ordered to Truk instead, arriving in late August. During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on 24 August, Shikinami escorted the fleet supply group to Guadalcanal. She was assigned to numerous "Tokyo Express" transport missions to various locations in the Solomon Islands in October and November.

During the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal on 14–15 November 1942. Shikinami was attached to a scouting force under the command of Rear Admiral Shintarō Hashimoto in the light cruiser Sendai. Shikinami survived the battle without damage, and returned to Kure by the end of the year.

In January 1943, Shikinami escorted a troop convoy from Pusan to Palau and on to Wewak. For the remainder of January–February, she patrolled out of Truk or Rabaul. On 25 February, Shikinami was reassigned to the IJN 8th Fleet.

During the Battle of the Bismarck Sea on 1–4 March, Shikinami escorted a troop convoy from Rabaul to Lae. She survived the Allied air attack on 3 March, which sank her sister ship Shirayuki and rescued Rear Admiral Masatomi Kimura and other survivors. After returning to Kure briefly in March,Shikinami continued to serve in an escort and transport role in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea area through the end of October 1943. At the end of October 1943, Shikinami was refit in Singapore, and assigned to escort of transports between Singapore and Surabaya and Balikpapan for the remainder of the year.

At the end of January 1944, Shikinami escorted the cruisers Aoba,Ōi, Kinu, and Kitakami on a resupply run to the Andaman Islands, and towed the torpedoed Kitakami back to Singapore afterwards. In a month-long refit in Singapore from mid-March-mid-April, additional anti-aircraft guns were fitted. In May–June, Shikinami made numerous escort missions between Singapore, the Philippines and Palau. During a troop transport mission to Biak as flagship for Admiral Naomasa Sakonju, Shikinami came under a strafing air attack, which set fire to her depth charges, which were jettisoned just before they exploded, killing two crewmen and wounding four others. Shikinami continued to escort ships between Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines from June–August, rescuing the survivors of the torpedoed Ōi on 19 July. On 12 September, after departing Singapore with a convoy bound for Japan, Shikinami was torpedoed by the submarine USS Growler 240 nmi (440 km; 280 mi) south of Hong Kong at position 18°16′N 114°40′E. Eight officers and 120 men rescued by Mikura, but her captain — Lieutenant Commander Takahashi — and Rear Admiral Sadamichi Kajioka were killed in action.


Back in the early 1970s, I was stationed at NAF Atsugi and it was there that I got interested in building models again. The nearby town of Yamato had a nice little hobby shop that I would frequent every payday in order to buy kits. It was there that I was introduced to the waterline series and thanks to the very favorable yen/dollar exchange rate, I was able to eventually purchase every ship in the series, building most of them to what is now a rather basic standard. This 250 yen kit worked out to about 65-70 cents with the big battleships and aircraft carriers being nearly 2 dollars. Even on my meager pay of the time, buying these kits was not going to break the bank. When I saw this one at the LHS from a collection the owner had bought, I figured it was worth reintroducing myself to this kit that I'd built forty years back.

The kit was in mint condition with the dark grey plastic in a sealed bag and even the small tube of Tamiya glue intact. Typical of all waterline kits from then, the kit includes a rather substantial weight and the bottom hull piece is molded in red. The upper hull piece has a rather large sprue attachment point, something I do not recall from way back when. The overall molding of the parts is very good. Tamiya's plastic at the time was a bit on the brittle side so one will need to take care when removing bits from the sprue.

I am not sure if this is the later incarnation of the ship, but the kit comes with three sets of quad torpedo tubes, the fore and aft main gun turrets with individual barrels. These barrels have the blast bags molded in place. The two stacks are molded in three pieces with two sides and a top. The bridge is a rather simple construct as is the aft section. This latter piece has several of the triple AA gun mounts and there is a similar mount amidships and forward of the bridge. Two single AA guns are placed forward of the aft stack. On the back are two depth charge racks. A pair of lifeboats and davits are on both sides of the main hull.

Instructions are in Japanese but with nice drawings that are easy to follow. This one is painted an overall dark grey; about the same shade as the plastic. The only color comes from the white blast bags, stripes over the ends of the torpedo tubes and the interior of the life boats. Those who want to add a bit more detail will get p.e. rails and rig the radio wires. There is a small decal sheet that has a fantail flag as well as the logos and number of Destroyer Division 19, which would have probably been painted over once the war began.


While not up to the standards of today's waterline ships, this one is still quite nice and has not been replaced by something more modern. Availability is unknown, but it can be found. If this sort of thing is your penchant, then I can recommend seeking it out.




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