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Project Notes

#594 I-16 and I-58

Building the Tamiya 1:700 I-16 & I-58 waterline kit 31453. No electronics in this one - more an experiment in rust and water effects.



I found the Tamiya 31453 IJN Japanese Navy Submarine I-16 & I-58 1/700 Scale Kit on sale at plazajapan for only ¥710 and it went immediately into my cart as an impulse buy. Three main motivations:

  • my first experience of the Tamiya 1:700 waterline series - so a very inexpensive way to dip my toe
  • a chance to practice some watery effects
  • a nice canvas for attempting some rusted hull effects

The Subjects

Japanese submarine I-16 was commissioned in 1940. It is one of the submarines that was used to deploy midget submarines - the Type A Kō-hyōteki-class submarine

The I-16’s tabular record of movement is available at, from 15 September 1937: when she was laid down at Mitsubishi’s Kobe Yard as submarine No. 44, the lead boat of the C-1 class, to her presumed sinking by USS England (DE-635) on 19 May 1944

Japanese submarine I-58 was a Japanese B3 type cruiser submarine that served in the final year of World War II.

It is one of the submarines with hangar and launching catapult for floatplane. However this was removed in May-June 1945 refit at Kure Navy Yard, and according to I-58’s tabular record of movement, it appears she may never have actually carried an aircraft - making this build a bit more of a “what if”.

The Kit

The kit is a quick and easy to build but with pretty good detail for the scale. The tooling is getting a little old (2009) but it comes with an additional sprue of fine-molded replacement parts for details such as guns and planes.

kit_box_front kit_box_rear kit_sprues

Paint Scheme

Feature Recommended Used
Upper Hull 2 parts XF-53 + 1 part XF-63 70.992 Neutral Grey + few drops of 70.994 Dark Grey
Lower Hull XF-9 70.985 Hull Red
Decking XF-55 70.875 Beige Brown/Humbrol 110 - not applied yet
minisub XF-1 70.950 Black
Flag XF-2 70.951 White
Flag XF-7 70.817 scarlet
Guns XF-56 Humbrol 56 Aluminium
Float plane window XF-2 70.951 White
Float plane body XF-11 70.897 Bronze Green


Snaps together in legendary fashion. Only seamline that needed work was between the hull and base.


Making the hull somewhat rusty with some oil paints over the acrylic base colors. The float plane canopy needs a little taming!


A simple watery base: classic toilet paper and mod-podge.


The base is from an Acrylic Display Model Show Dustproof Protection Case 20 x 10 x 10cm - good size for the models, if a little too tall for a pair of submarines!

build_4 build_5 build_6

Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.