My private Fight of the Century
by Guido Hopp, Duesseldorf, Germany
In October 2001 I started to build Tamiya’s 1/350 Yamato. Having used a brass add on set only once before (Tom’s Modelworks’ set for Revell’s 1/720 Graf Zeppelin), I ordered Eduard’s set for Yamato by recommendation of my dealer at Black Knight Models in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. About ten days later I got surprised, by getting GMM’s brass sheet for Yamato, as a present from my fiancée she had ordered at NNT Models in Bad Saeckingen, Germany. (Yes! I am still having problem’s believing this, too!). Some days later I received Black Knight’s call, that the Eduard set had arrived. Meanwhile I have had plenty of time to look at the beautiful GMM set:
|Tonight, at TAMYIA’S 1/350 YAMATO, Guido’s Modelling is proudly presenting: In the gold corner, from Lopez, WA, USA; covering a total of 412,5 cm2; with a weight of roughly 120gr: The well-known, often-used and recommended champion of detailing: GOLD MEDAL MODELS!|
|In the GMM envelope, protected by a cardboard, are two sheets of flawless brass sheets, mend and fold together holding a total of 183 parts. All parts are beautifully cast and carry their description, along with positioning instructions, imprinted in the massive frames. You can find vertical and inclined ladders, water tight doors, antennas, 13 ‘Go’ radar, 21 ‘Go’ radar, funnel caps, boat pulleys and even wind indicators for the yardarms of the forward superstructure. The aircraft moving and launching equipment is remarkable. The two AC catapults consist of 15 pcs. each. Along with them come four AC trolleys and well adjusted launching shuttles for both ‘Jake’ and ‘Pete’, who’ll get their propellers from GMM, too. There is a basic, but finely crafted carne mast, jib and rigging. A funnel platform with railing is as well provided as elaborate main and auxiliary director platforms with their railings... Railings you can find a lot! GMM delivers pre-shaped 3-bar railings for the characteristic bow, displaying drooped-chains same as on main deck’s railing. 2-bar and 3-bar railing, solid and drooped, in various heights and pre-shaped guard-rails for all 46 and 15.5cm turrets are provided. Even though you need only 8 blast bag restrainers on the 15.5cm turrets to complete the model, 18(!) are supplied. A 2 page instruction printed black on gold... well, yellow paper is showing just enough to make, with a little imagination, Skulski’s AOTS avoidable. A seperate review of the Gold Medal Models set can be found here.|
|In the other corner, from Prague, in the Czech Republic; covering a total of 437,4cm2; with a weight of roughly 130gr: The scarcely-heard-of and yet seldom-used contender: EDUARD!|
|The first impression is surprising: It’s big. It’s heavy. It is a lot different from GMM’s product. The frames aren’t as massive and provide space for an incredible total of 363 parts. Additionally to the five styles of railing, 13 ‘Go’ radar, 21 ‘Go’ radar, 8 blast bag restrainers and a huge variety of vertical ladders, you can find many features you will look for in GMM’s set in vain: Well adjusted hatches and sliding doors for the main deck and almost all directors and gun mounts in many different shapes and sizes. Three styles of superstructure and turret doors are provided. Boat hangar doors, ventilation system armour covers and points for aft deck’s rail system are as well supplied as nicely shaped tripod Spars for both 15.5cm turrets. Structured decks covers for forward 15.5cm barbette and for Deck I on mid-ship’s superstructure add up Tamiya’s kit nicely. Even the grills above the boat hangar rails and structured floor covers for triple 25mm MG platforms on 46cm turrets No.2 and 3 are provided. Blast bag baskets, doorstep and -roofs for all 46cm turrets plus 48 iron shutters on all 24 ‘Shiki’ 25mm AA Gun turrets add a lot of depth to your Yamato. A very nice feature is the open walkway between the funnel and the forward superstructure on Deck V. The aircraft moving and launching equipment is supplied but basic. The catapults consist of 5 parts each and four shuttles in two styles come along with two trolleys. ‘Pete’ and ‘Jake’ receive their propellers, too. Even though the jib seems to be massive, the crane’s is superbly detailed and -consisting of 20 parts- does not have to resort to other Tamiya parts than the platform. 8 hailing platforms for bow and stern sections and various superstructure add-ons complete the picture. The four page instruction printed black on white paper leaves nothing to wild guesses.||click images
|Both the champion and the contender are in good shape and as the bell calls Round One, we wonder, who will have the better performance.|
Unwrapping Eduard, initially one might think the two sheets in the plastic bag are made from steel. Later, when searching your carpet for dropped parts with a magnet, you’ll find out that, due to the lack of magnetic characteristics of white tin, your parts have vanished into the carpet universe underneath your work bench for (not-so-)good. So, either re-decorate or watch your every move! The cold rolled tin sheets have a tendency to bend back, making a lot of initial re-shaping necessary, in case your not storing the sheets under a heavy book all time. 13 and 21 ‘Go’ radar are not as elaborate as GMM’s. Eduard lacks the auxiliary rangefinder platform and funnel caps. Compared to GMM’s AC catapults, Eduard’s are out of discussion. All other details are easy to handle and their fit is just perfect. Rail-guards for the 46cm and 15.5cm turrets need a lot of patience, for they are not pre-shaped. Eduard’s supply of ladders is great. There are plenty of ladders for hull, turrets, masts and superstructures.
I messed up Eduard’s jib of the crane badly, but could replace it easily by using GMM’s finer jib with it’s rigging: The result of combining both products leaves no wishes unfulfilled.
GMM’s parts are very well worked out and fit perfectly, as well. The crane’s mast is, compared to their excessively detailed catapults, too basic. The selection of railings is stunning, the pre-shaped styles will make your life easy. Yet, besides some basic necessities, not provided by Eduard, GMM’s set lacks the massive variety of details.
|We have seen a good performance on both sides. Every competitor has displayed his strengths, but through 13 rounds their weaknesses have been revealed. It’ll be a close decision. As we wait for the ring committee’s decision, both GMM and Eduard can be content with their performance. Here comes the committee’s ruling!|
GMM provides all the necessary detail to finish a fine Yamato. Eduard tackles it’s opponent with details beyond fundamental necessities: Almost all basic items are provided to profoundly upgrade Tamiya’s kit, but other than GMM, Eduard goes into detail, that might make your kit a masterpiece. Still the railings, as an essential part of a perfect model, can not compete with GMM’s big variety and enormous scale feet supply. GMM’s railings are still their stronghold.
|It’s a draw!|
Neither set is perfect. I used the best of both to finish my Yamato and little is left of either set. I wouldn’t want to miss any detail on her now. Still, if I had to make a decision today, I would definitely choose Eduard’s product. You can get the Czech set at about the same price (seen @ www.eduard.cz: 39,99US$) as the American (seen @ www.goldmm.com: 36,00US$), but Eduard gave a lot more fun details to my model and pleasure to me.
|PS.: The Eduard set described in the above text is item No. 53001. Lately Eduard has released a new Yamato set, which I have not yet seen. I’ll be glad to answer to discuss and answer your question at the Message Board.|