by Anthony Polychroniadis

Shinsengumi wooden decks: 1/350 Fujimi Kongo

I have begun to believe than in a previous life I must have been a squirrel, a magpie, or some other creature that collected things. This is the only way to explain why I feel the uncontrollable urge to acquire any aftermarket accessories that might improve my newly bought kits. Of course, the aftermarket industry loves people like me, and it seems we are quite a few, as new offerings keep appearing!

One of those new offerings comes from the Land of the Rising Sun, home of some of the most successful plastic kit producers, yet, surprisingly, with a very limited cottage industry, which until recently had been limited to brass barrels.

Shinsengumi wooden decks appeared in the Japanese hobby shop websites a few months ago, and were discussed in the ModelWarships Main Forum at the time. Reactions were mixed. Some members were interested in the concept, while others commented that it would be too thick and that the wood grain in 1:1 scale wood would be visible.

I trust that the accompanying pictures will answer these questions.


First of all, the wood is indeed very thin, 0.25 mm thickness (which translates to 1/100 of an inch if I am correct). If you have ever handled one of those expensive cigars that come in a metal tube and are wrapped inside it in paper-thin wood, this is very similar.

The planks are recessed, and all holes which are present on the plastic deck are also present on the wooden deck, and in the right places. The fit is impeccable.

The wood grain is there, however. Not as noticeable to the naked eye as it is in my macro pictures, but there. Moreover, the wood colour has a reddish tint, which is quite different than the traditional Deck Tan (Japanese Cypress) that is usually applied to the IJN capital ships we build.

Moreover, the Kongo deck in particular has an additional complication: it is not drop-fit, as it does not provide cut-outs for the deck shields of the numerous single 25mm AA. The shields will have to be cut off and reinstalled or replaced by plasticard. This problem does not apply to the Nagato and Soya decks (Donít ask how I know that :)



Availability and prices are another negative: I have only seen then for sale in Japanese websites. The Kongo, Nagato, Mutsu and Yamato decks have a list price of 9500 Yen (about 89 $) in Japan, while the Soya (2nd and 3rd Corps versions) cost 7000 yen (about 66 $). Add about 2300 Yen (21,5 $) for EMS shipping and you might get yourself a new kit instead!

As you might have guessed, I have mixed feelings about these products. For someone like me, who has been unable so far to produce a multi-hued wooden deck to my liking, and has stuck to single-colour decks, they might offer an improved look, albeit at a very high price. To anyone with the ability to paint wooden decks properly, they are of no use.