Jump to content
Bottled Ship Builder

Imperial Japanese Navy Battleship Kongō, 1944, Scratch Built, 1/1500

Recommended Posts


I thought it would be fun to share my work in progress photos of the Japanese battleship Kongō, as she appeared in early 1944. The model is built entirely from boxwood and brass, and measures about 5.5 inches. The base is made from spalted tamarind and Patagonian rosewood. There is also a glass case which fits over the base. 

The model is scaled to 125’ to the inch, or 1/1500. This model is relying heavily on photo etched brass parts, which I have made myself. In addition to the many boxwood, brass wire, and brass stick parts, there are over 2,500 individual photo etched pieces. This includes about 250 crew figures which will be added later.

Thankfully, Dr Joseph Ed. Low recently published his absolutely wonderful series of monographs on the class, and saved me from a massive mistake resulting from poorly researched western books previously published on the ship. In his book he clearly shows the radio towers only lasting through the late spring, early summer of 1944, and that the misc. anti aircraft guns were added at the same time the towers were removed. Most western sources, until now, show both existing at the same time, which is clearly not true. A bullet dodged.










Edited by joe100
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...


My latest project, IJN Kongō, as she appeared in early 1944, before her final refit, is complete. The model is entirely scratch built from boxwood and brass, with over 2,500 individual photo-etched pieces alone. Construction time l ran to Just under 8 months. She is 1/1500 scale or 125’ to 1”. 

The case is made from spalted tamarind and Patagonian rosewood finished with tung oil, with a glass cover assembled from copper which was acid etched. The marquetry for the rising sun motif took a few days if work, and I think it compliments the model well. I do enjoy spalted tamarind, it’s probably my favorite wood for a ship’s base because of its visual interest.  The name plate is acid etched brass which was enameled. This was quite a complex job in itself and took several days to complete. 
The hull of Kongō was made from carved boxwood, with the balance of the superstructure made from brass and individual photo-etched brass parts. The funnels are made from aluminum with the correct bulging at the top. To man the ship, there are several hundred crew members on deck. The rigging is nitinol wire, and paint, as always, is ScaleColors exclusively. 
The ship is depicted as she would have appeared in port in the early months of 1944, before she was refitted with dozens more anti-aircraft emplacements. I chose this fit because it allowed me to model all 3 towers on her turrets, which I thought was more interesting. The model is probably the most complex I’ve built so far, and she was an absolute joy to build. The photo-etched superstructure came out just as I’d planned, and she certainly is striking. Several challenges needed to be overcome, such as the funnels with the bulge at the top. This had to be achieved very carefully because I still wanted to represent all of the interior trunking, so they had to be scale thickness, shaped correctly, and carry this detail. This was probably the single most difficult aspect of the build. She’s finished in ScaleColors Kure grey, with some light weathering. 
If you’d like to see photos of her being built, I keep everything on my website, www.josephlavender.com.






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...