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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:13 am
Posts: 23
I am still working on this kit. There is, however, so much to say that a review is appropriate now.

There is much that is right with this kit. It is a beautiful subject. Japanese heavy cruisers had a sleek and distinctive beauty. The pieces are exquisitely molded. There is not one trace of flash on the many, many small parts. There is extensive molded detail of high quality. There are options for building several members of the class in either 1942 or 1944 rig.

Regrettably, there is also much wrong with this kit. In the quest to allow several different versions to be built there are extensive redundant parts, almost enough to build two complete ships. It is difficult to determine which parts go with which version, and the instructions are not helpful in this regard.

The instructions themselves are detailed but with small drawings for the fitting of many small detail parts. It is often difficult to see where parts go. The placement and replacement of parts by PE is also quite vague. The plan of assembly is awkward, requiring force-fitting of major components, and there is no guidance or warning this will be needed.

There are an astonishing number of parts with round mounting holes but square mounting pegs. No kidding. Also the inverse- square slots but round mounting pegs. Almost all the pegs are just too big (or the holes too small). I had to drill out most of the holes slightly, and that's quite a task when there are 128 fittings to be placed on the fore and aft decks alone.

While the moldings are exquisite, the parts are attached to the sprues by mounts so thick even loppers had a hard time with them. Even small parts are attached diabolically firmly, requiring significant trimming and cleaning for each of the literally hundreds of small parts. Despite this attention, there are some peculiar oversights. The instructions call for 4 searchlights. 4 lenses are provided but only two light bodies!


Worst of all, the kit has 26 parts trees. 26! I have built multiple large 1/350 kits, and no one has more than 15 trees. They are also very poorly labeled. Trees are variously labeled A-J, but also AT 1-4 (for Takao), two different H trees and one called 'Japanese AA', presumably used for multiple kits. The aircraft have separate trees. There is an entire separate tree for the degaussing cable, which for reasons that elude me is molded in flexible white plastic.

Part number on the sprues are not sequential. Repeatedly, part 3 is adjacent to part 26, and so on, which makes for a great deal of time searching for what ought to be easy to find. To top this off, many assemblies require parts from multiple trees. Minor sub-assemblies need parts from 3 different trees.

The result of all this is more time is spent just finding parts than in actual assembly. Every step is not so much a labor of love as a labor of unnecessary complexity. If you paint before assembly, beware! The very large number of redundant parts will require large amounts of spray paint. This is a kit better painted in sub-assemblies, as you figure out which parts you will actually use.

All in all, this is a brilliantly molded and detailed kit whose joys are badly dulled by poor conception, too many options and parts, and poor parts layout and labeling. After building kits by Hobby Boss and Very Fire, this kit is a frustrating disappointment that would benefit from retooling to allow its intrinsic quality to come to the fore.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 11:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:56 am
Posts: 7129
Location: New York City
Thx for the review. Much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:00 pm
Posts: 11009
Location: Calgary, AB/Surrey, B.C., Canada
Can you clarify which Takao kit? From what I can see, there are three: the initial release of Takao 1942 (38833), the followup variant 1944 (42984), and then the "retake" 1942 version (540). I'm suspecting the latter due to the high sprue count and non-molded-on deck parts?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:57 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:56 am
Posts: 7129
Location: New York City
I took it as the retake kit with separate deck fittings.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:10 am
Posts: 120
Location: East Lothian , Scotland
Highly informative review - and as previously stated - much appreciated
This is a Kit I want to buy but as its out of print , most options second-hand are really costly
( see some for sale from the 1/350 Iron-Clad Cruiser series that are over 250 Dollars in cost on ebay )

I also hear the Flyhawk photo-etch super-detail set instructions are vague - to say the least / :heh:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 7:38 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:39 am
Posts: 10
Nice review.
Its pity that this kit is not easily obtainable...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:30 am
Posts: 175
Thank you, will keep that in mind when I come around mine...


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