These two Yamato battleships fitted for Operation Ten-Ichigo (Okinawa) were customized from two 1/200 scale Nicihmo kits (motorized version) They are now full R/C, Their decks are real wood. The extra details, including the extra AAA to make this version were made by me and are not kit supplied. The rigging is detachable, and because of the need for inner R/C access, had to be kept light. The Yamatos feature not only the basic Nichimo functions like search lights etc., but also have dual functional working rudders. Both ships run off a 7.2 volt car battery with steam generators for their stacks, bronze propellers, Graupner drive shafts, an emergency bilge system, and 18-inch gun blast sound effects. The antenna for the radio is actually the brass etched crane in the stern. I normally would have run it from the Y with a connector but to keep the umbilical wiring to the island superstructure light I ran it off to the crane.


The Flagship of Fleet Admiral Grima on Trials in the Inland Sea
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Construction Tips
There are currently two types of Nichimo Yamato kits on today’s market. One is R/C and one is a static version. These two started as none R/C versions. I never owned the new R/C version and from the information I read, it offers an optional larger rudder & motors and that rest is what you get with the normal version. They come with steel/brass gearbox, searchlights etc. Since they are from the same mold and Nichimo plastic, their construction is similar.

My first Nichimo Yamato (not shown) is still with me today. It was converted from a kit that I originally bought and built motorized. Eventually after many refits , I converted to R/C. It has around 20 years of mileage and long water time, So I learned lots of valuable lessons in regard to the operation and aging effects to these kits which would be wise to heed.

#1-The Nichimo plastic is oily in nature, Toluene Model glue does not work well in areas of common handling, high impact or needing torque. In time, it well come apart at the slightest touch. CA works well and gives you a stronger bond.


The Flagship of Fleet Admiral Grima on Trials in the Inland Sea
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#2-The Yamato’s hull is a very good hull, one of the best for a plastic kit, but for R/C or motorization it has a major flaw that if you don't watch out for, in time you may regret. That is the kit supplied stuffing box. The kit’s 4 stuffing box when assembled are two parts each. One is a molded in square in the hull, the other is a cylinder. The brass propeller shafts protrude from the cylinder. If you use model glue by itself on these parts (back to warning #1), tell your crews to slip into their life jackets. The hull will be a very leak prone area, not if but when. This is usually from the vibrations from the gear box. There is also a problem with the hole were the shafts comes out from the gear box. Friction from the shaft against the plastic will eventually lead to leaks. If you are not planning on replacing these with brass grease boxes, concentrate on those areas, Use bushings were the brass shafts exits the stuffing boxes. On these ships I used fiberglass cloth and strong epoxies to seal the two units making them leak proof. The bushings used are aluminum rivets with the pins removed.

#3- The gun rotation mechanism- good luck! The Nichimo one is extremely fragile and will eventually fall apart. You may be better off using three servos working in sequence from one channel.


Yamato Taking it Green in the Tsunami of Open Sea Trials
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#4- Seal the holes behind the anchor wells internally with silicone. When hitting heavy waves head on, they can take in water.

#5-Do Not Use the Nichimo supplied spring drive shafts if you are planning on running these ships outside a pool. When you run these ships in a lake, on the springs the minute you hit marine growth, algae, etc., the propellers will twine around the growth and the springs will unravel, falling apart. I recommend the Graupner Drive shafts, a bit more costly, but worth it in the long run. Incidentally if this has happened to you already using the Nichimo springs couplings, you can repair the spring universal by replacing a new spring between its two couplings.

#6 Do Not sail under heavy hot afternoon sun, Your Yamato can warp from the suns heat.

#7 Some modelers have done away with the noisy Nichimo gear box. I don't mind it but I recommend reinforcing the lower plastic support pegs. In time they can become brittle and crack. I used a bed of silicone (away from the gear spin) to dampen the vibrations & sounds. Also reinforce the motor mount pegs as well. I reinforced mine by using Micro balloon resin smeared on the outside and around the pegs. If you watch out for these seven things, your ship will run for a great many years, Good Luck & Enjoy.


Director of Naval Construction (DNC) Grima and the Yamato Construction
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Some photographs show steam generator experiments conducted before final completion. Alright, so with all the rigging and detail how the heck do I get in there to change a battery? Simple, I try not to. On the Yamato exists a plate on the concrete flight deck. I am not sure what it is for, but what is important is its location, It is very close to the gear box, so is ideal for a point of access. It also provides me with a perfect location for a Recharge Jack for the Nicad 7.2 volt battery. In my case I made this plate into an access hatch out of brass stock. It opens similar to a driver’s hatch on a German tiger tank, in that it lifts up and slides away allowing the jack up. If I need to get inside, the rigging detaches and the island lifts up. The batteries are in silos to keep them from swaying about and this keeps the ships well balanced and weighted. If any major repairs are needed, the entire deck is removable. There is a wooden frame (shown in interior image) and the deck halves are attached to this frame by brass screws. OK, but the screws will show on the deck, right? The real Yamato had circular manhole sewer-like access ports on her decks. This was a perfect spot to place the screws to blend in. The plastic Nichimo stand is very weak at the neck and is insufficient to hold a ship this size and weight.

In photographs showing interior mechanics, notice the extra insulation of silicone to dampen the sounds from the gear box and capacitors on the motors. This can interfere with radio frequency if unchecked. These shots are basic for maneuvering. A few are asking, why two Okinawa Yamatos and not a Yamato and a Musashi? The reason is that one has been built for a friend.

Mario Grima

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