As seen in 1942


Aoshima No. 504

Scale 1:700 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.
























































Chitose (千歳)


Review of the model IJN CHITOSE from Aoshima:

Chitose with all her cranes and big aircraft handling deck has always been a fascinating IJN ship-class for me. And after the other "must have/build" was made, the choice of the model came to its turn. The Box-art from Aoshima is as good as they come; here we see the ship glide through the ocean, with the last sunrays hitting the hull and superstructure - a museum worthy piece of art!

There are several timeframes in Chitose's life that will do this model good. But I was hooked on the 1942 scheme, were she had the big red "meatball" painted on the roof of the central part of the aircraft/boat deck. Prior to the Battle of the Midway. A diverse of that wish, was the period of the ship-class that when they carried the 12 Target Mini subs - But Chitose was NOT a sub carrier at any time! - Only her sister Chiyoda was that "lucky".

This model series, of the big seaplane carriers, from Aoshima, bear nearly 40 years on the back, so to judge them beside the new set's from the present time is unfair to say at least, but if we compare with others brands from the same period; 70-80's Aoshima had made a decent job here. To name a few very good things here: Crisp and detailed hull, superstructure cranes and roof also have good detail richness. The negative parts may be the: aircraft, boats, davits, masts etc. - But many of the parts here will be wasted anyway, to be replaced by PE-parts such as GMM or Tom's Model Work's etc. - so all in all not that bad!

When you open the box of the kit, it's obvious to see that Chitose and Chiyoda are the same spurs - you can chose between the stern of Chitose - as I - or the stern with the doors of Chiyoda for the Target Mini subs. The stern of Chitose is not in the right form, but can easily be adjusted to right shape by putting and sanding.

So if you are willing to do some modifications (as we model ships builders in general are) - you can make a fine model of the timeframe you desire.



3 stars out of 6 for: Fit, some details, exciting ship-class.

Building the model:

Let's try to see what I made to this model to call it my own:


The hull is in my opinion one of the best parts of the model, especial the porthole are represented well. But I wanted to make the details level higher with the use of copper wires to show the plating - Styrene plastic parts to show the De-Gauss cable and new scuttles, PE- set for Anchors front and back. Booms for the boats where remade by metal wire with rope of "invisible tread". The stern of the model was modified as mentioned earlier


The deck had to undergo many build processes, as it needed to full fill the scene where most of the activity is. I started to open the aircraft lift and some…”let see inside the ship" by new walls and deck etc. The model needed new anchor chains and winched also some modification where made to the breakwater. The most labouring step of the build was the brass lines for the linoleums deck made by small copper wire attached by CA-glue (sometime I wonder if it all worth) Here after the rail for the aircraft trolleys where enhanced with horizontal ladders. The ship has many ventilators ranging from the standard mushrooms shapes, to the square holes on the podiums behind the catapults. Under the massive roof the model have her second lift that I choose to be in hoisted position. The shape of the lift tells me that it maybe not be onboard Chitose as said before, she never carried Mini subs. Anyway you can't see it, when all the boats and aircraft are placed. I was lucky to have the magnificent PE-set from GMM " IJN Aux. ship - Buy it before your neighbour! - Worth every penny. Therefore all the cranes, catapults, masts were replaced in a snap. The cable drums where made as usual by styrene rods and copper wires.

Guns boats and aircraft:

The main guns, boats (except the landing crafts), floodlights, gun director and aircrafts are all from the Levirerthan spurs. All decals are from Hasegawa (the best on the marked) - or at least in my stash of surplus decals. I have tried to make the parts as detailed as my skill last. With the model as seen in 1942 I have painted all the JAKE's & PETE's aircraft in the late war green scheme with yellow band along the wings front. All the boats have new window frames made of cut ladders, railings and fenders made of wire.


New PE-surplus as: companionways, davits and ladders, binoculars, antennas. New pipes running along the stack, top grill on stack, open the windows on the bridge levels. Small parts as oars in boats, signal flags J, W, V, A - pedant number 4 and 2 (My 42nd IJN model to date). A lot of anti-splinter ropes made of putting and copper wires. Cranes for Para-vanes where scratch build by metal wires. Para-vanes and rehearsal loading gun came from Pit Road surplus box. I have tried to let the model tell a story, by letting the deck be busy with many small details such as catapulting aircraft, lots of wooden boxes and gasoline barrels etc. But the most enjoying storytelling is the Sumo-wrestling game on top of the roof.

Post building conclusion:

The building time was exactly 3 months! But at some points the building of the model had come to a standstill - not because the workforce lay down there work - more because my civil work had take its toll on my spare full free time. Now the glue and paint is dry - my little Chitose is a new member of the model family and will soon has a place in the glass cabinet along the other IJN warships of mine. And I'm at last glad, that I chose to make this fine model ship from Aoshima.



First laid down as a seaplane tender in 1934 at Kure Navy yard, the ship originally supported reconnaissance float planes Kawanishi E7K Type 94 "Alf", and the Nakajima E8N Type 95 "Dave". Later 24 aircrafts of type JAKE (12) and PETE (12). New evidence has shown, that the last 6 JAKE was replaced by PETE in June 1942.  Chitose saw several naval actions, taking part in the Battle of Midway though seeing no combat there. She was heavily damaged off Davao, Philippines on 4 January 1942. She covered the Japanese landings in the East Indies and Gilbert Island in January 1942, and was damaged in the Eastern Solomons in August 1942.

As the Japanese became aware of the importance of carrier aviation, the Chitose was converted to a light carrier at Sasebo Navy Yard commencing 26 January 1943, and was recommissioned 1 November 1943 as CVL (24) and completed as carrier 1 January 1944 and assigned to CarDiv 3

Both Chiyoda and Chitose were sunk by a combination of naval bombers, cruiser shellfire and destroyer-launched torpedoes during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. According to the plan for the Sho-ichi go operation, both carriers were divested of aircraft and successfully used to decoy the main body of the American fleet away from the landing beaches in the Philippines. Chitose was sunk by torpedo hits during the first air strike made by naval aircraft of Task Force 38 from the carrier Essex off Cape Engano.

At 0835, she took three torpedo hits, or possibly near misses from bombs on the port side forward of the number 1 elevator. This resulted in boiler rooms 2 and 4 being flooded with an immediate list to 27 degrees and rudder failure. The list was reduced to 15 degrees but by 0855, further flooding had brought it to 20 degrees. At 0855, the starboard engine room flooded, cutting speed to 14 knots. The port engine room followed at 0925. Chitose was dead in the water with a list of 30 degrees. At 0937, she rolled over to port and nosed under, with the loss of 903 men. The Isuzu rescued 480 men and the destroyer Shimotsuki a further 121.

Technical specification:

  • Laid down at Kure shipyard 26 Nov. 1934
  • Launched 29. Nov. 1936
  • Completed 25. Jul. 1938
  • Rebuild to CV 15 Dec.1943
  • Sunk 24. Oct. 1944
  • displacement: 12,550 tons full load
  • length: 183.00 m
  • beam: 18.80m
  • draught: 7.21 m
  • ship horse power: 56,800 Shp.
  • speed : 29 knots
  • crew: 699
  • Main guns 4 5inch (2x2) 152 mm
  • 12 25mm AA guns (6x2)
  • 24 aircrafts ("Jake" & "Pete") - only "Pete" Type 0 from June 1942.


Books form my own library:  

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


Reference: Pictures

Model Art No. 22, Japanese Navy Seaplane carriers 


Reference: Pictures, drawings, models



Mr. T. Kimoto from Japan have a sharp model of Chitose here:


Thanks to Mr. Buton from Japan who has provided pictures and tables of aircraft. His fine model of Chiyoda can be seen here:


Mr. Grzegorz Nowak from Poland had also made a marvelous model of Chiyoda here:


The building time was 3 month.

Aeronautic Apr. 5 2010


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