by: Jim Adams [ ]
Soryu, Blue Dragon, was designed from the keel up as a carrier, as opposed to being a converted battleship like Akagi and Kaga. Just like Akagi and Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu were built to operate together. Their islands were built on opposite sides of their deck. Call them, “book end sisters”. This was an attempt to allow the two ships to work closer together so the need for escorts would be reduced. However, this plan did not work well.
When she was commissioned in 1937 she was the fastest carrier in the world at 34.8 knots. She took part in the opening salvo of World War II in the Pacific, the attack on Pearl Harbor. She then took part in air raids against Wake Island, followed by the Raid on Darwin, Battle of Java Sea, the Indian Ocean Raids, and the Chase of the Doolittle Raiders ships.
She then headed out for the Invasion of Midway. While her aircraft were off attacking Midway and the scout planes from the Tone were headed back to the fleet Soryu went about her business arming her remaining aircraft for attacks. Overhead thirteen dive bombers from Yorktown nosed over and began their dive on the unsuspecting carrier.
Three 1000 pound bombs hit the carrier and set her ablaze. With her hanger decks full of weapons and fueled aircraft the fires soon raged out of control. Soryu stopped dead in the water at 10:40 am June 4, 1942. He crew abandoned ship and was rescued by destroyers Isokaze and Hamakaze. At 7:13pm Soryu sank with the loss of 711 sailors. Captain Yanagimoto choose to stay onboard the ship as she went to her final resting spot.
Standard Displacement 15,900 tons
Dimension Length: 227.5m
Main Engine 4 shaft geared turbines8 boilers
Oil: 3,670 tons
Horsepower: 152,000 shp
Maximum Speed: 34.5kts
Armor: Belt 1.8in
Deck 1in (machinery)
Armament: 12 5in/40 DP (6x2)
28 25mm AA
Aircraft: 71 (63 max operational) Aircraft
The kit comes to you in a typical lidded box. The cover art features the Soryu launching aircraft while in the background her bookend sister Hiryu gets ready to do the same. I do not own the previous kit of the Soryu so I cannot make a direct comparison between that kit and this new one. I do however have a copy of the Hiryu, so I can sort of compare those two ships.
Let us just say this one, pass up the old Soryu if you find it and spend the extra on this kit. It is a vast improvement over the Hiryu in level of detail and correctness. I have also read a few of the build logs on correcting the old Soryu kit. This new upgraded kit seems to correct most of the problems noted within these blogs.
So let’s take a look at the parts now….
Sprue A… The hull is split down the middle. Each side is loaded with good details that were missing from the previous kits of this class. Portholes, ladders, walkways, support structures, and water tight doors are present.
Sprue B… Here we have the flight deck of the carrier. Each different section has finely recessed lines. The wooden sections are represented as is the forward metal section. You will notice the wind deflector and arresting wires. The underside also has the support structure, but these seem a little heavy.
Sprue C… This is the waterline plate and some of the extra gun tubs. The tubs have non-skid molded into the bases and gussets underneath.
Sprue D… The elevators, stern, foc’sle, and some of the other small support bracings are located here. All the parts have nice fine details. The foc’sle section has the chains, chain stays, and two different decking materials represented.
Sprue E… Cross bracing for the hull, elevator wells, and more gun tubs are here. The elevator wells are really nice. They have the appearance of the elevators being down. So you can have one lowered on your carrier. The gun tubs have the non skid molded into their bottoms and gussets on their undersides.
Sprue F… The ships funnels, bridge sections and weapons are on this sprue. The Antenna towers are solid, but do have the cross girders molded onto them. The weapons are nicely done and made up of multiple parts.
Sprue G… This has the remainder of the bridge sections as well as a couple of other deck parts. These are all nicely done with non-skid on the decks.
Extra Sprues… There is also the standard weapons, boat, and aircraft packet included in this kit as well. Not really sure why since the kits parts are actually better than these, but hey, extra spare parts for another time.
The instructions are printed on one large fold out style sheet. They are easy to follow and construction seems straight forward. The painting guide is in black and white, a color image of the ship would have been nice.
The decals come on a single sheet. The markings include striping for the flight deck, the red/white stripes at the rear of the deck, and markings for the aircraft. They seem nicely done, but the thickness is difficult to determine. Take care when applying the markings to the flight deck so you keep them straight.
This is the weakest part of the kit. The planes are very basic and lack the level of detail you might expect with the ship.
I was impressed with the upgrading done to this kit. The ship itself is great, but the aircraft are a throw back to the old days. Plus I would like to see the 1/700 ships get a similar treatment that the 1/350 ships get, a color painting guide.
It is wonderful to see so many companies putting out new ships and at the same time going back to update old kits. Since there is now a 1938 version of the Soryu to go along with this 1941 version I cam only imagine there will be a Hiryu coming out some day in the future.
This kit will make the casual builder happy. It should make the super detail guys very happy. Even for us who just like to add a few extra details will like this kit a good deal. You will not be sorry if you get this one.