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

Continuing from last post (part 2), it’s time for painting!

I start with Mr. Surfacer 1500 black primer
IJN linoleum brown
Waterline is painted with the 50% linoleum brown 50% red
I scraped away the metal bracings with 1mm chisel (trumpeter tools)
Trial of patience complete
I added alittle bit of blue to IJN grey, also white to make it less dark.
I tried to make the base paint less dark than the final result because i usually paint the whole model with black wash which darkens the model.
This eliminates the need of trying to clean up the wash.
the peel…
(sorry for blurry picture) This is where i begin weathering, i use tamiya’s black and brown panel line wash to create variations on the hull.
I took this photo with my GX9, which shows the actual color much better than picture taken by phone.
This was exactly how the model looked at this stage.
I used PVA glue on the railings to recreate the white canvas
Once hardened, the railings are painted with oil paint (mixed using white and sand color)
I spend a week experimenting with 3D printing, in this batch i printed some reels and the timber.
Layer lines are usually a problem, but here they actually works well.
Ship modellers will understand the JOY of not having to build one of these reels again…
Another print of name plate, oars and llifebuoy. The oars took several trial and error to print.
I’ve seen people 3D print diorama bases for their model, but not for ocean.
I figured i’d give it a go, believing that i could make it work, I spend like 10 hours on sculpting the sea.
It did print! And fits perfectly, the hours of precise measurement paid off.
However i made the base much narrower inorder to fit the case.
I didn’t buy any aftermarket set for the motor boats, so i printed them. The layerlines were a big problem here on the curved hull.
I went ahead painting the boats, i thought the layer lines might look less obvious after painting.
Here i super glued little pins under the boats so i could hold them properly.
NOPE, sadly the layer lines are even more obvious. But other than that, they are quite nicely detailed.
I also printed a winch under the mast.
The 13.2mm machine guns took a long time to make, and it’s quite difficult to print too, only 2 good out of 6 due to how slim the barrel is. But 2 was all i needed.
The model at this stage, it’s already looking pretty incredible
I painted inside the lights with silver and topped it off with a drop of clear paint, it didn’t work well, perhaps i used the wrong clear paint.
I’ve seen some youtube tutorials done similar things for aircraft cockpit dials, Ill have to try again with the correct product in the future.
I reprinted the motor boats, this time sanding the layer lines. The result is much better
I added some straps (fivestar PE)
I tried to improve the aircraft with this PE set from Rainbow
The clear plastic is terrible to work with because it confuses your depth perception. It looks much more transparent and less white in real life.
Decals applied and painted.
However i think i didn’t sand down the wings enough, they still look like sausages, ill 3D print some replacement the next time i build an IJN ship.
Other than the riggings the ship is complete, so i started work on the base.
I added thinned PVA glue, tried to create some layers.
At this point, i added 4 layers of paint + wave medium + clear coat, it’s starting to look nice!
I tried to draw the foam like Studio Blue Ocean (, but it didn’t work, i’m not skilled enough yet.
This is the final layer, i really love the vivid blue color
I attached the ship to the base using expoxy glue, and begin the rigging process.
Here i used a very handy rigging PE from oceanspirit.
The rest of the rigging is Modelkasten 0.1
I find it very useful to plan the rigging in photoshop, i used layers to separate them into sections so i can toggle them on or off.
I mostly used Mr Oiso’s Chokai for rigging reference (

The Chokai is finally going to be completed once the rigging is done! I am super excited to see the final result of this long long project!

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[WIP] 1/700 IJN Chokai Heavy Cruiser [鳥海][重巡洋艦] Part 2

3D printing:

I want to quickly talk about 3D printing, when the build was about 80% completed, i purchased a 3D printer. I got quite distracted on learning all sorts of 3D modeling and how to work the printer itself. And spend a quite a few sleepless nights worrying about the print.
3D printer is such an amazing tool for modellers, for 1/700 ships, it can provide almost everything, given that you spend enough hours in 3D modeling software.
i found that even with this budget printer, i was able to achieve aftermarket level parts.
The biggest issue is layer lines, however they only become significantly visible with a macro lens.

But I really don’t want to give off the wrong impression that 3D printing makes everything easier, from my experience, printing is the easy part, the hard part is measurement, alignment and 3D modelling.
I used Blender3D, i sunk a good 20 hours in learning and tutorials before i started producing actual result, and component like the turret took me at least 2 hour to make. Compare that to making the model which is less than 30minutes.
The benefit really is the long run, i calculated my modelling spending from 2019 and 2020, other than tools and shipping, i spend $800AUD on model kits, but $1000AUD on aftermarkets parts. 3D printer should save quite alot especially these tiny parts consumes resin slowly.

Now continue with the build – The bridge:

I didn’t notice that the edge wasn’t suppose to extend out that far until i checked some references.
I was able to fix this by slowly chiseling and cutting away the extra plastics, it was a dangerous modification, i’m happy it turned out nicely!
I replaced the top director for the 3rd time, this time with 3D printing on my side, and with abit of PE from rainbow model (Rb7026 IJN Fire Control System I), i was finally able to recreate it.

Hangar Structure:

I started with creating a bevel to breakup the thick looking edge. This tool is from Ustar (UA91907), i don’t know what it’s called but it’s a very niche tool, this is the first time in a year i actually used it.
U-Star produces many modelling tools, i feel you get 80% of the tamiya quality, which is very decent, great for budget oriented modellers.
The kit does not have any internal details, but i don’t really blame them as it’s mostly hidden.
I decide to take a jab at creating the support structures with styrenes, normally i would just use PE, but i wanted to practice using styrene more.
I also added some random pieces of styrene around the hangar, it’s not historically accurate at all, but it looks nice
Here i started working on the mast, it’s a pretty simple structure but it’s difficult to align the rods. After careful alignment, i glued them into place, the white styrene platforms were added after i secured the tripod.
I used a hollow tube for the center rod, so at the top i was able to insert a smaller rod, which is sandwiched between a piece of random PE with a hole cut in half, recreating the reel structure.
With the lines attached, the hangar structure is mostly completed, i took a comparison shot.
rails attached, i found the easiest way to attach them is to use gel like CA to secure the end point, then very two or three studs add a little bit of thin CA, then clean the over spill with 1mm chisel.
At this point, i realized the kit was possibly inaccurate
A more detailed imagine of the structure confirmed the mistake, this picture was sent to me by twitter user @Gaku_Oiso, who is an excellent ship modeller with far more experience than me. Visit his blog:
My solution was 3D printing, as you can see the first print failed, both fit wise and had a bad case of residue, this was the first day of my 3D printing journey.
The second print was a perfect fit!
Railings attached, range finders added, the hangar structure was complete!
I was very satisfyed with the work i done on the hangar
At this point i was still planning to use the original kit’s turrets, the horizonal structure had no details, i had to add some stretched sprues.
I really dislike fujimi’s PE, it wasn’t a good fit, i had to shave off plastics from the part to make it fit better. I didn’t like how the PE set didn’t include anything for the horizonal structure, so eventually i was committed to print a 3D one.
Signal light tower, it was part of my 3D printing test
I did not sand it before attaching the railings, the layer lines really shows later on, which is bad.
I was pretty amazed i was able to print some fairleads
Originally i did not plan to recreate the vertical lines of the linoleum deck bracing, but i thought i already did so much i might as well.
it was really difficult to cut the strip without damaging existing strip, i had to re glue some of them.
Like i mentioned in part 1, glueing these strips can often have spilled over glue, which had to be cleaned with a 1mm chisel. A painful process but i think it’s worth it.
When I felt i have done most of the stuff on the deck, i begin to attached the railings, attaching the railings last is a simple way to minimize the chance of damaging them while handling the model.
Those 3D printed fairleads and smoke generators attached, after priming, it should look almost as good as aftermarket parts.
For the IJN cross shaped signal light, i was able to attach some 3D printed lanterns on it. Usually this part is just attached as a flat PE, so able to recreate those laterns was nice.
Final stuff added to the hull. Those C= shaped structures are apparently called inner propeller limiter, i drilled small holes and attached a bended a c shaped 0.2mm rod, the 2 extra supports are made from bars of cutted up railing PE.

Results so far:

I decide to take some nice photos of her before painting, i almost wish i could keep it that way! This is one of the most rewarding moments of 1/700 scale modeling, just look at all the work you done and claim the satisfaction!

End of part 2 of the build, part 3 will be painting the ship and riggings, i hope to finish this build within a month!

Link to part 3: HERE

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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.

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[WIP] 1/700 IJN Tenryu 天龍 (軽巡洋艦) Part 2

Resuming the build from [Part 1]:

Added support structures for mast and the canvas roof
This antenna thing (radio direction finder) was really difficult to make out of random PE parts i found.
The kit(1942 Tenryu) and most WWII IJN ships have the circular version, but 1926 Tenryu did not.
Antenna mounted, also completed rear torpedo resupply crane
forward AA platform, this was modified from a spare platform belonged to another ship, the kit’s platform doesn’t match 1926 Tenryu.
Depth charges
Before painting, i also decided to glue the life boat davits. I thought since i already added most stuff, might as well make the masking and painting even more difficult….
bridge and main mast
turrets: the plastic part is really thick, i had to shave them down abit with a file. Only the edges are reduced, giving the illusion of thinness
the blast bags are made from regular mr hobby putty. Originally i tried to use tamiya 2 part epoxy putty, but it didn’t really stick to the gun barrel. Using the standard putty was actually pretty good because i can use lacquer paint thinner to smooth and shape it.
i decide to take a good photo of her with all the golden PE parts before painting
Started with black primer (1500 mr hobby surfacer)
I made this “scraper” tool out of a bad tweezer, the hook shape is useful for this kind of things without damaging the railing.
Also, i did knock the forward mast off by accident, luckily it snapped clean off.
Masking with tape cut into little rectangles. This cutting template is really useful but it dulls the blade quite fast.
After painting the primary color, masking tapes are slowly peeled off
Basic color complete!
I noticed the rear mast was a bit too thick towards the top, i made a new one.
i added some very vague instruments for the bridge. It’s not really accurate, but it looks better than empty.
The canvas roof is something i been worrying about since the start of the build, i didn’t want it look too thick like a cotton blanket.
But i didn’t find any good material other than normal tissue paper. So i separated it to the thinnest layer and went ahead.
I put PVC glue on the tissue paper, it absorbed it really well
Once it hardens, i painted it and other canvas parts with white oil paint
Btw the dark and bright area on the hull is created simply vertical brushing with tamiya’s black panel liner wash, they seem to diffuse nicely when applied just the right amount.
It still looks abit too thick, but i think it looks pretty decent 🙂

Only rigging and weathering remains to be done.
Weathering is pretty minimal for 1/700 scale, and rigging is hard to capture with camera, so ill leave it here, hope you enjoyed looking at this build and look forward to the final result!

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[WIP] 1/700 IJN Tenryu 天龍 (軽巡洋艦) Part 1

See the finished model here!

This was supposed to be a ‘fast stash clear’ build (started in June 2020).
But i haven’t had much time to model, and as time dragged on, i started to pay more attention to details, and attempted new techniques, so this project might take a while to complete….

The kit is decent (made in 2015), my complaints are:
– Anchors are molded onto hull
– PE funnel caps requires folding to achieve the desired height
– bridge’s conning tower is moulded in halves, difficult seam line.

Due to me had a very memorable Tenryu game when i started playing WoWS, i decide to make the WoWS Tenryu instead of the kit’s 1940+ Tenryu.
The main modifications i must make is the bridge (more exposed with canvas roof), and mid ship structure is not joined.
From my limited research, WoWS Tenryu seems to be modelled after what she looked like in 1926.

The Build:

I begin with the bridge, the conning tower seam line was really bad, i had to use styrene to re create the slit windows.
I never tried to add panel lines to my ships, so i decide to try it here.
I also decide add PE portholes on the ship hull… i should not have done that because most photos of the Tenryu barely shows any extruded portholes. And it was tedious.
I cut the mid ship structures, and removed most of the details
started work on funnels
The WoWS Tenryu had a series of vents around the funnels, i really wish i had a 3D printer, as the styrene ones i made are abit uneven.
at this point i just have cross my fingers to hope they look good after painted.
Tenryu had some very tall masts, another reason i want to build the WoWS version, the 1942 version had a shorter front mast.
realized the torpedo cage i made earlier was a bit too short
added funnel caps, I wish the PE was thinner
The most boring part of the build: IJN linoleum deck bracket strips. I spread the work over 3 month, i would add one or two strips every day and it was finally over!
In future i would look for PE decks for this kind of ship.
Hand rails for the funnel, i lost the one provided by the kit, i had to use some spare railings.
i only glued the front and back of each railing, less chance of showing glue marks.
At some point during the build, i was really displeased with the portholes, i finally decide to rip them all off and went for a more simpler “scribing” method for the panel lines.
I used some back wash to check the lines, they are abit exaggerated, but with this experience, i will be confident to work on my USS Saratoga’s hull in the future.
The most difficult parts of the build are done, now i just need to figure out what the heck this is.