Thermal Baffles? Turret Bulkheads? What is this product? Lion Roar Set LE700049 is entitled WWII 1/700 Thermal Baffle For IJN Type 3 203mm/50 Cal Duplex. I gave it the title of Eight-Inch Gun Turret Bulkheads. Which one is correct? Actually the Lion Roar title is more accurate. In the late 1920's the Japanese Navy was developing new classes of cruisers. They had already built Type B cruisers with six 200mm guns of the Furutaka and Aoba classes, and the first class of Class A cruisers, the Myoko class. Heavy Cruiser was a term coined to describe cruisers armed with heavier guns than 6.1-inches by the London Treaty of 1930. All three classes mounted 200mm guns. Designers were working on their next class of Class A cruisers to be known as the Takao class. As part of the design a new gun was developed, which measured 203mm. The gun was known as the Type 3 Number 2 20cm. The light gun houses, which surrounded the guns in their armored barbette, had a different shape than the earlier design. Although the sides were of only 25mm thickness, they were given another external layer.
This layer was not for additional armor but for insulation. The IJN routinely operated in tropical waters and developed a partial remedy for the heat found there. With most turrets the tropical sun would beat down upon their metal exteriors and convert the interior of the turret into an oven. For the Japanese designers the solution was to add a very thin external jacket separated from the actual turret by a thin open air space to provide insulation. That way the external sheet would absorb the sun's radiant energy and the air space would help diffuse the heat before it reached the actual turret bulkheads. Accordingly, these turrets were lagged with an insulation layer with a waffle pattern on the surface. This turret design was later given to the Myoko class ships during their 2nd Modernization between 1939 to 1941. When the Mogami class converted to eight-inch guns, they also received a slightly modified version of this turret, as did the Tone class.
Lion Roar has produced this very unusual feature with this set of brass photo-etch. It is prominently relief-etched with the characteristic waffle pattern on the sides and line of ventilator holes on the edges. They also have the diagonal line on the side pieces, characteristic of the angular plates of this turret design. On the aft face you receive pieces with detailed access doors. For the front face of the turrets, Lion Roar supplies sliding vision ports with their characteristic X design. On this set Lion Roar provides ten right side panels, ten left side panels and ten aft face panels. Therefore, you can decorate two 1:700 scale heavy cruisers with one set. There are 45 vision ports and since there are three ports per turret, there are enough of these parts for fifteen turrets.
Lion Roar is constantly turning up new and unusual warship features in beautiful relief-etched brass, especially for 1:700 scale Imperial Japanese Navy kits. Lion Roar Set LE700049 is a prime example of this philosophy. To my knowledge, this feature has not been duplicated in this great detail in any medium. The Lion Roar Thermal Baffles set should now become a standard feature for any modeler building a Class A IJN cruiser.