login   |    register

Kaiten I

  • Finemold_Kaiten_001
FineMolds 1:72 Kaiten Type I
This is FineMolds delicate little suicide submarine, a one-way trip for the Emperor.
With the end of 1944 coming closer, the pressure on the Japanese forces was growing, and the intolerable treat to the home islands was increasing steadily forcing the Japanese military to seek new ways to stall or even turn the allied advances. The result was a range of suicide weapons relying on human control to bring a warhead with in effective range of the target – thus sacrificing the life of the pilot.

Most noticeable was the kamikaze (common translation: "divine wind") preformed with airplanes stuffed with explosives and hurled against its target by willingly pilots.

The tradition of sacrificing your life for home and Emperor was deeply entrenched in the Japanese military culture as opposed to shameful defeat or even surrendering.

Thus were many of the allied landings costly and showed both the Japanese soldier, but also the Japanese civilians willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The first kamikaze attacks by plane were registered in October 1944.
The Kaiten ("Turning of the Heavens") Type I was the first in a line of suicide submarines, where a human pilot should ensure that the weapon was delivered at the right target, so maximum effect could be obtained.

The Type was basically a modified standard 24” type 93 torpedo using the original torpedo without its warhead as propulsion (slim part of the sub) and an enlarged compartment for pilot, warhead and fuel.

The whole contraption was a simple and rather crude affair – which makes sense as it’s a one time only weapon, and raw material and manpower were running short.

The range of the Kaiten was limited and had to be transported within range of the target before they could take of for there final journey. This took place on the deck of submarines like the ones, which are going to be released by Lindberg in 1:72.

The successes of the Kaitens were limited. There’s many account describing the fail ridden subs many misgivings and aside from sinking the destroyer USS Underhill, the Kaiten as a weapon must be said to be a failure for the Japanese.

One mans loss is another mans gain, the program was another drain on the Japanese industry and cost a unknown number of Japanese sailors there life at a time where the war was lost for Japan anyway.
The kit:
FineMolds are known for a high quality and always scores good points in reviews. And without this being a review as such, building this kit leaves a overall good impression.

The kit sports few but delicate details – the originals was a rather simple affair too, and the quality of the cast is high, sporting fine weld seams, very small parts and a sharp and flash free casting.

The only really challenging step during construction is the 2 hull halves that requires care to get a good alignment and a little putty to hide the assembly. Care must be take not to foul up the weld seams.

Aside from that, building and most of the painting can be done in one good building session and another evening for weathering.

I chose a scheme representing a training vessel as I find the splash of white makes the kit much more interesting visually. I constructed a simple base including the rails. The small carriage is included in the kit. Ideally the display could use a figure to give some sense of scale, but I didn’t have any appropriate Japanese sailor in my stash, and I haven’t been able to fine any “out there”.

All in all an enjoyable build – quick and easy to give a diversion from the more time consuming bigger subs.
  • finemold_Kaiten_014
  • finemold_Kaiten_013
  • finemold_Kaiten_012
  • finemold_Kaiten_011
  • finemold_Kaiten_010
  • Finemold_Kaiten_009
  • Finemold_Kaiten_008
  • Finemold_Kaiten_007
  • Finemold_Kaiten_006
  • Finemold_Kaiten_005
  • Finemold_Kaiten_004
  • Finemold_Kaiten_003
  • Finemold_Kaiten_002
  • Finemold_Kaiten_001

About the Author

About Jan Klarbæk (MrMox)

I want more hours in my day ....


Wow, beautiful weathering and display, very well done
APR 08, 2009 - 09:20 PM
That is a very nice looking Kaiten. I really like the display base. Thank you Jan.
APR 09, 2009 - 02:47 AM
Beautiful work Jan.
APR 11, 2009 - 11:55 AM
Thanks mates, back from a weeks vacation, its time to catch up. I felt I had to do a base for it, as the sub itself is very small, and the high quality of the kit would not come to is rights without a careful display. Cheers/Jan
APR 11, 2009 - 09:26 PM
A very late response from me to tell you how beautiful your build is, Jan (as are all of your builds)!
APR 22, 2009 - 05:44 AM