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[WIP] 1/700 IJN Chokai Heavy Cruiser [鳥海][重巡洋艦] Part 1

In my opinion, Takao class is the best looking heavy cruiser from ww2 era, very iconic, so Takao class has always been on my must build list, when I saw this Fujimi Chokai kit on sale I immediately grabbed it.
It was only after I realized there was no comprehensive PE sets for this ship (Among the 4 sister ships, flyhawk left her out….).

Heres what the kit looks like roughly assembled together, already looking impressive!

I encountered a build of the same kit by Vladi from the shipmodel forum, he pointed out some of the issues this kit had and other useful informations. I mostly followed his advice on what to modify.

I begin with the hull, if glued normally, there would be a really big seam line.
So I removed most of the details on the hull first then glued them together and sanded it smooth.
Deck details are also removed.
To create the hull plating, I tried a new method here, simply gluing styrene strips. I used 0.13mm thick styrene here, so it had to be further sanded down a bit.
After sanding the styrene and drilling out portholes, i scribed some plating seamlines.
I think this is one of the most obvious mistake i made, the vertical seamlines are too far apart. I did this around 2am so i had no idea what i was doing… note to self: don’t do anything important on a model after 12.
There is supposed to be a ‘lip’ around the torpedo ports on the takao class. I decide to use 0.2mm wires, the ‘template’ is made from tamiya 2 part epoxy pressed into the port with plenty of water so they don’t stick.
You can also use stretched sprue to achieve similar result, i simply tried this method to experiment.
using the hardened epoxy template, i can easily create the shape and glued it onto the hull.


The massive bridge is pretty complicated, after getting used to building destroyers and the Tenryu in 2020, which had tiny bridges, this was a change of pace for sure.
Here I can only roughly describe what i did, because i keep adding little bits and pieces onto it without documenting it too well.

Before modification, TBH other than the windows, the kit already looks really great, but when photos are taken at this distance, the details starts to look soft.
I first removed the unsightly mast and recreated the structure with brass rods.
For the red box area, i fixed the seamline using a black putty. It’s the first time using this putty, and i have to say it’s AMAZING for small models, because they don’t really dry until you cure it. So it gives me a much better control i can apply it by very small amounts.
More details are added
The resin parts here are from Rainbow model (rb7154) IJN fire control system IV. They are pretty amazing to look at. The only down side is the set only includes 4 of those small type90 lookout tower, and this kit needs 7. So the other 3 had to be scratch build in a closed position.
I also replaced the middle director on the top of the bridge for the 2nd time. I wasn’t happy with the original part as well as the first time
I also must point out from a few image of the Chokai i found, the kit’s bridge portholes were wrong too. I corrected them during the build.
I also worked on the main funnel area.
Note that one of the pipe wraps around the mast, thus i decide to secure the bridge, funnel and mast onto the hull first before attaching the pipe that wraps and other details.
Initially i followed the kit’s instruction and added those rectangular vents on both side.
This is the most controversial part of the build, i found out the kit could be wrong, from documents on the Takao (Anatomy of the ship Takao by Janusz Skulski), it shows the vent wasn’t a vent, it was a compartment for washing machine? And it’s asymmetrical too, the leftside had the heavy oil hose shed. The shape of the AA platform wasn’t square either.
There wasn’t a exact picture showing the Chokai had this setup, however i’m more leaning towards the idea that they were built from the same blueprint thus mostly identical. So i decide to mod this part.
Modded left side. Can also see i corrected the shape of the second funnel.
I’m not the best at scratch building a entire new part, this was the best i could do. I really need to invest in a 3D printer someday.
Before working on more super structure, i thought i should complete the deck first to avoid damage a finished mast.
The hatches are first glued on to a piece of styrene with CA, then the styrene is cut out and glued onto deck with normal thin glue.
Holes are drilled for the machined metal vents. Triangle supports are added around the turrets
Ahh linoleum bracing.. here we go again.
For the previous Tenryu build, i simply glued the strips with medium CA glue, which left abit of glue marks. Here i decide to use thin CA and clean the extra CA with a 1mm chisel. The result is very clean, but each strip took alot longer. The forward deck took me 5 hours.
At this point i was extremely bored with the linoleum deck bracing, i begin to create a sea base.
The base is cut out from a soft pine wood sheet, and adding clay on top. The center of the base is hollowed out, so i could place the ship at an angle, such as lowering the bow tilting at an angle.
It really make the ship look even more top heavy. But it think it’s really cool!
I’m thinking to add big splashes to both side of the bow and make the sea even more rough.

That’s all for part 1. It’s already a pretty long post, perhaps i need to do 3 parts for this build.
Part 2 will probably focus on the hangars and turrets, and part 3 will be painting and rigging.

3 thoughts on “[WIP] 1/700 IJN Chokai Heavy Cruiser [鳥海][重巡洋艦] Part 1

  1. Looks pretty good, please keep sharing your work with us

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