IJMNS Yamato, Part 3
Building a battleship, especially one this large and complex, can easily appear overwhelming. So, as with any large model project, its easiest to tackle it as a series of subassemblies. That’s more or less the way the instruction sequence is arranged, and it simplifies painting, if nothing else (I found out the hard way that the Tamiya spray can and the bottle lacquer are not the same shade of Kure Grey - too different to use the two together). So everything on this model is painted from the bottle through the airbrush. Otherwise, the Tamiya lacquer goes on beautifully.
The hull and deck were masked and painted the appropriate grey and wood tan, with the night safety deck markings (white rectangles spaced along the deck edge) then added. I decided to darken the deck before moving on to the superstructure. Yamato had her light wood deck darkened just prior to departing for the Philippines in October 1944, most likely using soot from her funnel. To replicate the uneven texture of this application, I darkened the tan painted planked portion of the model deck with black pastel, applied with an old paint brush. After the black coat was laid down, I went over it with a light layer of yellow ochre pastel to soften and tone down the stark blackness. The final result is very convincing. On the downside, the pastel picks up flaws in the painted deck surface that were invisible beforehand, in the same way Alclad or metalizer paint highlights surface flaws. Flat over-coating helps some, but some of the scars and surface irregularities are still visible. Live and learn.
Each of the major subassemblies - forward superstructure, aft superstructure, funnel, secondary (6”) armament and mounts, and main (18”) turrets were treated like a separate model, and considering the number of parts to each they certainly could have been. Each area is heavily fortified with photoetch parts. All that PE adds tremendous realism to a model this size, but there were instances along the way where it appears that plastic parts or molded on detail would have been perfectible acceptable, even preferable (such as the vast number of supports and braces on the forward superstructure and around the bridge). Nevertheless, once completed, all that minute detail is very eye grabbing.
The main armament gives the option of guns with or without covers where the barrels enter the turret. Without covers, the guns can be lowered or raised to their full elevation, or any point in between. There’s also a lot of additional photoetch to add with this option. When using the canvas cover parts, the barrels are in the lowered position (so low, in fact, that the barrels for “B” turret rest on the railings atop “A” turret). Here is one noticeable disappointment with the kit parts - the molded covers for both the 18” as well as the 6” guns are weakly represented with little or no detail to represent draped canvas material. I found this surprising considering the superb detailing in other areas. As with the cable reels I decided to create my own model folds in the covers using Magic Sculp putty. Each one is slightly different from the next (as in reality) and is much more convincing. Note: Pontos has released a super detail set for this kit which includes brass gun barrels and resin covers (along with a wood deck, brass mainmast, and lots and lots more photoetch, much of it duplicating what comes with the kit. Oddly, no cable filled reels).
Now that the majority of the superstructure has been completed, it’s a matter of adding the remaining minor structural assemblies, mast, catapults and crane, AA armament and railings. I’ve also discovered 3D printed figures by ION of Poland that look fantastic. I can’t wait to paint 150 or so of those guys! All that to come in Part 4.
Thanks again to MRC and IPMS for making this kit available for review.