Submarine I-365

Published: May 8th, 2014     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead - IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/350
Company: Aoshima
Price: $54.50
Product / Stock #: 005682
Product provided by: Dragon Models USA

After building the Aoshima rendering of the Imperial Japanese Navy Cruiser Submarine I-16 a couple of years ago, I was interested in reviewing this release of the I-365 Transport Submarine. I took one photo for this review showing the two submarines side by side to show a size comparison of the two. Like the I-16 kit, the I-365 went together well, for the most part, and should not present too many challenges for modelers with some experience in dealing with small parts. The level of detail on the deck is good, but if I were building this for a competition, I would likely invest in a wood laminate deck and possibly photoetched rails.

The Imperial Japanese Navy Submarine I-365 was a Type D1, or "Tei-gata", transport submarine that was constructed at the Yokosuka Navy Yard, and was then based in the Yokosuka Naval District. She was the fifth of eleven boats of the I-361-class, whose design was based upon the German U-155. The keel for the I-365 was laid 15 May 1943; she was launched on 17 December 1943; and she was then completed on 1 August1944. The lone mission of the I-365 began on 1 November 1944 as the boat left Yokosuka with mail and medical supplies for Truk. She arrived on 15 November, and then departed the next day to return to Yokosuka via the Ogasawara Islands. A routine communication was sent by the sub on 25 November, and the I-365 would not be heard from again as she was spotted by the USS Scabbardfish (SS-397) on 29 November, and would be sunk by a stern tube shot by that boat, which was commanded by LtCdr Frederick A. Gunn. The boat sunk in approximately 30 seconds with only five survivors being found, but only PO Sasaki would accept help, and he would later identify the I-365 as the submarine that was lost.

The submarines of this class were built to carry 110 troops (in addition to the crew of 55) as part of a total of 85 tons of cargo that also included two specially designed landing craft that could submerge with the boat. Six of the boats in this class were converted to carry the Kaiten kamikaze submarines in early 1945, and one would be converted to a fuel tanker. Only three would survive the war and later be surrendered to the United States. The original armament for the class consisted of a single 14cm main gun along with two 25mm anti-aircraft guns, although some would later be converted to add two torpedo tubes for self-defense. The boats were 241 feet, 2 inches long, 29 feet, 2 inches at the beam, and had a draft of 15 feet, 7 inches. The two Kampon diesels could move the boat at speeds of 13 knots surfaced (displacing 1463 tons), or 6.5 knots when submerged (displacing 2251 tons). The boats had ranges of 15,000 nautical miles running at ten knots while surfaced, or 120 nautical miles travelling at three knots while submerged.

The kit comes with five sprues holding 188 smooth gray plastic parts (two of these sprues are for the hull halves), one black sprue holding seven parts, two screws, two nuts, and a small decal sheet with seven items on it. The instructions for the kit are spread over 12 pages of a booklet that includes a history of the submarine (in Japanese), a painting guide, assembly instructions, directions on use of Aoshima's aftermarket detail set, and a part location guide.

The instructions actually start with a full-page black and white copy of the box cover art followed by a two-page history of the I-365 that includes a single photograph of the port side of the conning tower while in port. There is a page of general information written in Japanese, English, German, French, and Chinese, and a page showing the painting directions using Gunze colors for their reference follows this. Assembly actually begins on page six of this booklet, and is straightforward enough to follow. I will mention here that the painting directions do not point out use of the decals that are included.

Aoshima decided to utilize the same large "B" sprue that was included in their release of the I-16, so only 21 of the 85 parts will actually be used, leaving plenty for your spares box. In addition to the base itself, sprue "H", which is molded in black, also contains the supports between the base and the submarine as well as four parts used to capture the metal nuts in the lower hull.

In building my kit, I discovered that step 1 fails to mention that assemblies H2-H4 and H3-H5, internal braces, need to each capture one of the included nuts. This allows the builder to secure the submarine to the base using the included screws, and missing this important item will no doubt cause heartache later on. In my kit, the support arms, B51 and B52, for two of the deck cranes were broken, but I was able to glue them back together. In step 11, two parts, both labeled as C20, are to be installed on the bow of the sub, but part C20 is in fact a loading ramp installed on the stern of the boat in step 6. My only other construction issue was that my deck pieces did not fit together snugly, so I evened out the gaps rather than having a single large one. This deck issue is why I would recommend obtaining an aftermarket wooden deck if building the model for competition.

In order to finish my I-365, I utilized Tamiya's Hull Red for the underside, and Kure Arsenal Grey for the top color. My deck started with a coat of Tamiya Deck Tan followed by a coat of Flo-Stain Teak (a product that I have had around for a number of years, and will sorely miss when I use it up or it goes bad). In addition, I used Vallejo Steel and Old Gold, with a base coat of Alclad Gloss Black Base. I did apply a sludge wash made of Model Master Acryl Aircraft Interior Black along with a wash on the small deck items using Vallejo Model Wash for Grey and Dark Vehicles.

For my hits of this kit, I will start by mentioning the overall fit and finish of the kit, as Aoshima did an excellent job with this release. The parts were clean coming off the sprues, and I did not have to use any filler on this kit. This submarine looks good built straight from the box, with most of the parts being nicely proportioned for this scale.

As far as misses, the biggest issue is that step 1 fails to mention installing a nut between plastic assemblies that sit in the bottom of the hull. Having built the I-16 from Aoshima, I knew exactly why parts H2 and H3 had a hexagonal recess. My other miss was the deck on my sample. There was either going to be a large gap between middle deck sections, A1 and A2, or smaller gaps between the deck end sections, C25 and C13, and their joint with the middle deck sections. There is an guide created by the edge that exist around the upper portion of the hull halves, and the middle deck sections, A1 and A2, seem to fit just fine in this guide, so I do not believe that the deck pieces could have been set lower to close the gaps a little more.

Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to anyone wanting to add a model of a unique Japanese transport submarine to his or her collection. The kit builds up with relative ease, and looks very convincing once completed, although the addition of an aftermarket wooden deck and some photoetch rails would take the kit to new heights.

I would like to thank the folks at Dragon USA for providing this kit to the IPMS/USA for review, and to Dave Morrissette who runs the Review Corps for selecting me to do the build. As always, my thanks to you for taking the time to read my comments.

  • I-365 Completed - Port
    I-365 Completed - Port
  • I-365 Compared to I-16
    I-365 Compared to I-16
  • I-365 Completed - Starboard
    I-365 Completed - Starboard
  • I-365 Completed - Top
    I-365 Completed - Top
  • I-365 Completed - Starboard Bow
    I-365 Completed - Starboard Bow
  • I-365 Completed - Main Deck
    I-365 Completed - Main Deck
  • I-365 Completed - Conning Tower - Port Side
    I-365 Completed - Conning Tower - Port Side
  • I-365 Completed - Conning Tower - Starboard Side
    I-365 Completed - Conning Tower - Starboard Side
  • I-365 Completed - Aft Deck Details
    I-365 Completed - Aft Deck Details
  • I-365 Completed - Starboard Stern
    I-365 Completed - Starboard Stern
  • I-365 Completed - Aft Deck - No Cover
    I-365 Completed - Aft Deck - No Cover
  • I-365 Completed - Aft Deck - With Cover
    I-365 Completed - Aft Deck - With Cover
  • I-365 Completed - Aft Deck - With Landing Craft
    I-365 Completed - Aft Deck - With Landing Craft
  • I-365 Landing Craft Closeup
    I-365 Landing Craft Closeup

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