Aoshima 1/700
IJN Fuso 1944

Reviewed December 2015
by Timothy Dike

The IJN Fuso was built in 1914, she was the lead ship of the Fuso class designed to counter the American New York class.  Fuso underwent modernization and reconstruction first in the early thirties and again just prior to world war two.  Fuso was part of the Southern Force at the Battle of Leyte Gulf which attempted to pass through the Surigao Strait and attack the American amphibious force landing to the North. Fuso was accompanied by sister ship Yamashiro, heavy cruiser Mogami, and four destroyers.  They came under air attack on October 25 as they approached but continued on. As they entered the straight, they were attacked by the PT boats which failed to score any hits but alerted Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf of their approach. He was waiting with his force of six battleships, many rebuilt from Pearl Harbor eager for revenge. A substantial force of destroyers and cruisers covered any possible way through. The IJN fleet was on a one way mission to stop the landings from occurring. As they sailed up the straight, Fuso was hit by torpedoes from the USS Melvin and sank with heavy loss of life. The other ships in the Southern force continued on until they ran into the shells of Oldendorf;s battleline. Yamashiro and Mogami were hit multiple times by 16" and 14" fire with the battleship sinking after a withering 27 minute exchange. Mogami turned and fled with what was left of the destroyers. The battle was significant in that it was the last battleship vs battleship engagement. It was not really a fair fight, as the Japanese mission was essentially a desperate last ditch effort that was doomed to failure from the start.

This newly retooled kit by Aoshima depicts the Fuso as in 1944 during the battle.  This kit is a vast improvement over the original version released in the nineties.

The hull is one piece molded water line style with sharply defined hull plating and port holes. Click to
enlarge image
This sprue features the main deck with nicely defined deck planking and surface details.
A flat water line bottom is included with clips to hold the metal weight in place.
.This sprue features a new bow and stern insert.
This sprues specific to the 44 version and includes the stern deck with catapult rails molded on.
Parts of the bridge and the huge pagoda structure are included on the sprue.  Molding is very nice including bracing underneath the platforms.
The funnel, various platforms and other details are included on this sprue.
Main gun turrets and their barrels are included on the sprue as well as some of the lighter weapons. Extra 25 mm machine guns are included on two smaller sprues.
There to these weapons sprues included with a variety of light and medium weapons as well as float planes and ships boats.
A PT boat is included as a bonus.  The hull is one piece with a separate deck and superstructure.  Torpedoes and gun tubs are also molded separately making this a nicely detailed kit in itself.
Decals include flags and aircraft markings for the float planes.
A metal weight is included along with turret retainers to allow the turrets to rotate.
The instructions are well drawn in six pages showing the assembly and the unique steps to turn this into a 1944 version..

It is nice to see Aoshima retooling these important ships.  Detailing is finer, accuracy improved and the result is a very buildable scale model of the Fuso either out of the box or as a good platform for super detailing.

This is kit #125 in the waterline series 1/700 IJN BATTLESHIP FUSO 1944 with a list price of 2600 yen or about $21.00 at today's exchange rate. Thanks to Aoshima for the review sample. Check out their website for all their latest water line ships available now at your favorite hobby shop or online store.