Review of the Digital Navy 1.250 IJN Fuso
By Jeff Herne
Model and Photos courtesy of Roman Detyna
Battleship Fuso was one of the superdreadnoughts built around the world in the second decade of the twentieth century. Following the Japanese navy ambitions to built ships bigger and more powerful than those designed by other countries, the ships of the class - Fuso and Yamashiro- were indeed one of the finest at the time. They compared well with British Queen Elizabeth class, being somewhat slower, and were noticably superior to US Navys Nevadas and German Konigs. Both ships were extensively modernized in the midwar period and, at the start of World War 2, their silhouette was drastically altered. The ships received a distinctive pagoda style superstructure, massive rear tower and one of the two funnels was eliminated. Equipment to operate scout seaplanes was installed and anti-aircraft armament was greately improved. Both Fuso and Yamashiro were sunk on October 25, 1944 in Surigao Strait, during an ill-fated attempt by the Japanese Navy to prevent an American landing in Leyte Gulf. There is ongoing controversy as to which ship sunk first - Fuso or Yamashiro. This question - apart from purly historical value - is important in establishing which ship holds the dubious honor of being the last capital ship in the history of naval warfare sunk in a direct gun battle between battleships.
The model was designed in 1:250 scale and represents the ship as she appeared after main modernization in 1933. Before her loss in 1944, the ship underwent two more modernizations, including lengthening of the stern to accomodate aircraft equipment moved there, and raising of the ship bulges to the quarterdeck level. The basic reference for this model was Janusz Skulskis book The Battleship Fuso published by Naval Institute Press in the Anatomy of the Ship series. The CD retails for $30 and is available directly from Digital Navy.
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