Flyhawk 1/350
IJN Kongo 1944 (For Fujimi #60000)
Yet another review
by Jon Somerville

As a result of the fast pace of model ships being released, the after market has not being able to always keep up. This is especially the case currently with Imperial Japanese Navy 1/350 kits. Fortunately Flyhawk has come to the rescue for the 1/350 Kongo. My first impression is just how much photo etch comes in the box. Each of the 14 sheets of brass has relief etch although in the one case, only the reference numbers are relief. Additional surprise to me was the inclusion of brass barrels for the main guns and the 6 inch hull mounts.

PHOTO ETCH
FRET A

Main gun turret photo etch and some blast shields. Railings included here for the main guns do not have the bottom bar and instead have little fold in feet that have a small relief etch to give a folding line. Lots of fine details here but I know some will want to remove the feet for a cleaner look.

FRET B

Main superstructure photo etch for items such platforms, yardarms and radar. The radar is particularly well detailed.

FRET C

More superstructure parts and deck bracing parts included in this fret. Instructions for one set of deck braces for the superstructure are labeled C31. There is no part subset C31 but thatís okay as its pretty clear that the instructions refer to the parts contained in part subset C30.

FRET D

Many anti-aircraft gun decks with diamond tread plates and a few mast parts. Most of the splinter shields bend up into place.

FRET E

More gun decks and shielding with a lot of tread plating. The tread plating looks over sized but when you look at photos of Japanese warships in the Second World War, you see that the treading was rather large. Parts also included for a funnel cover, pulleys and an antenna. Two anti-aircraft gun tubs (parts E12 and E19) that mount on the tops of two main gun batteries are missing a back wall. Instructions show the part before being folded and after. The before image does not show any back wall, but the after image shows a back wall. I searched to see if that back wall was on another fret, but I could not find it. A skilled modeler could scratch build the back wall or the original kit part could be used.

FRET F

Tower support grid work and aircraft crane support jig (part F7). The aircraft crane support is tricky. The parts arenít totally clear but if you study them you will figure it out. The instructions state to use parts F14 and F15 support triangles along with part F7. But parts F15 is a set of boxes and is not the correct set of parts, so instead parts from subsets F14 and F17 should be used. Parts referred to as parts F14 are a collection of parts lettered for example ďaĒ through ďjĒ. Instructions list them in a reverse order and miss some letters. Again, not hard to figure any of this out by studying the instructions and parts provided. The upper deck of the aircraft crane support can be found on fret H part 24.

FRET G

Lifeboat parts for the 9m and two types of 12m motor boats with cradles. These are perfectly etched parts with lots of details to deck out those lifeboats. Wire frames are provided for the modeler to put their own canvas covers on the one style of boat.

FRET H

Aircraft deck which is largely with a linoleum surface. One deficiency over the Fujimi photo etch set is the railings that bend up into place that are missing on the Flyhawk set. Although this could be seen as a benefit depending on your views. I dry fitted the large replacement deck onto the Fujimi part and there were no issues. Aircraft dolly rails come on this fret and get folded in half down the length which thickens the part. There are pin hole locators to help place the rails on the deck. Iím not sure how easy it will be to fold the rails down the length as they are so fine. A folding tool will be very useful here. Also found on this fret is hand-over-hand lines that drop down to life boats, vent covers, rope ladders for two of the life boats and the V-shaped catwalk that runs down both sides of the funnel.

FRET I

Aircraft catapult and dollies along with a bunch of photo etch deck supports both generic and specific.

FRET J

This is a larger sheet, one of two this size measuring almost 9 inches long. Mostly contains the miscellaneous railing and looks to have plenty provided. Three railing types are provided. One type is the chain style railing around the main deck. Then there are two styles of two bar railing of different spacing between stanchions. Further it includes the aircraft crane, anchors and propellers.

FRET K

Second large photo etch sheet (9 inch length). Generic degaussing cable is included but it should be noted that the ship has this molded on but this gives the modeler the option of putting on this finer photo etch. K-fret also has many other parts such as aircraft rigging/pontoon supports, davits, crew boarding ladders and a photo etch version of the spare rudder. I would recommend using some plastic card stock to strengthen/fill the hollow spare rudder. This will strengthen it during painting and masking.

FRET L

Funnel and aft superstructure hand rails. This is the only fret that doesnít use relief etch in the parts, but does for the labeling. To me, the hand rail spacers that give the distance from the funnel appear to by too great but not excessive.

FRET M

This brass sheet has all the open doorways. Each door has two faces that get folded over to give relief etch detail on both sides. Door frame and rain deflectors are also included. There are four door types with three of the types that are reversed so the hinges are on the other side. The fourth door type doesnít require to be mirrored.

FRET N

Here you will find lots of ammunition boxes to cover the decks around the AAA guns. There are three different types.

BARRELS

This was a pleasant surprise, not only does it come with barrels for the main guns (36cm / 14" Vickers) but also eight 15cm/50s (6") guns for the hull mounted secondary batteries. These are very nice to have but would have been nice if they had gone this far to include the 12cm (4.7") anti-aircraft barrels. Each brass barrel is perfectly detailed and has the ring around the tip of the barrel. The 14 inch barrels have that slight flare on the end and will be easy to mount onto the plastic blast bags included in the kit.


36cm

15cm
INSTRUCTIONS

As stated in the intro, the top of the first page says for the Aoshima kit but this was an error and the parts referred to do match up against the Fujimi kit. I also confirmed this error with FlyHawk. Instructions are printed in color on two pages front and back. They are very cleanly printed. The multiple areas on the ship where there are platform supports is well covered. Details arenít provided to show where to use the three different railing types. But that said, any one using this level of detail is going to know or do the research enough to locate where to put these rails. The drooped chain links go around the outer most deck.

CONCLUSIONS

An impressive set that at the time of writing is the only after market photo etch set beyond the one offered by the manufacturer of Kongo itself. The box comes stuffed with much photo etch which makes it a one stop shopping for your entire 1/350 IJN Kongo needs super detail set needs. Each fret is crammed with parts so you wonít be buying large sheets of brass with parts spread way out. I highly recommend this set as Flyhawk has done a terrific job with tremendous detail and accuracy. You can tell a lot of effort was put into this assembly of photo etch sheets and brass barrels for one terrific price. I hope that Flyhawk will have more sets for other ships of this magnitude for 1/350 scale.

This is set #FH350021 1/350 IJN Kongo 1944 (For Fujimi #60000) with a list price of $99.95. Flyhawk products are available from many online and traditional retailers. Modelwarships.com thanks Flyhawk for providing this review sample.


© ModelWarships.com