HEAVY CRUISER IJN TAKAO . Salutations everyone!
And a warm welcome to my latest Lego scale model warship. The Takao class of heavy cruisers were one of the most recognizable warships of the IJN. These tough looking ships certainly looked the part and their active career saw them taking part in most important theaters of operations.
I chose to model the lead ship of the class. In fact, she was the only one of four sister ships to survive the war (just barely). She was torpedoed by the submarine USS Darter during passage through the Palawan Straits on 23rd October 1944. Unable to get the urgent repairs she needed she was finally moored in Singapore as a floating AA battery. While there in Seletar harbor, the ship was attacked by British midget submarine XE3 which effectively put her out of operation. .
Takao in profile. Port view.
Building the Takao in Lego
Model length 203.5cms (80inches)
Build time 7 months
My model of the Takao is based on how she looked in 1944 shortly before she was torpedoed by USS Darter. Construction was based on the lessons learnt from my previous Mogami. For one thing, Iíve employed a different method to shape the hull. This method does away with the unsightly gaps between the hull plates that marred the look of my last model. With this new hull shaping, the reddish brown deck also joins Ďseamlesslyí to the hull sides.
While the size of the model has also been increased to a tad over 2metres, it still remains a mid-sized scale model at 1/100. In fact, itís the same scale (by coincidence) to one of the models I referenced by a Japanese master model ship maker. This model of the Takao can be found in the GAKKEN series of Japanese books on IJN warships. Janusz Skulski's 'Anatomy of the ship series, The Heavy Cruiser TAKAO' was another invaluable reference. His book provided me with most of the information I needed to build a more or less accurate scale model. And again, there's the World Wide Web for all your reference needs.
The model was built to come apart in 3 sections for easy handling and storage. Each section of the model has its own keel block base plate. As with the Mogami model, Iíve found that displaying a full hull model of this size on keel blocks is the way to go. This method distributes the weight of the model quite evenly and gives everything a solid appearance.
One of the first things I had to decide on was the period to base my model on. Major changes to Takao were made during the 1939 refit along with her sister ship Agato. Their so-called top heavy tower bridge was scaled down to a no-less massive structure. Further modifications throughout the war years probably made Takao and her sisters the most heavily armed cruisers in the IJN.
Briefly, here's how the model was constructed:
the massive tower bridge was built first to decide the scale of the model
this was followed by the funnels, aircraft rail deck, turrets mounts and the 20.3cm gun turrets themselves. Secondary armament, anti-aircraft mounts with their machine guns, ship's boats/launch, etc. came next. (Both masts were made towards the end of construction.)
the 'JAKE' reconnaissance floatplanes along with the catapults were then added
the middle section of the model was finished first, followed by the stern section
finally when the bow section was finished, it necessitated the reconstruction of both the midship and stern hull sections. (Oh bother, that took me another month.)
modeling the anti-torpedo blister on both sides of the hull was tough. In all, some 3 months were spent on the hull alone. Of course, that included some waiting time for parts to arrive.
So, I've tried to make the model as close to scale as possible although some compromise was inevitable. Sharp eyed modelers of IJN warships will note:
that some of the 25mm, Type 96 machine guns should be triple mounted. I modeled them in dual mounts as the triple mounts looked out of scale.
There is no degaussing cable; it would have spoilt the look of the hull
while I did try to model the portholes accurately, most of them would have been covered by 1944. (I liked the way they looked, so I left them.)
some mushroom vents and deck fittings were omitted to keep the model looking uncluttered (used my artistic license).
Well finally, there you have it, seven months work encompassed in one MOC page. I hope it was worth it.
Warmest regards, marko.
Lastly: Seletar harbor is just a few kilometers from where I am; I might make a trip to the area at a later date.
The Takao's massive tower bridge and mid-section detail from the Port side. Even though the bridge was scaled down after the 1939 refit, it still looked massive.
Another view of the tower bridge with turret C, gun barrels raised in stored position
The bridge and fore funnel with the 3 forward turrets trained to Starboard
JAKE Navy Type reconnaissance floatplane on catapult with the tripod mainmast and crane
Looking towards Port bow
The aircraft rail deck with another JAKE on a cradle. Turret D & E are trained to Port
Port midship hull with views of the bridge, funnels, 12.7cm secondary armament and torpedo openings
Turrets A, B and C with bridge detail, foremast and funnel
Looking towards the Starboard quarter. Farewell TAKAO!