Building The Fujimi 1/350 IJN Kongo, Part 2
Part 17: Final Steps…
Aside from the usual washes, I like to weather my builds using powders from Bragdon Enterprises. This is a product made for model railroading, but works just as well for other models. Bragdon makes a set of dusty and dirty colors as well as a dedicated rust set. I also use Tamiya's weathering powders. I like how all of these products have different levels of "flatness" and texture, just as weathering does in real life.
Finally, a custom case was commissioned to hold the model.
Conclusions About The Photo Etch…
I was not impressed by Fujimi's Deluxe PE at all. Bad instructions, flimsy construction, and a lack of good quality thicknesses on larger parts made this set one of the most trying detail sets I've ever encountered. Fujimi needs to look at makers like Flyhawk and Lion Roar and go back to the drawing board. I can see some glimmers of hope (the brass Kanji for the base), but for now, I advise avoiding Fujimi's set. Overall Rating: 60%
Conclusions About The 5" And 6" Guns…Fukuya Works' tried and true quality shines through once again. Excellent quality and a great price, these barrels are gorgeous and easy to use. Overall Rating: 100%
Conclusions About The Wood Deck…
Absolutely beautiful in appearance and execution. The deck fits on like a dream and instantly brings the ship into a whole other realm of finish. Shinsengumi live up to their high standards with this piece. It is very rare to find something that so quickly and easily brings up the quality of a build. Factor in the time saved by not having to mask, paint, and weather the plastic deck, and the Shinsengumi piece practically pays for itself. Overall Rating: 95%
Conclusions About The Kit…
All told, I spent about 250 hours on this build. Some of that is because I'm a fairly slow builder, but a good bit of it was because of having to decipher incorrect instructions, deal with annoying fit issues, and some stuff that was just outright weird (how hard is it to make the mast cylinders the correct length?).
There's no question that this kit builds into a spectacular model when complete. It easily trumps anything else currently in my collection. But that build comes with more blood, sweat, and tears than a model costing this much, and produced so recently, should. The fact that the casemates are such a major aspect of the ship's appearance, and will require even more work to correct, only makes matters worse.
Interestingly enough, Fujimi's subsequent release of the Kongo's sister, the Haruna, came with a much better set of sprues to replace the simplistic small weapons, and took care of some of the deck issues. Although the casemates are wrong, I would still recommend the Haruna over the Kongo, as it's obvious that Fujimi corrected the mistakes that came with this kit.
I've tried my best to document the pitfalls that building one of these kits will entail, so anyone who follows this should hopefully be able to deal with these issues (forewarned is forearmed). In closing, this model builds into a museum quality piece... but only if you're willing to spend large amounts of extra time on her that shouldn't have to.