In-Box Review
IJN 17m Pinnace
Foresight IJN 17m Pinnace 1/144 Scale
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by: Dariush [ DR_WHO2 ]


I cannot tell for sure when this pinnace was invented, nor can I tell the design was ever reworked. This is paying due to the fact, that I was unable to gather historical information on this 17m pinnace.

The original purpose of this vessel was to be used as a motor launch to carry torpedoes/mines in order to defend capital ships from attacking submarines. I do assume this was the intention of use when the ship was at berth. However, I could not verify this type of pinnace ever saw active duty in this role. It was then reassigned as the exclusive transportation for admirals and officers to or from shore or other ships. The interior of the cabinet located at the stern of the vessel was fitted out and decorated with the finest material to comfort the passengers.

The 17m (55ft 9in) pinnace was e.g. aboard the Nagato and Yamato. It should be a veritable assumption that their sister ships had been equipped equally.
A 15m Motor Pinnace with quiet some differences was reserved for the CNC on capital ships.

The propulsion of this pinnace consisted of a 150 hp steam engine.

The Kit…

This kit -with the Manufacturer No. EAK001-1000 - comes shipped in a clear plastic bag with a manufacturer sticker showing a writing in Japanese language. I am sorry, I cannot read any of that.
As a side note let me tell you, that this kit was also sold under the manufacturer No. EAK002-1500 and EAK003-1500 with various box coverings. First one as the Nagato 17m pinnace portrayed by a nice painting by V. Fujiwara with the Nagato in the Background and latter one with another nice painting by V. Fujiwara showing the Yamato in the background.
Now, what is inside? …

The Content

The modeler receives one sprue with all the 24 parts that build up to the desired result. Besides, a color printed sheet of paper accompanies the kit as instructions.

The Sprue

The quality of the parts on the sprue are very nice. There is no flash at any

The Hull

The hull consists as one part, which will give modelers aiming for a waterline diorama some extra work. The hull is flush with no further detail. Since I could not bring to light, out of which material these pinnace´s hull was made, I assume they were made out of wood, like those of the German Schnellboote (S-Boats). So the hull being flush is a good starting point to work with. Comparing to the various drawings I had at avail, the hull looks dimension wise spot on.

The Deck

Next is the deck, which seems to replicate the wooden planks.
However, the joints of the planks and the treenails are not shown at all. At this scale, the modeler can refine the kit given solution by engraving them with an appropriate tool. This should be very easy to accomplish.
What most likely cannot be accomplished easily is the way the planks are already laid.

I read myself through some text to understand how a deck is planked. This is a science in its own right. Leaving all the fine details and variations aside, there are two major ways to accomplish the task. None of them is what the kit shows.

One method starts outboard with the outermost planks,gunwale, following the exact (arc like) shape of the hull. Of course, since a plank has a certain width, the arc radius narrows itself with the following side planks the more you come to the middle of the deck. For this, a straight, so called king plank, is installed right from fore to aft dividing the ship into two equal halves. The arc shaped planks ends are incorporated into the king plank.

The second method works with straight planks all the way. The difference to No.1 being, that none of the planks is adjusted to the hull/bulwark shape. Instead, the straight running ends of the planks are incorporated into the gunwale. Maybe check this description as a starter to better comprehend what I mean

The latter one is what the kit tries to show. However, the straight planks are not incorporated into the gunwale but cut as not to interfere with the outermost plank, the gunwale. This does not seem right and I can see no easy way to rectify this issue. Also the embrasure surrounding the skylights, the engine room roof and the cabinet is missing as well.

Attached to the deck are some skylights and the engine room roof. The skylights, that are the ones with the round shape, do show only one metal protection bar. The reference drawings I consulted show 3 of them and clearly thinner than what is provided with the kit. This can also be rectified by cautiously removing the kit given bar off the skylight. When done, replace that with 3 smaller parts. These could be made by heating a part of the frame of the sprue and stretching it, until it shows the right thickness (stretched sprue). If you have brass or copper wire of the right thickness, that will do also quiet well and without the fear of burning your fingers and breathing in the gases escaping the plastic when heated.

The molded on engine room roof looks very fine to me except for some issues.

The upper edge of this superstructure does show handrails going all around. It is nice, the manufacturer thought about representing them as well. However, they do not look very convincing as they firmly stick to the roof. Like all handrails, those had stanchions (in terms of small feets), which do not show quiet right in this kit. As a workaround, I rather suggest cutting the kit given solution away and fabricating your own new handrails from stretched sprue or thin wire. If you have photo etched parts in your spare box in the 1/144 scale, then do not hesitate to utilize them. Whatever you decide, this will enhance the overall appearance greatly. Also, the skylights incorporated into the structure are missing the metal bars totally. The deck shows correctly a provision to mount a machine gun on the bow of the pinnace. A machine gun is not provided though.

The Cabinet

The cabinet needs to be assembled and consists of 5 parts: Two long side walls with the windows, two shorter walls while one of them is showing the entrance door to the cabinet and the roof. The windows do show frames and are broken through. The modeler is well advised to utilize a clear sheet of plastic as glass pane. No interior is provided though. If you do not take some artistic license to build the interior, maybe darkening the glass panes a little will help the overall impression.

The handrails on the roof of the cabinet share the same issue as described for the engine room roof. If you decided to change those, do not stop but change these as well. The roof comes with another feature the manufacturer did thankfully not omit: a retractable roof section. This was supposedly installed to ease entering the cabinet. However, there is no option to show this part of the roof retraced. It could be managed with some minor surgery and provided some interior is built as well.

The short wall of the cabinet amidships shows the entrance door with hinges and handles to open them. No options for opened doors are provided. The handles appear quiet flat and may be better represented by self made handles out of thin wire. Since we are at this point let me tell you, that the kit is missing the metal bars left and right of the vicinity of the doors. Those were attached at one end to the deck and the other end (L formed shape) to the roof of the cabinet. These missing bars were supposedly meant as a boarding help. Also, there was, according to some of the plans, a raised platform located port side the cabinet entrance, which was regretfully omitted in the kit.

The small parts

The rest of the sprue contains small parts like the mast, the vents, fenders, navigation lights and the ships screw. All of these would benefit from some cautious thinning through sanding. The mast could be replaced by a slightly thinner brass rod, but the kit given mast is OK though. The given reeling should be adjusted in thickness or replaced as well by thin brass wire. The navigation lights, which locate themselves on top of the engine room roof towards the bow at the end of a retractable mast, come in gray plastic. Replacing those (the lights only) with some clear material is an option left to the ambitions of the modeler.

The model stand

Foresight provides a simple model stand (2 parts) that shows simplified metal bracing. Some individual solution will easily supersede the kit parts.

The Instructions and Paint Guide…

With a model having so few and obvious parts, the instructions can be kept short. That is however, what the manufacturer decided. All you receive are two photos of a finished and painted model. The according part numbers to show you which part goes where are included. There is no information on the original vessel, nor any specific information on any color brand.

Result and Conclusion…

I admit I had a very close –maybe too close - look at this subject. This kit, by all the critics I applied, is a very nice product. It is easy to build and has few and cleanly molded parts. Beside the deck issue, which is very debatable, there are no major issues that should prevent anyone building it. The missing raised platform can easily be built from scratch if you follow any of the mentioned Super Illustrations. The modeler can use this kit to experiment with paint as the right paint job applied, will make it stand out instantly.
If you see no use for it as a standalone kit and your wallet does not suffice to accompany this kit with the Soar Art Yamato in the same scale, here is a suggestion to consider:

The Japanese N-Scale is 1/150. I once had a look around in the N-Scale department of Japanese manufacturer and found they offer, among all, typical Japanese fishing boats and buildings. I found these in particular with kits from Greenmax, but there might be other manufacturer as well. As alternative, the N-Scale as used in the UK is 1/148, which is even closer to the kit´s scale here. However, I am not sure they do offer Japanese buildings and fishing boats though.

Now with the scale difference not being too much apart either way, it is imaginable to do a diorama with some fisher boats at shore and some fisher and their families in front of their house and the 17m Yamato/Nagato pinnace steaming along at the coast line. I know, this does not sound too much like a war scene but who said it must?


ModelArt No. 32, Summer 2009, Page 126, 127
ModelArt No. 745 – Yamato Super Illustration, Page 108
ModelArt No. 769 – Nagato Super Illustration, Page 98
Janusz Skulski, Anatomy of the Ship – The Battleship Yamato, 1988, Page 183
Steve Wiper, Yamato Class Battleship, ShipCraft No. 14, Page 6

Highs: Unique subject.
Lows: No interior detail.
Verdict: Overall a rather interesting subject with many possibilities.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:144
  Mfg. ID: EAK001-1000
  Suggested Retail: $24.95
  PUBLISHED: Jan 25, 2011

About Dariush (Dr_Who2)

... being father of two lovely children brought me back what was a hobby of mine in my own childhood. I guess everyone with at least one child in the household can figure what I am talking about. Despite what I have built in my younger years (most of them blew up or sank in a pond) I learned to lov...

Copyright ©2021 text by Dariush [ DR_WHO2 ]. 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.


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