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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:45 pm 
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Some cons:

I’m still not a fan of Fujimi’s smaller equipment such as the 25mm AA, boats or searchlights. These are much better than in past kits and fine for the casual modeler but, to me, the new FineMold or Pit-Road versions are simple too good not to be used instead.

The first serious issue has to do with the elevator apertures in the flight deck. Standard IJN practice was to ring each elevator with a thin apron of metal plating, less than a meter wide, and peppered with drain holes. To Fujimi’s great credit, this is the first IJN CV in 1/700 or 1/350 that I’ve seen (barring the aforementioned new Akagi and Ryujo kits) to sport this feature. Fujimi even managed to render two rows of drainholes.

However, sadly and to great frustration, Fujimi molded this apron SUNKEN into the flight deck, not FLUSH with the flight deck. It’s about .01” down, as the photo with the styrene strip can attest. I don’t know what they were thinking but this is just plain DUMB. Fortunately, this can be fixed with styrene strip inserts but, sadly, the drain holes will be lost.

The second problem is with the elevators; they’re too small in most directions. Taiho’s elevators are both 14m long. The forward one was 13.6m wide. The aft elevator was 14m wide. If anything the kit’s rear elevator is smaller than the forward one. I don’t have the dimesions writen down but most vectors are off by 1-2mm.

The fix is to cut new ones from styrene sheet but, you lose the elevator tie-down holes. I would then reduce the width of the metal apron surrounding each opening by about half to get the right sizing. It’s a pain, but not impossible.

More issues to come.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:57 pm 
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A third sore point has to do with the bridge. Specifically, the way Fujimi has chosen to depict the compass bridge level. (That’s the main bridge level, with the bridge windows facing the bow.) This level should be completely horizontal and level. However, Fujimi has chosen to mold it so that the aft half inclines down towards the stern. This is not correct.

I’ll list my references at the end but, suffice to say, none of them depict or cite such a change. There’s no precedent or example of it in IJN practice. It is a complete departure from accepted IJN design.

I’ve only had time to photograph the underlying bridge base. If you look closely, the right, rear half of the base slopes downward. The compass bridge level itself is a separately molded piece but, the level follows this declining slope on the bottom, while attempting to maintain a uniform, horizontal line across by gradually increasing the height of the plating surrounding the platform as it moves aft.

It is correctable, but with great difficulty.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:59 pm 
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The molding issue has to due with the rear of the flight deck. Standard IJN practice was to locate the boat deck under the aft end of the flight deck. On the larger carriers, two transverse girders acted as bases for the boat cranes used to move the boats to the sides of the ship. Fujimi has beautifully molded the underside of the flight deck with these girders and the usual cross members.

Unfortunately, the kit portion of the flight deck above may have been specified too thin because the transverse boat cranes show up as two humps in the deck when viewed from above. I’ve tried to pick these bulges up in the second photo below. I believe they can be sanded flat and it's not critical, just unfortunate.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:00 pm 
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Taiho references:

• Miyukikai plan set, Taiho, original, 1/200
• Miyukikai plan set, Taiho, revised, 1943, 1/200
• Hara Shobo plan set, Taiho, scale unknown
• Gakken #22 – Shinano & Taiho
• Gakken #45
• Gakken Perfect Guide to IJN CVs
• Kure Maritime Museum – IJN CV volume
• Maru Specials #s 23, 104
• Gran Prix Shuppan Anatomy of IJN CVs
• Kojinsha Mechanisms of IJN CVs
• Shizuo Fukui 2 volume set & Vol.2 IJN Carriers and Seaplane Tenders
• AJ Press Volumes 1 & 2 on Taiho by Lars Ahlberg & Hans Lengerer


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 11:38 pm 
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Ok, I'm probably 'asking for it' here, but I'm just going to do it. Anyway, that's the best way to learn, isn't it?

First of all I want to say, Dan, I am extremely impressed with your knowledge of this ship, as well as your knowledge of the IJN in general. The Taiho is one of those ships that is, once again a magnificent failure on the part of the Japanese. All the more fascinating because there are so few photos of her, etc. She represents in many ways the Carrier equivalent of the Yamato, as a naval super-weapon, but even more shadowy than her battleship counterpart.

Secondly I want to say that if this thread has convinced me of anything, it's that this is a really fabulous kit, and it's now 'next' on my list.

But for that very reason, I feel I must ask this question. In short: 'how do you know?'

Forgive me for being a neophyte, and feel free to 'slap me upside the head' for my temerity. It's just that in my experience I have known plans to be wrong, even original blueprints, etc. I have found something like two or three photographs of the Taiho, total over the years, none of which would demonstrate the kind of fine-points of dimension that you are discussing here. (of course this only applies to your critiques of accuracy, not to your comments about casting and modeling flaws, etc.) I can tell you that there have been many times both on this forum and on others where modelers have bemoaned with great frustration the discrepancies between the plans they assumed were accurate, and photos of the Actual Ship, etc.

Since it does look like such a great kit, and since some of the things you are talking about by way of correction are going to need some serious surgery, I want to really be sure before I take a knife to that beautiful styrene that the errors in question are beyond doubt. Because if there is a chance that Fujimi got it right I don't want to mess with it.

Ok, well, I've said my peace. Feel free to torpedo me now, frankly I'd be happy for the information. Let me add though, that I am interested in knowing to what extent your sources agree on the relevant dimensional points, and to what extent those sources are based on actual photographs, and or unimpeachable technical requirements (such as, in the case of the elevators, wingspan of relevant airframes, etc.) I'm particularly interested to know whether there are discrepancies between various plans, etc. It's strange to me that Fujimi got so many things right (which you have pointed out) and yet made these glaring errors. Thank you again for your response, and thank you especially for sharing your knowledge with us. :thumbs_up_1:

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 10:56 am 
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Thx for your comments. It is a great kit. I'm just expressing my frustration over mold kit design decisons that are a mystery to me. In my mind, it's no different then the lapses that lead to the poor casemates on the Fujimi Kongos (1/350 & 1/700) or the Excel spreadsheet hull lines on the Hasegawa 1/350 Nagato/Mutsu. There's just no excuse for it.

Yours is a fair question. But I would respond in same: "how do any of us know about the specifics of any ship now lost to history?" It always comes down to documentation - photos and plans. Yes, plans are not always 100% accurate but, they do go in hand with a given navy's design practices.

There may not be a photo close-up of Taiho's elevators but, there are plenty enough photos from all the other IJN CVs, both those that proceeded and suceeded Taiho, for me to be reasonably certain on this point. This consistency of design is further reflected by available plans of all the IJN CVs. Elevator dimensions are recorded; after the early experiments with smaller elevators aboard Ryujo and Akagi, elevator dimensions were standardized, then adjusted, as aircraft size increased.

Given those facts, and the general principle of maintaining a flush surface to minimize disturbances over the decidedly limited flight deck area during takeoffs and landings, I would ask you: what purpose does sinking these areas serve, other than to decidly raise the risk of catastrophic incidence during flight ops?

No IJN CV bridge ever had a sloping deck. Again, available photos and plans bear this out, particularly for the Hiyos , whose island design was the prototype for Taiho. Ditto for Shinano, whose island continued what was considered a very successful design by the Japanese. There are plenty of close-up photos of Junyo and Hiyo, and the photo of Shinano on trials is clear enough to determine details. Plus, we are fortunate that Gakken #22 published a series of high quality enlargements of the photos of Taiho at Tawi Tawi, particularly her island. While grainy, I find no suggestion of a downward slope in any bridge level in any of those photos.

It may also be worth noting that while I am limited to photos and material produced by others, those authors and draftsmen had access to original IJN source material and plans, including those in private collections, yet they did not come to any different conclusions. The most recent books on the Taiho, the two AJ Press volumes, is authored by two men with particularly deep & longstanding resources in Japan. Neither the text, nor the exceptional 3DCG plates included in those volumes, show any departure from what I maintain on these points.

Over to you :-)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:01 pm 
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So then we don't have any instances of elevator dimensions being diminished in Japanese Carriers? The trend through the war was always for larger elevators? Just to play devil's advocate here, the only mitigating factor I can see is that the elevators were armored. Could this possibly have been a factor in reducing their size? I only bring this up because this would have been an issue unique to Taiho, if, for instance the size of the elevators had to be limited due to weight, etc. Are the elevators actually large enough to accommodate the aircraft at scale?

Of course your comments about a smooth deck are spot on. And it's true, there are some quirky errors made by the big Japanese companies from time to time.

I was looking last night at the online photos of Taiho's island, and it seems to me that there is an issue between the level of the bridge windows forward and what looks like a spotting position on the aft end of the island. You can see the photo here:
[url]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HIJMS_Taiho_02.jpg[/url]

It does look like there is a slight slope to the deck level between the bridge and the back of the island. But of course it's so grainy it's difficult to be certain. Nor could I offer any explanation why that might be. I'd be interested to know what you thought of this photo, and also whether it can be compared with any line drawings, etc. I would love to see the Gakken photos you are talking about.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, and I look forward to your replies. And thanks again for your insight into this mysterious lost warship.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:17 pm 
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No to diminished elevator sizes. The trend during the war was to a larger, standardized set of elevator dimensions, though not necessarily identical elevator configurations. Larger, heavier aircraft were being introduced and the elevators had to account for this trend. There was also a trend to use two instead of three elevators to minimize a potential disruption to flight ops in case of a hit on an elevator. With only two elevators, it doesn’t do one’s flight ops any good if only one of them can handle the larger bombers.

The recognition for larger elevators actually occurred prewar, as exemplified by Ryujo’s limited ability to operate only fighters and B5N Kates, and not the D3A Vals. The Vals wingspans were too wide, even with folding wingtips, to operate from Ryujo.

Taiho’s elevators were armored with two layers of 25mm DS steel plate, vs. her armored portion of the flight deck sporting 20mm DS steel over 75mm CNC armor plate. Each elevator weighed 100 tons and was considered to have good cycle performance. The elevators are not too large :smallsmile:

Yes, that’s a very good version of the classic photo taken at Tawi Tawi prior to the Battle of the Philippine Sea. It was one of a serious of photos. I’ve scanned the printed close-up from Gakken #22, along with a collage of bridge angles taken from the same sequence.

I would agree that the rear lookout position appears lower, but that can be due to any number of reasons, including an obvious one – that it was constructed a slightly lower level than the compass bridge level. Separately, the so-called incline to this rear position can be explained by any of a number of factors.

A simple one is that this bridge level sidewall simply dips lower as it moves away from the bridge. There’s a nice photo of Junyo’s bridge taken at that level that clearly shows the side wall dropping away, by maybe a foot in height, aft of the enclosed bridge portion.

There’s also the angle that we’re looking at the bridge, from somewhat above. If the bridge level is actually wider then the base underneath, and actually sticks out further over the flight deck, then this can alter our perception of uniform siding. Just a couple of possibilities for thought.

A Happy Holiday to all.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 6:41 pm 
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Just as a follow-up:

On the elevators, quoting from the 2nd AJ PRess vol on Taiho (#40), they had a lifting capacity of 7.5 tons, more than the 5 tons that was normal for Jaapanese carrier elevators. Time from lower lower hangar deck to flight deck was 15 seconds, and lowered the same. That's very good cycle time.

Some of the 3DCG artwork also incorporated the information of the wood deck, as well as another interpetation of the bridge layout, below:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:18 pm 
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Sorry for what is likely a silly question, but would Taiho have been in Kure Gray?

Chris

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:30 pm 
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She was built in a private yard by Kawasaki. So, there's no official match. Kure Gray is as good a choice as any other shade. I would use it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:48 pm 
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My Taiho has just turned up, seems to have taken an age to get here from Japan!
Excellent kit, much improved over the Tamiya kit as expected. I've noted the kit errors as Dan highlighted and think that it will still make an excellent model despite them. The recessed lift wells will look a touch odd though.
My question on this is regarding the deck colour. I normally use WEM's IJN wooden deck colour as a base colour but can someone suggest anything different for Taiho?

thanks
Mike


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Dan K wrote:
Taiho references:


• Miyukikai plan set, Taiho, revised, 1943, 1/200
• Hara Shobo plan set, Taiho, scale unknown

After contacting Fujimi about the Taiho and their sources of the original plans, they replied me that those two, plus the bluprint from Yokosuka Naval Historic Archives was used as the base for their new Taiho.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:39 pm 
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Mike - Tamiya has released a new wooden deck tan, XF-78. You may want to try that. see - http://www.tamiya.com/english/products/ ... t81702.htm

Atma - thx for that update. I can tell you that neither the Miyukikai or Hara Shobo plan sets have errors with the elevators. Nor do they show an inclined bridge deck. I can note now that there is a plan diagram of Taiho, drawn postwar by the US Naval Technical Mission to Japan, that does show a declining slope aft of the compass bridge on that level. I’m not sure of the basis for that drawing but I was assuming that this was at least part of the source of the Fujimi decision.

Knowing that plans are not always reflected by reality, and judging by the consistent parallel bridge lines in the Taiho bridge photos while also allowing for some sort of INTERNAL slope, I am now more likely to go with the AJ Press Taiho 3DCG version of the bridge than the way the new kit has depicted the bridge.

I've also contacted Lars Ahlberg, the co-author of the two AJ press volumes, for some feedback on this point as well as sources for those illustrations. I hope to hear something soon.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Lars says he'll try to get back to me soon.

In the meantime, Fujimi has released a wood deck sticker for its kit. It looks very nice, though I plan to paint my deck. I see that it comes with what may be PE elevators.

Atma, a question for you as you can probably answer this one: Is this set's elevators and deck openings the same size as those in the kit itself? Also, is it self adhesive? And, is the planking the same width as that of the kit deck? thx.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:12 pm 
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Well the PE set, or shall I call a hybrid PE set cause it has a wooden deck there too... Anyway, back at you Dan, yes the elevators are the same size as the plastic ones same with the planking, it fits perfectly with the plastic "wooden deck".

Edit:Dan, something not related to Taiho but do you know what exact date Haruna's bridge was lowered in height, during WWII?

Moderator Edit: Kongo-class related questions moved to Calling all Kongo class Fans thread.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:16 pm 
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Looking at some of the admittedly shadowy pictures of Taiho, I'm wondering if the stack was a lighter color than the rest of the ship. It seems odd, but most of the pictures I've seen it definitely looks lighter.


Chris.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:54 am 
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There's always been a debate about whether a white identification funnel band was painted on, or if it was just the angle of reflected sunlight. Nothing conclusive.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:45 pm 
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I did hear back from Mr. Ahlberg, as follows:

"....and I do remember that I some years ago briefly discussed it with Mr. Iwasaki Yutaka. I do assume that you have my "Taihô", vol. 1, and as you can see on the 3D graphics in that volume Mr. Cwiklinski, and me, missed the sloping level. It is, however, shown on NavTechJaps drawing. In the vol. 2 graphics the slope was included as depicted in Wünschmann's drawing (published with vol. 1). Mr. Iwasaki wrote: "The plan drawn by M. Wünschmann is incredibly accurate. For example Taiho's superstructure had different number of floors at fore and aft. So between compass bridge and aft take-off/landing control deck, there must be a slope or step. This drawing illustrate the fact."
Some years ago, as I and Mr. Iwasaki, pursued the wooden deck issue we came into contact with the survivor Mr. Morino Hiro and he kindly sent me two colourized photos (© Morino Hiro). Part of one is inserted below. I'm not sure it is of much help though.

So there we stand. The slope was there but how much of it was seen from outside? We are left with uncertainty."

Personally, I think the slope was internal and would not be reflected as seen with the new Fujimi kit. Each may choose as they see fit until more evidence emerges.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:11 am 
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Dan K wrote:
Some website photos make it seem as if the bridge levels have been changed to a more horizontal configuration.

Dan, I got a reply from Fujimi and the answer sadly is no, only the fly deck is new, the rest of the models is like the first version of IJN Taiho released a few months ago.
Monday I will have an advance copy of the new kit. Till then, happy modeling :)


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