Fujimi 1/700
Brasil Maru 1939

Reviewed by Timothy Choi

The Brasil Maru was one of Japan's many passenger-cargo ships built during the interwar period. Operated by the Osaka Shosen company (OSK), she was built in 1939 and led a rather short life that ended abruptly when she was commandeered for the use of the Japanese military and subsequently torpedoed by USS Greenling (SS-213) on August 5, 1942.

The Brasil Maru is often written as Brazil Maru, which has significantly contributed to confusion regarding her identity - the Brasil Maru is often mistakened for the real Brazil Maru, which operated as a "hell ship" POW transport in the later stages of the war, well after the sinking of the former.

Fujimi released this kit (and of her sister, the Argentina Maru) just a few months prior to their groundbreaking (and breathtaking) release of their downscaled Kongo. Thus, although this kit is well-molded and clean, it lacks the detailing found on the newer Fujimi kits.


Here are the contents of the kit (not in the order in which they were originally packaged):


The first sprue consists of one side of the hull and some of the decks, in addition to some of the main bulkheads.


The second sprue consists of the other half of the hull and some more decks and bulkheads, in addition to the funnel top.


"Sprue" is a rather generous term for this part of the kit - it's just the waterline plate and parts for securing the metal weight.


Yes, indeed there are no sprues D to G. Sprue H has some more decks and bulkheads. Yay!


Sprue I contains the funnel, the deck on which the funnel rests, the masts, and some more bulkheads.


Sprue J holds the ventilator cowls (molded solid, so should be drilled out), the boats (which are molded with tarps over them), cargo booms, anchor, and some miscellaneous small parts. Three such sprues are in the kit, though you will not be needing all the pieces for this model.


A small fret of what-may-or-may-not-be-stainless-steel photo-etch is provided for the many boat davits.


The ubiquitous metal weight bar is obviously so important that it deserves its own section for its one picture:


The decal sheet includes the thin white stripe along the hull in addition to the large Japanese flags that were on her hull soon after commissioning to signify her nationality's as-of-yet neutral stance in the war (though these are not called for in the instructions). Markings for the lettering/characters on the bow and stern are also included, in addition to the standard-sized flags.


Fujimi's standard double-sided one-sheet fare, with pretty clear exploded views. No colour painting guide, and the guide appears to neglect the black funnel as it appears in pictures and the boxart. Japanese-only for all practical purposes, which is unfortunate as information on the Brasil Maru is limited as it is, and an English version of the information about the ship would be welcome.


Kit number 40082. A sharp and clean kit of a handsome vessel, though lacking in many of the details (watertight door details, for example) that we have come to expect in recent months. None the less, with a little bit of extra work it will be an excellent addition to most modelers' collections and is recommended. I bought my copy from a local shop for CAD $35, though it can be had for much cheaper online.

Fujimi has also released the Brasil and Argentina Marus in full-hull version, so one can look for those versions as well.