Fujimi 1/700 IJN Aircraft Carrier Kaiyo

KIT: Hasegawa 1/72 B-24J Liberator
KIT #: 400808
PRICE: $2400 yen in Japan
DECALS: Insignia for the air wing
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Etched steel fret included.


The Kaiyo was a escort carrier operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II. The ship was launched 9 December 1938 as the liner ArgentinaMaru. After the defeat at Midway, the Japanese Navy was in need of new carriers, and it was decided to convert the liner Argentina Maru into a carrier commencing 10 December 1942. Her diesel engines were replaced by destroyer type turbines. After the conversion was completed on 23 November 1943 she was renamedKaiyo. During the war the ship was mainly used as an aircraft transport. On 19 March 1945 while moored at Kure naval base Kaiyo was hit by an American air raid which caused flooding. On 18 July 1945 Kaiyo hit a mine which caused moderate damage. Few days later on 24 July 1945 the ship was again hit by British aircraft in an air raid this time causing severe flooding and the crew decided to ground the ship to prevent sinking. Further air strikes caused even more damage. After the war Kaiyo was refloated and scrapped from 1946 to 1948.


This is quite typical of current Fujimi kits with superb molding and few if any molding flaws. I did find a sink area or two, but those may well be hidden when the model is done. One ejector pin mark on the outside of a stack half is about it in terms of what will need to be removed.  Fujimi realizes the importance of scratch-free parts so each sprue is individually bagged.

The main hull is two halves and a flat bottom. This kit can only be built as a waterline model. Since it is an escort carrier built from a liner hull, it is not that large and there are not a ton of parts involved. Much of the construction will be taken doing the sponsons on the side that hold lifeboats, antennas and anti-aircraft guns. The flight deck is a single piece.

Typical of most Japanese aircraft carriers, there is not much in terms of superstructure and in fact, this one has none at all. Etched metal is used for the forward bridge structure that is under the forward flight deck. The signalman's platforms at the back are also etched metal as is the stack brace and a few othersmall parts. A clear sprue provides aircraft and includes four each of Zeros, Vals, Kates, and Jills. It appears from the instructions and only the Zeros and Kates are to be used. As usual with these waterline ships, a hefty weight is also provided.

Instructions are entirely in Japanese aside from the usual warnings (do not eat), and the names of the paints. Surprisingly, there are quite a few parts on the sprues that are not used, these mostly from the 'double' sprues that are provided. Paint references are in Gunze shades and you'll need access to Mr.Color lacquer paints for the unique shades that are given. The small decal sheet provides hinomarus for the aircraft.


To my knowledge, this ship has never been kitted before. Thankfully, Fujimi waited until its molding became top notch before attempting it. The result should be a superb model and one that won't take an age to build.



November 2008

Thanks towww.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line store.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page