Hasegawa 1/700 IJN Kirishima

KIT #: 112
PRICE: $34.50
DECALS: None
REVIEWER: Mark Hiott
NOTES: Waterline, decals missing, GMM p/e set used

HISTORY

The Kongo Class battlecruisers ,were ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) constructed immediately before Worl War I. Designed by British navel architect George Thurston, the Kongo was the last Japanese capital ship constructed outside of Japan. Displacing 27,941 tons upon completion, the vessels of this class were considered the first fully modern capital ships of the IJN. Four vessels of the class, Kongo, Hiei, Kirishima and Haruna, were completed from 1913 to 1915: Kongo in a Vickers shipyard in Britain, the latter three in Japanese shipyards.

Kirishima's keel was laid in Mitsubishi's Nagasaki yard on 17 March 1912. She was launched about a year and a half later (1 December 1913) and transferred to Sasebo Naval Arsenal for fitting out. After her completion on 19 April 1915, she served off Japan, China and Korea's coasts during the First World War. After the war, she alternated between being based in Japan and patrolling off Japanese ports. On 14 September 1922, she collided with a destroyer Fuji, causing minor damage to both ships. Kirishina also assisted rescue efforts in the aftermath of the devastating 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which destroyed most of Tokyo.

After being sent to the reserve fleet in December 1923, she received a refit during 1924. Returning to the main fleet, the battlecruiser operated off China for periods of time in 19251926, until she returned to reserve from 1927 to 1931 in preparation for a major reconstruction. Her superstructure was rebuilt, and she received extensive upgrades to armour, propulsion, and waterline bulges. After a period of fleet duty in the early 1930s, she underwent a two-year reconstruction (19341936) to rebuild her as a Fast Battleship. This upgrade improved her engine plant, redesigned the superstructure, lengthened the stern, and enabled her to equip floatplanes.

After serving as a transport and support-ship during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Kirishima escorted the aircraft carrier strikeforce bound for the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Following the start of World War II, Kirishima served as an escort during carrier attacks on Port Darwin and the Dutch East Indies, Kirishima joined her sister ships in escorting naval sorties against Ceylon. She once again served escort duty during the disastrous Battle of Midway, before transferring to Truk Lagoon in preparation for operations against American landings on Guadalcanal. After participating in the Battles of the Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz, Kirishima joined Hiei in a night attack on 13 November 1942. Following the loss of the latter on the evening of the 13th, Kirishima subsequently engaged American battleships on the night of the 14th/15th. Although she managed to inflict significant damage on USS South Dakota, she was in turn crippled by USS Washington. With her engines largely disabled and listing heavily to starboard, Kirishima was abandoned in the early morning of 15 November 1942. She capsized and sank at 03:25 with the loss of 212 of her crew.

THE KIT

Molded in gray plastic, the level of detail is good. No flash was noticed, even on the smallest parts. The hull is one piece with the decks and basic superstructure molded in place. I noticed that there are extra parts that will not be used, so your spares box will feel batter at the end. A red waterline part is provided as well as a rather heavy weight.

The instructions are a single sheet, printed on both sides. The simple diagrams are more then sufficient to build the kit and a top and side view are also provided.

CONSTRUCTION

Like most of my ship builds, I did it in subassemblies. Turrets, deck structures as well as the distinctive Japanese "Pagoda" mast were all built off the hull and added later.  After painting, I added the p/e rails to the superstructure decks. The smokestack and their distinctive girders were installed next. I filled the holes for the kits rangefinder mounts and installed the p/e ones in their place. After installing the turrets, I added the main deck rails. The pagoda was completed, rails and all, and added to the hull. The last parts added were the aircraft, aircraft crane and then the rigging was done.

The Gold Medal Models "Japanese Battleship" p/e set is very nice. In this scale, care should be taken when folding the rangefinder mounts, smokestack girders and the aircraft catapult. Japanese BB rails are particular difficult due to the odd deck shapes. A good pair of mechanical dividers makes the job much easier.

COLORS & MARKINGS

The sprues were painted MM Dark Gray before any assembly was done. The main deck was then brush painted MM Wood and the aircraft deck was painted German Bed/Brown. No decals were used as they were missing from my kit.

CONCLUSIONS

Hasegawa makes ship models almost as nice as Tamiya. The level of detail is good and they go together easily. They can also be found for substantially less money then the Tamiya kits.

REFERENCES

Wikipedia for the history

Photos off the internet

August 2011

Mark Hiott

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