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The Greyhound and the Flea

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"MSW crew-mate Karl Zingheim (CaptSonghouse) continues to share his fantastic, historical diorama builds with us, this time the Pearl Harbor story of "The Greyhound and the Flea" comes to life, in this MSW Feature!"

The Greyhound and the Flea", 1:144th scale

The Story
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor did not come exclusively from the sky. Five midget submarines were committed as well and at least two succeeded in penetrating the harbor.

One craft was spotted just off the western edge of Ford Island by the seaplane tender USS Curtiss, and taken under fire from her 5-inch guns as the aerial first wave attack subsided. At least one shot hit the conning tower squarely, decapitating the subís commander, but not before both torpedoes were fired, including one at the onrushing destroyer USS Monaghan.

The torpedo missed the Monaghan which rang up flank speed, in spite of being inside a confining harbor, and the destroyer turned to ram. Staggered by the Curtissí gunfire and having difficulty with depth control now that the heavy torpedoes were gone, the midget sub wallowed just as the Monaghan rammed, splitting the subís hull and driving her to the bottom. As the Monaghan passed over, a pair of depth charges was loosed, blowing the mangled sub briefly to the surface.

In time, the wreck was salvaged and its twisted remains used for fill in the expanding Submarine Base in Pearl Harbor. Recent scholarship suggests the craft was crewed by LT Iwasa Naoji and PO1c Sasaki Naokichi (brought over by the fleet submarine I-22) since a Lieutenantís rank insignia was reportedly found on the mangled corpse of the craft commander.

A post-attack painting was commissioned to commemorate the midget submarine crews (except for the captured ENS Sakamaki) and LT Iwasa appears at the top center and PO1c Sasaki the second up starting at the lower left.

The Scene
The midget is the 1:144th Y-craft resin kit. The Monaghan is scratch built. The crews are Presier figures. The water base is tinted Lucite with an olive colored opaque backing. The wavelets are acrylic gel.
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About the Author

About Karl Zingheim (CaptSonghouse)

I am the staff historian for the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. I've been modeling since age 5 and specialize in naval dioramas. Larger scales (for ships) is my preference as is naval warfare up to 1945. The more that comes out in 1:350, the better!


Very nice work! and a beautiful scratchbuild as well! Cheers/Jan
DEC 06, 2010 - 11:13 PM
I really enjoyed the history here: there are people who still don't believe any subs penetrated the harbor. The model is well done, the bow wave creates drama and tension.
DEC 07, 2010 - 09:17 AM
Wow! Great scratchbuild!!
DEC 07, 2010 - 10:27 AM
As usual, a great story from Karl! And a beautiful and clean scratch built too. You know that making smoke is one of my interests in ship modeling , so I know how difficult it is to achieve realistic results. Lack of appropriate materials and previous work makes this special effect a real challenge in terms of innovation and creativity. I must say that I find your smoke in this and your previous work very convincing and can't wait to see more of your work! Happy modeling, Augusto
DEC 07, 2010 - 12:39 PM
Thank you everyone for your kind comments. This is all the more appreciated since this project was hurried somewhat--the keel wasn't laid until mid-October! However, working with a destroyer in 1:144 was fun and I have other such projects in mind for next year. --Karl
DEC 09, 2010 - 05:47 AM
Hi KArl, Excellent work, and and good to hear the story behine the scene. Terrific. Al
DEC 11, 2010 - 12:14 AM
great work and story! thanks for sharing....
DEC 11, 2010 - 12:20 PM
Awesome work Karl. I would love to recreate it in 1/700.
DEC 16, 2010 - 12:41 PM
Hey Kenny! Good luck with the midget sub part--I came up with the dio's name after getting the two vessels together and seeing the enormous size differential. Even in 1:144, the midget was barely six inches across and I had to carve the periscope! --Karl
DEC 17, 2010 - 05:15 AM
perfect smoke, perfect water, excellent!
JAN 07, 2011 - 12:18 PM