This set is a partial homage to the Japanese brands that started the 1/700 ship model craze: Hasegawa, Tamiya, Aoshima, Fujimi, Pit Road/Skywave. Even now, when rival Chinese manufacturers have come out with many new subjects rendered in high-quality kits, and Revell Germany, for instance, also has numerous creditable naval kits, I find myself remaining for the most part loyal to the Japanese makes. It must be the emotional attachment to my own youth. I first built a waterline-series Japanese battleship back in the ’70s when I must have been 9 or 10. I had built other ship models and happily sailed them in real water, if they would stay upright and not fill up too quickly. I remember very clearly trying a test float of the new flat-bottomed model in my parents’ bathroom sink. I could not understand why it wouldn’t float, and I wondered why, of all things, they would provide you with a weight to put in a ship that was supposed to float… For those that don’t know, a “waterline” model is not meant to float. It lies on a flat surface looking like it is in water.
Then again, maybe my continuing attachment to the made-in-Japan models is due to the fact that I have made Japan itself a life-long study–speaking the language, teaching the language, living there, and traveling there numerous times with family and students. In any event, here are a handful of my Japanese model ships, some of which I built 30 or more years ago, some just this year.