1/700 IJN Tanker Nippon Maru

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
Tankers and other support ships rarely rate more than a line or two in the history books. But without them the carrier strike forces and invasion forces would be very limited. The Nippon Maru was one such behind the scenes type ship. She was part of the supply group that supported the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. Later she followed the 1st Carrier Strike Force assigned to attack the American forces around Midway in 1942. HP Models out of Germany has chosen this obscure tanker to expand their line of Imperial Japanese Navy ships.
The Hull is well cast and has quite a bit of surface detailing. The catwalk is molded separately so there is a lot of super detailing opportunities. The hull is cast riding low in the water as in a loaded configuration. If you want to model an empty tanker you will have to build up the bottom of the hull with sheet styrene.
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Superstructure parts are all nicely molded and the bulkheads and splinter shields are all very thin. The catwalk braces are resin castings and are pretty delicate. This is where a nice photo etch set would be perfect to replace those items. The masts and booms are also cast in resin. While they look good, they are fragile so be careful with them or consider replacing them with brass rod.
Decals are printed on paper and are acceptable, but there are better decal sets out there that will look more to-scale. Consider replacing these with one of the Dunagain decals sets. I haven't seen them yet but I hear that Dunagain just came out with an IJN set.
The instructions consist of two sides of an standard sheet of paper. While this is not a complicated kit, I would still like to see more detailed instructions, with a little bit of history included.

There is no photo etch in this kit.


If you are in need of a good IJN Tanker this one will do quite nicely. It is a fairly simple kit that could really fill a void in your Japanese fleet. Thanks to Pacific Front Hobbies for the review sample. This kit is currently listed for $47.00 US. Check out this kit and the other HP Models in the latest Pacific Front Update.

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