H.I.J.M.S. Maya by Dan Kaplan

Specifications for the Maya build:

This is a build of the Aoshima 1/700 IJN heavy cruiser Maya kit in her mid 1944 fit. The last few photos provide a nice comparison with sister Chokai 1942. She was one of four Takao class heavy cruisers and had a notable war record. A concise history can be found on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_cruiser_Maya

Until recently, the Aoshima new tool-clear bridge version remained the most accurate of the available 1/700 Maya kits with regard to the shape and size of the hull, bridge, and substructures. As with the Aoshima Chokai kit, the Maya kit still requires some corrections, scratch-building and detailing, despite its fundamental accuracy and correctly scaled details. In fact, the extra effort is true of all the Aoshima new tool Takao kits in order to make them truly shine. I probably put in over 700 hours into the build. The recent release by Fujimi of a 1/700 Maya 1944 seems to have corrected many of the shortcomings of their initial, new tool Takao kit, so, perhaps, their new version is a much more viable alternative for those wanting an accurate kit with less building pain.

For those who are curious, the PitRoad and Aoshima versions are very similar in terms of parts breakdown, but are not interchangeable. The same can be said of the new Fujimi Takao kit. I had contemplated a kitbash from several different Maya kits but, in the end, I choose only to use the PitRoad 12.7cm HA mount bases as they were thinner and had more appealing detail.

One detail that I chose not to install was a degaussing cable. Common wisdom prevails that Maya carried such a cable throughout her career, and in the same manner as her sisters. Certainly, every plan and authoritative build of Maya that I've come across in her 1944 configuration has depicted one.

While I agree that the cable was installed at the war's outset, a close examination of the photographic record of Maya's battle damage as she entered drydock at Yokosuka in December 1943 (just prior to her AA conversion) indicates otherwise. In fact, it appears to me that Maya's degaussing cable was removed prior to this point in time.

Two other details I chose to admit were a stern rolloff rack for depth charges and an emergency rudder lashed to her stern. I did not find enough substantive evidence for the first detail, and I do not think the rudder was added to her equipment until later that year.

I made extensive use of the new FineMolds NanoDread line of 1/700 accessories, particularly the 25mm mounts, both triples and singles, the 110cm searchlights &, folding davits. I also utilized the new PitRoad NE line of accessories, notably the 12.7cm HA mounts and some of the ship's boats.

I'd like to extend my thanks to all the board members who encouraged and critiqued me during the build process. All of your comments were greatly appreciated.

Details and Photo Etch:

  • Aoshima new mold clear bridge version; Tamiya/Leviathan
  • PitRoad & FineMolds equipment accessory sets
  • Gold Medal Models
  • Tom's
  • FineMolds
  • Aoshima
  • Hasegawa
  • Joe World
  • Voyager
  • Clipper
  • FlyHawk
  • Basic Takao Class fret for bridge windows & foremast
  • Clipper 20cm barrels & mushroom vents
  • FlyHawk mushroom vents
  • Assorted manufacturers for railings, doors, hatches, ladders, depth charges, life preservers, catapults, small boat thwarts, anchor chain, davits and boat cradles, reels, 25mm AA FC directors

  • Kitbashed Pitroad Maya 12.7cm HA mount gun tubs
  • AA fit, bridge fittings, foremast and mainmast for mid 1944
  • Replaced 40+ deck vents with brass mushroom vents - 6 sizes
  • Replaced reels, anchor chain, bow bulkworks
  • Replaced a/c trolley rails with PE rails
  • Supports for aircraft handling deck

Scratch built (from styrene unless noted otherwise):
  • 20cm turret vents for heat shield lagging from brass ladders
  • Triangular stiffener plates at base of #s 2 & 4 barbette
  • Foremast platforms and yardarms, entire mainmast except boom
  • Jack staffs, antenna, funnel piping & vents, small boat booms, lookout binoculars, f/c voice tubes, all from brass rod (.016, .014, .012, .010, .008, .006")
  • Brass funnel & ventilator grills (forward funnel, bridge intakes - 2 positions)
  • Trestle support for fore funnel
  • Signal lights/rear mast array, running lights, maneuvering signals on mainmast
  • Torpedo rudder adjustment table/hatches
  • 12.7cm HA practice loader
  • Canvas coverings (paint)
  • Boat rigging & boat straps (paper)
  • Anchor hawse pipes and covers - 2 sets
  • Drilled out or covered portholes per references
  • Rigging - aerial and running lines (per references) - Dia Riki .002"

Painted in Kure Grey, hull red & IJN linoleum

Pictorial References
  • Skulsi - Anatomy of a Ship - Takao
  • Shizuo Fukui Collection: Japanese Naval Vessels 1869-1945 2 volume set & History of Japanese Naval Vessels Vol.#3 - IJN Cruisers
  • Kure Maritime Museum - IJN Cruiser volume
  • Hara Shobo plan set, Takao 1932, scale unknown
  • Gakken #16 on Takao class
  • Futubasha volume on Takao class
  • Model Art Ship Modeling Special # 3, #26
  • Model Graphix Navy Yard Special/Quarterly, vols. 3
  • Maru Special # 4, 48, 121
  • Gran Prix Shuppan Anatomy of IJN Cruisers
  • Kojinsha Mechanisms of IJN Cruisers
  • Model Art vol. #360, Drawings of IJN Vessels - Cruisers
  • Profile Morskie volume #15 Maya
  • Classic Warships Pictorial #30 - Takao class heavy cruisers