Aoshima 1/700 DD-102 Harusame

KIT #: 045954
PRICE: 104 yuan RMB
DECALS: one option
NOTES: Waterline


Harusame is one of nine Japanese frigates that entered service between 1996 and 2002, with this one being the second in her class. These ships are about 4,500 tonnes and 150 meters long, making them bigger than the long-serving Oliver Hazard Perry class of US and allied frigates, and roughly similar to the old British Type 22.
Harusame and her classmates are rigged for primary anti submarine and anti surface roles, and can carry the Japanese Type 90 anti ship missile (similar in performance to the Harpoon), and the ASROC anti-submarine missile, as well as torpedo tubes. For the air defence role, they have the Evolved Sea Sparrow. The Type 90s have their own launch tubes but the other missiles are fired from a vertical cell system just behind the bow gun. They carry a Seahawk helicopter in a hangar at the rear.
Self defence systems include a pair of Phalanx 20mm Close In Weapons System - the white droid-like items at front and rear - and the little 3-inch OTO Melara gun up front. The latter seems a little under-done for a ship of this size, given that smaller frigates (like the Type 22 and even the smaller ANZAC class) have 4.5 inch or 5 inch guns. Presumably Japan has little need for naval gunfire support, at least from this class of ships. That said, the last five of this class were cancelled in favour of a slightly larger class, the Takanami, which gained a five inch gun but was otherwise fairly similar.

Harusame has certain modern features like limited radar cross signature (but not stealthy like more modern ships) and a submarine detection system the equivalent of that used by the US Ticonderoga and Arleigh Burke class ships, and an electronic warfare (EW) suite of similar quality to the current US Navy systems. 

This is a neat little kit from Aoshima. I don't keep up with ship kits, really, so I can't say whether it's state of the art or not. That said, it's quite nicely moulded and the masts are thin and look like they'd be fine without PE replacement. There is a PE set available, advertised on the side of the kit box.

It's a waterline model, comes with a nicely formed Seahawk helicopter and a pair of RHIB speedboats, and a piece of metal "ballast". The decals include the ship's number, flight deck markings and markings for the chopper. Unlike some other Aoshima kits, and those of other brands, this one doesn't come with random patrol planes or fighter jets. 

I picked this up on a whim but I'd say it's as good as most 1/700 waterline kits so if you want something a little different, go for it.


Richard F

July 2016


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