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HEAVY CRUISER IJN TAKAO
Salutations everyone! And a warm welcome to my latest Lego scale model warship. The Takao class of heavy cruisers were one of the most recognizable warships of the IJN. These tough looking ships certainly looked the part and their active career saw them taking part in most important theaters of operations. I chose to model the lead ship of the class. In fact, she was the only one of four sister ships to survive the war (just barely). She was torpedoed by the submarine USS Darter during passage through the Palawan Straits on 23rd October 1944. Unable to get the urgent repairs she needed she was finally moored in Singapore as a floating AA battery. While there in Seletar harbor, the ship was attacked by British midget submarine XE3 which effectively put her out of operation.
About this creation


Takao in profile. Port view.

Building the Takao in Lego

Model length 203.5cms (80inches)
Scale 1/100
Build time 7 months

My model of the Takao is based on how she looked in 1944 shortly before she was torpedoed by USS Darter. Construction was based on the lessons learnt from my previous Mogami. For one thing, I’ve employed a different method to shape the hull. This method does away with the unsightly gaps between the hull plates that marred the look of my last model. With this new hull shaping, the reddish brown deck also joins ‘seamlessly’ to the hull sides.
While the size of the model has also been increased to a tad over 2metres, it still remains a mid-sized scale model at 1/100. In fact, it’s the same scale (by coincidence) to one of the models I referenced by a Japanese master model ship maker. This model of the Takao can be found in the GAKKEN series of Japanese books on IJN warships. Janusz Skulski's 'Anatomy of the ship series, The Heavy Cruiser TAKAO' was another invaluable reference. His book provided me with most of the information I needed to build a more or less accurate scale model. And again, there's the World Wide Web for all your reference needs.

The model was built to come apart in 3 sections for easy handling and storage. Each section of the model has its own keel block base plate. As with the Mogami model, I’ve found that displaying a full hull model of this size on keel blocks is the way to go. This method distributes the weight of the model quite evenly and gives everything a solid appearance.

One of the first things I had to decide on was the period to base my model on. Major changes to Takao were made during the 1939 refit along with her sister ship Agato. Their so-called top heavy tower bridge was scaled down to a no-less massive structure. Further modifications throughout the war years probably made Takao and her sisters the most heavily armed cruisers in the IJN.

Briefly, here's how the model was constructed:


the massive tower bridge was built first to decide the scale of the model

this was followed by the funnels, aircraft rail deck, turrets mounts and the 20.3cm gun turrets themselves. Secondary armament, anti-aircraft mounts with their machine guns, ship's boats/launch, etc. came next. (Both masts were made towards the end of construction.)

the 'JAKE' reconnaissance floatplanes along with the catapults were then added

the middle section of the model was finished first, followed by the stern section

finally when the bow section was finished, it necessitated the reconstruction of both the midship and stern hull sections. (Oh bother, that took me another month.)

modeling the anti-torpedo blister on both sides of the hull was tough. In all, some 3 months were spent on the hull alone. Of course, that included some waiting time for parts to arrive.


So, I've tried to make the model as close to scale as possible although some compromise was inevitable. Sharp eyed modelers of IJN warships will note:


that some of the 25mm, Type 96 machine guns should be triple mounted. I modeled them in dual mounts as the triple mounts looked out of scale.

There is no degaussing cable; it would have spoilt the look of the hull

while I did try to model the portholes accurately, most of them would have been covered by 1944. (I liked the way they looked, so I left them.)

some mushroom vents and deck fittings were omitted to keep the model looking uncluttered (used my artistic license).


Well finally, there you have it, seven months work encompassed in one MOC page. I hope it was worth it.

Warmest regards, marko.


Lastly: Seletar harbor is just a few kilometers from where I am; I might make a trip to the area at a later date.





The Takao's massive tower bridge and mid-section detail from the Port side. Even though the bridge was scaled down after the 1939 refit, it still looked massive.



Another view of the tower bridge with turret C, gun barrels raised in stored position




The bridge and fore funnel with the 3 forward turrets trained to Starboard



JAKE Navy Type reconnaissance floatplane on catapult with the tripod mainmast and crane



Looking towards Port bow




The aircraft rail deck with another JAKE on a cradle. Turret D & E are trained to Port



Port midship hull with views of the bridge, funnels, 12.7cm secondary armament and torpedo openings



Turrets A, B and C with bridge detail, foremast and funnel



Looking towards the Starboard quarter. Farewell TAKAO!



Comments

 I made it 
  September 11, 2014
Hi there and thank you very much; sorry for the late reply though. My email address is marko@singnet.com.sg. Warmest regards, marko
Quoting Bricksonwheels MOC Hello Mark, This is an excellent ship. I am working on a new book, and I am interrested in your work. Could you provide me with a mail adress? Or contact me through my Bricksonwheels Flickr pages.
 I like it 
  September 3, 2014
Hello Mark, This is an excellent ship. I am working on a new book, and I am interrested in your work. Could you provide me with a mail adress? Or contact me through my Bricksonwheels Flickr pages.
 I like it 
  March 1, 2014
Wow! Great work on the hull and the funnel. Amazing detail: I don't know how you manage it, but keep it up!
 I like it 
  February 6, 2014
This is a stunningly detailed model of one of the most formidable classes of IJN warships. I love the way you shaped the hull. Absolutely superb effort!
 I like it 
  November 28, 2013
Nice detail man!
 I like it 
  May 12, 2013
EXCELLENT WORK..AS ALWAYS
 I made it 
  December 2, 2012
Quoting Malte Dorowski ravishingly beautiful!
Thank you very much Malte. Regards, marko
 I like it 
  November 29, 2012
ravishingly beautiful!
 I made it 
  November 24, 2012
Quoting David Roberts An amazingly sized and detailed ship. You must have been very patient, waiting for countless Bricklink orders and doing all the rebuilds. It's very interesting to see how your building technique has changed since your previous MOC. "Awesome" is an overused word on MOCpages but this truely is awe inspiring.
Thanks David. I try to improve my builds after every ship and since I do not have plans to often refer to, I tend to do a fair amount of rebuilds as I go along. Guess it's just my way of doing things. Regards, marko
 I like it 
  November 21, 2012
An amazingly sized and detailed ship. You must have been very patient, waiting for countless Bricklink orders and doing all the rebuilds. It's very interesting to see how your building technique has changed since your previous MOC. "Awesome" is an overused word on MOCpages but this truely is awe inspiring.
 I made it 
  November 21, 2012
Quoting Admiral Tomasubi Fantastic work! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your modells! :D
Thank you Admiral! Regards, marko
  November 20, 2012
Fantastic work! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your modells! :D
 I made it 
  November 20, 2012
Quoting Parrington Levens Glorious!
Thanks Parrington. All the best with the GAIA saga for 2013! Regards, marko
 I like it 
  November 19, 2012
Glorious!
 I made it 
  November 19, 2012
Quoting Hrvoje Majetich This is no true... Outstanding work of art!!!
Thanks Hrvoje. Nice to hear from you. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 19, 2012
Quoting El Barto ! Fraking awesome! Great details and style. Congrats!
Thanks El Barto. Great to see that you've got Episode 5 out. Regards, marko
 I like it 
  November 19, 2012
This is no true... Outstanding work of art!!!
Mark Rodrigues
 I like it 
White Knight
  November 18, 2012
Absolutely Fabulous ! Such an amazing scale !>.....well done
 I like it 
  November 18, 2012
Fraking awesome! Great details and style. Congrats!
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting White Knight Absolutely Fabulous ! Such an amazing scale !>.....well done
Thank you Sir Knight! Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting Thomas Haas Amazing and awesome ship. Great details. Congratulation on this
Thank you Thomas. I humbly accept your comments. Regards, marko.
 I like it 
  November 18, 2012
Amazing and awesome ship. Great details. Congratulation on this
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting Jon B A real work of art, and packed with such great detail. I really appreciate the research and work in this - us spaceship builders have it easy, we can pretty much make it up as we go along. Recreating something like this is another level IMO.
Thanks Jon for your comments. Yes, research was a key factor in getting all the details right... I certainly have all the books to prove it! Well, just to point out that building impressive spaceships like yours isn't as easy as it looks. A lot of thought goes into the eventual design as I'm sure you'll agree. It's like Abstract Art, it may not look like something you are familiar with, but believe me, a lot of thought goes into every brush stroke! Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting Navy C Astounding!
Thank you Navy C. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting Hayden . WOW! I like building ships, but never anything on this scale! This is breath taking! I love all the details you've managed to incorporate, while not over crowding things! I dread to think how much this cost to get the parts! If you have a spare moment, would you please check this out? http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/346772
Hi Hayden, thanks for your comments. Yes, Lego parts cost quite a bit especially the special ones. To tell you the truth, I had to scrap my pervious Mogami just so that I could complete this model. It was heart breaking but necessary. Valuable lessons learnt from the Mogami's construction were applied for the Takao. I designed the Takao in sections so that it could be stored. I intend to keep this one. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting geoffrey boulton amazing
Hi Geoffrey, and thanks for the positive comments. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 18, 2012
Quoting Senator Chinchilla . Absolutely astonishing! Great scale, and so much detail! I like all the small bits around the bridge and turrets, and the curves along the smokestacks(?) and such. The red paint line on the hull is also very cool. One question though, why is one of the turrets facing the bridge?
Thank you Senator for noticing all those details! Well, about turret C, it was in fact designed to face rearward. This design was not ideal however, and was corrected in the later Mogami class of cruisers. Regards, marko
Mark Rodrigues
 I like it 
Chris Melby
  November 17, 2012
I think you "rode the line" on the hull design from being to choppy, but capturing the unique, almost weird shape of these classic Japanese war boats. Bottom line, you pulled it off with Expert grace, delivering a show worthy build. With such a huge brick commitment, of both time and money, I think it is important to pull a MOC like this off, as one's skill and reputation, not to mention "bank account" is on the line. You nailed it. Placing hands together, and nodding, world class MOCing you've done here..... Z
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Joćo Eķnon Another very impressive work!
Hi Joćo, once again thank you. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting mitchell niemand Wow, amazing! It's huge and so cool
Thanks Mitchell for your feedback. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Henrik Hoexbroe An impressive masterpiece! I especially like the sculpting of the whole hull, but especially the red part. Although I am sure your model is extremely accurate, I find the upper buildings rather "noisy"; -I might ask for LESS detail, even though people rearely request that... ;-) In any case a fantastic job you did here!
Thank you very much Henrik. I really appreciate your comments. Coming from an arts background, I understand the need to simplify and the spacial relations between objects. But, when you are modeling IJN warships, especially near the war's end, you can throw this ruling out the window! IJN warships pack in a lot of 'stuff' (for want of a better word). I actually left out quite a bit of detail but because of the smaller scale I'm modeling in, things may still turn out a little cramped. I probably would use the term 'Organised Clutter' to best describe all the details. Hopefully, my next project might have cleaner lines. Regards, marko. P.S. Love your work!
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Chris Melby I think you "rode the line" on the hull design from being to choppy, but capturing the unique, almost weird shape of these classic Japanese war boats. Bottom line, you pulled it off with Expert grace, delivering a show worthy build. With such a huge brick commitment, of both time and money, I think it is important to pull a MOC like this off, as one's skill and reputation, not to mention "bank account" is on the line. You nailed it. Placing hands together, and nodding, world class MOCing you've done here..... Z
WOW Chris! My heartfelt thanks goes out to you on your comments. For a long time I tried to avoid this method of shaping the hull but since the Mogami didn't turn out to well, I decided to try it anyway. Verdict: I guess it works out for this size of ship; something smaller would have looked, well yes, 'Choppy'. Actually, when you close your eyes, run the tip of your finger slowly back and forth along the hull and recite, 'Inner Peace' you get a calming effect... sort of. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting michael k. :O :O :O The hull technique looks great. I've never seen it before. Amazing job!!
Michael, thanks. That hull was really tough to get right. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Daniel Brilliant Love, love, love, love, love.
Thanks Daniel..., love Smaug too! Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Elk Guard Epic!
Thank you Elk. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Alex B Is it all real LEGO?
Thanks Alex. It's really real. Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting David Alexander Smith The scale and detail are overwhelming. This is a masterpiece!
Hi David, thank you very much. Regards, marko
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
A real work of art, and packed with such great detail. I really appreciate the research and work in this - us spaceship builders have it easy, we can pretty much make it up as we go along. Recreating something like this is another level IMO.
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Chris Roach stupendous undertaking! awesome end result!
Thanks Chris. Keep rolling out those great creations of yours! Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Mihe Stonee that's way tooo crazy... the shape and all the details are so stunning done! awesome!
Thanks Mihe. I'm kinda happy with the way this turned out. Regards, marko.
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Astounding!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
WOW! I like building ships, but never anything on this scale! This is breath taking! I love all the details you've managed to incorporate, while not over crowding things! I dread to think how much this cost to get the parts! If you have a spare moment, would you please check this out? http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/346772
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
amazing
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Absolutely astonishing! Great scale, and so much detail! I like all the small bits around the bridge and turrets, and the curves along the smokestacks(?) and such. The red paint line on the hull is also very cool. One question though, why is one of the turrets facing the bridge?
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Another very impressive work!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Wow, amazing! It's huge and so cool
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
An impressive masterpiece! I especially like the sculpting of the whole hull, but especially the red part. Although I am sure your model is extremely accurate, I find the upper buildings rather "noisy"; -I might ask for LESS detail, even though people rearely request that... ;-) In any case a fantastic job you did here!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
:O :O :O The hull technique looks great. I've never seen it before. Amazing job!!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Love, love, love, love, love.
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Epic!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Is it all real LEGO?
  November 17, 2012
The scale and detail are overwhelming. This is a masterpiece!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
that's way tooo crazy... the shape and all the details are so stunning done! awesome!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
stupendous undertaking! awesome end result!
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting jim mcdonough Simply amazing.style and technique perfect.IJN ships are some of the nicest from ww2.a shape all of their own.this has to be one of the most realistic models I've seen on here.looks just like the real thing.as you know these ships are very hard to build with all the flare on the hulls.don't know how your gonna top this one but look forward to your next one.regards jim
Thank you for your comments Jim, yes IJN warships are in a class of their own, I just love them! But they are hard to model realistically. Guess that's why I did not do too well with the last one. Anyway, I'll be adding another page on the three hull sections a bit later on. See you there! Regards, marko
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Marty Fields Well Mark, you have done it again: another amazingly accurate and realistic model with increadible detail! I didn't even register any problems with the hull with the previous model, I just thought it was an amazing piece of work and then you just raise the bar further with this one. Well done indeed! What are you going to do to top this one?!
Thank you Marty for your confidence in my work. I try to do my best but sometimes the model doesn't always turn out right (at least in my view). So I try again, and hopefully the next one turns out better. All the best. Regards, marko.
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Simply amazing.style and technique perfect.IJN ships are some of the nicest from ww2.a shape all of their own.this has to be one of the most realistic models I've seen on here.looks just like the real thing.as you know these ships are very hard to build with all the flare on the hulls.don't know how your gonna top this one but look forward to your next one.regards jim
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Well Mark, you have done it again: another amazingly accurate and realistic model with increadible detail! I didn't even register any problems with the hull with the previous model, I just thought it was an amazing piece of work and then you just raise the bar further with this one. Well done indeed! What are you going to do to top this one?!
 I made it 
  November 17, 2012
Quoting Alex Charbonneau Color me speechless. You are an absolute master. Love that you're going back and doing gun cruisers :) My favorite style of ships! Keep 'em coming!
Hi Alex, and thank you very much for the inspiring comments. I also look forward to your awesome creations. Regards, marko.
  November 17, 2012
Also, absolutely the best hull design I have seen! 10/5!!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2012
Color me speechless. You are an absolute master. Love that you're going back and doing gun cruisers :) My favorite style of ships! Keep 'em coming!
 
By Mark Rodrigues
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