|IJN Tone, and her sister Chikuma were the last heavy cruisers completed for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Unique in layout, the two had all main armament mounted forward of the superstructure in four twin-mount turrets, leaving the entire after
section of the ship free to operate seaplanes. IJN doctrine of the time largely relied on surface ship seaplanes as search aircraft, leaving the limited number of carrier-borne aircraft free for combat duties. Although some carrier-borne types were designed
for purely search purposes, such as the beautiful C6N Seiran “Myrt” and others, they never completely took over the task of search from the old tried and true seaplanes. These ships normally operated 5 “Jake” seaplanes or similar types each, launched
from two catapults, but having no protected storage area for the aircraft.
Both ships were highly active during the entirety of the Second World War, until Chikuma’s luck ran out in 1944 when she succumbed to mass air attacks by the Big Blue Wave at Leyte Gulf. Tone finally ran out of time in 1945, when she was bombed
into a wreck in Kure harbor by aircraft initially from the US light carrier Monterey. Her carcass was scrapped from 1947-48.
Tamiya’s engineering skill shines in this kit. Things fit, tightly, to where they go, without having to be “convinced” to go there…for the most part. A few small holes had to be slightly reamed, but no big deal. The decks actually bolt in place, and fit very
nicely, too, thank you. A little MEK along the edges seals them down for good. The complicated masts absolutely “click” together, and even the mixed plastic/photoetch crane is no problem if you follow the instructions.