Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Yamato

Published: July 13th, 2012     
Reviewed by: Mike Hanson - IPMS# 41117
Company: Model Art
Other Publication Information: Paperback, 116 pages, Japanese text, model builds, closeup illos, short operational history in English
Price: $24.95
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

This publication is a Japanese-language magazine devoted to what the modeler might find interesting about the IJN Yamato. It was published by ModelArt, apparently to coincide with the release of the new 1/350 scale Yamato from Tamiya.

While there is a short English translation of the operational history of the Yamato class, the bulk of the magazine is in Japanese. Unfortunately, I don't read Japanese, but there are some great photos and drawings in the book that are informative in their own right.

The first section of the book is devoted to the new Tamiya 1/350 Yamato, with some great photos of the built kit and an informative set of photos on how to complete the new "post and wire" railings included with this kit. It then goes on to cover previous model releases in 1/700 scale.

Next are a series of hand-drawn illustrations of the various components of the ship, such as fairleads, jackstaffs, and the various gun turrets. There are two very nice, large illustrations of the superstructure and the funnel which will help the modeler in detailing the ship.

I particularly enjoyed the next section, which detailed how the deck arrangement on the ship changed over the years. Beginning with the 1941 fit, it illustrates the layout of the AA batteries over time, including early '44, late '44, and throughout its final arrangement in 1945. By the end of its life, the ship fairly bristled with AA batteries!

The next article focuses on the really, really big 1/10 scale model of the Yamato found at the Yamato Museum in Kure (where the Yamato was built). It's the next best thing to seeing the real ship, because it is so big and detailed. The article includes a number of detailed photos of the model that will be of great help to anyone building his own replica.

Next comes a section with detailed technical drawings of various parts of the ship, including a large fold-out section of the big gun turrets. While the drawings are interesting, they are mostly incomprehensible (to me, anyway) because of the language barrier. This is followed by a section on the design and development of the Yamato class, along with a piece that compares the Yamato to the USS Iowa. One thing of note in this section is one of the best, clearest photos of the Shinano I've ever seen (it's an oft-published photo, but this one just seems clearer to me) - this was the aircraft carrier based on the third Yamato-class hull.

The final section of the magazine focuses on the demise of the Yamato, its last mission, and ultimate destruction. It covers where the bomb and torpedo hits occurred, and has a number of period photos showing the last moments of the ship.

Most of the period photos have been published elsewhere, but there seems to have been some effort put into cleaning them up, as they look very clear and clean. Where the book shines is in its detailed drawings and the photos of the large-scale model at the museum in Kure. If you're planning on building a Yamato, this is a good reference despite the language barrier.

Many thanks to Dragon Models USA for the copy and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.

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