1950s former Japanese ships

Started by JoeP, January 06, 2004, 08:38:51 AM

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These are already completed models, but they fit the category. I'm still planning to build a late 1970s Japanese CV, but I thought I'd toss these out in the meantime. I hope you enjoy!

In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


An overhead shot of both ships:

In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


And their histories:

USS Okinawa. CVB-45

(Yes, I know 45 was already assigned. But I didn't when I picked the numbers.  :P )

What if one of Archerfish's torpedos was a dud? What if the Shinano had made the beach instead of sailing onward?

Sitting on the beach, partially capsized due to flooding, she escapes further damage since she is clearly no threat. A few pilots shoot her up, others expend unused bombs around her, but other than repairable torpedo and water damage, she's still intact at the end of the war. She stays right where she is, too big and expensive to move.

1949: The United States, now faced with the threat of nuclear war, needs large carriers able to operate the large planes needed to carry nuclear bombs. The Essexes are too small, the Midways too few, and while the "Revolt of the Admirals" saves the carrier program, it will be several years before any of the new supercarriers are sailing with the fleet.

Enter the Japanese government. Eager to show their new friendliness toward the United States, and directly menaced by a nuclear-armed Soviet Union, they offer to salvage and rebuild Shinano. Their engineers have studied her, and determined she could be updated to operate the new jets being built for the USN, and the nuclear capable AJ-1 Savage.

The USN, naturally skeptical, sends their own people to survey the giant battleship-turned-carrier. After some measuring and a thorough inspection, they decide she _can_ be fixed up and upgraded as an interim vessel until the Forrestal and her sisters are ready.

In an impressive effort, the Japanese Coast Guard patch, salvage, and tow the ship to Kure harbor. There she is dry-docked, and over the next 2 years she is repaired and refitted. All her weapons are landed in favor of a smaller AA suite of 8 new 5"/54 guns, and she receives an up-to-date electronics fit.

In the meantime the decision is made to base her in Japan, so that she can be maintained by the people who built her. After she is relaunched, she takes on a limited air group and begins a circuit of the Pacific, visiting the Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, Chile, Panama, San Diego and San Francisco. Everywhere she goes she generates interest. Some protest, accusing Japan of trying to rebuild her military, but most are simply curious to see the giant ship, bigger than even the USN's Midway class.

While off California she receives the rest of her air group, including some pilots who might have flown against her had she'd been finished during the war. Most have never seen anything bigger than an Essex, and they are impressed with the larger flight deck, though the accommodations are a bit cramped.

After working up, she begins her first deployment, sailing the Pacific. She joins the rotation of carriers there in the deployment-overhaul-exercise cycle.

Twice from 1952 to 1954 she launches aircraft in support of the United Nations in the Korean "police action". However, because of her importance in deterrence she mostly stays away from the conflict, patrolling the north Pacific in anticipation of Soviet aggression.

In 1955 she undergoes her first and only overhaul in Japan. A thorough survey and evaluation determines that, due to her design, it will impractical and far too expensive to upgrade her with an angled deck, plus her hangar is too low. Instead, she will only carry on until sufficient supercarriers were in the fleet. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force puts out feelers about the ship returning to her original navy, but is rebuffed, due in part from pressure from other Pacific Rim countries. Instead, she will only serve for the rest of the decade until her straight deck is no longer able to operate the latest navy aircraft. In 1960 she is taken out of service, and in 1961 she is scrapped in the country that had built her. Many World War 2 veterans come to visit the last large Japanese warship of that conflict, and some take home a small part of her as a souvenir.

The model depicts her in 1958. She carries the following air group:

1 detachment of four AJ-1 Savages
1 squadron of twelve F9 Cougars
2 squadrons of 12 F9F Panthers
1 squadron of twelve AD-4 Skyraiders
1 detachment of four AD-4W AEW Skyraiders
1 detachment of four HO3S helos

Her escort is the guided-missile battleship JMSDF Nagato. The only IJN battleship to survive WWII, a pressing need for missile-armed vessels, and the threat of the Soviet fleet and air force just across the Inland Sea, saved her from the scrappers. The Japanese, it turned out, had the foresight to begin cleaning her up under the guise of scrapping her, and she was almost ready for sea when surveyed.

Her two after turrets have been removed and replaced with twin Terrier missile launchers, one being moved forward to replace the inoperable upper turret. Her many light weapons having already been removed, she receives only a pair of open 5"/38 mounts as protection against small boats and slower aircraft, though her crew "acquired" a pair of enclosed twin 3" weapons. And her main weapons are relined to accept American 16" shells, since they were shown post-war to have significantly better performance than the equivalent Japanese shells.

Her armament is now:

4 (2x2) 16"
2 (2x1) 5"/38
4 (2x2) 3"/70
2 twin Terrier missile launchers, with 120 missiles each

Looks could be deceiving. Closer examination shows that the missile guidance radars and equipment had not yet been installed, nor would they be for two more years.
In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


Looking Good there Joe

I assume this is part of the US Effort to get Japan back on its feet and play its part in the region with the threat of Communist China, North Korea and the USSR.

Perhaps try a Taiho design as they were more advanced as a JMSDF carrier with a new Island and Angled deck, something similar to Victorious after her rebuild.

Geoff B B)



Thank you for the compliments!  :D

There weren't any Taiho types left after the war, though one could posit an unfinished hull. However, some of the Unryu class were incomplete, and might have been finished. They're small, but with an angled deck could serve as light fleets.

I've thought about making a helicopter carrier out of Tone - she was recovered postwar, and scrapped. She had a long clear after deck for helo operations. Actually Hyuga and Ise were raised and scrapped, but I think they'd be too big to use, though if the Soviets had built battleships and battlecruisers, a few more big guns ships might have been desireable.
In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


True Joe about Taiho sunk in 1944, but in our What-if world you could have the planned two sister ships left on the stocks and completed Post-War. Size wise thay are very similar to a Victorious so say the hull were not scrapped on the slips immediately and when the Communist threat started to appear in 1949 they were restarted. Due to being less complete that some of the others they could be fitted with some of the newer British carrier ideas from 1950 including steam cats and an Angled deck. I suggested the Taiho design as this was their optimum Fleet carrier design of the war.

Now as to who would use them thats upto you ? !!!!!  


Thank you for the inspiration.
Likes to re-invent the wheel


Hey, cool!  B)  Nice work. Thank you!

In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.


Take this as a compliment cause it is, You sir are nuts. What an amazing and neat job. But COMPLEX! I like airplanes, trying on a ship redesign... Holy smokes, that seems so daunting to me.

My hat... if I wore one, is off to you.

Getting back into modeling



Thank you; I am in actuality a card-carrying Monster Raving Loony.  :ar:

The carrier is OOB, with some little parts left off to simulate a post-war appearance, 5" mounts from Skywave detail sets, and a new paint scheme. The catapults should be replaced; they didn't come out as well as I'd hoped.

The BB is similar - I removed many parts, added a few Skywave details and the mast from a Spruance DD I converted to a Kidd DDG, and repainted.

Finally I came up with a logical backstory. That comes from mixing and matching pieces from actual history.

The most important point is that this is fun for me.  ^_^ I enjoy putting together models and inventing stories about them. With all the leftover bits from previous projects, redesigns aren't that hard when you just substitute new parts for old, and give it a new paint job.

My latest projects, however...  :wacko:  :rolleyes:  
In want of hobby space!  The kitchen table is never stable.  Still managing to get some building done.