|In the past year many manufacturers have released
kits for the IJN in 1/700 and 1/350 scale, but not that many new JMSDF
vessels have come to us. The latest general-purpose destroyers of the JMSDF
have however been done in plastic in 1/700 scale: both by Pitroad and by
Aoshima. This releasing of the same ship type by rival makers has been
going on for a few years now, fantastic for the modeling community.
A similarly new trend is for the manufacturers to release dedicated PE sets for their products under their own name. It has to be said that the initial releases were clearly inferior to those of the established aftermarket producers, being both thicker, and less accurate (sometimes shockingly so). Nevertheless, for beginners, or for those who prefer to make the trade-off of price against quality, basic detail sets have a fairly large market.
Aoshima's 1/700 WW2 JMSDF Takanami/Murasame photo-etch set is designed for the Aoshima 1/700 kits of the JMSDF Takanami and Murasame classes of DDs, whose major difference is the large 127mm OTO Melara gun of the former.
|The set consists of one fret of thin relief-etch brass about 7.5cm square (about 3" square) which contains a useful range of parts with the notable exception of railings.|
|As a generic and common photo-etch set, there are provided
the most visible elements that distinguish photo-etch from molded plastic:
the parts that make up the main mast, refueling hose assembly, helicopter
pad netting, helicopter blades, and various platforms and a few smaller
Railings, hatches, watertight doors, ladders and life rings are not provided, and other generic sets will be needed for these.
|A single double-sided sheet of instructions are included, but not all
parts are described. The steps describe particular assemblies, which are
denoted by letters in a square with a white background and black border.
Numbers of the parts on the etched fret with numbers prefixed by an "E",
while parts on the original Aoshima Takanami or Murasame
class kits are referenced by a number prefixed with an "A", a ‘B’,
or a ‘T’, depending on the sprue.
Steps for Takanami are denoted by the letter ‘T’ in white in a black square, instructions for Murasame are given similarly using the letter ‘M’. Steps for both classes show both marks.
Other fairly self-explanatory symbols (described also in English on the first page of the instructions) are that for making 2 sets of a particular assembly, and the one indicating a similar step required on the other side of the ship to that shown in the instructions.
|The first page describes the assembly of the main mast. The second
page describes the removal of various plastic platforms in preparation
for their replacement by etched platforms; the adding of such platforms
to the main mast; antenna positioning near the funnels; and various details
on the superstructure.
The third page is full-width and shows how the previous assemblies fit onto the hull, as well as various hull and deck details such as the helipad details, netting, and refueling hose assembly.
A nice touch is the helicopter landing pad control structure, the provision of extended and folded blades for the helicopter, and the helicopter track.
The four parts E23 have no indication of use—to me, they appear to be shields for single 20mm guns. Similarly, four parts E20 have no instructions—these appear to be chaff dispensers.
|While this is by no means a complete set, as a generic
detail set for the Takanami and Murasame classes it is a
good effort. The main mast is probably the most critical element here,
and this with its various platforms is nicely done. Other details are fairly
standard and would not really depend on this set. Railings, ladders, doors,
hatches, life rings and other such details would need to come from other
Priced at 1500 JPY, or around 15 USD, this is quite reasonable value for money.
The Aoshima (Japanese) website has a link to this set, but no photo. Most of the large retail chains and model stores in Japan stock this product.