by: Dade W. Bell [ ]
"Dade W. Bell gives us a closer look at Flyhawk Models' 1/700 scale PE set, dedicated to the IJN Battleship Yamashiro, in this MSW Inbox Review!"
the vessel history...
The IJN Yamashiro was the second Fuso class battleship. She was laid down at Yokosuka in 1913 and commissioned on March 31st, 1917.
She was reconstructed from 1930 to 1935 where her coal burning boilers were replaced with more powerful oil burners, received torpedo bulges, was lengthened 24 feet, got an increase in armor on three decks and main armament elevation increased.
The Yamashiro was most easily recognized from the Fuso by the dead angle of its C turret. Whereas the Fuso's C turret faced forward, the Yamashiro's faced aft- this also gave the Yamashiro a larger, better proportioned superstructure compared to the Fuso.
She was sunk at the Battle of Surigao Strait when, after receiving four torpedo hits, she bravely sailed on where her T was crossed by USN Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf's battle line. She was hit by multiple 14" and 16" shells and sunk; the last battleship in history to meet her end from shells fired by other battleships.
and now, the kit...
Flyhawk Model has been producing some extremely comprehensive PE sets. When I started putting together the materials for my "ultimate" Yamashiro build, I remembered reading the MSW press release on the Flyhawk Fuso set and was happy to see that Flyhawk had the Fuso's sister covered.
I purchased the set from Pacific Front Hobbies for a low $30 plus $4 for shipping. Considering just how complex this set is, $34 total is a bargain. With the vast amount of included parts, the thing to remember during this article is that this is 1/700 scale!
The brass has a nice thickness to it and is very sturdy. Nothing flimsy, with a high quality on level with Gold Medal and Lion Roar. The bending cuts are all there and look straight.
The set comes with each fret individually packed, secured with a piece of tape to a piece of card backing and inside individual plastic sleeves. A really top notch presentation.
This fret has 36 different parts and the amount grows when considering that some parts are multiples. Here we have many parts for the pagoda, PE windows, gantries, and platforms. A very nice catapult, airplane crane, and radar also jump out here. A funnel grill is made up of multiple pieces. The Fuso class pagoda superstructure/ bridge is the most noticeable aspect of the ships and this set will really bring it together! The float plane carriages and carts are also present, along with PE rails for those carts to run along. There are even grills for signal lights.
Fret B has 40 different parts. On this fret can be found even more gantries and items for the pagoda. Turret rails are also found here, as are smaller radars. The aft mast star platform becomes 100% PE. The parts for the boat crane are works of art with tiny pulleys and microscopic PE rigging. There are also loads of underside support work pieces that will make the Yamashiro look great from sea level.
But perhaps the most noticeable aspect of this fret are the watertight doors. These items are amazing because they're exactly like some of the more complex 1/350 pieces out there. The door is double thickness to add depth, and there is a door frame if you want to pose any of these little guys open. Last but not least, a tiny lip at the top of the frame to fold over into a deflector. Incredible. There are two different types of doors included.
Fret C has 26 different parts including stairs, anchors, lines, ladders, various boat derricks and mast pieces. There are no less than 6 parts for the F1M2 Pete alone!
Fret D has 17 different parts (much more considering multiples) that includes the main rails and funnel rings. A nice funnel with walkway rings is always a good looking upgrade and this set doesn't disappoint.
A PE set containing about 150 parts needs comprehensive instructions and thankfully Flyhawk includes just what is needed. For PE, its nice to know where to bend and what the part should look like when done.
Flyhawk has done just that with this rather involved set of instructions. In such a complex set of PE, you can rest easy that you'll be bending the brass properly.
There is an axiom that a company is as good as its customer service and Flyhawk Model has proven themselves golden. When I received my Yamashiro set, I noticed that the "B" fret included was for the Fuso. After checking to make sure that this wasn't maybe a "generic" fret with often used parts, I wasn't surprised to see that Flyhawk's product is so complex and tailor made that this set is very specific to the Yamashiro.
I placed a call to Pacific Front and spoke with the always great Bill Gruner who referred me to Flyhawk's Yiyi Wang. Mr. Wang answered my emails quickly and courteously and sent the correct fret to me by EMS from China. The whole thing was resolved in record time and at no extra cost. Bravo!
Flyhawk Model has created something really spectacular here with this set. It is no exaggeration to say that this set includes more stuff than many 1/350 sets I've seen. When the inevitable 1/350 Yamashiro comes along, Flyhawk could literally scale this set up by a factor of two and have a show winning PE set right there.
The only possible drawback I can think of is that it doesn't include PE replacements for many of the small weapons, but that is in accord with most PE sets on the market, so it doesn't bother me.
Now I have to resist the urge to drop all of my current projects and work on my Yamashiro with this amazing set of PE!
Special thanks to Bill Gruner from Pacific Front Hobbies for his help, and to Yiyi Wang of Flyhawk Model for the excellent customer service.