Argentina Maru

As seen in 1939

Fujimi no. 40081

Scale 1:700 Water Line Series

Click on the pictures to enlarge.



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Argentina Maru あるぜんちな丸

Osaka Shosen K.K.

Mitsui Steamship Co.founded in 1878 as a ship owning company  In 1884 the company became Osaka Shosen Kaisha and was trading locally. Overseas services began in 1890 with a route between Osaka and Busan and in 1908 the first Japanese emigrants were carried to Brazil. A Hong Kong to Tacoma service commenced in 1909 and a San Francisco route was opened in 1915. In 1916 South America services were started and a service to New York in 1920. There were numerous other routes until the commencement of WWII including a round-the-world service. However, most of the fleet was destroyed during the war. It was not until the 1950s that OSK resumed world wide trading and in 1964 merged with other companies to form Mitsui O.S.K. Line which is still operating.

Technical specification

Type: Passenger/cargo

Built by Mitsubishi, Nagasaki, Japan. Yard No: 734

Laying the keel: 5.Feb.38

Launch Date: 9. Dec.38

Date of completion: 31. Jun.39

Length overall: 166.26 m

Beam: 20.9

Tons: 12,755

Speed: 21.5 knots

First-class passengers: 101

Second-class passengers: 103

Third-class passengers: 662

Swimming pool


Japanese ports (presumably Kobe and Yokohama), Los Angeles, Balboa, Cristobal, Curaçao, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Montevideo, Buenos Aires.

Homeward voyages via Rio Grande, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, Belem, Cristobal, Balboa and Los Angeles to Japan. The length of the voyage was cut from 46 to 36 days due to the new ships of the class.



1939 May 31 Starts its cargo-passenger ship's route around the world, with her sister Brazil Maru. Route Japan- South America (Santos-Kobe) service.

1940 Sailing from Osaka to Dalian and later transfer to route above.

1942 OSK sells ARGENTINA MARU to the Imperial Japanese Navy.

10 Dec. Nagasaki. Begins conversion at Mitsubishi’s shipyard to a light carrier.

1943 The conversion to a light carrier is finish and she is renamed KAIYO ("Sea Hawk").

1945 July 24 Bombed by US. aircrafts & beached on Beppu Bay.

1946 - 1948 Scrapped by Nissan Salvage.

1939 cover of a brochure from the O.S.K. line

Building the model of Argentina Maru

The box contain beside the spurs, a PE-set of all the ships davits I think this is a step forward for Fujimi! the PE-set is in heavy duty - A fine feature. There is a decal sheet included with all the cheat lines, nameplates and flags etc. for the hull, but no company bands for the funnel - I miss this! 

The building of the model kit was simply a joy! Fujimi launched the model in late 2008. And here we experience the firm is back in line with the other brands of the waterline series, when it comes to high quality of the new moulds. This model kit is constructed on 3D Computer programs and this shows in the fine arrangements of the parts and also in the very fine fit of the parts. The constructor had really though well of how the modeler will assemble the model and have the best results in painting all the decks and superstructure. (I will give this kit 9 out of 10... or nearly perfect) - The only complaints I have is: This is a liner, It will have helped me a lot if the plastic parts was white instead of light grey (Her sister Barzil Maru was converted to a dark grey troopship). But the white surfaces will had been better as a base to paint the windows on. (To clarify please see how I build the liner of KASUGA MARU) 

The extra scratch building on the kit is:

First the PE-Set's used:

GMM Merchant ship (enough for 3 ships)

Lion Roar IJN vertical ladders


Extra plastic part from the "Leviathan" spur:

The two boats near the bridge is substituted as the boats from the kit lack details. Two small floodlights on the bridge wings was not included in the kit. The foghorn on the funnel was converted from a type 22 radar.

But let's start at the bow. - A extra hole in the bow was drilled. And the forward platform for the flagstaff is build of styrene plastic. A new set's of anchor chains were added. The booms on the masts had the wheels added and a extra boom and the crows nest along the forward mast was also added.

On the front/back side of the superstructure gangways were added. companionways on the side of the hull was build as well as Red/Green lanterns. The blue water in the swimming pool was made by a clear sheet of plastic painted on the backside. All the support columns (styrene plastic) between the decks was glued to the inside of the hull before the decks was in place (This helped me as the columns run through all deck in one piece).

As said before Fujimi had done a fine job when planning all the openings in the hull -only at the extreme end, one opening is missed due to the assembling of the hull (it was easy to cut this open after the two hull sides were glued and dried) Small holes just in front of the bollards for the secure lines were drilled too.

The windows: As stated before I preferred the model had come in white plastic - after several trail an error in paint of the windows, I was frustrated with the results. I had to find a new angle of attack to the problem. One evening I sat by the computer and draw all the windows in Photo Shop (There is many different designs around the ship, but it sound much harder than it really was - I only took 4 hours to design the different windows and doors - and hurray for the copy function! - Now I just have to scale them down to right size - find a white sheet of decal paper for my ink printer - and press the bottom "Print" - Now life was much easier. And in return I get the bridge windows in right size compared to pictures of the real ship. Also the funnel bands with company logo was made of white decal paper.

Signal flags and company flags were made of painted sheet of household metal foils. The rigging was made by a combination of very thin cobber wire, invisible thread and stretched spur.


All in all a great model to build, I had a desire to buy this model ever since I first lay my eyes on it, and I was not disappointed when I opened the box. Its a shame we modelers can't build all the fine liners of the golden age in scale 1/700 too, but the amount of ship is slowing growing - so maybe one day we can see a complete fleet of 2, 3 and 4 stackers in the collections?.......yes I still keep dreaming. Until that, we can thank the company Fujimi for launching this fine model.


Books form the library :  

Japanese Naval Warship Photo Album Aircraft carriers from Diamond Sha books.  


Reference: Picture

The golden age of the Japanese passenger liners 1939 - 41

Ships of the world


Reference: drawings pictures and background

Thanks to Mr. Buton of Japan


The building time was 2 weeks. 

Apr. 2009

If you have any questions, remarks or things you will share, please don't hesitate to contact me.





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