Radial Boat Davit Set For IJN Destroyers

Published: January 26th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: Luke R. Bucci PhD - IPMS# 33549
Scale: 1/700
Company: Fine Molds
Price: $17.95
Product / Stock #: WA11
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

Bottom Line: As good as it gets for some, but not all, boat davit types for World War 2 IJN destroyers. Wish I had these for all those IJN DDs I have already built.

Fine Molds has been producing a line of very finely detailed and realistically close-to-scale aftermarket equipment sets for World War 2 Imperial Japanese navy warships with injection-molded plastic. These sets use advanced molding techniques to product very small parts with exceptional detail. Combined with historical accuracy and attention to detail makes Fine Molds Nano Dread sets ideal for upgrading WW2 ships. They have an advantage over photoetch metal sets by being three-dimensional, easier to handle, no folding or assembly required, rigid, stronger and just plain better-looking. Set WA11 is specifically for half of the boat davit types for WW2 IJN destroyer (DD) classes - the radial type.

First, some nautical nomenclature about davits so you can use this set properly. IJN warships, destroyers in particular, had two types of davits: 1) radial and 2) pivot or gravity types. Radial davits usually had the boat on the deck, and were outboard of the boat (closer to the edge of the deck). Radial davits rotated to position the boat over the side for lowering or retrieval. In general, radial davits did not tilt over the side - when rotated, they already had enough clearance for the boat to drop. Pivot davits had boats resting on them, suspended over the deck. Pivot davits were inboard of boats, unlike radial davits. To lower or retrieve a boat, pivot davits were simply unlocked and tilted downwards over the side. Some pivot davits had little support legs at the base - radial davits had only a single shaft without support legs.

This set (Fine Molds Nano Dread WA11) has only radial davits. Fine Molds has another Nano Dread set (WA10) with pivot davits, as well as torpedo and depth charge davits. You will need both sets to accurately complete all the davits found on a WW2 IJN DD/DE. Fine Molds has another set (WA-6) with davit types for larger warships (cruisers and larger). Yamato and Musashi had their own style of davits different from other warships (see review of Lion Roar photoetch Yamato class davits on this website).

What You Get

Each set has four identical sprues. Each sprue has six davits, a pair of three different types. The instructions are on the back of the box, and indicate which type goes to which actual 1/700 scale model kits from Aoshima, Fujimi, Hasegawa, Skywave and Tamiya. However, this set usually does not outfit an entire IJN DD. Most IJN DDs had two types of davits - radial and pivot types.

Type 1 is for Fubuki I-III and Kagero classes. It names the waterline kits of these classes (Fubuki, Ayanami, Hibiki, Shikinami, Akatsuki, Kagero, Shiranui, Yukikaze, and Amatsukaze). What they do not tell you is that these davits (type 1) are used ONLY for the davits next to the bridges of these ships. The other two davits amidships were pivoted styles found in the WA10 set. Also, be careful when building late-war versions of these classes of IJN DDs. Some of them removed the bridge boats and radial davits for more light AA guns after refits.

Type 2 is for Akizuki class IJN DDs. Kits listed are: Teruzuki, Suzutsuki, Fuyuzuki, Akizuki, Shimotsuki, Yoizuki & Hatsuzuki, but are appropriate for any Akizuki class DD. Type 2 radial davits are only for the aft-most boats behind the funnel, and not before the funnel - those were pivot types. So to complete an Akizuki-class DD with davits, you will need a WA10 set. As near as I could tell, type 2 davits were only used on Akizuki class DDs because they operated 9 meter motor launches, a bigger boat than the 9 meter cutters in the other IJN DD classes used with radial davits.

Type 3 davits were unique to the late-war Matsu and Tachibana classes, and the Type 2 Transports (looked like a Japanese version of LSTs). They were different because they attached to the outside of the hull, not inboard. These davits were for the 9 meter cutters next to the rear funnel. Fortunately, the boat davits next to the forward funnel were type 2 radial davits since these operated 6 meter motor launches. So a Matsu/Tachibana class IJN DD can be completed with Fine Molds WA11 set (unlike all other IJN DD classes).

The accompanying Table lists each IJN destroyer class used in WW2 and the davit types (expressed as Fine Molds types - WA10 = pivot type). This information was gleaned from careful examination of the Mechanism of Japanese Destroyers book which I purchased in Tokyo during a business trip. The photos and line drawings are superb and helpful for identifying details by class and refits. Davit types for Fubuki and Akizuki classes were confirmed from some old Maru Special Japanese Naval Vessel books (7, 17, 19 & 21) from the 1970s that had many clear photographs.

IJN Destroyer class

Forward-most Davit Types

Aft-most Davit Types

Mutsuki

Type 1 WA11

WA10

Fubuki I (Fubuki, Hatsuyuki)

Type 1 WA11

WA10

Fubuki II (Ayanami, Shikinami)

Type 1 WA11

WA10

Fubuki III (Akatsuki, Hibiki)

Type 1 WA11

WA10

Hatsuharu

WA10

WA10

Shiratsuyu

WA10

WA10

Asashio

WA10

WA10

Kagero (Amatsukaze, Shiranui, Yukikaze)

Type 1 WA11

WA10

Shimikaze

WA10

WA10

Yugumo

WA10

WA10

Akizuki (Fuyuzuki, Hatsuzuki, Shimotsuki, Suzutsuki, Teruzuki, Yoizuki)

WA10

Type 2 WA11

Matsu/Tachibana

Type 2 WA11

Type 3 WA11

Thus, one WA11 set ($15-24) can finish two Matsu/Tachibana class DDs and half of two Fubuki/Kagero class DDs, or half of two Akizuki and Fubuki/Kagero class DDs. Considering each davit costs about $0.75-1.00 each, it will cost about $4-5 to outfit a single IJN DD with Nano Dread davits, and you will need WA10 and WA11 sets at the very least.

The Build

Types 1 & 2 are attached to the sprue at the base, making part removal and cleanup easy. However, type 3 is attached at the bend of the davit, which is not ideal since it will need sanding at the most visible part of the piece. Care is required in removing davits from the sprue and in handling and sanding the attachment stub. The davits are so detailed one has to be careful not to obscure the detail with paint.

The nice feature of radial boat davits is that the boats are not attached directly to the davits - leave the boats on the deck. You may add aftermarket photoetch hooks and lines from the davits to the boats if you wish. Using Fine Molds radial boat davits allows one to switch out the original kit boats with gaping mounting holes for aftermarket boats without mounting holes - a much nicer look. Fortunately, I saved boats from Leviathan upgrade sets from other kits, and also from Skywave IJN Equipment sets.

For the Fubuki class (II), I had a Tamiya 53 kit of the Shikinami built OOB in the early 1980s that only had the main turrets replaced. For the Akizuki class, I had an old Fujimi 36 kit of the Akizuki built OOB from the late 1970s. For the Matsu/Tachibana class, I used an old Fujimi 37 kit of the Matsu that was upgraded extensively in 1999 with aftermarket, photoetch and scratchbuilt parts, including bent brass rod for davits. I removed the original davits and boats from each model, and used aftermarket equipment set boats without mounting holes. 9 meter cutters (open rowboats) were used for Fubuki and aft most Matsu class boats, 9 meter motor launches were used for Akizuki class boats, and I kept the original 6 meter motor launches (icky things) for forward-most Matsu class boats. I painted the boat hulls with Polly Scale Model Railroad Colors SP Lark Dark Gray acrylic and used Humbrol 110 (a light brown) for the decks of launches and insides of cutters. All davits were painted SP Lark Dark Gray. Portholes for motor launches were India ink from a Koh-i-noor drafting pen (#30 tip).

For the Shikinami (Fubuki class II model) I filled the original mounting holes with cyanoacrylate glue, which necessitated repainting the linoleum deck color with Italian Dark Brown Model Master Enamel 2111. For the Akizuki I took the opportunity to paint the linoleum portions of the deck which included under the ship's boats. I did not fill the original holes from the kit davits since the motor launches would be sitting over them. For the Matsu class model, I originally tried using 9 meter cutters, but they were too large, so I repainted the original kit 6 meter cutters and replaced them. I did not fill original mounting holes for the brass davits as the new radial davits were positioned over the holes (the original kit did not have any davits). The exact locations of boats and davits were checked by using diagrams and photos from the reference books listed.

Compared to the original kit davits, which for Fubuki/Kagero and Akizuki classes were the wrong type to begin with, and for the Matsu class were nonexistent, the new Fine Molds Radial Davits looked much better. The new radial davits look close to scale, giving a more realistic look to the models. Of course, these are now old kits built a long time ago OOB without benefit of references, helpful tools, aftermarket parts or photoetch parts (except for the Matsu class model), so please excuse the amateurish looks. I like the 3-D appearance of these plastic radial davits compared to photoetch davits, which I do not use anymore. Fine Molds WA11 radial davits are much more accurate and realistic-looking than other aftermarket set davits.

Summary

Pros:

  1. Very fine detail;
  2. Accurate, to-scale look;
  3. Stronger and more rigid than photoetch davits;
  4. Can be used with other aftermarket ship's boats and details, allowing for use of better aftermarket boats than kit originals;
  5. Convenience (no assembly required - just remove, clean-up, paint and attach to model).

Cons:

  1. High cost (cost per model is about same as discount price for older DD kits - $3-8);
  2. Only two ships of one IJN DD class (Matsu/Tachibana) can be upgraded completely per set, or six ships halfway upgraded (davit-wise).
  3. Useless for most IJN DD classes which had only pivot types (

Once again FineMolds has issued another ultimate aftermarket equipment set, this time for half of the boat davit types carried by IJN destroyer classes. The ease, convenience, rapidity of use, look and accuracy are unrivaled, but at a cost equivalent to a discount price for one IJN DD kit. If you want the best davits around for one IJN DD kit, this is not a problem. If you want to refit your IJN DD collection, it will be costly. In my experience, these davits are better than photoetch davits and the original kit davits - no contest. You get what you pay for with this set - the best IJN radial davits for 1/700 scale destroyer models. FineMolds WA11 Radial Boat Davits for IJN Destroyers set is meant for intermediate to experienced warship modelers, and needs care in handling the fine pieces. Once on the tin can, they look better than any other davits. Highly recommended for IJN warship aficionados.

References:

  • Mechanism of Japanese Destroyers. 1999. ISBN 4-7698-0898-4. (in Japanese)
  • The Maru Special. Japanese Naval Vessels 7. 1976. (Fubuki Type I class pictorial)
  • The Maru Special. Japanese Naval Vessels 17. 1978. (Fubuki Type II class pictorial)
  • The Maru Special. Japanese Naval Vessels 19. 1978. (Akizuki and Asashio classes pictorial)
  • The Maru Special. Japanese Naval Vessels 21. 1978. (Fubuki Types II, III classes pictorial)
  • Model Art No. 25. Genealogy of Japanese Destroyers Part 2. Autumn 2007. (Fubuki types I-III)
  • Model Art No. 27. Genealogy of Japanese Destroyers Part 4. Autumn 2010. (Akizuki and Matsu/Tachibana classes - reviewed in IPMSUSA recently)
  • All four sprues for FineMolds WA11 Radial Boat Davit Set for IJN Destroyer. 24 total davits (4 pairs of three different types)
    All four sprues
  •  Fubuki II class IJN Shikinami with original and incorrect forward pivot-type davits and cutters next to bridge (Before)
    Fubuki II class IJN Shikinami
  • Fubuki II class IJN Shikinami with FineMolds WA11 Type 1 Radial Boat Davits and new aftermarket 9 meter cutters (After)
    Fubuki II class IJN Shikinami
  • Close-up of original kit boat and davit for IJN Shikinami (Before).
    Close-up of original kit
  • Close-up of original kit boat and davit for IJN Shikinami (Before)
    Close-up of original kit
  • Akizuki class destroyer with original and incorrect pivot-type davits for the original 9 meter motor launches (Before)
    Akizuki class destroyer
  • Akizuki class destroyer with FineMolds WA11 Type 2 Radial Boat Davits and new 9 meter motor launches with deck linoleum painted
    Akizuki class destroyer
  • Close-up of original kit boat and davits for IJN Akizuki (Before)
    Close-up of original kit
  • Close-up of FineMolds WA11 Type 2 Radial Boat Davits for IJN Akizuki (After)
    Close-up of FineMolds WA11
  • Matsu class destroyer with original boats and scratchbuilt brass rods for davits (none were supplied in the kit)
    Matsu class destroyer
  • Matsu class destroyer with FineMolds WA11 Type 2 (by fore funnel) and Type 3 (by rear funnel) Radial Boat Davits
    Matsu class destroyer

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <blockquote> <br> <cite> <code> <dd> <div> <dl> <dt> <em> <li> <ol> <p> <span> <strong> <ul>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Non-latin text (e.g., å, ö, 漢) will be converted to US-ASCII equivalents (a, o, ?).

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.