One of the most unique ships in the Imperial Japanese Navy in WW2 was the Fly Boat Tender Akitsushima. Specially built to cater to the huge Emily and Mavis flying boats operating in the Pacific, the tender had a large crane with enough capacity to lift these giant aircraft off the water and onto the boat deck for repair work. The ship was also known to have a very unique camouflage pattern designed by her first captain with streaks of light green and black with false wake patterns in white. The latter was intended as protection from lurking submarines who may mistake the wake as a fast destroyer going much faster that the tender’s real speed. To further break up the profile of the high rear crane, light green dots were also painted all over the crane superstructure and funnel. Akitsushima was sunk off the Philippines via air attack on 24 September 1944.
Pitroads of Japan came out with several unique Japanese ships from WW2 in 1/700 scale. One of these kits is the Akitsushima with it arrangement of the tall aft crane, and two large flying boats, the KawanishiH6K Mavis and the Kawanishi H8K Emily. The two aircraft are evidently very huge because even in 1/700 scale, they are the size of a torpedo boat. I had a leftover Tom’s Modelworks photoetch fret for Japanese seaplane tenders with parts for the main crane and main mast, plus the towers for the radars. I also supplemented that with another fret of IJN ship railing from Lion Roar.
There were two problems with the molding quality of the hull. First, the potholes were too faint and some were totally missing. I had to lightly drill those out with a mini drill-bit. Next, at the bow there were 2 large sink holes that needed to be filled with putty and re-surfaced over with Mr. Surfacer 1000.
Then I started building the main superstructure and wheelhouse. Some minor seam filling had to be done between the joints forming the superstructure.
I dry-fitted the superstructure and funnel sections to the main deck. The lower housing of the aft crane was glued in because the aft deck was part of that piece.
The upper structure of the aft crane with its photoetched tower, and the main superstructure as seen prior to painting.
The entire hull and superstructure was airbrushed in Tamiya IJN Gray (Kure) XF-75.
The hull camouflage pattern was hand-painted. First, I painted the light green stripes using Mr. Color Type 22 Camouflage SC05. Then the single black stripe was done using Tamiya NATO Black XF-69. The white wake pattern was done using Citadel Corax White.
Note the light green dot pattern on the hull near the boat deck. Another white rear wake pattern can also be seen.
The linoleum deck section is painted using Tamiya NATO Brown XF-68. The funnel and superstructure sections are glued on.
The aft crane tower is added on together with the crane arm and rigging.
More deck details like the main gun turret and fittings are added.
The entire assembly is then sealed with a satin varnish, followed by an oil wash of 50:50 Lamp Black:Burnt Umber.
More photoetch railings, radar towers, and the main mast are added to the superstructure.
Boats and davits are added at the superstructure as well as at the boat deck.
Barring a few minor details, the ship is more or less completed.
The two sea boats are painted with Tamiya IJN Green XF11 topside and IJN Grey XF12 bottomside, with Flat Yellow flashes XF3 and tiny decals from the kit itself.
The Emily flying boat is carefully placed on the main boat deck cradle.
I plan the display onto the plastic base board (nicely textured for a calm sea) and painted the surface Blue Angel Blue FS15050 and sprayed with Glosscote to enhance the shine of the water.
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