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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)


Anyone who's ever built this kit knows how cartoonish and lacking in detail it is, being from the late '70's or very early '80's, so I decided to give mine a bit of a facelift to bring it a bit more up to date looking.
List of modifications includes:
Heavily re-shaped wave motion gun and bow profile.
"Teeth" added to wave motion gun muzzle
Entire hull raised 3mm
Heavily re-shaped super-structure
Extra gun deck removed completely
Entire main deck cut out and leveled (It was at an up angle that bugged the daylights outta me)
New rear deck fabricated
Main guns detail added, all fifteen barrels drilled out
3rd bridge modified, support pylon shortened
All new panel lines hand scribed
Auxiliary engines scratch built
Main engine cut apart and nozzle opening enlarged






Right now I just got the first coat of primer on the main hull to chase out the cracks and pits that need attention, so more fun coming.













 

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There is no question that the old 1/500 scale Yamato is a total pig of a kit. Your mods look interesting.

The third bridge should be totally scrapped, as well as the connecting pylon. Well, the pylon can be salvaged with a ton of putty or plastic sheet but the third bridge...urg. scratch building would be better.

By " remove extra gun deck" do you mean the upper tier of the AAA mounts? Because those need to be there.

Don't forget to fill in the 'divots' on the Captain's dome.

The most important thing to remember about the classic Yamato is that no kit, no build can exactly match how it looks on screen. Aside from the issues of the different 'styles' generated by the quirks of the many animation studios who were doing the cel work there's the simple fact that the ship was drawn as a 'character' and not an inanimate object. The classic 'beauty shots' of the bow and stern and 'side pass' just do not match up in proportions or shape or...anything. And those images don't match up with the published 5-view drawn at the exact time. Every single 'close-up' beauty shot (bow, stern, lower hanger, main guns, bridge tower structure forward view AND aft) contradicts each other. It's a decades long frustration. :)

There was an attempt to 'get it right' in 2008 when Bandai Visual contracted Bandai (I know, it's a really funny story) to design and build the 'ultimate accurate' 1/700 scale Yamato as a bonus item for their high-def remastered DVD release of the first series. Obsessive fan and famous director Hideaki Anno was involved and...well, read about it here: https://ourstarblazers.com/vault/225/

While there is a great deal of obsession over getting the bow shape right, I feel the most critical aspect is the shape and point of transition between the 'hourglass curve' formed between the bow sonar bulge and the Wave Motion Gun and the overall curve of the hull. If that transition point is too far aft and swoops up it stops looking like a battleship and turns into a submarine. It's REALLY hard to explain, it's a total visual thing. From what I can see of your work you've got it right. At least to my eyes and preferences. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow! Quite an improvement! :thumbsup:

Thanks Perfesser!


There is no question that the old 1/500 scale Yamato is a total pig of a kit. Your mods look interesting.

The third bridge should be totally scrapped, as well as the connecting pylon. Well, the pylon can be salvaged with a ton of putty or plastic sheet but the third bridge...urg. scratch building would be better.

By " remove extra gun deck" do you mean the upper tier of the AAA mounts? Because those need to be there.

Don't forget to fill in the 'divots' on the Captain's dome.

The most important thing to remember about the classic Yamato is that no kit, no build can exactly match how it looks on screen. Aside from the issues of the different 'styles' generated by the quirks of the many animation studios who were doing the cel work there's the simple fact that the ship was drawn as a 'character' and not an inanimate object. The classic 'beauty shots' of the bow and stern and 'side pass' just do not match up in proportions or shape or...anything. And those images don't match up with the published 5-view drawn at the exact time. Every single 'close-up' beauty shot (bow, stern, lower hanger, main guns, bridge tower structure forward view AND aft) contradicts each other. It's a decades long frustration. :)

There was an attempt to 'get it right' in 2008 when Bandai Visual contracted Bandai (I know, it's a really funny story) to design and build the 'ultimate accurate' 1/700 scale Yamato as a bonus item for their high-def remastered DVD release of the first series. Obsessive fan and famous director Hideaki Anno was involved and...well, read about it here: https://ourstarblazers.com/vault/225/

While there is a great deal of obsession over getting the bow shape right, I feel the most critical aspect is the shape and point of transition between the 'hourglass curve' formed between the bow sonar bulge and the Wave Motion Gun and the overall curve of the hull. If that transition point is too far aft and swoops up it stops looking like a battleship and turns into a submarine. It's REALLY hard to explain, it's a total visual thing. From what I can see of your work you've got it right. At least to my eyes and preferences. :)

Steve H. I believe you are right on all counts. I tried to get the bow profile as close to what I thought was the best looking to my eyes as well, turns out I got it pretty close enough, without having to do too much re-work on that section, but I understand what you mean about the midsection of the curve from the radar bulb to the wave gun, if it's over done it looks just plain wrong...


I didn't modify the 3rd bridge support pylon as you mentioned except to shorten it, but I suppose it wouldn't have been that much more work to rebuild it completely. I chalk it up to laziness, ha!


And yes, over the decades of watching Yamato, there have been a plethora of different ways the ship has been drawn, so for me that's actually a little bit of a blessing, because I fudged some of the detail on this kit ( I wasn't going for super-accurate, just representative, to a certain degree) so I can claim that this is my version of Yamato. Is that cheating?


Merry Christmas Everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
In this image, the deck that the super structure is sitting on had a second, smaller deck just underneath it, this is what I called the "third gun deck' for lack of a better name. There was nothing really attached to it, and I wanted to remove it completely because in my eye it set the super structure too high up. So, I carefully razor-sawed it off along the join line with the deck above it, and luckily for me it came off in one, straight, clean piece. I didn't save the remnants, but if you look at an unmodified kit, you can see the part I removed. Apparently I enjoy creating difficult work for myself...







Image from the instruction manual below. Part number 10, the main deck, has two levels. The lower, thinner level which has the three AA guns attached to it port and starboard, was the part I cut away. Hope that's a little more clear!


 

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Hmmm, I see. I think what you did makes sense but you're still going to need to deal with the upper tier AAA turrets. I think that's going to be a little tricky.

But! I have more headaches if you wish! The entire bridge tower is underscale! The main gun turrets are a bit too large! I said this kit was a sheer pig... :)

I think we agree that part of the 'correct look' of the Yamato involves proportion and...placement? If something is shifted it throws off everything. And there's a big one to consider. That scooped out section where the #2 main gun is? That needs to be all filled in and contoured. But then the #1 gun can't rotate properly. If you shift the #1 turret forward it throws off the balance. If you cut back (push back?) the curve of the deck on the #2 turret (to allow the movement of #1 turret without moving the mounting) that throws off the balance. Scratchbuilding the turrets to the correct size and shape (roughly an 8% change) still won't clear the curve.

It's enough to make one bang one's head against a nice soft brick wall, huh? :)

The problem is that the bridge tower (and the third bridge) are re-used tooling from the earlier 'deformed' Image Mode Yamato. https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10011426

It's a brilliant if wacky idea. A model representing that 3/4 bow view 'beauty shot'. In one plastic kit you have the entire problem of modeling the Yamato showcased. :)

Interestingly, it looks like that 'lip' you removed is present on almost every plastic kit except the 1/1000 'Final Yamato' kit from 1983. Even the 1978 Nomura Toy plastic kits had it. Hm.

Anyway, you're doing a brilliant job with that beast of a kit! Keep at it! One thing that frustrates the heck out of me is when people get all worried that they're not building something "right". It's your kit, your time, your money and your skill. Build what you want. If you want to paint a P-51 Mustang in modern low visibility grays camo, DO IT. :)

(A P-51 with Sidewinders and conformal auxiliary fuel tanks...hmmm...)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmmm, I see. I think what you did makes sense but you're still going to need to deal with the upper tier AAA turrets. I think that's going to be a little tricky. But! I have more headaches if you wish! The entire bridge tower is underscale! The main gun turrets are a bit too large! I said this kit was a sheer pig... :) I think we agree that part of the 'correct look' of the Yamato involves proportion and...placement? If something is shifted it throws off everything. And there's a big one to consider. That scooped out section where the #2 main gun is? That needs to be all filled in and contoured. But then the #1 gun can't rotate properly. If you shift the #1 turret forward it throws off the balance. If you cut back (push back?) the curve of the deck on the #2 turret (to allow the movement of #1 turret without moving the mounting) that throws off the balance. Scratchbuilding the turrets to the correct size and shape (roughly an 8% change) still won't clear the curve. It's enough to make one bang one's head against a nice soft brick wall, huh? :) The problem is that the bridge tower (and the third bridge) are re-used tooling from the earlier 'deformed' Image Mode Yamato. https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10011426 It's a brilliant if wacky idea. A model representing that 3/4 bow view 'beauty shot'. In one plastic kit you have the entire problem of modeling the Yamato showcased. :) Interestingly, it looks like that 'lip' you removed is present on almost every plastic kit except the 1/1000 'Final Yamato' kit from 1983. Even the 1978 Nomura Toy plastic kits had it. Hm. Anyway, you're doing a brilliant job with that beast of a kit! Keep at it! One thing that frustrates the heck out of me is when people get all worried that they're not building something "right". It's your kit, your time, your money and your skill. Build what you want. If you want to paint a P-51 Mustang in modern low visibility grays camo, DO IT. :) (A P-51 with Sidewinders and conformal auxiliary fuel tanks...hmmm...)

Steve H no thanks, I don't need anymore headaches! You're right again, trying to get everything on this kit back into correct proportion and placement would be nigh on impossible due to the conflicts that would arise at every turn. As much as I'd like to throw more white plastic at this thing to correct all the inaccuracies, I promised myself I would save it for another kit down the road. Best thing to do would be chuck it in the bin and get one of the new tool Yamato kits from the last few years (I have two, hee!).

One point on the bridge tower being under scale, I had always thought the tower was too big on all of the Yamato kits through the years, and I really liked the way the entire ship was re-proportioned back in 2010 for the live action movie, the entire super structure is drastically smaller than what we're all used to looking at on the TV version, and I really liked the change. On this particular build I did try to detail up the tower in a slight nod to the movie Yamato, but my only chance at making it smaller was to cut off that thin deck section and reduce the overall height. I'm happy with the ship's profile now, I'll try to get a pic of the entire port side profile from bow to stern and see what you think...

Funny, I actually had the "image" model back sometime around 1985 or '86, don't remember what happened to it, but I do remember how funny looking it was when I pulled it out of the box, huuuuge bow and tiny stern, made me laugh, but then I immediately regretted buying it because its damned ugly...

Many thanks for the encouragement! Just a few more mods and details to go, then paint.

The AA gun pedestals and the aft sub-turret pedestal that were attached to that deck that I cut away, simply glued back into position on the main hull like nothing ever happened (although I did move the two aft guns further aft to clear the sides of the tower):



First coat of primer to check for cracks and pits, and to see how my putty job turned out along the waterline, and around the wave gun and along the parting lines. Panel lines I scribed held up and still look relatively sharp. Good news!



The third bridge with my minimal mods, just shortened the pylon, the wings, and angled the face, and the engine nozzle that I opened up by cutting each segment apart and filling in between each with styrene strips. I still have to carve the new segment lines along the length of that thing, ugh...

 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited by Moderator)
This kit came with a bonus mini-kit of the Analyzer robot (IQ9) which I modified a little as well. The tracks were horribly misaligned, so I had to scrub all of them off and replaced the teeth with half-rounds. No easy task! There are also side skirts over the tracks that were not molded on the kit, so I trimmed down some .040" sheet to replicate them.



I think he's supposed to be a coin bank, because there is a coin-sized slot on his back (which I filled in with some strip styrene) and the instruction booklet shows coins being dropped into the model, but... how the heck are you supposed to get the money back out?! There's no hatch! You would have had to break the thing open to get it, and there goes your model... Interestingly, there are many older images of IQ9 showing two large cables projecting out from where his shoulder blades would roughly be, connecting to his elbows. But on this kit those parts weren't included. In the Yamato:2199 version the cables are also missing. Too lazy to try and reproduce them anyway :p

 

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The shoulder cables might be replicated using some 'flexible metal hose' aftermarket parts for custom 1/24 scale cars.

Gee all that work on the foot treads but I can't convince you to plastic over and contour the hollow on the third bridge pylon... :)

Yes, Analyzer was a coin bank and yes, you are meant to shatter it to get the money. It's like a Japanese 'lucky cat' bank.

Analyzer should have clear covers of the sides of his head dome. And there's a 'whip staff' antenna on either side, like 'ears' from his shoulders. the 'cooling fins' on his head should be taller.

Ain't I a stinker? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
The shoulder cables might be replicated using some 'flexible metal hose' aftermarket parts for custom 1/24 scale cars.

Gee all that work on the foot treads but I can't convince you to plastic over and contour the hollow on the third bridge pylon... :)

Yes, Analyzer was a coin bank and yes, you are meant to shatter it to get the money. It's like a Japanese 'lucky cat' bank.

Analyzer should have clear covers of the sides of his head dome. And there's a 'whip staff' antenna on either side, like 'ears' from his shoulders. the 'cooling fins' on his head should be taller.

Ain't I a stinker? :)

Steve H, Yeah, I was thinking about something along those lines but I didn't plan on even building Analyzer let alone re-working his feet like this, I originally thought: "Ebay." So, I'm happy with where he is. I'm waiting for some tubing and 1/700 parts for Yamato so I thought I would take a stab at Analyzer just for the halibut. I have the clear side domes and the whip antennas, I just haven't attached those yet, I want to do that after painting to minimize damaging them during handling. And yes, you are definitely a stinker ;)


Funny you should mention that 3rd bridge pylon...


 

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Ahh, you ARE modding the third bridge pylon! Good on you! Of all the issues of the 1/500 scale Yamato, that is one of the most GLARING things that if left as molded, really brings down the look of the finished kit, at least IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Incredible work !!! Well done
Thanks eagledocf15!

Ahh, you ARE modding the third bridge pylon! Good on you! Of all the issues of the 1/500 scale Yamato, that is one of the most GLARING things that if left as molded, really brings down the look of the finished kit, at least IMHO.
Steve H, I knew you were right to point it out from the beginning, and it just kept bugging me until I threw up my paws in disgust and took my Dremel to it :grin2:...

Ive seen that yellow-ish putty so often on builds that I appreciate.

What brand is it and what characteristics does it have?
ClubTepes it's a Japanese product called "Wave Light Type Epoxy Putty". I usually buy it from here. It is a two-part water based putty that hardens to about styrene consistency in 3 hours, pretty easy to sand and carve, and will hang on to your model like iron as long as there is sufficient "tooth" on the plastic for it to grab. Despite being water based, once cured it will not dissolve back into putty like PPP does if you wet sand it; it's stable. I also like it because it has no foul chemical odor and I believe is essentially non-toxic. I get pretty good results from the fact that I can extend its working life by about 50% if I keep it moistened with a few drops of distilled water as I am trying to shape it. On Yamato as you see I used it to fill the depression between the top of the wave motion gun muzzle and the bulwark along each side of the hull, making a flat transition on that part of the ship. I carved the new panel line just as I would into regular styrene. I also used it to scratchbuild the auxiliary engines from styrene tube, fattening them up with the Wave putty and them sanding them down to the proper elongated tear-drop shape. I find it somewhat less dense than Aves, and thus less difficult to sand and carve when cured, but it's just as versatile and perhaps even a bit easier to handle and work with, I dare say. But that's just my experience, yours may differ.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Spent the morning picking away at a few more details on the super structure. I robbed some smaller guns from an old 1/700 IJN Yamato kit that was a motorized model from Japan, I think it was a Nichimo brand. In another nod to the live-action movie, I glued some small machine guns to the tops of all three main turrets, giving them a bit more interesting detail and breaking up those broad flat top surfaces a little. I also scratched up some shelves for soon to be added spot-lamps on both sides of the smokestack/missile-silo. I got some after market 1/700 spot-lamps and there were six more on the sprue from that old Nichimo kit, so I'll be tacking those on in a bit.









Full port side profile of the ship. I think this shot illustrates why I raised the hull 3mm across its entirety, it really bulks up the ship to a much more appealing profile, at least to my eye, anyway. For years I had always thought this kit and its smaller 1/700 companion suffered from the same deformity, namely a much-too-shallow hull. This build was my chance to see if I could, once and for all, correct this horrendous mistake.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Spot-lamps glued in place on both sides of the smokestack/missile silo, and even MORE guns added to the tower... there's a fifth spot-lamp on each side of the tower, can you "spot" it?


 

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Discussion Starter #18
More progress on this old hulk tonight, I cannibalized another part from the 1/700 version of this kit to replace one of the keel fins, giving a much better more streamlined look to the hull's underside.

Here's the old part. Kinda stick-figure-looking and not so pretty:



The slot for the original part was filled in with strip styrene, NOT puttied. Much more stable, strong, and the new fin will glue right on top of it with no issue because it's plastic, not some filler with differing materials that may or may not hold on in the long run.



The new fin, which is one of the three tail fins from the 1/700 kit. Just happened to be the right size to be a perfect upgrade for that part. A little trimming of the horizontal end piece and voila:



So now I'm getting to what will probably be the most tedious and time-consuming part of this build. I wanted to see about replacing most of the AA gun barrels with .7 and .9mm aluminum tube for added detail, but that is a daunting task. So I figured I would do a side-by-side comparison of the new barrels I intend to make, versus the original kit part drilled out to simulate open barrels. Both seem to have their merits as far as looks go, but right now, well, the original kit part drilled out is far quicker and easier to do, and doesn't look half bad, tell me what you guys think:





 

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Discussion Starter #19
Here's the 1/500 version behind the 1/700 version that I've been robbing a couple of parts from. I tried to position them to where the 1/700 model was roughly the same size as the bigger model in the image, to show the difference in the hull depth between the two.

 

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Discussion Starter #20
Some more details glued up tonight. I liked the idea of guy-wires (or lanyards or whatever you wanna call 'em) supporting/stabilizing the large horizontal fin just aft of and above the missile-silo so I used some of the super thin aluminum tube to simulate those. I used some more borrowed parts from that old Nichimo kit to dress up the main stabilizer, with spot-lamps and small antenna-like greeblies. I know this doesn't appear on the cartoon Yamato but who cares I like the way it looks:





And here's my side by side of my three options for the rest of the AA guns. I can leave the parts as-is, try to drill them out and risk grinding the plastic into shreds, or cut off the plastic barrels and replace with aluminum tube. I think the aluminum tube wins.

 
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