Pictured is Shirayuki, a Fubuki class Type I destroyer, from the PitRoad Fubuki kit, modeled in her early war fit as of March 1943 at the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, where she was sunk. The only notable change to her fit at that time was the replacement of her 7.5m motor launches with larger 10m, cargo type launches. For decades, only Tamiya offered a kit of this type, in 1/700 scale. Unfortunately, this tooling’s hull is appropriate for only Type I ships, yet six kits were released, depicting variants of all three types. PitRoad released new, vastly improved 1/700 versions of all three types in 2007-8. The PitRoad kit is a significant improvement over the Tamiya kit, though not perfect. While hulls are appropriate for each variant, all kits come with molded-on deck details, turrets and torpedo tube mounts that reflect their as-built configurations. All must be changed to properly model the appropriate pre-war and wartime fits. In addition to this early equipment, PitRoad also includes its E-10 IJN DD weapons sprue for later turrets, tubes, AA mounts, etc. Even so, correctly shaped torpedo tube mounts must be fashioned with additional work. 

DKShirayuki01.JPG (58979 bytes) DKShirayuki06.JPG (94534 bytes)
DKShirayuki09.JPG (74776 bytes) DKShirayuki031.JPG (91680 bytes) DKShirayuki07.JPG (83423 bytes)

The most notable problem with the Type I kits are the funnels; they are flat wrong. PitRoad carried over the funnels from the later Type IIs and IIIs into these kits instead of providing thinner versions appropriate to the Type Is. After considering several options, I actually used funnels from the Tamiya kit, sanded to reduce width, to complete Shirayuki. Other corrections include straightening the mine rails at the stern (actually used to hold depth charges) adding an RDF compartment under the searchlight, replacing the split depth charge rack with a single unit, using brass rod for the masts, adding a lot of detail.

DKShirayuki011.JPG (74816 bytes) DKShirayuki010.JPG (75878 bytes)
DKShirayuki04.JPG (64130 bytes) DKShirayuki013.JPG (64917 bytes) DKShirayuki05.JPG (48023 bytes)

Pictorial References
·                         Gakken #18 on Fubuki class DDs
·                         Gran Prix Shuppan Anatomy of  IJN destroyers
·                         Kojinsha Mechanisms of IJN destroyers
·                         Kajinsha History of Japanese destroyers
·                         Kure Maritime Museum – IJN Destroyer volume
·                         Maru Special #s 7, 17, 21, 94, 95, 98 & 111
·                         Model Art Ship Modeling Special # 27
·                         Selected photos from the Shizuo Fukui collection 2 vol. set
·                         1/125 plan set for Uranami from Miyukikai

Dan Kaplan

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