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Monday, May 07, 2018 - 12:23 AM UTC
Fujimi has re-released of the Imperial Japanese Army Transport Submarine “Maru-Yu” DX in 1/350 & 1/700 scales.
This set of two Imperial Army transport submarines Yu-1/Yu-1001 is one of Fujimi’s original releases from 2007.

This rare Imperial Japanese Army (yes, Army!) transport submarine was an unexpected choice for Fujimi’s first foray into 1/350 scale back in 2007, but they did a nice job with it. The kit is identical to the similar YU-1001 class sub with conning towers and different propellers for both types included. The kit also includes a separate bonus sprue with a tiny 2 ¼ inch long full hull 1/700 YU-1 sub model (also with alternate YU-1001 parts). Despite its diminutive 4 ½ inch length, the 1/350 model has a number of fun features including a rudimentary interior and optional clear plastic hull parts to show it off. For a more conventional build the model offers the option to leave off the rectangular cargo compartment covers on the deck, revealing the round hatches on the casing below, which in turn can be left open for a view of the interior cargo bays. Pretty cool. Another plus is the inclusion of a small photoetched steel fret with deck safety rails, dive plane guard rails, ladders, helm, and a few interior details. A decal sheet with Japanese national markings for the conning towers for both models is also provided. Surface detailing is good, with sharply defined drainage vents, deck hardware, and discreet raised planking on the deck. Small parts are mixed: the binnacle, periscope, and helm provided for the open conning tower on the 1/350 sub are excellent, and the dive planes, rudder, and four blade propeller are convincingly shaped (if just a bit thick). The 37mm deck gun, however, is simplified. Parts fit together smoothly and both models assemble quickly into attractive, nicely detailed little submarines. Good as these kits are, Fujimi didn’t get everything exactly right. Despite the very limited information available on these obscure craft, I was able to find some clear photos of a captured example after a simple “YU-1 army” search on Google. These reveal that the shapes of the drainage vents on the model are mostly correct, but there aren’t enough of them (at least for YU-3, but I suppose there could have been variations within the class). They also show that the kit ballast tanks and deck edges fore and aft are too squared off, deck hardware is not altogether accurate, and the bow anchor and small cargo handling derricks (both depicted on the box art) are missing. Still, these are minor discrepancies. Overall outlines and dimensions match available information very well, and the completed subs look right. Besides, where else are you gonna find Japanese Army submarines for your collection?!

These subs are small; the 1/350 scale sub in the box is a little less than 4½ inches in length, and the 1/700 scale version comes in at about 2¼ inches.

The unusual Japanese Army submarine set can be ordered from Hobbylink Japan at https://hlj.com/product/FUJ43062 for ¥2,880 (about US$23.00).
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