I make no secret of the fact that I particularly like Japanese warships and among them heavy cruisers. Apart from the U.S. heavy cruisers of the Baltimore Class and the German "Prinz Eugen", those were probably the most powerful heavy cruisers of the 2nd W.W. The Takao Class heavy cruisers can be considered as the highest point reached by the Japanese naval industry on these kind of vessels.

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I decided to build the IJN heavy cruiser MAYA because she was the only cruiser, of the Takao Class, to be converted to an AA cruiser. This happened after she suffered bad damage during a raid on 5th November 1943 from U.S.S. Saratoga aircraft, at Rabaul IJN naval base. My model depicts the MAYA on 17th October 1944, at Lingga Roads, just a few days before being sunk on 23rd October 1944 by four torpedoes launched by U.S. submarine "Dace", in the Palawan Passage, north of Borneo, while MAYA was underway to Philippines with Vice Admiral Kuritaís Fleet. The kit is the 1:700 scale Pit Road version and Iíve improved the model with a lot of scratch-building and tons of photo-etched parts.

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Itís quite impossible to me to show how much scratch-building was involved during the construction of the MAYA. I can only say that this model is by far the most scratch-built, detailed and improved ship I have ever done. The original Pit Road kit is composed of about 200 plastic parts but at the end of my work, more then 3500 parts went into the model. Iíve used photo-etched parts from Tomís Modelworks, Gold Medal Models, Fine Molds, Joe World, White Ensign Models, Hasegawa and Pit Road, together with metal sets from Pit Road (203 mm. gun barrels) and Clipper Models (127 mm. gun barrels and different sizes of mushroom vents). For all of the photo-etch parts not existing and, naturally, not included in the PE sets, Iíve worked and adapted other PE parts taken from my personal "used PE parts bank".

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The tripod main mast is made of metal rods of different sizes and rigging is obtained by sprues. The tower bridge structure, funnels, central structure (around the funnels) with its 25 mm triple machine guns, the aft structure under the tripod main mast, 203 mm. gun turrets and rangefinders, 127 mm. AA guns, aircraft deck and all the details on the main deck were heavily improved or scratch-built.

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The Aichi E13A1 "Jake" Navy type O reconnaissance floatplane is scratch built and the canopy is open. MAYA was airbrushed with White Ensign Models Colourcoat WEM CC04 Ė IJN Yokosuka Grey-, referring to Snyder & Short Enterprises information contained in their "Imperial Japanese Navy World War II Ship Colors", and softly dry-brushed with three different shades of grey. The linoleum decks were painted with WEMCC10 Ė IJN linoleum and dry-brushed with light brown and yellow.

Photo-Etched Parts

Tom's Modelworks





IJN Heavy Cruisers




Pit Road

PE 111

IJN Heavy Cruisers Takao Class


PE 131

Sailor set




Fine Molds

AM 04

IJN Ship's Accessories: anchor & chain set


AM 06

IJN Vessels: 25 mm. single MG


AM 08

IJN Vessels: type 96 25 mm. twin MG


AM 10

IJN Vessels: type 96 25 mm. triple MG (armored)


AM 11

IJN Vessels radial boat davits set (large)


AM 12

IJN Vessels boat accessory set


AM 20

IJN Searchlight set 2 for BB - CV - CA


AM 23

IJN Catapult Kure Type 2 Model 5


AM 35

IJN Takao Class basic set


AM 36

IJN Takao Class - Takao & Atago advanced set (1944)




Joe World

V - 09A

IJN Radar Type 21


V - 10A

IJN Radar Type 13


V - 12A

Direction Finder (D.F.) antenna





3S - 03

Radial boat davits set


3S - 05

Cable reels




White Ensign Models

PE 728

IJN A.A. weapons


PE 729

IJN doors


PE 736

Ship wheels




Gold Medal Models





Naval ships



Gold plus IJN railings



IJN Cruiser/Destroyer




Metal Sets

Pit Road

GB 02

IJN 203 mm. Gun barrels




Clipper Models


IJN 127 mm. Gun barrels



Mushroom vents



Mushroom vents

Sources: Books & Magazines

3D CG - Takao Class

Gakken n. 16 - Takao Class

Anatomy of the ship - Heavy Cruiser Takao

Profile Morskie n. 15 - Maya

Profile Morskie n. 7 - Chokai

Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy n. 10 - Takao, Atago, Chokai, Maya

Tamiya News Supplement - Random Japanese Warship details Vol. 1

Tamiya News Supplement - Random Japanese Warship details Vol. 2

Mechanism of Japanese Warships n. 3 - Heavy Cruisers

Super Illustration n. 464 - The Heavy Cruiser Takao 1927 - 1937

Model Art - Ship modeling Special n. 2

Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy 1869 - 1945

Drawings of Imperial Japanese Naval Vessels n. 2

Ships of the World n. 441 - Japanese Cruisers

Gli incrociatori della Seconda Guerra Mondiale - di Giorgio Giorgerini

Cruisers of World War Two - An international Encyclopedia

Model Graphix Navy Yard - Special Issue 5/2004

Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War - Lacroix, Wells

All about Japanese naval shipboard weapons


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