Hello Steelnavy readers and fellow modelers. I thought I would share some photos of my current build, the IJN Shinano in 1/250 scale by Doyusha. Yes folks, the infamous "Bathtub Toy"!! After reading all the bad reviews on this kit I was leery about buying it. Being a glutton for punishment, I thought I would give it a go. It can't be that bad, I thought. Well I ordered the kit and it came a few days later at 125.00 plus shipping. The box art looked good! Upon opening the box I knew I was in trouble. Something just didn't look right. It was time for further reasearch. There are no known photos of Shinano except for one. I had to get plans. I contacted Pacific Front Hobbies and luckily Bill was able to fix me up. The plans are from MYCO of Japan and are very good. A bit pricey, as are all things from Japan but well worth it. After a comparison of the kit to the plans I was not surprised to see that the kit is way off. I was going to have to scratch-build 70% of this ship to get it close!! Also, there are only 12 aircraft and not enough guns. Lucky for me a guy I know at my local hobby shop had another kit lying around that he wanted to dump cheap so I picked it up. I now had 2 Bathtub Toys!! Well at least there was enough aircraft and more guns so I was ready to proceed. Let's move on to the photos and I'll try and explain things a little better.
Photo # 1: A pretty good shot of Shinano’s starboard side. I used the hull, the flightdeck, most of the guns, and a few platforms from the kit. Most everything else is scratch-built. The biggest amount of work is the hull sides, the gun tubs and the island assembly. In this photo you can see some of the scratch-built areas in white. I am in the process of priming these areas. The flight deck in the kit is pretty close to the plans, so I decided to use it . I made a few minor corrections. It also comes in three pieces so I glued them all together and did a lot of finishing work to make it look like one piece before attaching it to the hull. I have not yet added the elevator separations and other details, as that will come later.
Photo # 2: A pretty good shot of the island structure from starboard side looking about amidships. This entire structure was scratch-built using sheet and strip styrene plastic. The guns are from the kit as well as the main brace for the gun-tubs. The funnel is also from the kit but it needed to be modified. I cut off a quarter of an inch to get the correct height and sanded off all molded in details. I then added my own. Note the steam pipes. These are from HR Products and are cast metal. They are intended for a destroyer but they work well here. I have also added a few of the PE parts. Some of these were leftover from Yamato in 1/200 and the GMM fret. There are more detail to add yet.
Photo #4: Another shot of the island this time a view looking forward. Again shows the starboard side. The island is a complex structure and took me a while to fabricate. Also note the bracing under the platforms and gun tubs, made by using strip styrene. Adding this bracing is tedious at best but the end result is good I think. Very time consuming.
Photo #5: In this shot notice the funnel cap. I did this using PE brass mesh,strip, styrene, and telephone wire. The wind deflector on the forward. part of the main bridge is a little too big. I will doctor it up later. Portholes were drilled out after assembly. Gun directors are from the kit. The searchlight is also cast metal from HRP.
Photos #6 & 7: A couple more photos of the island area. Degausing cable on bottom part of island is made from wire. Again note the bracing under the gun tubs & platforms. This gives the model a little more depth.
Photo # 8: An overhead view of the island. Note the funnel area. More detail to be added later.
Photo #9: Port side view of island looking aft. W/T doors are cast metal. The bulge on the bottom of the island and on top of the flightdeck is made from balsa wood. I don't know what this is but it is on the plans!!
Photo # 10: Port side of ship looking aft. Note that the gun tubs and platforms are not yet braced, except for main support shaft. Also note main AA gun supports. These were made from balsa wood and tube styrene. I have drilled new portholes in the hull and corrected the bad ones. Also note the scupper pipes. These go down below the waterline which is also incorrect. They are molded into the kit hull and I don't know if I will remove them or not. ABS plastic, which the kit is molded from is difficult to work. I may leave well enough alone albeit it will be a little inaccurate.
Photo # 11: Starboard side view in the boat hanger deck area. You can see the bracing under the gun-tubs and platforms a little better here. Note the crane girder assembly. I cannibalized a few parts from the kit to make this. The parts are for the flightdeck girders in the kit. Since I have two kits I have a lot of spare parts. Bracing under crane girder is styrene rod. Later I'll add a lifeboat here suspended from the girder. Note portholes. These are all drilled out to the correct location, near as I can figure!
Photo # 12: Starboard side view of the stern. Note the girders holding up the flightdeck. I used these to make the crane girder on the boatdeck, I spoke of earlier. Also note the 3 AA Rocket launchers. I did not find any photos of these launchers so my representation of these is guesswork. .The platform they are on is another part I was able to use from the kit. A little inaccurate but close enough. There are four of these platforms on the ship, two forward. and two aft on either side of the flightdeck with three launchers per platform. You can see the props and rudders here, too. Again kit parts. The props are really a little too big and the shaft angle is too much. I made the struts for the shafts, which I also doctored up a little but I got the angle a bit too steep. Probably would work well for R/C. Rudder is also from kit and needs a little help too. The rear gun platform and related decks are scratch-built.
Photo # 13 & 14: Port and starboard views respectively of the bow area. The anchors are cast metal and are 1/144 scale meant for destroyers. This is a good example of using parts in different scales to accommodate things. The anchors in the kit look like something from Captain Nemo. I threw them in the parts bin along with a lot of other stuff.
Photo # 16: Again the bow area. The gun platform here is scratch-built too. Chrysanthemum is from kit and is a little too big. Again note anchors and bow line hause. A note on the AA guns. There is some mystery to these as to whether they were turrets (covered ) or not. I used the guns in the kit and they are represented as turrets as you can see. I did this for economic reasons. The only place to get open gun mounts in the same scale is the Arii kit of the Yamato. Even then there are not enough. You would need two more kits or mold them yourself with one kit. Either way it is either expensive or time consuming. I have some real neat artist’s representations of Shinano and they show the guns as turrets. On the plans I got the opposite holds true. Shinano was sunk before being fully completed and fitted out so who really knows?? I decided to go with what I have to work with.
Epilog: Well that’s where we are at the present. My goal is to try and make the Doyusha kit a good replica of the real Shinano, without spending a fortune or scratch-builing the whole thing. The kit is a real old mold and back in those days is was probably pretty good. Compared to today’s standards, it is really poor. I think I am about 85% accurate in the rebuild. Comments or questions are always welcome! Post a message on the board and I'll respond or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to Steelnavy and Steve Backer. Happy Modeling! Remember, the key word is HAPPY!!!! Bill Waldorf, Lowell, Michigan. (Editor's Note: There are no photos #3 or #15)