IJN Chiyoda – Turning into the Wind! (日本海軍航空母艦千代田)
IJN Chiyoda was the largest vessel of any nationality in WW2 to have been sunk with all hands lost. The escort carrier was lost at Cape Engano during the Battle of Leyte Gulf together with her full complement of 1470 men. The vessel was originally built as a seaplane tender and commissioned in 1938, together with her sister ship IJN Chitose, the latter also sank at Cape Engano. The following picture shows what the sister ship Chitose looked like as a seaplane tender in Truk in 1942 before the conversion.
After a stint in 1942 as a mini-sub tender, the Chiyoda was refitted as an escort carrier in the aftermath of the Midway disaster. She rejoined the fleet in late 1943 and took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in the summer of 1944. It is in the action of that battle that I have chosen to portray in this scene with the strike force departing into battle as the carrier turns into the wind.
I have been accumulating parts for this project for the last three years! Specific parts for this small Japanese carrier are hard to come by so I snag them online and also on some of my trips to Japan. Also necessary is the excellent “Late War” Japanese Navy aircraft kit since the Pitroads Chiyoda kit does not come with any aircraft (strangely enough, they do provide enough decals for 8 aircraft). There are a lot of parts going into this vessel. The photo-etch frets are from Lion Roar (masts for Chiyoda/Chitose), Hasegawa (PE for Japanese carriers) and Tom Modelworks (PE for Japanese Carriers Part A).
And last but not least, this very important set of paints from Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color set of Japanese (late war) Aircraft Carrier camouflage colors providing the No. 21 and No. 22 green that are spot on and very hard to match with other paint brands.
And now, on to the build itself. This first step is the easiest as I join the two large hull halves together and have them bond properly. There are no locating pins so getting the parts to mate properly will save a lot of heartache later.
In preparing the flight deck, I cut out the relief details on the 2 boat crane projections. Doing this takes a lot of time and patience with a variety of hand tools, adding in the perforated photo-etched plates at the end. Small details but the effect on the final appearance counts for a lot.
THe next 10 days were consumed by the late war camouflage pattern applied to the carrier deck. Altogether, 4 colors were used by the Japanese. I started with the most intricate shapes of boxes and uneven parallel lines using Tamiya NATO Black since the very dark grey works better than classic flat black. This is followed by Mr. Color SC05 (IJN Type 22) which at first appearance looks like a Martian green. The closest FS color to substitute will be FS34227 Pale Green. This is followed by IJN type 1 Green for which I used Tamiya XF70 IJN Dark Green. Finally IJN type 2 green which closely resembles FS34159 lightly tinted with white is applied. The tools of the trade are shown in the upper right hand picture. The finished product would make any Art Deco rug proud.
The hull itself is painted in a disruptive two tone green camouflage of IJN Type 22 and IJN Type 1 Green with false bow and stern patterns.
After the hull dries, I started to add the small myriad of platforms against the port side of the hull.
This is followed by the ones on the starboard side. Note that the shapes of the opposite sides are not symmetrical and all the enclosed turrets are exclusively on the starboard side. Also, the two smokestacks project out of the starboard side and angled down towards the water. This is a uniquely Japanese arrangement.
The boat deck at the stern is then properly detailed ( a pity, most of them will be concealed by the flight deck later) including railing for the cutters and staircases for the platforms.
Finer details are added to the hull sides like the support struts for the gun platforms, lifeline railings and slings for the lifeboats.
A wash of burnt umber is applied on the paint work tp bring out the relief details. All hull railings, staircases and ladders are applied at this time.
Finally the flight deck is attached to the hull after the forward and aft deck supports have been installed. The flat top is in business!
More fiddly work as I install the masts and antennae posts that are lowered when the deck is active with take-off or landing activities. Notice also that I wrapped the search lights with foil (see this technique in my earlier Nagato post) to simulate the heavy padded wraps which was the normal practice in the Imperial Navy.
Once the side-projecting masts have been installed, I attached the Navy ensign flying in a strange location off the side and finished rigging the ship.
Then it is the turn of the squadrons of A6M5 “Zekes” (to see a full sized Zeke click on my previous post). I painted these under magnification, adding photo-etched propellers and undercarriage. This is followed by the Nakajima “Jill” torpedo planes (future project).
The comes the fun part of arranging the little planes on the flight deck and added 1/700 scale IJN crewmen waving off the planes in a farewell gesture.
The ship is completed and all that is left is to mount it on the display base and sculpt the waves around the hull. Enjoy the pictures.