As seen in 1944


Tamiya no. 319

Scale 1:700 

Read how I build the kit on the bottom of this page

Click on the pictures to enlarge.











































Yubari, a 3141-ton light cruiser of innovative design by Captain Hiraga Yuzuru, was laid down at Sasebo, Japan. Some of her design elements were later incorporated in future heavy cruisers of the fleet. Commissioned at the end of July 1923, she was generally employed as flagship for destroyer squadrons. In the years before World War II, she made frequent cruises to China in that capacity and on independent missions or in company with other light cruisers.

In 1925, she steamed through the western Pacific and visited Australia. Yubari saw combat action against Chinese shore batteries in 1932. She visited Java in 1937 and patrolled off China after war began with that nation later in the year. Assigned to the central Pacific in 1941 as a destroyer squadron flagship, she was there when Japan attacked the United States in December.

Yubari's initial World War II combat operation was the attempt to capture Wake on 10-11 December 1941. Though that attack was repulsed, she participated in the capture of the island base later in the month. During January-March 1942, Yubari helped seize Allied positions in the New Britain and New Guinea area, but was damaged by U.S. carrier plane attacks during the Lae-Salamaua operation on 10 March. She was repaired in time to serve as flagship of the Port Moresby Attack Force during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May and later supported the Japanese buildup on Guadalcanal.

When the Allies landed on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in August, Yubari was sent south with other cruisers to counter-attack, an assignment that led to victory against U.S. and Australian warships in the 9 August 1942 Battle of Savo Island. Later in August, she covered landings at Nauru and Ocean Islands and spent the following three months on escort and patrol duties.

After overhaul, the cruiser returned to the south Pacific in April 1943. Yubari led destroyers in a bombardment of the U.S. invasion beaches at Rendova in early July, and was damaged by a mine on the 5th of that month, requiring her to return to Japan for repairs. She was back in the south Pacific combat zone from October to December 1943, and was slightly damaged by U.S. carrier planes off Rabaul on 11 November. Yubari was refitted in December 1943 - March 1944, receiving enhanced anti-aircraft firepower at the expense of two of her heavier guns, and was then sent to the central Pacific. After completing a transport mission to Sonsorol Island on 27 April 1944, she was hit by a torpedo from the U.S. submarine Bluegill (SS-242). Efforts to control progressive flooding were unsuccessful, and Yubari sank the following morning.

(from Global Security.org)

Technical specification:

  • Laid down at Sasebo Naval yard 5. Jun. 1922
  • Launched 5. Mar. 1923
  • Completed 31. Jul. 1923
  • Reconstruction and rearmament: 1924, 1927, 1943, 1944
  • Sunk 27 Apr. 1944 (Torpedoed) by US submarine USS Bluegill off Palau with 19 sailors lost.
  • displacement: 4,448 tons full load
  • length: 138.9 m
  • beam: 12.04 m
  • draught: 3.58 m
  • ship horse power: 57,900shp
  • speed : 32 knots
  • crew: 328


  • Main guns 4 (2x2) 5.5' = 14 cm
  • 1 (1x1) 5' = 12 cm HA gun
  • 25 25mm AA guns (3x3) + (4x2) + (8x1)
  • 2 twins 24' torpedo tubes with extra torpedoes carried in spare containers
  • 2 racks of depth charges of 6 DC each

Building the model of TAMIYA YUBARI in scale 1:700

For me the light cruiser of Yubari along with the heavy cruisers of Takao -class stand out as a milestone regarding power and beautiful lines! Yubari nearly looks as she was intended as a yacht and not as a warship, with her swept funnel and sheer lines in the hull. In the early days of aviation there is a saying: If it looks good - It will fly good! ........ Here we can say - She looks fabulous, and sail fantastic!..... There are choices to be made before I start on the model - shall I made her as build in 1923 with low stack and high masts ?, alternative just before the opening of WWII with a fine and more "modern looks" . Another choice is as with the beautiful foldout drawing seen in the book of ModelArt-13 - At last or as I choose ......in 1944 timeframe. with her new armament of 25 25mm AA guns and closed portholes, closed torpedo shields etc. Tamiya has opted as for a late war build as the extra platforms of 25mm AA guns is ready, but have failed to make the platform between the torpedo tubes right (they have the platform from the earlier period). This is not a severe problem as a new is made easily, but will require some study of drawings in differed books as in "Profile Morskie #21 Yubari" and also a good reference is "Vanguard" website as well!.


In Yubari late war config. mostly all of her former low portholes is closed. I did that with small slices of styrene bars attached with normal plastic-glue, next day I sanded the plates down to just a very thin plate, to been shown when painted later. The hull comes with nearly no details of the anchor placement or the degauss cable added in 1940 period, so here I used the PE-set from Lion Roar. The well for the anchor and hause-pipe was drilled out too. Prop guards, booms for boats (at anchor) and old tracks from former DC devices as added. In the very front (bow) of the ship a new plate was made of paper to accommodate the PE-set Imperial symbol, as well as new fair leads and anchor watch stands.


The most work on the deck was on the new anchor chains. Also the DC device and diamond deck-plate at the very rear (stern) of the ship, This was easy made be PE-set (Lion Roar) and styrene plastic. Also more details of vents and cranes was added as well as containers to house spare torpedoes carried on the ship. Yubari carried eight single 25mm AA guns along with the twins and triple, the single I used was the fantastic Pit-Road spare parts from earlier builds, those guns are very well made and adds more realism to my model, as the PE-set often used! Pit-Roads guns is detailed well and this emerge as they are handled with a little weathering and tear. Also I added a lot of Ammo cases on the deck and superstructure. A pair of cable drums was made of styrene plastic and copper wire. Tamiya has giving Yubari davits in standard "J-style" but the ship had the "Swan neck-type" show on every picture I have of the ship. This is easy corrected by scratch build of silver wire or Lion Roar PE-set.

Super structure:

The most notably feature added to the super structure, is the small details of PE-set of IJN watertight doors (Voyager) as well as the amount of cables an small lockers running on the side of the structure, easily made of copper wire and plastic. Added was the new pipes running along the stack (made of silver wire) and also the many handrails on the stack itself (made by IJN PE-set railing from Tom's Model Works) I think it gave the ship a new level of details!  The stack was modified with a lattice support between it's "legs" and also more pipes as fog horns was added. The top of the stack (grill) was drilled out instead of made the grill of copper wire, as tried before. I choose this because the in-mould plastic grill from Tamiya is made so beautiful, and my home made will not be of same level of detail. A small tower beside the radio room was added -this tower is shown in the drawings of the earlier periods as well on Mr. Jef Linn remarkable model.

Details in general:

Added to the PE-set's of Tom's Model Works (IJN Light cruiser), Lion Roar (25mm twin and triple AA guns an boat davits), etc. I have "open" the windows in the bridge and upper observations area. made small navigation lanterns, signaling platforms, emergency woods, ropes, scratch build masts of silver wires, signal flags of metal foils. Binoculars and ladders -windbreakers made of white glue and paint. And spare parts of Pit Road


As said in the beginning in this article I was looking forward to build this little fast IJN cruiser, because she has always had a soft spot in my hart. Tamiya has made a very fine kit here, also bare in mind the age is now over 25 years (it is remarkable how few alternation is needed to make such fine model of today) I can highly recommend some enjoyable days of building to others.


Books form my own library :  

Japanese Naval Warship Photo Album Cruisers from Diamond Sha books.  


Reference: Pictures

Model Art no. 26 Takao-class cruisers


Reference: Signal flag code


Model Art no. 13 5,500-ton cruisers


Reference: Drawings, models


Profile Morskie no. 21

Japanese light cruiser YUBARI


Reference: Drawings

photo de

Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War by Lacroix / Wells


Reference: History, tables, drawings, background


Maru IJN Warship Photo File n13


Reference: Drawings

Warships in Action # 4025: Japanese Light Cruisers WW 2 in Action by: Squadron Signal Publications

Reference: History, background, pictures

Japanese Warship at War, Vol. 2 - Yamato Special by: Trojca, Waldemar, Lengerer / Hans


Reference: Pictures


Nihon kaigun:


Vanguard's model of Yubari:


Gray Power by lastss:



The building time was only 11 days.

Aeronautic Sep. 2008.



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