A rebuild in modeling the Zuikaku is a struggle, at least for me. I always run into problems during building, sometimes based on the limitations of the model kit such as poor fit, sinkholes and misalignment but mostly because of my own limitation with regard to skills and capabilities. During the building process I able to solve most problems I meet but sometimes I'm just not pleased enough with the end results. Of course your capabilities are also your limitations and the ongoing process of improving your skills will tackle most modeling problems. I'm deeply impressed by the beauty and history of HIJM Zuikaku, whose sleek lines and form generates the wish to build me a copy of this beautiful and famous ship. The first model I bought was the Nichimo 30 cm line Zuikaku, a hybrid between a toy and scale model. Nevertheless I immensely enjoyed building my favourite. Where I live there was only the Tamiya 1/700 scale waterline series available, which of course were also built, but no Zuikaku. Later I learned that Fujimi has one available so with much effort, I ordered one aboard. This was quite a step up in comparison to the toy 30 cm Nichimo Zuikaku but it is still quite a simplified model and in my point of view less in quality than the Tamiya carriers that I had in my collection. Collecting information about the Japanese Navy was almost impossible, although we were at war with Japan as I live in the Netherlands. This part of our National history is almost completely neglected and certainly before the internet it was very hard to obtain detailed information. Through the Internet I learned of the existence of a 1/500 scale Nichimo Zuikaku.
This was now creating a certain unrest. I really wanted to build such a big model and searched for a nearby supplier. I was fortunate enough to buy a model and with much anxiety I awaited it's delivery. Finally it arrived and what an impressive kit it was. Although the building instructions were good, colour references were only given in Japanese. I decided to write to Nichimo in Japan with the request to help me out. Remarkably enough I got an answer back after more than two years when she was already finished. I had used the box art as reference, where the translated Nichimo instructions referred to quite different colours, the light green that I had used had to be a grey- green according Nichimo. As I wrote in my first line I always want to build according my best knowledge so having applied the wrong colours made me decide to strip the ship and to rebuild her. I normally use a very warm Caustic Soda (Sodium Hydroxide) solution. You need to use eye protection and gloves because it attacks the skin quite aggressively. As time passed I was able to obtain more detailed information about the appearance of this ship and sequentially she was stripped several times.. I already had her posted in anther finish on this site, so this is she in her latest build. As far as I can see she is quite updated according latest obtained information. She is certainly not perfect but I can live with her for now.. Undoubtedly there will be new more detailed information available in the near future so there always remains the possibility that she will be stripped again and rebuilt once more in the constant struggle to have a nice, detailed and accurate Zuikaku.
Harry van Baal