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In-Box Review
1350
IJN Akitsushima
Hasegawa Models Limited run 1/350 IJN Akitsushima
  • P212

by: Dade W. Bell [ KARYBDIS ]

Introduction…


Completed in April 1942, the IJN Akitsushima was a seaplane tender built to support the H6K Mavis and almost immediately later, the H8K Emily. As these were rather large aircraft (the Emily was 92 feet long), the Akitsushima was capable of only hoisting one aircraft on deck at a time. Although five similar ships were planned, she was the only one of her kind built.

The Akitsushima, being essentially an autonomous ship, was very well traveled and was seen near the Solomons, Gizo, Truk, the Carolines, and ultimately in the Philippines, where on September 23, 1944, she was attacked and sunk in Coron Bay by American carrier aircraft. Her wreck is still there and is utilized as a recreational dive site. A video of an Akitsushima dive can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74ki5z6inbA

Displacement: 4,650 tons
Length: 117.95m
Width: 15.8m
Depth: 5.4m
Armament: 4 x 5"/40 DP, 10 x 25mm AA


The Model…


This model is a multimedia kit consisting of resin, injection molded plastic, white metal, and brass. Hasegawa has limited the production total to only 500. The kit was only available to residents of Japan and ordered directly from Hasegawa itself.


The Box…


Despite (or perhaps because of) the exclusive nature of this model, it comes in is a simple sturdy brown cardboard box (clamshell configuration)with a white label on the top showing the ship's name and the fact that there were only 500 produced. Upon opening the box, you're greeted by a nice piece of dense foam, which after removal, reveals the box's contents. The photo etch, resin, and white metal parts are in bags taped to cardboard, and the hull is double protected in bubble wrap and foam. Lifting the cardboard "shelf" reveals the injection molded sprues, decals, and instructions.


The Hull…


The hull is a solid resin cast piece, with nice, sharply molded plating, and thin bilge keels. The detail extends under the waterline and includes the rudder frame. The deck includes delicate textures such as the water direction plating, linoleum holding bands, and metal plates. The hawse have deep indentations that will serve as good drilling guides should you want to open them up. The entire piece is very clean and sharp, with a minimal amount of cleanup required.


Resin Parts 1…


The first bag of resin continues the quality of the hull with well done parts for the bridge, structure work, crane base, funnel (with hollow pipes), semi turret and boat. As with the hull, the water direction pattern is nicely done, as are the wood deck panel lines on the boat. There are some small casting blacks and flash, but nothing particularly bad.


Resin Parts 2…


The second bag of resin parts contain smaller pieces such as propellers, spare plane floats, paravanes, derricks, wings, director, anchors, and collars. Once again, the detail is excellent. Some of the parts come on very thin wafers that should be easy enough to take care of, as are the small casting blocks. There is some flash, but so thin as to be translucent (some of it flakes off in my hands while taking the photos.


White Metal Parts…


I am usually wary of metal parts in kits, as they typically have soft detail and are bent and deformed. The parts in this kit are very well done, being of a high quality similar to some of the best metal figures. There is barely any flash and only very small seams. They come in two bags. The first contains reels, lights, vents, intakes, tie downs, etc. The second bag contains even smaller vents.


Injection Molded Parts…


The kit includes Hasegawa's Japanese Navy Warships' Boats Set A sprue and their IJN Equipment Set A. There are two copies of each sprue included. The boat set includes the large whalers, launches, boats and derricks. The equipment set includes the 5" guns, 25mm guns (singles, doubles, triples), and assorted binoculars (to go in the bridge), vents, directors, and winches. These sets are sold separately as Detail Up Parts, and including them both in this kit brings added value. The parts are typical high quality Hasegawa with barely any flash, sharp molding, and excellent detail. Many of these items also have PE parts, making them look even better.

A clear plastic injection molded H8K Emily is also included. This is a very nice little kit in itself that was originally seen in Hasegawa's 1/350 Yukikaze (early fit) release.


Photo Etch…


Four frets of PE are included. Two of them are generic frets (one design, two frets) for use with the aforementioned injection parts. There are also plenty of generic rails and other pieces that won't be used in this kit, but considering the high quality of the brass, will look good on many other builds.

The two other frets are specific to this kit, with one fret containing railings at pre-cut lengths, stairs, derricks, degaussing cable, funnel rings, and gun platforms; the second fret mostly contains parts for the crane and surrounding area. With the exception of the crane's base tower, the entire assembly is made of PE and looks stunning when built.

Note: The original release of this model was pushed back slightly because Hasegawa had some issues with PE quality. They didn't want to ship the kits until the PE quality standard was high enough. Looking at these frets, I can say job well done!


Miscellaneous…


The depth charge system has the added detail of the rack being made in white metal and six turned brass drums for the charges.

Anchor chain is provided, as is a length of brass rod for making the propeller shafts.


Decals…


The decals are up to the usual Hasegawa standard of being sharp and in register. They mostly consist of markings for the Emily and flags for the ship. Strangely, however, one of the decals is not, and this is the name plate decal for the Akitsushima in English. The letters have bled a little at the edges and aren't sharp. This is the only decal on the entire sheet like this, and is perhaps a fluke constrained to my copy.


Instructions…


I wasn't sure what to expect from this limited edition kit in the way of instructions. I was happy to see that Hasegawa included an excellent booklet worthy of their mass market releases containing a history of the subject (in Japanese), parts diagrams in line art and photos, and clear, concise steps for building the kit. Because this is a multimedia kit, instructions for the PE, metal, etc. are all included in these steps-- as opposed to the usual supplement that most companies (including Hasegawa) have with their "Upgrade" models. Painting instructions are included in Gunze Sangyo colors, and there are very clear camouflage and rigging diagrams. The last page/ back cover of the booklet deals exclusively with the Emily.


Conclusions…


Hasegawa has produced an excellent model of a fascinating subject. The entire presentation of the kit, from hull, to PE, to metal, to instructions, exudes quality. When comparing this kit to other 1/350 resin kits on the market in the same price bracket, but where the quality can be lesser in some areas, this rare little gem turns out to be worth every penny.


A Note About Availability…


While some may quibble with the low availability of the kit, I think it makes good business sense on Hasegawa's part. A ship like this has a very low level of interest compared to other, more popular warships (battleships, carriers, etc). The costs of tooling up a mass market injection molded kit, producing it, advertising it, getting it to distributors, only to see a lot of back stocks appear for such an obscure ship, would be astronomical. But by producing this kit in low numbers in resin and metal, where the only injection molding comes from preexisting sets, and then selling it direct... that's very smart, safe business. Even so, this model was still a risky venture, so I say bravo to Hasegawa for going through with it. The results are spectacular and I can't wait to see what they come up with in the future.


Thanks…


A very special thanks to Scott Hards of Hobby Link Japan for helping me, and two other MSW members, get one each of these rare kits.




SUMMARY
Highs: Interesting subject, beautiful hull detail, PE, white metal, injection molded upgrade parts, exclusivity
Lows: Availability for some (see above)
Verdict: An excellent kit of a very fascinating subject, rendered in high quality.
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: 026800
  Suggested Retail: 26,800 yen
  PUBLISHED: Apr 03, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.56%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.04%

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About Dade W. Bell (Karybdis)
FROM: MARYLAND, UNITED STATES

I'm a third generation modeler who builds a little of everything (mostly Japanese)- all while being a 41 year old hermit who lives a happy, simple life, with my fiancée (author Jaclyn Dolamore) and three cats. My father was an MM3 aboard the USS Saratoga (CVA-60), my grandfather was in one of the...

Copyright ©2017 text by Dade W. Bell [ KARYBDIS ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Great review thanks! A tad out of my league, but what a great kit! cheers
APR 06, 2009 - 12:01 PM
Great review Dade, it looks to be a fantastic model. Frank
APR 06, 2009 - 09:20 PM
Excellent review Dade! I can concur with all say and described. I wish hasegawa had included a base for it - it would be simple... Rui
APR 07, 2009 - 10:05 AM
Hi guys, sorry for the late response-- I was out of town for the week. No problem doing the review; I'm glad I could share. Rui, that is a good point that I hadn't even thought of... Maybe a base will be in future limited edition kits.
APR 13, 2009 - 11:37 PM
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