This the new Aoshima tooling of Chokai, depicted in her fit during the Guadalcanal campaign in the late summer of 1942. My original plan had been to build a one of the class for experience and familiarity before tackling a late war ship. Most people tend to do Takao or Maya, and I wanted something a little different, so I chose Chokai as fitted during the Guadalcanal campaign. I encountered several surprises while researching her. First, IMHO, I feel that Chokai probably had the most notable record of her class, especially in ship vs. ship action. Her performance as Admiral Mikawa’s flagship at the Battle of Savo Island, and during the early part of the Guadalcanal campaign, was particularly outstanding. My second surprise was that the newest Aoshima tooling, specifically the clear bridge version, was far more accurate for any of the wartime fits for Chokai than the PitRoad version. And my third surprise was that I found few, if any, correct representations of her as fitted during the Guadalcanal campaign. Most such representations appear to be a mix of fits from pre and very early war. Predictably, Chokai quickly became my favorite Takao class sister and I ditched any thought of a less than thorough build. Chokai was an unusually focused & intense effort, 9 months without working on any other model. I think she turned out very well but now I’m all Chokai’d out.

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The increased accuracy and detail not withstanding, the kit still requires some corrections and scratch-building. For those who are curious, the PitRoad and Aoshima versions are very similar in breakdown, but not interchangeable. In the end, I found I could only use the 4.7cm HA mount bases (more accurate) and also chose to kit-bash the PitRoad bridge facing as I thought the detail was more appealing.

Corrections

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Scratch-built (from styrene unless noted otherwise)

Painted in Kure Grey, hull red & IJN linoleum.

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Dan Kaplan

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