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1350
KANPAI—Battleship Hyuga 1945

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The Scene…

By the spring of 1945 the Imperial Japanese Navy had largely abandoned the defense of Southeast Asia and brought what large ships it could back to the Home Islands. In March 1945 the battleship Hyuga was anchored near Kure and sustained damage from an American carrier strike. Afterwards, she was towed to a small bay nearby and served as part of a newly-formed coastal force.

On 24 July 1945 she was again subjected to carrier strikes and received a substantial amount of damage, particularly to the stem and upper bridge works. Reduced to a sinking condition, Hyuga gradually settled onto the bottom of the anchorage. Within days, her secondary and anti-aircraft armaments were taken ashore and the wreck completely abandoned. It did not take long for the elements to ravage the wreck, swiftly rusting the burned and exposed steel from the damaged areas.

The Model…

The model is adapted from the Fujimi 1:350 Ise kit. Despite the high waterline, the model’s hull is intact—a carefully cut hole in the water base allowed the model to sit snugly without resorting to tricky cutting of plastic. Since I want to build a full-battleship version of this class, I scratchbuilt the after two turrets to save the kit ones, in case a full battleship version kit will not appear in 1:350. The wreck also depicts the ship after the large swivel catapults had been removed from the class.

The Diorama…

This scene enabled a depiction of rustic colors not normally used in ship modeling, an unusual mix of hues that even attracted the attention of U. S. Navy combat artist Standish Backus after the war. Thanks to the recent petroleum debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, I could review color footage of a large oil spill and that assisted in the oil slick depiction in this scene. I used a mix of raw umber tube paint and flat black. First, the initial application was allowed to partially dry then I worked on sections with a wet brush to thin some layers, giving the oil a sense of depth. The rest of the water base is brushed artist’s gel over painted with blue.

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About the Author

About Karl Zingheim (CaptSonghouse)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I am the staff historian for the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. I've been modeling since age 5 and specialize in naval dioramas. Larger scales (for ships) is my preference as is naval warfare up to 1945. The more that comes out in 1:350, the better!


Comments

Very nice piece of work, Karl. It's not only refreshing, but highly original and that makes your attempt significantly difficult. I've never seen something like that in any other ship model gallery. The oil spill effect is very convincing as well as the rusted areas after to the loss of paint due to fire. I don't really mind to wreck a model if it is to make a representation that I'm willing to make. The fun and satisfaction in this hobby comes NOT for being in the top of the mountain but to climb it, so I really applaude your effort and result. I tend to agree with Rui regarding the monotony of the water color; it would have been nice to have different shades on it. But that would be my model, not yours... Keep innovating! Happy modeling, Jorge
OCT 11, 2010 - 07:54 PM
Great job Karl, and very brave indeed. really captures the feel on an abandoned wreck. Si
OCT 11, 2010 - 11:09 PM
Somehow I knew this was going to be an evocative feature when I submitted it... Thank you all for your kind and sincere comments on the diorama. Rui, you make an excellent point on the water coloring, and with your recent River Tagus example, you speak with an authority on the matter no one can challenge. My next scene does occur in a harbor entrance of sorts in proximity to shoals, so I will reinforce the coloring accordingly before putting it before the lens. Thanks! Alec, you are spot on with the rust, however, Jorge is also correct in this instance since the steel on the Hyuga was exposed to oxidation from blast/fire and then from the maritime air. Both wartime artist Standish Backus who painted the scene from life, and the color motion film footage of the wreck on the internet show how vibrant the oxidation colors were. Even accounting for the hue challenges early color film had and the fact it was shot at midday when direct sunlight tends to wash out colors, the brightness of the rust was striking. However, the depiction was still a challenge and I hope it conveyed the distressed nature of the metal. Regarding the use of this kit for such a scene, that's what spells the difference between pure scale modeling and dioramas. For one, the kit (and associated aftermarket products) is the thing, and for the other, it's all about the story and the kit is but an element in the storytelling. In any case, I have always abhorred the carrier-battleship hybrid design, so using this kit for such a scene was easy for me. Since I prefer the full-battleship version, I scratchbuilt the after turrets and saved the kit ones for a future retro kitbash with another Ise kit if some company fails to produce a full-BB version in 1:350. Alec also made an interesting comment about backdrops, and this is a subject peculiar to internet modeling. Since our projects must be set up for photography, even dioramas need good backdrops to compliment what is taking place within the confines of the dio base. In the case of the Hyuga, she had a picturesque wooded highland nearby, but I could not get the shore to fit in that scale. Perhaps a custom one-off painted backdrop would have worked--something I must contemplate in future projects! You have all brought out wonderful points and I look forward to seeing the like with future features! --Karl
OCT 12, 2010 - 08:37 AM
Hi Karl All I can say is: If you need help, please ask! It's strange to write it down, but perhaps I can take shots of my future project (while doing the seascape), but working wet-on-wet with acrylics can be tricky... All my sea base "colors" have been accomplished in less than 15 minutes (if you take a look at my builds you'll notice that there aren't two ocean/rivers in the same tone/color) Again: Congratulations and Shout if Help is needed Rui
OCT 12, 2010 - 11:32 AM
A great subject. IMO the best modelling comes from projects that requires a bit of imagination and a modeler's own interpretation. An similar project can be done for Haruna in '45, with the striped camo on main guns and many other guns removed. Also cuts a forlorn image with quite a few high res pictures available.
OCT 12, 2010 - 11:55 AM
Rui, you've just talked yourself into a "How To" feature! Right, Mark? --Karl
OCT 12, 2010 - 06:31 PM
Brilliant work Karl...Immagination and courage.....a very effective Diorama.... very well executed..... Best Regards Louis
OCT 12, 2010 - 07:23 PM
Karl, I really like it and I had thought of the words " forlorn" and "lonely" when I saw it rising out of the water. Just out of curiousity since i've never done a waterline diorama.... Do you get that same sensation of sadness when you look at your model in person or does photography make it seem larger in scope and therefore more of an emotional hit? Chuck "Diesel Dog" Bauer
OCT 18, 2010 - 01:49 PM
Hi Chuck! You ask a very interesting question. Although dioramas should make a statement, the added element of photography for the internet does two things: depending on the modeler's imaging software, added effects even as subtle as tinting or toning down individual reflections can create a sense of atmosphere not present in the physical product. The other thing is the act photography itself. By that I mean taking an image means you are essentially looking at your model through another eye. Sure, you can point and focus the lens, but the resulting picture is really an interpretation of a machine's light and digital physics. Maybe it's just me, but most times a picture of my work and looking at it from exactly the same angle don't produce the same impression. Strange, isn't it? So, bottom line, it's possible to get one emotional interpretation from a set of carefully posed photos with backdrops and imaging tweaks than from seeing the same dio in ambient light with no contextual surroundings. At any rate, I'm grateful you found the effort intriguing. --Karl
OCT 19, 2010 - 07:01 AM
great job Karl, thanks for sharing!
OCT 20, 2010 - 09:27 AM