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Built Review
135
Japanese Type-A Midget Submarine

by: Rui Matos [ SKIPPER ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

box content

- 49 resin parts (2 of them optional parts 12 spare parts)
- 0.5mm brass rod
- 0.88mm plastic rod
- 0.5mm x 1.0mm plastic card
- Woven thread
- Decal sheet
- Instruction booklet

Opening the box we are presented with the usual well packed resin parts; 7 big parts (the hull and conning tower parts) and two ziplock bags with the smaller ones. Another ziplock bag has the decal sheet, the plastic and brass rods and the woven rope.
The instruction booklet has written, drawings and photos that help you in the construction process, although some of the smallest parts need further atention for their location and placement.

My first conclusion after examining the model is:
Very well casted, with good detail, no air bubbles;
Very well engineered - the way the hull was "disassembled" is very impressive, allowing such a big model to fit in a small box.

quick historical note

The Ko-Hyoteki or A Type Target-A IJN midget submarines were a two man craft, electricaly powered, armed with two 18 inch torpedoes with no reload. They were carried by mother submarines near to the target area and then they were unleached.
The most famous action of this type of midget submarine was on December 7, 1941 - the attack of Pearl Harbour, where five midget submarines were used. One of them, was the first confirmed kill of the United States Navy in WW2 by USS Ward.
Other versions were used in the Sidney Harbour Attack in May 1942, in the Madagascar Battle and in homewaters defence.

Technical details
Displacement: 46 tons submerged
Length: 23.9 m (78.5 ft)
Beam: 1.8 m (6 ft)
Height: 3 m (10.2 ft)
Designed depth: 30 m (100 ft)
Propulsion: 192 trays of two two-volt cells each, 136 trays forward, 56 trays aft; one electric motor, 600 horsepower (450 kW) at 1800 rpm, two screws conter-rotating on single shaft, leading prop 1.35 m diameter, right-handed; trailing prop 1.25 m diameter, left-handed
Speed: 23 knots (43 km/h) surfaced,
19 knots (35 km/h) submerged
Range: 100 nautical miles at 2 knots (190 km at 4 km/h),
80 nautical miles at 6 knots (150 km at 11 km/h),
18 nautical miles at 19 knots (33 km at 35 km/h)
Complement: 2
Armament: 2 × 18 in (457 mm) torpedoes muzzle-loaded into tubes

construction

As any resin model, the first step is to remove the parts from pouring blocks and resin film, and after this task, the washing of parts with water with some drops of your favorite dishwasher. Let it dry by itself.
Following the assembly directions, I started with the hull and conning tower main parts.
What appeared to be a good engineering solution on the hull parts, revealed the most time, sand paper, miliput and finger tips consuming... But, I am used to deal well with challenges and being this, one of my favorite subjects (WWII Midget Submarines in 1/35), I just couldn't let go!!
The problem occurs when trying to join the bow part with the connection ring and the center section. Although in the instruction booklet states that (...)The submarine was made from 3 sections bolted together. The welds etc do not need to be a perfect match., from my sources photos (see the end of the review for the list) there was none with such misalignment. In my model the difference between the connection ring (perfectly circular, by the way) and the hull section reached 4mm, after aligning the parts, not by top, but by the welding lines along the hull. It appears to be a deformation on the bigger parts, making the end section of the bow part being ovaloid instead of circular (it could be a defect of my model).
Once the rear part and the connector ring that attaches it to the center section issue with the same situation as described above was solved, the rest of the construction was straightforward and easy, considering that this is a resin model. As a advice, for all these big and heavy parts, I used two part epoxy glue for a good a durable bond. On all the other parts super-glue was used.

The option parts are the torpedo caps and the inclusion or not of the net cutter and guard rail parts. I opted to make as it shows on the photos of the beached HA-19, that show the top torpedo without the cap and the bottom one with it, with it's characteristic dented cross.
With the options that you have, you can make some of the late war types, without any of the guards and net cutters, because they were being used in homewaters defence...

A nice touch from Accurate Armour is the inclusion of spare parts, that revealed to be very handy, because some of these parts are so delicate that, when you separate them from the resin block, they brake - and I was very carefull with the process.

painting

After everything was assembled, I gave the model a coat of Tamiya Grey Primer. I was ready to procede...
As with other Ko-Hyoteki Midget Submarines, the painting scheme is very dull: All Black.
The only highlights in this huge amount of black are the white cradle/trolley and sliging guides, centre of gravity mark and the draft markings. All of these are supplied as decals, but with the exception of the conning tower and bow draft markings, I opted to airbrush the rest of the white.
Some of this submarines also wear a Japanese Flag on the conning tower, but on the photos of the Pearl Harbour subs, none was wearing it, so I left it out.

Another colour to include on the model is the propellers. Accurate Armour state it should be brass, but from my references, they state that the propelers were Cast Steel - so steel it is.

I weathered the midget submarine lightly, with my usual method with Artists Oils. This time, I also used Titanium White for the free flooding areas around the Conning tower. I didn't want to over do it, and I needed to add some break to the black - I think I reached a fair result.

I am not a expert, but...

There are some details that I have on my references, and that I add on my model, so, if you trusts me (or my books, to be more precise) and want to build a more accurate Ko-Hyoteki (the japanese version of "A-Type Target A" (the full name of this type of submarine)) here they are listed:
- The conning tower hatch should be flush with the top of the structure, not sink, when closed. Interior colour should be black or dark grey;
- The propellers are in casted steel;
- The torpedo guard braces are 1mm too long;
- The antaena (Part nº 14) is rubberized - you should use a different shade of black (I used Antracite);
- The welding lines along the hull shows that the master of this model was made using HA-19 on display at the Nimitz Center, Fredericksberg, Texas, USA.

conclusion

A most welcome release by Accurate Armour, that I have waited for three long years.
It has some issues in the construction and with a minor accuracy detail (hatch, if closed), but these don't spoil the reputation of Accurate Armour.
It makes a good companion and it is funny to see how the real vessel developed in a time frame of six months, comparing it with the Sidney Harbour Attack version (a future feature!).
Highly Reccomended (for Midget Submarines enthusiasts, submarine buffs and of course, every WWII fan - especially the Pacific Theater)
Model courtesy of my Credit Card.

references

Books:
- Gakken #35 IJN Midget Submarines Volume 1
ISBN 4-05-602741-2

- Complete Guide on IJN Midget Submarines and Manned Torpedoes
Gakken
ISBN 4-05-402339-8

- Advance Force Pearl Harbor, by Burl Burlingame
Naval Institute Press
ISBN 1-557750-211-0

- Japanese Midget Submarine Attack on Sidney Harbour, by John C. Date
Monograph 127
The Naval Historical Society of Australia, Inc

- 1/35 scale plan by Australian modeler Alen Cobcroft
(maker of the 1/35 Sidney Harbour attack Ko-Hyoteki)

Online:
Naval Historical Center website
Check also the provided links in this page.
SUMMARY
A Big Midget Submarine indeed. Accurate Armour through Jon Bottomley made another interesting piece of WWII to us, ship model fans. Enjoy
  CASTING:98%
  SUBJECT:100%
  PARTS FITTING:85%
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: S11
  Suggested Retail: £ 149.99
  Related Link: Accurate Armour S11 Page
  PUBLISHED: Dec 29, 2006
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.57%

Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 119
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 120
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 121
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 122
About Rui Matos (skipper)
FROM: LISBOA, PORTUGAL

Hi all Crew Members!
Rui Matos, 39 years old (in 2006), married, former Portuguese Navy Fire Control Radar Operator , and "owned" by two cats - James, Stripes (Riscas in portuguese, now deceased) and Moon (Lua)!
I've been modeling since I was 6, but only have turned to Submarines in 1991 o...

Copyright ©2019 text by Rui Matos [ SKIPPER ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Yeah good article Rui!, one to bookmark. I am a sucker for all those 1/35 boats, I saw that one some time ago, but the fact the resin kit if "full" prevent that nice sub to be used in a dio with any nice damage on it, just too bad. Nice lighting on your pictures!
DEC 29, 2006 - 11:42 PM
Allô Jean-Baptiste and Mark Merci bien! I tried to make the best I could And this review was long overdue (as usual) (Maybe) in 2007 I'll be more prolific on my writing Skipper
DEC 30, 2006 - 12:16 AM
Hi Skipper, Thanks for the review, nicely done, especially as you funded it yourself. Cheers Al
DEC 30, 2006 - 12:20 AM
Hi Alan... As you know, when you want something, you have to pay for it My collection of WWII (and American Civil War) Midget and not so Midget subs (like Accurate Armour Typ VII-C and Typ XXIII), now passing the two dozens of models, every single one was offered by... ME! *1 Some are almost inexpensive, others not... but as I said in the review and most of you know, this is my main interest, so I'll go the extra mile to keep me happy And I wouldn't expected it in other way - these models are expensive and I doubt that a manufacturer would just give them away (which, btw, understand and agree). Thanks for your comments Skipper *1 - the only one that was not bought by me, was my first midget sub - a Verlinden Seehund - which was a birthday present - last century :-) :-)
DEC 30, 2006 - 12:30 AM
Ahoy Skipper. Excellent review. I'll have to start saving my pennies for this one. Kenny
DEC 30, 2006 - 12:37 AM
They found the little bast**d about 5 miles outside the mouth of Pearl - the Ward kicked it's little butt! 1 for the tin cans! Check this out- http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/HURL/midget.html#images
DEC 30, 2006 - 01:51 AM
yeah you got to be pretty courageous to enter into one of those tiny steel tombstones; you wouldn't see me dead to do this! There is *a lot * of reference on this beauty on internet, including some beautiful pictures of some other wich went ashore near Pearl harbor -maybe that's the link you gave Rui? it seems to be dead right now.
DEC 30, 2006 - 03:07 AM
Allô JB The link works fine for me... http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japtp-ss/mdg-a-2.htm For views of the midget submarine captured shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack, see: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japsh-h/ha19.htm For additional images of Japanese Type A, B & C midget submarines, see: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japtp-ss/mdg-a.htm http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-fornv/japan/japtp-ss/mdg-a-5.htm Hope this helps, Skipper
DEC 30, 2006 - 09:24 PM
Hi Alan... As you know, when you want something, you have to pay for it My collection of WWII (and American Civil War) Midget and not so Midget subs (like Accurate Armour Typ VII-C and Typ XXIII), now passing the two dozens of models, every single one was offered by... ME! *1 Some are almost inexpensive, others not... but as I said in the review and most of you know, this is my main interest, so I'll go the extra mile to keep me happy And I wouldn't expected it in other way - these models are expensive and I doubt that a manufacturer would just give them away (which, btw, understand and agree). Thanks for your comments Skipper *1 - the only one that was not bought by me, was my first midget sub - a Verlinden Seehund - which was a birthday present - last century :-) :-) [/quote] Yip I know that one well :-) :-) :-) :-) Happy New year to you. Cheers Al
DEC 31, 2006 - 02:36 AM
   

What's Your Opinion?


Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 123
    Pearl Harbour and Sidney Harbour Versions of the Ko-Hyoteki, both in 1/35 and a Future Feature here at MSW
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 101
    Box Contents
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 102
    Central hull part with conning tower dry fitted
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 103
    Bow part with a small dent repaired with milliput
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 104
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 105
    Counter rotating propellers
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 106
    Ready to prime - it is huge
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 107
    Top view
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 108
    Note the misalignment repair - and the counter rotating propelers ready to be fixed
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 109
    Note the misalignment repair
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 110
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 111
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 112
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 113
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 114
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 115
    Steel Cast Propellers
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 116
    Primed
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 117
    Primed - Excellent detail in the conning tower
  • AccurateArmour S11 - 118
    Primed - Bow detail