In-Box Review
IJN Chiyoda
IJN Chiyoda Seaplane Tender 1/700
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by: Jim Adams [ GOLDENPONY ]

The Vessel...

IJN Chiyoda was laid down in November 1934 as a seaplane tender. She served the Imperial Japanese Navy as a seaplane tender until the need for carriers arose after the losses at Midway.

In her original commissioned state she could carry 24 float planes. During the early parts of her carrier as a tender she saw service in China. In May 1940 she entered dry dock and began a conversion to carry midget submarines. After the conversion she could carry 12 midget subs and 12 float planes.

Chiyoda took part in the operations against Midway. Her midget submarines were to be launched and stationed at Kure Atoll. A seaplane base was to be established on the island to be used in adding the attack against Midway. However after the loss of the four carriers Chiyoda and her companion ships returned to Japan.

In January 1943 she entered dry dock for conversion to a light carrier. She was lost with all hands at the Battle of Cape Engano during the Battle of Leyte Gulf on October 25, 1944. She is the only documented ship to go down with all hands during World War II.


Displacement: 11,190 tons (Standard), 15,300 tons (Full Load)

Length Overall: 632'
Waterline Length: 610'
Maximum Beam: 68'
Maximum Draft: 24'


8x5"/40cal (dual mountings)
30x25mm (heavy anti-aircraft)
12x13.2" Machine Guns (light anti-aircraft)
24 Float planes (12 later)Type 94 Kawanishi E7K2 “Alf” and Type 95 Nakajima E8N2 Dave floatplanes
12 Midget Submarines (Type A midgets)
Machinery: Parsons geared turbines, 8 Kanpon water tubed boilers, 44,000 SHP

Speed: 29 knots


Design: 1,100
Wartime: 1,500

The Kit…

The kit comes to you in a typical lidded box. Chiyoda is shown on the cover conducting fight operations. Inside the box you find two bags holding the sprues, instructions, a medal counter weight, and decals.

The Parts…

The main parts for the kit come on three different sprues. The hull and waterline plate come on one of the small sprues. The hull has a decent amount of details molded on its sides. The linoleum decking has its sections lines on the main deck as well. The portholes are a little shallow and the degaussing cable is not present .

The nest sprue has parts for the superstructure, ships boats, pontoons, and gun platform. There is also two of Chiyoda’s mini-subs, however they are plain. The ships boats have sink marks in their surfaces. But as luck has it the weapons sprues include some of the same boats so you can replace them, otherwise break out the filler. The superstructure sections are nice looking and fit together well.

The next sprue holds the ship cranes, some aircraft, catapults, boat davits, and the stern section for the ship. Two different stern sections are included, one foe Chiyoda and the other for her sister, Chitose. However the water line plate only fit’s the Chiyoda stern section. The ladders and catapults are pretty bulky looking, but that is the problem with plastic. Once again some of the other parts have sink holes, so once again break out the filler. The aircraft are suffer from sink holes as well, but since you use the planes on the weapons sprues you are in luck.

Now we are to the other bag of parts, the weapons sprues. The parts here are much better than those supplied with the kit, so use them. The aircraft suffer from something that has happened on other kits, no propellers. The instructions call out using the Jake float planes only, but in reality Chiyoda also carried both the Alf and Dave float planes as well.


The decals included in the kit are mostly for the tenders aircraft. There are two paper flags for the ship.


The instructions are printed on front and back of a single sheet of paper. There are only Japanese instructions so make sure to do your research. The construction step are easy to follow and straight forward. One very important omission from the instructions is any form of painting instructions.

Final Thoughts…

Well, this is a good base kit if you are planning to dress up. Building it OOB it will still be a decent ship. I find myself pulled toward ships like this, out of the main stream. The inclusion of the mini-subs makes for some interesting dio possibilities.
Highs: Nice simple kit for the Chiyoda seaplane tender. Unique subject.
Lows: No Painting instructions. A few poor fitting pieces.
Verdict: If you are looking for a straight forward project that you can really dress up this is a good start.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: WL505
  Suggested Retail: $29.00
  PUBLISHED: Jan 20, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

About Jim Adams (goldenpony)

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Adams [ GOLDENPONY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


Hi Jim, Thanks for taking the time to give us a look at this kit, a pretty fair review. I built this one up some time ago and the kit is a good one. With that "kitchen table" structure in the middle of the ship it is one of the more distinctive looking ships in the IJN inventory. With the number of cranes and towers on the ship Gold Medal Models Auxilliary IJN ship set is a good choice along with a Toms' Model Works Seaplane Tender set. They go a long way to improve the appearance of the finished product over the molded kit provided parts. The PE sets replace a lot of the details that are part of the structure of that "kitchen table" as well. The "kitchen table" structure also poses a painting problem, it almost has to be added after painting the rest of the ship along with the cranes that nestle at each inside corner since it is near impossible to reach in under it once it is in place. Building this one is pretty labor intensive, but the finished kit is a very distinctive looking ship once completed and will stand out among most of the others in a collection.
JAN 23, 2009 - 03:25 AM
A very nice review, Jim. Thanks for writing it!
JAN 23, 2009 - 04:48 AM
Thanks guys! I have choosen this kit as my first BIG divine scale PE project ship. Then if that goes well, I want to paint that big meatball on the table top. It will be slow going and I hope well worth my blood, sweat, and tears.
JAN 23, 2009 - 06:00 AM
This one brings back memories. If I'm not mistaken, it was one of the first 700th scale kits in my collection. thanks for the review Jim, Frank
JAN 23, 2009 - 09:09 AM
Nice review, interesting ship, thanks!
JAN 27, 2009 - 05:25 AM

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