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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:17 pm 
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I’ve finally decided to tackle this kit of one of my favorite IJN carriers. It’s been over a decade since I last built a carrier. This is another one of my projects that has taken an absurd amount of time to develop. In this case, there’s been nine years of project gestation. It better be enough. I do expect this particular W-I-P thread to ebb and flow a bit, depending on my level of enthusiasm for this build versus other builds I’ve got going.

First, some background and prep:

I was well into my fourth build of the Tamiya Taiho kit when news of a new Fujimi version was announced back in 2010. The new kit has a wood planked flight deck and additional tweaks based on better reference material. Since evidence of wood planking over the armor-plated deck had recently emerged (and jibed with IJN practices), I ordered the new kit and halted work on the Tamiya kit. (Never resumed, either.)

Initially pleased with the new kit, my enthusiasm was tempered by the overscale wood planking and the questionable appearance of some bridge island details. Other details, including a more accurately rendered enclosed bow, a fuller stern at the waterline, and the elimination of an external degaussing cable worked in the new kit’s favor. However, I didn’t start the kit, as I wanted to replace the wood covered flight deck with something closer to scale.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to go about the replacement of the wood planking, particularly as my preference is to work in styrene, paint the deck and apply a wash to get the wood color and finish that I prefer. While nothing in styrene is perfectly scaled to the proper wood planking width, Evergreen plastic makes a grooved sheet that comes as close to scale planking as is made commercially for 1/700 with its 2020 N Scale Car siding sheets. The planks are about ¾ the width of those from Fujimi. Plus, there's no annoying, incorrect planking pattern.

However, to go that route, it seemed that nothing short of a complete flight deck replacement (of both the wood and metal plating portions) seemed appropriate. Beyond that, I had to consider how to replicate the deck edge metal treading that surrounds the flight deck and to fabricate the deck in a manner so that it would position properly on the hull.

Frankly, it seemed like a lot of work. The thrill factor plunged and I tabled the project. I did think about it from time to time, but I always came up against the same issues. I moved onto other builds, but I hopefully awaited aftermarket developments that might make it more feasible.


Attachments:
Taiho,aerial view, Lingga Roads, Sumatra, May, 1944 crop.jpg
Taiho,aerial view, Lingga Roads, Sumatra, May, 1944 crop.jpg [ 224.96 KiB | Viewed 4497 times ]
Taiho (T) 2010 a.JPG
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Taiho (T) 2010 b.JPG
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Taiho (F) box art.jpg
Taiho (F) box art.jpg [ 340.52 KiB | Viewed 4497 times ]
Evergreen 2020 vs Fujimi deck planking.jpg
Evergreen 2020 vs Fujimi deck planking.jpg [ 333.47 KiB | Viewed 4497 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:18 pm 
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In 2012, Flyhawk released a truly beautiful brass etched deck set for the Fujimi kit. The flight deck even included rain gutters along the edges and tie-downs all over the deck. Plus, a nice latticework of support trestles under the aft end of the flight deck. Sadly (for me), the planking pattern and width remained the same as the Fujimi kit, and I remain leery of proper positioning and adherence of a full PE deck upon the hull. The set is extremely well engineered, and I re-evaluated my objectives and requirements, but I chose to stick to my original intent. So, the kit continued to sit in the stash.


Attachments:
Flyhawk 1-700 Taiho Flight deck forward.jpg
Flyhawk 1-700 Taiho Flight deck forward.jpg [ 277.19 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]
Flyhawk 1-700 Taho Flight deck aft.jpg
Flyhawk 1-700 Taho Flight deck aft.jpg [ 99.2 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]
Flyhawk 1-700 Taiho Flight deck other components.jpg
Flyhawk 1-700 Taiho Flight deck other components.jpg [ 328.74 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:20 pm 
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Early in 2017, Artist Hobby (AH) released several Taiho related PE sets for the Fujimi kit, among which included a flight deck set. However, this was not just another rehash of the other sets out there. AH took the unusual route of breaking up the set into the very components that I was looking for: the metal treaded deck and plating that rimmed the flight deck perimeter, and both a metal rendition of the flight deck planking as well as a wooden sticker alternative. Plus, a ton of catwalks with supports, bridge and funnel related PE. In fact, just about everything that could be rendered reasonably into PE is.

It wasn’t cheap, but it appeared to solve a lot of problems for me. I wasn’t sure how many of the components I might use but I didn’t hesitate to purchase the set. (note to potential buyers: Artist Hobby sells various components of this set separately – Basic, Upgrade, Weapons, and Flight Deck, so you can pick and choose what best suits your project.)


Attachments:
Artist Hobby Taiho set 1.jpg
Artist Hobby Taiho set 1.jpg [ 302.23 KiB | Viewed 4250 times ]
Artist Hobby Taiho set 2.jpg
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AH670009A.jpg
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AH370016A.jpg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:23 pm 
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I had quickly determined that the Artist Hobby set would satisfy my requirements. Now, I had to solve the final issue of how to mount the custom planking. After a great deal of thought, I decided that I would do what I had considered and rejected multiple times – sanding the kit deck down enough to accommodate the styrene planking overlay without changing the overall height of the deck upon the hull. Handling it this way meant that I could use the kit deck as a substructure to retain the proper position upon the hull, and retain some deck strength.

This also meant bringing the kit deck down by 0.02”, the thickness of the Evergreen 2020 sheet. How best to handle? Certainly not by brute force hand sanding. NFW. Plus, the deck needed to remain both level and uniform all away across. My solution: I bought a 4” x 36” belt sander from Home Depot.

I know, I know, crazy, right? The over-riding hurdle is heat, as in too much too quickly, which would deform the styrene in a heartbeat. My feeling was that the amount of friction was controllable, with short stints of pressing the flight deck down on the belt for just a second or two at a time, then allowing the plastic to cool. Thankfully, a well rated sander was not as expensive as one might think, particularly during holiday sale season.

I also bought an ¾” x 36” aluminum “L” angle bar to use as both a mounting plate across the back of the flight deck (so I could hold it) and as a rigid surface to ensure the plastic flight deck remained flat. Aluminum also dissipates heat more quickly than steel. I cut the bar down to better match the length of the flight deck. I also picked up a good dust/respirator mask. I had plenty of googles.

Ok, enough background. On to the actual project.


Attachments:
20181227_120600_resized.jpg
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20181228_100519_resized.jpg
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20181228_094719_resized.jpg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:24 pm 
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I started with the flight deck. Frankly, if I can’t make this part work out as I hope, I’m unlikely to continue the project.

The first step was cutting the Evergreen 2020 siding sheet into a shape that matched the wood planking on the kit flight deck. Since Artist Hobby has a brass deck the same shape, it was straightforward to use the PE to trace an outline on the Evergreen sheet and then cut to shape. It took two tries. I probably could have used the first attempt, but I wanted to fine-tune certain portions of the cut. The Evergreen sheet wasn’t long enough to create a one-piece replacement. Aside from the main section, I had to cut another piece forward of the wind screen at the bow and match it to the rest of the deck.


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1 sm.jpg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:27 pm 
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The second step was all about aligning the replacement deck properly upon the kit deck. I had already decided that the elevator aprons that surround the elevator platform and are molded into the flight deck had to go. Though they have very nice drainage holes, they are set below the surface of the surrounding wood planking for reasons that I cannot fathom, and are just plain wrong. The drainage holes are also overscale, so they won’t be missed. (The AH set provides PE apron replacements, but they are narrower than the plastic, so I’m probably just going to leave them off.)

Originally, I was going to cover and raise them to deck level with styrene strip. Fortunately, I had a fortuitous nanosecond of insight. The kit supplies two single story, fully enclosed elevator wells. (I think these are simplistic, cheap, and on the lame side, but they are probably better than having nothing at all.) They are meant to be glued to the underside of the flight deck. It turns out that their walls match the contours and widths of the kit’s elevator aprons. If I were to cut out the kit elevator aprons, and the corresponding locations on the Evergreen sheet, then I could use the kit elevator wells to properly place the Evergreen sheet upon the kit. Further, once set into position, I could slice the wells off and use them as replacements for the elevator aprons. So, that’s what I did.


Attachments:
1a sm.jpg
1a sm.jpg [ 211.44 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]
1B sm  - treaded metal apron.jpg
1B sm - treaded metal apron.jpg [ 284.06 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]
1c SM.jpg
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5a.jpg
5a.jpg [ 130.79 KiB | Viewed 4251 times ]
6.jpg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:28 pm 
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to be continued -


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:57 pm 
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wow!

that is some tale of no compromise!


It seems you really have the patience, perseverance and tenacity needed to meet your exacting standards!

:thumbs_up_1: :thumbs_up_1:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:02 pm 
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I have built several Japanese Carriers in 700 Scale with this type of Detail and they really add something to those Vessels. Seems like you are starting very nicely with this one too.....Cheers mark

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:48 pm 
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Thx, gents.

Quote:
It seems you really have the patience, perseverance and tenacity needed to meet your exacting standards!
That, or I'm just hard to please. I have to say, Jim, that your paper planking technique is very intriguing. Perhaps I'l give it a go, one day.

Continuing on:

The flight deck planking required one more tweak before it could be painted. I needed to attend to the flight deck safety(crash) barriers. Designed to stop crippled aircraft that skipped or broke through the flight deck arresting gear, each carrier carried two or three units. They were comprised of several steel cables stretched horizontally between two steel pole supports that were raised or lowered with winches. When not in use, the pole supports lay in a trench recessed within the flight deck. The trench was covered with flat plates when not in use to minimize any surface disruption. The cables between the posts were also set in recessed trenches that lay cross-wise across the deck.

Unfortunately, not every kit maker gets this quite right in 1/700. Tamiya and Aoshima do (I’m not sure about Hasegawa), while Fujimi and Pit-road don’t. The latter two just mold these barriers atop the flight deck. Sadly, Fujimi does the same thing in 1/350, while Hasegawa gets it right. And, virtually every aftermarket PE flight deck or wood sticker also handles this incorrectly. Almost everyone depicts these as seen in the Zuikaku photo crop, as flat plates with taut cables between posts. It’s fine to show the posts as if they were covered with plates, just not to have the cables lying on the deck.


Attachments:
Junyo crash barrier posts & plates, late 1945.jpg
Junyo crash barrier posts & plates, late 1945.jpg [ 337.87 KiB | Viewed 4126 times ]
Shokaku crash barrier crop 1943.jpg
Shokaku crash barrier crop 1943.jpg [ 341.19 KiB | Viewed 4126 times ]
Zuikaku crash barrier plates, 1942.jpg
Zuikaku crash barrier plates, 1942.jpg [ 61.93 KiB | Viewed 4126 times ]
Tamiya Junyo deck with recessed safety net cable channels.jpg
Tamiya Junyo deck with recessed safety net cable channels.jpg [ 322.63 KiB | Viewed 4126 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:50 pm 
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So, I dug my own trenches. It took a while to figure out which scribing tool worked best in forming a proper trench, and to figure out a methodology that allowed for repeatable results. When filled with the burnt umber wash, the trenches will stand out as they should, and the grey cables will be nested within them.


Attachments:
b1.jpg
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b2.jpg
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b2a.jpg
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b3.jpg
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b4.jpg
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:47 pm 
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JIM BAUMANN wrote:
wow! that is some tale of no compromise!

Ha! Says the pot to the kettle!

Wait til you guys see the elevator wells he's scratch-built. :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:02 pm 
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I'll get to that assembly soon enough. :smallsmile:

While I could have next painted the planking, I decided to tackle the inevitable. It was time to sand the deck. Make or break the project. No sense in wasting any more time.

The short version is that it worked out mostly as I hoped.

I started with some test decks, but moved quickly to the main event. Surprisingly, the very rough 80 grit belt was manageable in short bursts to remove the bulk of the material. A 360 grit belt worked well to smooth the deck down to a surface fine enough to take the glue applications. I can confirm that if you do press a little too hard for a little too long, you get some heat build-up and a small, funky patch and layer of styrene that looks very much like a dark wood knot wherever the maximum point of pressure was. It’s denser than the surrounding styrene, but it doesn’t deform the deck. One needs to just gently sand it off as much as possible as a separate layer before continuing with the rest of the deck.

Now, in truth, I couldn’t take the deck down the full 0.02”. Doing so would have compromised some of the edges of the flight deck. I did manage to take off a consistent 0.13” across the whole deck. It helps to have a very good set of digital calipers handy. There was a lot of checking the deck thickness along the way. Still, I probably spent no more than 30-45 minutes in total time actually working on the deck, plus more time checking and fussing about. Clean up was not terrible.

Note: In order for the “L” brace to lie evenly and flatly along the entirety of the back of the flight deck, some surgery on the molded support trusses underneath the aft end of the flight deck was needed. Basically, a channel had to be cut/sanded down the axis of the flight deck and through this array, so that the brace could lie at the same level as the back of the flight deck. That wasn’t a problem for me as I intend to replace all that trusswork with PE. If anyone were planning to retain the kit trusses, then the brace can only extend to about half the distance through this area, to where the boat cranes underlie the deck. I think the brace would still be effective through the aft end of the flight deck.


Attachments:
c1 sm half done.jpg
c1 sm half done.jpg [ 306.28 KiB | Viewed 4023 times ]
c2 -almost done.jpg
c2 -almost done.jpg [ 365.25 KiB | Viewed 4023 times ]
c3, done, no indents left for engine room air intakes on deck.jpg
c3, done, no indents left for engine room air intakes on deck.jpg [ 359.58 KiB | Viewed 4023 times ]
c4.jpg
c4.jpg [ 332.69 KiB | Viewed 4023 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:42 pm 
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Excellent pick Dan! :thumbs_up_1: :thumbs_up_1: I've always loved the carrier's enclosed bow and what a beautiful design of a carrier she was!



Jose :wave_1:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:35 am 
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You are doing a lovely job my Friend.....Cheers Mark

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 2:55 pm 
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This is excellent work. I love carriers and this is something you don't see every day.

..and that is a LOT of PE... :big_grin:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:24 pm 
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Thx, guys.

It is a lot of PE. I'm not yet sure if I will use it all. What I did not realize until this morning is that there's no railings as part of the entire super set. I'm pretty surprised. For the $s involved, I would expect their inclusion. I didn't even think to look at the time of purchase, focused as I was on the flight deck stuff. I just assumed railings were included. I guess that old adage is true. I'm covered though; I could use the Fujimi PE set railings, or stick with my tried and true GMM IJN Ultra-fine railings.

Anyway, at this point in the build, I chose to paint the planking. I used a custom mix of Tamiya colors, something I worked out over a decade ago for my Zuikaku/Shokaku/Hiryu builds. Thankfully, I saved my notes, formulas, and even some of the mixes from back then. I would hate to go through that exercise again; it took forever.

My color is warmer and lighter than, say, the new Tamiya XF-78 Deck Tan color. The idea is to approximate the bei-matsu wood planking used on the IJN carriers once a burnt umber wash is applied. The Tamiya color would be ok without a wash, but it’s not quite warm enough for the full effect. (For that matter, if one isn’t going to do a wash over the planking, or demarcate them in some manner, then there’s really no need to replace the kit decking at all, and the XF-78 Deck Tan is as good a choice as any, IMHO.)

Once dry, I sprayed it with Future thinned 25%, to give it a gloss coat to accept the wash. When the gloss coat was dry, I aligned the planking over the kit deck using the elevator wells to properly position the deck. I had already drilled some holes thru the deck close to the centerline, to allow for the glue (Tamiya Super Thin) to reach all portions of the deck to join with the planking sheet. Once glued, I flattened the deck out with some weights and left it for the night.

I think it came out well.

The next step would have been to wash the deck. Unfortunately, my tin of that particular paint was more than 10 years old and on its very last legs. I ordered another. Since it was going to take a while to deliver, I turned elsewhere.


Attachments:
c5.jpg
c5.jpg [ 275.9 KiB | Viewed 3910 times ]
c6 sm.jpg
c6 sm.jpg [ 368.47 KiB | Viewed 3910 times ]
c7 sm.jpg
c7 sm.jpg [ 239.38 KiB | Viewed 3910 times ]
c8 sm.jpg
c8 sm.jpg [ 228.68 KiB | Viewed 3910 times ]
c9 sm.jpg
c9 sm.jpg [ 260.94 KiB | Viewed 3910 times ]
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:52 pm 
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Dan, you have a passion, I congratulate your talents.

Your patience waiting on parts is true test to how well this will turn out.

-Paul


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:06 pm 
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Thx, Paul. Patience.............I could always use more of it.

While waiting for the new paint, I decided to work on creating new, proper elevator wells. This portion of the write-up became a little lengthy, so I understand if you choose to skip right to the pics. :smallsmile:

Taiho had two elevators to service her two-story hangars, and they were placed as far apart as physically possible to enable an armor scheme that covered the hangar area in its entirety, both length and width, including the elevators. (This also meant there was no armor deck plating under the wood planking outside of that area, just regular metal plating. This was done to keep topweight down while maximizing practical coverage.) Placement at the extremities of the hangars also meant changing the shape of a typical elevator from a square or rectangle with rounded corners to one that better matched the contours of the hull far forward and aft. The forward elevator had a hexagonal shape that was elongated towards the bow. The aft elevator, while technically also a hexagon, appears more like a pentagon that is elongated towards the stern.

There are no detailed plans of Taiho’s elevator wells, only the outlines and the general shape. In fact, information on IJN elevator lifts and wells is rather sparse. There’s a few plans and drawings, some illustrations, and a handful of photos, mostly of this equipment aboard the surviving carriers taken postwar. Those carriers would include Junyo, Katsuragi, Kasagi, and Ryuho. There are some photos of Shoho under construction taken before the war that also apply. Of these photos, few of them focus on the actual elevator well area; most just happen to include portions of the wells or the lift platforms lying on a flight deck. So, some conjecture was necessary to flesh out the wells for Taiho.


Attachments:
CV Junyo Elevator drawing, Gran Prix Shuppan volume.jpg
CV Junyo Elevator drawing, Gran Prix Shuppan volume.jpg [ 110.85 KiB | Viewed 3840 times ]
Junyo at Sasebo June 6, 1946 #3.jpg
Junyo at Sasebo June 6, 1946 #3.jpg [ 109.37 KiB | Viewed 3840 times ]
Kasagi, postwar color.jpg
Kasagi, postwar color.jpg [ 210.52 KiB | Viewed 3840 times ]
Kasagi elevator shaft, postwar.jpg
Kasagi elevator shaft, postwar.jpg [ 370.56 KiB | Viewed 3840 times ]
Katsuragi elevator #2 looking aft into hangar, postwar.jpg
Katsuragi elevator #2 looking aft into hangar, postwar.jpg [ 170.42 KiB | Viewed 3840 times ]
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:08 pm 
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The kit comes with two simplistic, one story wells that are completely enclosed, with some shallow counterweight channels set on opposing walls. These are extremely basic, incomplete, and far from accurate, but that’s what passes for Fujimi fare these days, unlike, say, Aoshima or Pit-Road as of late. I will say that Fujimi did do a very good job of getting the platform shapes right, particularly as the sidewalls of the forward elevator have some toe-in slightly towards the bow and cannot be parallel. While there is no documentation, I also think their placement of the counterweights and channels makes sense, broken up into two sets per side. More on that in a bit.

I’ve made my own elevators and wells in the past, but this time, I thought I would take advantage of some very nice PE versions made by Rainbow. I spent a lot of time examining them and came to the conclusion that, as nicely engineered as they are, they weren’t quite accurate in how they depict the elevator sidewalls with their counterweight channels. So, I decided that scratch-building would again be the best solution. I wanted to display the elevators with the options for fully raised or lowered positions.


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Rainbow elevator set (ex of Set #1).jpg
Rainbow elevator set (ex of Set #1).jpg [ 336.21 KiB | Viewed 3835 times ]
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