As seen in 1945


Fujimi no. FUJ400808

Scale 1:700 

Click on the pictures to enlarge.




















































  海鷹 KAIYO meaning Sea Hawk  


The history of the ship can been told in a few lines as KAIYO mostly had duties as an escort carrier and a transport vessel. She was designed, build and launched as a liner with the name of Argentina Maru and sailed as such until the Imperial Japanese Navy, had hard problems of carrier shortage after the Battle of Midway in 1942. The ship was "handled" over to the navy and the conversion began to a carrier named KAIYO. Later she operated in homeland waters as a training carrier and at some time she had also deployed a unit of a Kamikaze squadron but ended her days as a hulk, beached on Beppu Bay after several air attacks in the wee hours of the hostilities and later been broken up after the war.

Review of the model IJN KAIJO from Fujimi:

I was really excided when the parcel came from Germany with the newly (2008) model of Kaiyo. There has been an earlier release from Pit Road High Mold of the ship, but it was a limited kit not easy to purchase nowadays. So it was refreshing to see a new carrier from Fujimi. I had build the liner Argentina Maru in Apr. 2009 (Please see the article here) and I was glad of the fit and details and hoped for a similar model kit that had all the details and correct appearance of the real ship, as we can expect of a newly released kit. And was my expectations fulfilled again...

Not quite I most say! Unfortunately Fujimi has not achieved the highest bar this time. Don't get me wrong - there is some good highlights here too - Let's start with the positive things; The Box-art is fantastic...box-art's sell kit's and this example will do too! The kit comes with a small PE-set that contain parts as: Funnel grill, support lattice under the funnel, yardarms to the flight deck and command bridge incl. windows etc. The plastic 5 guns are the best I have seen ever! Also some of the gun director turrets, 25mm AA guns, masts and floodlights are very good moulded. The kits parts are in perfect condition and bare no shrink marks whatsoever. The fit of the kit is also nearly perfect - here Fujimi has made good use of 3D construction to ensure the fit of the parts (As on Argentina Maru) - and this was it!

Let's see what I had hoped for or expected as a new model kit: The plastic from Fujimi has always been of low quality in my mind and have a lot to desire from the other 4 manufactures such as Tamiya, Hasegawa, Aoshima and Pit Road. In this kit the plastic is very soft and nearly in some parts transparent. It makes the sanding, cutting etc. very fragile. The most wanted subject in this kit is the details (or lack of it) 

As an example; I have seen what Fujimi is capable of here in 2008-09 with the new Kongo-class, they are light-years ahead the +30 years old sisters and can proudly stand beside the best BB of Aoshima, Hasegawa and Tamiya. I was very surprised to see how the lack of details was represented through out this ship, especial the heavy support under the 5' guns had a different shape than of the real ship (the box art show the supports right) there was a lack of companionways all over the hull and even some platforms, scuttles etc. are missing. I wonder why Fujimi had chosen not to include a sheet of decals for the deck markings, as they did on Argentina Maru hull markings, but they at least included markings for the aircrafts. The biggest disappointment for me was the lack of details on the flight deck - I have expected the fine wood planks and steel plate shown on the deck, but here the part just looked as if we were 30 years back in time.  As stated earlier some for the parts are fine moulded but to my taste the boats are poorly detailed and are better to substitute with boats from the W-spur (not included in the kit)



2 stars out of 6 for: Fit, PE-set, and needed model.

Building the model:

My wish was to show the ship in her late war configuration. Extra 25mm AA guns and green camouflage-scheme. Let's start from below and work us up.


The hull is very bare and lack of details at first, so the first ting to add was the closed portholes along the hull - remember the ship was build as a Liner. These portholes were easy to make with styrene bar cut in slices and sanded after the glue had dried. I also opened the fairleads in the ships bow to make access for the mooring lines. Furthermore the ship has many scuttles for disposal of rubbish, grey and black water also made by styrene plastic. I had to rebuild the support arms under the 5 guns as they was wrong moulded in the kit (more heavy) as well as the triangular supports under the platform it self - not a big deal and easy to adjust. There are some companionways and small platforms hanging on the hull, which was missing in the kit also here small pieces of plastic plate was used here. A major error in the kit was the missing platforms between the front 25mm AA gun tubs and the upper small platform for the floodlight - here should be a platform with a small gun director turret! - I had surplus platforms from the MUSASHI kit, that just needed a cut or two and placed with a support column under in styrene plastic - no one would ever expect the missing part. The Paravanes was non existence in the kit too, but luckily extra was "flown in" from surplus Pit Road spur. The ship needed a lot of PE-set water tight doors through out, mine was from Voyager model.  Nearly all the support arms got extra longitude perforated support bars in PE-set from Lion Roar. Davits, triple 25mm AA guns are also from Lion Roar. New boats are from genetic W-spur also surplus now from many former kits. The open 5 guns got extra details with copper wire, plastic and some parts from Eduard, and Lion Roar. Around the funnel some railing (Cut one bar high) was wrapped and extra tubes on each side of the funnel was added by 0.4mm wire.

The most rewarding job of the build was the painting of this little ship. I used brush (old school by hand) Vallejo acryl water based paint:

Dark green: Verde Negro # 980 100% (Hull side, front deck, and front and back on flight deck)

Light green: Mix of Sky Grey, Gris Cielo # 70989 66% and Medium green Verde Medio 891 33 %

Medium green on flight deck: Verde Medio 891 100%

Kure Grey: Humbrol # 27 acryl 100%

I choose to add some degree of weathering on the ship too, by rust and dirt etc. A very thin layer of "dirty water" painted on wet matte varnish surface (It give the best result as the surface tension in water itself just make dark spots when dried).

Deck (fore deck and after boat deck):

Also here the kit is very dull in details, so I lay new anchor chain of metal. Extra single 25mm AA guns, from Pit Road and flagstaff in copper wire. Cable drums were missing too, so I made six with styrene bar and copper wire. The boats got some fenders, railing and window frames. A pair of booms on the hull, for boats was made of steel and copper wires too. At the very rear (stern of the ship) the convoy lights (cross of red, green and white lights was made of plastic). Seen as a very notable feature on the famous picture of KAIYO.  Is the companionway just under the command bridge was also missing in this kit, so again plastic was the answer.

Flight deck and upper part of the ship:

I sanded the flight down to the plane plastic and cut all the groves between the wood planks and metal parts around the lifts etc. And a lot of small holes were punched to show the arresting points for the aircraft when stored in heavy wind and sea condition. New arrester wire was made by invisible tread paper and railing parts, PE-set from Lion Roar of the draining lines around the deck was added. Crew netting is PE-set's from Finemold (dark brown) and the net for the aircraft (sand colour) is from Tom's model work's IJN Carrier A PE-set) The small platforms in the perimeter of the flight deck was made more hollow by knife and drilling. As stated earlier no deck decals was included in the kit. So the "piano" stripes in White and Red was drawn by Photo Shop, and the rest of the decals was self-made, by cutting the stripes and circle out of white sheet of decal paper. Landing lights was made of styrene plastic. The antenna mast is PE-set from GMM and stretched spur is used as wires overall the ship.

The big Type 21 radar the ship carried need some explanation - On every drawing we see the placement in the centre of the deck and there is no doubt it's the placement in the first place. But in the Book from Gakken (please see below) the drawing that show her late paint scheme, also show the new placement of the radar in the starboard side of the flight deck! This is the only drawing and picture for that matter that show this - I have chosen to relay on Gakken, as they in the past have been very reliable. The otherwise fine yardarms (Included in the PE-set that comes with kit) protruding out from the flight deck supporting the landing lights are after my taste a bit two dimensional, and need some PE support under the flight deck. Luckily here can Tom's Model Work's IJN. Aircraft Carrier PE-set comes to use. All the overhang of the flight deck in the front, as well as after had the underside strengthen with Lion Roar PE-set longitudinal perforated metal beams. PE railing also used for support under the rear part of the overhang. Here we also find the Red/Green symbols hanging in wires and made of paper and plastic.


There is parked 9 aircraft on the flight deck, all in the post 1943 green paint scheme with distinctive yellow lines on the forward leading edge of the wings. We see 5 Zeke ZERO loaded with bombs and 4 KATE attack planes loaded with torpedoes. (PE-set with armament, propeller and landing gear from Lion Roar)  KAIYO had late in the war a squadron deployed of the "special unit" aka. Kamikaze and It was my intention to show such a unit ready for takeoff! KAIYO had 24 aircraft in witch 18 was Zero's. Evidence show that up to 60 aircraft was stored on this small ship, but this most have been as a transport role, where the aircraft have been stored in boxes.

Small parts:

I haven't been able to find the call-sign code for the ship - Maybe she inherited the code from when she was Argentina Maru - I doubt! - So the only flags we see on the mainmast in the IJN. flag along with the number pendants of 3 and 8 - my 38 ship in my collection. Crewmembers are from the PE-set from Eduard. I have spiced up the details on the some of the platforms by adding Pit Road single 25mm AA guns as well as binoculars made of plastic. A type 13 Radar is found on the mainmast comes from Eduard IJN extra detail set.

Post building conclusion:

When you have read the first chapter of the review, you may assume after all the hard words I gave FUJIMI that I'm particular not happy with my new model! ............But on the contrary it's not all true - FUJIMI could have made a better job, but with some extra styrene plastic and a lot of PE-parts, the model can evolve to a fine little carrier.

It is fun to have a little green monster among all the grey ships in the collection. Surly the paintjob was the most rewarding experience and I'm looking forward to build ZUIKAKU too (I know in what colour scheme!). After all when the job is ended one rapid forget the hard stones along on the way. If you choose to build the kit "out of the box" You will find a problem free enjoyable build with none hidden errors regarding fit, and the PE-set is a fine feature.

This is a waterline version of KAIYO, FUJIMI makes also a full hull version. There is a PE-set from FUJIMI that provide further metal parts, but will not give the details as set's from GMM and Tom's model Work's.


Technical specification:

  • Laid down at Mitsubishi's shipyard 5 Feb. 1938
  • Launched 9. Dec. 1938
  • Completed 31. May. 1929 as the liner Argentina Maru 
  • 10 Dec. 1942 Reconstruction begins as a Aircraft carrier and the work is completed 23 Nov. 1943
  • Attacked by allied aircraft 24, 28, 29 July and Aug. 9 1945 The ship was beached on Beppu Bay with the hope for later re-float, but at last the effort is abandoned
  • Scrapped Sep. 1946-1948
  • displacement: 17,300  tons full load
  • length: 166.55 m
  • beam: 21.9 m
  • draught: 8.25 m
  • ship horse power: 52,000 Shp.
  • speed : 23 knots
  • crew: 829


  • Main guns 8 (4x2) 5' = 12.7 cm DP guns
  • 44  25mm AA guns (8x3) x (20x1)
  • 24 aircraft (18 ZERO + 6 KATE)


Books form my own library :  

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


Reference: Picture


Samourai sur porte-Avions  LELA Presse


Reference: History, drawing, pictures, background (out of print)

Perfect Guide, the aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy & Army


Reference: History, background, pictures, model and paint scheme

3DCG IJN Aircraft Carrier Complete Guide FUTABASHA N47759 (26)


Reference: History, background, 3D model


Nihon kaigun and J-aircraft.com.

I will like to dedicate this model ship to my friend Mr. Min Zhu (Modelstory .com) who send me this kit as a gift ! Also a great thanks to Mr. Buton from Japan, who provided me with additional information.

The building time was 2.5 weeks.

Aeronautic June 31 2009.




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