Custom carriers from OOB's and painted pieces

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    My long time friend and playing partner and I decided a while ago to paint our pieces, and although it’s a slow process, we’re having fun with it while getting it done.  It started with a house rule that you had to build your long range planes if you got that tech, rather than have all your on the board planes get it immediately, due to that tech having game breaking effects on a few of our games.  So I bought decals from HBG to differentiate some planes from others, and it took off from there until we decided to paint everything.  We’d both painted our fantasy miniatures when we were in high school, but my pal, I’ll call him FJO, went on to become a professional painter.  Not the typical interior/exterior house painter, but a master at faux finishes, working on auto show displays, museums, and stuff like that.  When he decided to paint navies while I was doing aircraft, he knocked out the British navy in about a month.  Then when he moved to the Japanese navy, him being a player who likes playing Japan, things began to slow down.  He started with the destroyers, then found some interesting camo patterns while doing research and did a camo fleet.  His first carrier was the Shokaku, and he hand painted it to look like the picture I’d printed for him of a schematic of the ship.  But he was bothered that it was a Shinano sculpt, so I convinced him to chop the conning tower/bridge off and move it to the other side to see what it would look like.  Well, although I glued the tower on the other side, that sculpt still sits unpainted, but it got FJO to thinking.  Next think I knew, I was helping him cut down one of the 5 OOB Akagi’s I bought on sale from HBG to make a Zuiho.  He has some putty that he uses to build up the bow or stern, or add guns if necessary, and he’s used it to great effect.  He even read that the Takao cruisers had to be modified because they were top heavy, and only 2 were modded, so he modded 2 cruisers as well.  He’s taken the Akagi sculpt and made a Zuiho, a Shoho is under construction, a Kaga, Hiryu, and Soryu.  He used a Shinano sculpt to make a Zuikaku (since the Shokaku was made from one and they’re sister ships), and cut 2 down to make a Ryujo and the Amagi.  So without further ado, here are some pictures of his carriers.  First, the Shinano as Shokaku and with an Akagi tower for accuracy, the Zuikaku:
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  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Here is Akagi sculpt as Akagi, and again modded as the Kaga, with the tower taken from HBG’s Casablanca light carrier:


  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer




  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Soryu (a little blurry, sorry!) Added better side shots:

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    Here’s all 4 together:


  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    The various modded Akagi sculpts lined up with original Akagi so you can see what’s cut away from the Akagi sculpt to make a shorter light carrier- from the top: completed Zuiho, Shoho in progress with white putty before its sculpted away, 95% completed Amagi, Akagi at bottom.  On the unpainted black Shoho-in-progress, you can still see where the tower was cut away.  That tower was used on a OOB Shinano sculpt to make the Zuikaku in the first picture of the post. The pieces are lined up so you can see the front of the sculpt was cut off for the Zuiho, a little front and back for the Shoho, and the rear was cur off and the bow extended to better fit the ship profile on the Amagi.


  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Modded cruisers, with extra gun platforms on the tower: (these have been further modified- better pictures below)

    cruiser mod.jpg
    cruisers 4.jpg

    In for a “rest and refit” to replace lost scout planes:

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer



  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Ryujo made from a Shinano.  FJO got a saw and drill from the hobby shop and went to town- note the stern has been cut away under the deck:


  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Amagi (not quite finished, still needs the sides done):


  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    Another angle on the Amagi:


  • '18 '17 '16 '15 Customizer

    Wow, that is an amazing job. The details on each piece, just wow.

    Very impressive!

    Super awesome job on these!

    Cheers! :-)


  • Wow!!!  Absolutely awesome!  Did he paint the decks or did y’all use decals?

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    The only decal used on the carrier decks was an HBG Jap meatball decal, and with all else that went on with the carriers (like putting in magnets AFTER they’d been painted on some), even those had to get repainted.  When the holes were drilled for the magnets (slightly over 1/16th of an inch deep to bury the magnet), the exiting plastic looked funny (like bombs hitting), so FJO took a picture:


  • What did your friend use to paint such fine detail (tool and paint-wise)?

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    The paint is the usual water based stuff you find at the hobby store.  I’m using Testor’s enamel on the planes.  I think “Army Painter” may be one of the brands he’s bought.  We’re both relying a lot on Army Painter’s brushes called Insane Detail, and another called The Psycho.  Both are pretty small, and FJO has a few Insane Detail brushes that have lost some hairs and are VERY thin.  He’s also found some pens at Michael’s with tiny, tiny heads to make the arrestor cables and dots on the carriers and ships. The brand of the pens is Pigma Micron and you might find them in a 3 pack with sizes .005, .08 & .02.  Brushes from Michael’s in sizes 20/0, 10/0, 0000, 000, and 0.

  • Awesome Detail.  Nice Work!

  • Love it! Great job guys.  Keep em coming.

  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    I came across an excellent graphic while I was researching planes for Japan that showed the squadron markings for each of the big 6 carriers, which lead me to read about Takeshige Egusa, so I had to do his plane, along with appropriate Vals and Zeroes for each of the 6 major IJN carriers.  Airfix makes an orange Val that I found some photos of, and I wanted to keep at least one piece with the original plastic color on it, and it turned out that the orange Val was just right for one of the carriers.


  • '20 '19 '18 Customizer

    I bought some Oscars and Vals from HBG because I liked their Stuka G’s so much, and we wanted land based fighters for the Japanese forces in China.  While researching Japanese air units based there, I found a nice camo pattern on an Oscar, so I copied it for the fighter and tactical based in Kiangsu, and when they were done and placed on the board, our eyes bulged.  What great camo for those planes!  The Manchurian Oscars are based on actual planes that were stationed there, but the tacticals were just painted to match.  The black camo is showing signs of wear on the tail that need to be touched up.


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Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures