One of six carriers to participate in the Pearl Harbor attack, Zuikaku was the last of the six to be sunk in the war. Her aircraft complement consisted of 15 Mitsubishi A6M fighters, 27 Aichi D3A dive bombers, and 27 Nakajima B5N torpedo bombers. On 7 December, she launched two waves of aircraft against American military installations on the island of O'ahu. In the first wave, 25 dive bombers attacked Wheeler Army Airfield and five fighters attacked the airbase at Kaneohe. In the second wave, 27 torpedo bombers, armed with bombs, attacked the airbase at Hickam Field and 17 dive bombers targeted the battleships USS California and USS Maryland on Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor. California later sank, while Maryland escaped Pearl Harbour with severe damage.
Zuikaku's aircraft also attacked the Australian bases at Rabaul on 20 January 1942 and Lae in New Guinea on 21 January. In April 1942, she took part in the Indian Ocean raid, striking the British naval bases at Colombo and Trincomalee on Ceylon, and sinking the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and the heavy cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire, also with the help of Shōkaku.
Zuikaku was undamaged in the battle of the Coral Sea, but sustained severe losses in aircraft and aircrew. This required her to return to Japan with her sister ship for resupply and aircrew training, and neither carrier was able to take part in the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
In October 1944, she was the flagship of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's decoy Northern Force in Operation Shō-Gō 1, the Japanese counter attack to the Allied landings on Leyte. She then came under heavy air attack and was hit by seven torpedoes and nine bombs. With Zuikaku listing heavily to port, Ozawa shifted his flag to the light cruiser Ōyodo. The order to abandon ship was issued at 13:58 and the naval ensign was lowered. Zuikaku rolled over and sank stern-first at 14:14, taking the lives of Rear Admiral (promoted from captain ten days earlier) Kaizuka Takeo and 842 of the ship's crew. 862 officers and men were rescued by the destroyers Wakatsuki and Kuwa.
The resealable plastic bag has one pre coloured photo etched deck printed onto a sheet of brass. The Eduard base has the two planked pattern, with what looks like rows of tie down points. The paintwork with the distinctive three colour camouflage looks fairly fresh with not much weathering. The metal itself is fairly thin and quite easy to bend if you are not careful. It might be an idea to glue it to something a lot more rigid. There brass surround that is lightly attached to the pre coloured deck comes away very easily. The white line appears to mark the centre section of the flight deck.
L: 132mm [5 3/16 inches]
W: 110mm [4 5/16 inches]
The dimensions do not include the removable excess brass that borders the pre painted deck. Not particularly generous in size, you will find a “Kate” with a 1/72 wingspan of 215mm overhanging this portion of the deck a fair bit.
So if you want something to sit your “Clauds”, “Susies”, “Jeans”, “Vals”, “Kates, “Zeros” etc then this is well worth considering. The price may put some off, but the quality and looks are first rate. Great idea Eduard.
Highs: Looks very good particularly with the camouflage. Finely etched detail.Lows: Price, size.Verdict: Highly recommended, definitely time for me to acquire some IJN kits, something I have meant to do for some time. Nicely done Eduard.