IJN Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class Destroyers The Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class destroyers were

essentially a single design with each group representing progressive development. As a modeling subject, they are visually interesting and are historically important as a pivotal design between early foreign built ships and the later original and highly innovative Kagero/Fubuki "Special Type" destroyers and their successors which played such a dominant role in the early surface battles of the Pacific War. Prior to the First World War the Imperial Japanese Navy was very dependent on foreign suppliers for its arms and equipment. Many of the prominent overseas warship builders supplied vessels to the Imperial Navy with the majority being built in British yards. In addition, the Japanese Navy acquired many ships as prizes in both the war with China and the Russo-Japanese War. This combination allowed a very rapid expansion of the fleet while also affording ample opportunities to study foreign construction methods and techniques. Destroyers were purchased mainly from Yarrows and Thonnycroft, leaders in destroyer design at the time. Later, some units were built in Japan through licensing agreements. As Japanese shipbuilding capacity expanded and the ship constructors gained more experience, original designs were built. Initially these were still based on British practice. The break from British design dominance occurred in 1916 when the Navy issued specifications for new First and Second Class destroyers. These new vessels, the Minekaze and Momi classes, departed from the traditional British layout, adopting a design that owed much to German ideas. When compared with previous designs, the Minekaze class forecastle was lengthened with a break forward of the bridge forming a well deck where the forward torpedo mounts were placed. This well deck layout followed typical German torpedo boat design practice. A traditional turtledeck style forecastle was retained but the bow was flared more for better seakeeping qualities. The four 4.7"/45 cal. S.P. guns were evenly spaced along the hull length and mounted as high as possible so they could be worked in heavy seas. All the main armament, guns and torpedoes, were mounted on the centerline so that all could bear on either broadside. Six 21" torpedo tubes in three twin mountings were provided. Parsons geared turbines were fitted which delivered 38,000 shaft horsepower for a speed of 39 knots on trials. The Momi type, Second Class destroyers, were identical in appearance and design, except in scaled down form. They were smaller in dimensions and mounted only three 4.7" guns and 4 torpedo tubes in two twin mounts. While not all of these new ideas were completely successful, (the forward gun and torpedo mounting were swept by water in heavy seas and were sometimes unworkable), generally the new destroyers were fast and powerful ships that were equal to any of their foreign contemporaries. The Minekaze and Sawakaze were ordered under the 1917 construction program and were followed by the Hakaze, Nadikaze, Okikaze, Shimakaze, and Yakaze under the 1918 program. None had been laid down when the war ended but it was decided to proceed with construction as many of the operational units were old and in need of replacement. Five additional ships, Akikaze, Hokaze, Shijokaze, Tachikaze, and Yukaze were ordered in 1919. The last three ships of the class, Namikaze, Nokaze, and Numakaze, were ordered in 1920, built to an improved design with a better gunnery fire control system and improved ammunition magazine arrangements. Essentially these last three vessels, in their external revision, set the pattern for the following Kamikaze class. Gun and torpedo positions were changed, the gun mounted aft of the second funnel was moved further aft to X position. Torpedo mounts 2 and 3 were moved closer together and the searchlight platform formerly between them was moved forward to just aft of the second funnel. The following Kamikaze class ships were visually identical apart from slight detail changes in the bridge and the addition of an improved 4.7"/50 cal. main gun which was designed as a dual purpose mount. There were nine units in the Kamikaze class. The first five ships were ordered under the 1920 program and assigned names, Okaze, Makaze, Tsumikaze, Soyakaze, and Suyukaze. The orders were carried over into the 1921-22 construction program but upon reordering only hull numbers were assigned in odd numbers from 1 to 17. The parallel designs, Second Class destroyers of the Momi and Wakataka classes, were also ordered in this period and for a time after their completion were also not given the names assigned to them but were only known by their hull numbers. In 1928, all ships under this designation system received their names. In the case of the Kamikaze class, new

Matsukaze. Kamikaze. (21) Kisaragi. (25) Uzuki. The Kamikaze and Mutsuki classes were also undergoing refits beginning in 1940-41. (19) Mutsuki. the ships were classified as minesweepers as well as destroyers. The Mutsukis were the first ships to be fitted with the newly developed 24' torpedoes which were arranged in two triple mountings.7 mounts and the addition of more anti-aircraft guns. As with the Kamikaze class. Funnels were fitted with higher caps thus visually increasing their raked appearance. goose neck type and relocated one deck lower. Contrary to some published sources not all of the . (27) Satsuki. (30) Nagatsuki. 13mm machine guns were replaced by 25mm guns. Japan possessed examples of the 40mm Bofors gun which would have been a possible solution to the problem but they were never produced in quantity. (28) Minatsuki. Asanagi. The Mutsukis were retained as first line destroyers due to their increased range and their more powerful torpedo armament. Oite. There was also a large gap in coverage between the 4. With the new protected weather proof shields the torpedoes could be worked in all seas and weather conditions thus extending the useful life of the class in the fleet destroyer role. It was a very violent storm with winds to 85 miles per hour and wave heights of over 50 feet. escorts. more compact.7 dual purpose gun and the 25mm gun that was never resolved. Kamikaze and Mutsuki class ships formed the backbone of Japanese destroyer formations throughout the twenties and thirties until they were supplemented and later replaced by the "Special Types". relatively unchanged until the late thirties. the Mutsuki class. These still useful hulls were then converted to a variety of secondary roles such as patrol boats. and Yunagi. the additional anti-aircraft guns look impressive in their numbers but due to the fact that no central fire control system was developed to direct their fire the adding of more barrels firing independently had little effect on the ship's defensive capability. (23) Yayoi. semi-enclosed bridge structure. In numerical order. In spite of an increase in tonnage and added fuel capacity the performance remained the same with no changes in the propulsion machinery. these were. From early 1942 onward the Mutsukis were gradually withdrawn from fleet service. Hatakaze. This took the form of 25mm machine guns in single. Some were converted to the escort role with reduced boilers and added fuel capacity for longer range. The new bow shape became standard for all subsequent Japanese destroyer designs. Many units of the fleet received severe damage including the Mutsuki which had several plates buckled and the top of her bridge wrecked. During 1936-37 Mutsuki and her sisters were fitted with a strengthened. and high speed transports. The three groups retained their original appearance. Minor changes were made such as adding windows to the originally open bridge of the Minekazes. Asakaze. In September of 1935 units of the Combined Fleet while on exercises passed through a typhoon. The hull form was improved with a swan neck bow design developed as a result of model testing in an experimental tank. No such refit was contemplated for the Minekaze and Kamikaze classes as they were considered to be obsolete. This weapon was based on a French Hotchkiss prototype and was a rather elderly design by this time. Hanikaze. On paper. were ordered in 1923 and differed from the previous two groups in several ways. (29) Fumisuki. A common trend was the suppression of one or more of the 4. The hull numbers and names were. The Mutsukis.names were assigned. As the Fubuki class and their improved successors became available in numbers the Minekaze and Kamikaze ships were withdrawn from first line service and reassigned to secondary duties. the Mutsuki class originally were assigned hull numbers and only received their names in 1928. At various times paravanes were fitted. (later being removed and replaced with a telephone system). double or triple mountings. The Minekaze. (31) Kikusuki. This serious deficiency in anti-aircraft defensive capability became more critical as the war progressed. (32) Mikatsuki. a superb weapon with no equal in allied arsenals. The side plating below the bridge was cut away and the forward boat davits were changed from radials to the swingout. with their 24" torpedo mounts were able to accept the newly designed 24" oxygen driven "Long Lance" torpedo. At the same time new watertight shields were fitted to the torpedo mounts similar to those on the "Special Type" destroyers then in service. and (34) Yuzuki. speaking tubes were added to the torpedo stations. By 1938 most of the Minekaze class ships had been withdrawn and replaced by more modern ships in the fleet escort role. Hayate. (33) Mochitsuki. Twelve units of the final type.

ships were modified in this way which is apparent from studying wreck photographs. IJN Minekaze As built. The Minekaze. speaking Tubes installed . Kamikaze and Mutsuki classes parallel the USN 4-pipers in that all were available for secondary uses in large numbers and were utilized in very similar roles. It is interesting to compare the conversions done by both navies for the same mission. The drawings show some of the variety of conversion possibilities offered by the new Minekaze and Kamikaze kits from Skywave. So much the better for the modeler as there are more possibilities for creativity. almost experimental in nature. The degree of standardization apparent in some of the American conversions is not present in the IJN adaptations. Many of the IJN conversions are very individual. IJN Sawakaze 1920 with full shields on main guns IJN Minekaze 1930. The amount of evidence available is not adequate to document all of the individual ships but there is ample to cover several in detail which can be considered representative of the appearance changes in the class.

two main guns suppressed and extra 25mm added IJN Yukaze. two main guns removed and extra 25mm added Patrol Boat #2 1944 (Ex IJN Nadakaze) IJN Yakaze 1944 (Target Ship) .IJN Shimakaze.

Many design features were borrowed from the MINEKAZE class. for such is the listing in some Japanese sources). These ships were designed as "second class" destroyers. including the well deck mounting of the forward torpedo mounts. The hulk was then used for experimental purposes at Yokosuka. The WAKATAKE class units were a repeat of the MOMI class with only minor improvements. No further vessels were built under the "second class destroyer" design concept. slightly smaller and more lightly armed versions of the "first class" destroyers of the MINEKAZE type. The later need for smaller and cheaper designs for escort work was not recognized. and the high centerline mounting of the three 4.IJN Shiokaze 1944 (Kaiten Carrier) IJN Namikaze 1945 (Kaiten Carrier) IJN Momi and Wakatake class Destroyers The recent release of the MOMI and WAKATAKE class destroyers by Hasegawa opens up many conversion possibilities and adds a previously unavailable ship type to our IJN miniature fleet. MOMI class vessels numbered 21 in all. The MOMI class. Destroyer designs were developing rapidly. The MOMI and WAKATAKE types were fast and powerful ships. comparing well to their foreign contemporaries. Their role as fleet destroyers was seen to be compromised by the increasingly more powerful destroyers appearing in foreign navies. They in fact looked like a scaled down MINEKAZE. (also known as the KURI type. Externally. In late 1938 KAYA and NASHI . The MOMI class vessels were the first to be affected. Beginning in 1939 most units were progressively withdrawn from service and converted to other roles.7" guns. they are almost identical. In 1932 the MOMI was taken off the active list and had her powerplants removed. was ordered under the IJN 8-8 Fleet Project towards the end of the First World War. There were 13 WAKATAKE class destroyers ordered but only 8 were completed. the emphasis being on ever larger and more powerful units. but within a few years of their completion they were regarded as being of an obsolete design.

One boiler. mounts. In a few boats the second funnel was removed.7 guns removed. KAKI. The ASAGAO also had one of her torpedo mounts removed during this same refit. and YOMOGI were converted to Patrol Boats. (in heavily damaged state). AOI. 32 through 38. The three remaining vessels. nine vessels. The 8 vessels were then named. HAGI. one boiler being removed. (SUSUKI). and 33 did not receive this modification. Five units.7 mount was removed from these three ships and replaced with two triple 25mm mounts. Patrol Boat 34. all torpedo tubes and the aft 4.were decommissioned and later. in shallow water at Yoshimi. (in order matched to the ships as listed above). KURETAKE. HASU. This involved removing one of the boilers and various armament changes. SARAWABI. turned over to the Dutch Nasy at Batavia in 1946. KURI. . HUYO. the forward part of the wreck remaining above water. (25mm). Nos. HASU was used for repatriation service until the spring of 1946. One or both torpedo mounts were removed and one. SANAE. The WAKATAKE class ships paralleled the KAMIKAZE first class destroyers and had a similar history. TADE. was removed. In 1942 the midships 4.7 mount. 31. Ballast was added to compensate for the removal of weight. between the funnels. low angle guns were replaced with improved dual purpose. KURI and HASU survived the war. SUSUKI. (leaving only "A" mount). 46. Like the KAMIKAZE vessels. had all of the 4.7 gun were removed. The stern was cut down to the waterline and anti-aircraft.32 and 33 boats were stranded on Wake Island. the SHUMUSHU type. and TAKE. (4. All units of the WAKATAKE type were lost during the war except ASAGAO. Depth charges. KURI was mined and sunk in shallow water at Fusan. ASAGAO. was not used again. In 1942 YUGAO was refitted and reclassified as Patrol Boat No. She was scrapped in 1947. NIRE. and in spite of repairs. and KARYKAYA. being run ashore to land marine assault troops in the second invasion of the island. One vessel.7/50cal). were scrapped.7/45cal. Mine sweeping gear was removed and the number of depth charges was increased by 36 with 4 throwers. different from those originally planned. No further modifications were made. This refit was similar to the first stage MOMI conversions. All were originally assigned numbers. WAKATAKE. In 1941. This situation continued until 1928 when it was decided to assign names. The remaining two 4. FUJI. In 194142 the remainder of the class underwent refit during which the center 4. 32. Patrol Boat 34 was severely damaged in 1943. KAKI. 34~39 were reconstructed to carry and launch one Daihatsu landing craft. increased. with names to be assigned upon completion. they were not named upon completion but merely retained their assigned numbers.7 mounts removed. She was mined and bottomed. These guns later ended up as the armament of the first TYPE A escorts. and was later scrapped. In 1939. (or two). She was then moored at Sasebo until taken for scrap in 1948. HISHU. of the 4. Patrol boat 36 was moored at Soerabaya. ASNI. Two triple 25mm mounts replaced the deleted center 4. repaired at Truk in 1944. As patrol boats they were assigned numbers. and all of the torpedo mounts removed. which may explain the "KURI" type designation in some Japanese records. (unmovable). At the end of the war several MOMI class vessels survived in various states of damage. No. SUMIRE. was moored in home waters. Like the MOMIs the needs for destroyers were changing and the WAKATAKE class received refits to allow them to remain useful fleet units. two 4. Nos. were partially disarmed in 1940 and were designated as tenders. TSUTA. throwers and 25mm guns were added. and TSUGA were retained in the destroyer role. The mine sweeping gear was also removed and they were then fitted with extra 25mm anti-aircraft guns and additional depth charge racks and throwers. (or "special ships"). YUGAO. (1940).7 main guns. KIKU. The refit was similar to that of the Patrol Boats.7 gun. No attempt was made to salvage the two boats and the wrecks were still there when American forces retook the island. Nos.

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there are at least three distinct appearance variations within the class. surviving units were upgrades with additional single 25mm AA guns and radar sets. The recent Tamiya kit. Fifty vessels were built and saw extensive service. and a clipper style bow. the Type 13 had a shorter length. before the addition of single 25mm guns and radar sets. From looking at photographs. . it appears that not all of the ships had the midships catwalks. The searchlight is moved forward and the radar and support are installed in its place. The guns and radar parts are from Skywave's E7 UN Equipment set. The gun tubs can be scratch built from plastic card. contains a Type 13 subchaser. The result was an improved sea boat. Some units probably never received them.IJN Type 13 Subchaser Early Japanese subchasers built before the war were hampered by poor seakeeping qualities. Thus you could consider this a fourth or fifth variant. It is to scale. which makes for interesting conversion possibilities. (perhaps because of their small size). Radar sets were in short supply and the subchasers had a low priority. it appears that the area between the bridge and 25mm position is enclosed. Their success rate against American submarines was greatly exaggerated. and their sensor equipment was not very effective. Auxiliary Vessels. The last version is arrived at by adding the radar. The Type 13 subchaser was an attempt to remedy this problem. The Type 13 was considered successful. and the HIRASHIMA class minelayer. As the war progressed. Making the intermediate version means adding a catwalk and gun tub with supporting structure between the mast and funnel. Many fell victim to General Kinneys low flying B-25 bombers. but the Tamiya version is much better. Based on the experimental Type 1 and Type 4 designs. both in home waters and in outlying combat areas of Japan's new island empire. but even with the improvements. and the new design was approved for production. They are the Type 19 minesweeper. which the Skywave was not. Another gun rub and supports is added to the front of the bridge. (Skywave's is too small. The old Skywave GATO kit had one also. The other two kits included in the box are also very nicely done. these vessels were still very wet ships in any sort of a sea.) The kit depicts the class as first built. a wider beam. as the numerous strike photos bear witness. As the radar sets and guns arrived piecemeal. WL-519. Upgrading was progressive as the equipment became available. This is an excellent little kit and an easy evening's work even as a conversion. In one photo.

the masts should be replaced with sprue or wire for a more delicate appearance. These are minor little improvements but collectively they make a big difference in the final result.500 tons. The sightings were of the new Akitsuki class destroyers. a new class that bore a strong similarity in size and layout to Yubari. The Tamiya 25mm guns are good but I prefer the ones from Skywave's E-7 weapons set. Match the pattern of the aft triple 25mm tubs supports. ONI was puzzled how the ship could be in several places at the same time. Shave off the molded on boat chocks. prior to the appearance of the Akitsuki the silhouette of Yubari was unique and the ship was one of the best known of IJN warships. All of the armament was placed on the centerline and four of the six guns were in twin turrets. For Yubari. In 1984 Tamiya issued an excellent kit of the Yubari as in 1944 at the time of her loss. The kit shows the radial type davit whereas Yubari was equipped with the goose necked davit that was tilted outward by a crank activated worm gear. The cable encircles the hull just below deck level as shown in the drawings. The design was a success and the techniques used led directly to the design of the Kako class cruisers. Many of the features pioneered in Yubari were repeated in all subsequent Japanese cruisers. Using the kit parts as a pattern. See drawings for clarification of this. They are suspended with a bracing bar for quick launching and the forward pair of boats have supports underneath. the davits are mounted in the same places but are tilted inboard and the boats are mounted outboard of the davit arms. . This is meant to simulate the support under the mount. This must be added to the hull from brass or copper wire or from sprue. These may have been replaced with quick reload gear but there is no solid evidence. Tom's Model Works 2-bar style are best. Designed to test the ideas of Naval Constructor Hiraga. There were two types of boat davits in common use in the Japanese Navy.000 ton cruisers (Nagara type) and had the same speed performance but on a displacement of only 2. In appearance. Replace the davits from Skywave weapons sets and save Tamiya's parts for another project.. Under the forward triple 25mm gun tubs you will note a circular bulge in the side of the deck house (part 22). The vertical supports under the bridge wings (part A12) can be thinned down and cross braces (x pattern) added behind the openings from either photo etch or sprue. building it in sections for easier control. The depth charge racks at the stern are plain and will benefit from either detailing or replacement with better parts from Skywave or scratch built items. I opted for sprue. Tamiya's Yubari has a couple of minor errors and simplifications.. Soon new aerial photography solved the mystery. Part A2 can be replaced by a Skywave USN director tub and a separate searchlight from any of the weapons sets. The hull design was also a radical departure from previous practice. The Yubari was an experimental design laid down in 1922 under the 1917 building program. The mistake was understandable as. They are NOT mounted on the deck as shown in the kit but are suspended at the same level as the motorboats. The Yubari was equipped with spare torpedoes located under the anti-aircraft platform amidships. the ship mounted the same broadside as the 5. remove it and replace with a piece of plastic rod centered under the overhang. As the Yubari was a single ship class. Tamiya omitted one other detail that must be added. Tamiya has provided the wrong one. If railings are desired.IJN Yubari Detailing the Tamiya 1/700 kit In early 1943 US Navy intelligence was receiving numerous sighting reports of the light cruiser Yubari from several different areas. The kit can be constructed straight from the box with excellent results but even the best kits can be improved upon. Yubari was fitted with a degaussing cable and retained this up to the time of her loss.

As lost and molded by Tamiya Modifications to kit . The forward triple 25mm mounts are shown with white canvas covered railings. The same goes for the AA platform amidships. The bridge wings in most photos are open railings. usually open railings without covers. perhaps slightly lighter than the hull color. Lifeboat covers in wartime were not white as shown but would be a gray. but this could be optional. painted dark gray (hull color). or brown canvas. not covered with white canvas as shown in the art.The box art is an excellent painting guide except for the following points. These platforms were the standard Japanese pattern with metal splinter shields.

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