by Anthony Polychroniadis

The past year has been great for 1/350 IJN modellers, as the Japanese manufacturers continue to release new ships. Fujimi has been the third company to release a 1/350 subject, after Hasegawa and Aoshima.

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.

This article will explore Fujimi’s dedicated PE releases for the Kongo. Things seem to be changing on the manufacturer PE front!

When the ship was first released in April 2008, two PE sets were released at the same time. They were labelled “basic” sets, and are similar in quality to previously released dedicated sets by other manufacturers. In other words, they are useful but more crude than the products by companies such as GMM and WEM.

The first basic set deals with the ship’s railings, amusingly described by the auto-translator in Japanese hobby shops as “balustrades”. They are typical of Japanese-produced railings in that they do not have the “bottom rail” commonly used to glue the rail to the plastic, but have individual “shoes” that you bend and glue individually. The set is presented in rather thick and inflexible nickel/silver coloured metal. It’s not bad, but not as good as, for example, the GMM Takao railing.

The second basic fret is also nickel/silver. It contains catapults, aircraft dollies, bridge windows, radars, searchlight platforms, funnel caps, aircraft propellers, the “towers” on the main turrets and a few small details. The quality, once again, is OK, but nothing to write home about.

The situation changes with the “deluxe PE set”, which was released in the beginning of June 2008. This set consists of three very thin brass frets (A, B, and B2), which are similar in look and feel to WEM and GMM products. The presentation is better than the competitors though; each fret is in a separate sealed bag, sandwiched between thick white paper and transparent plastic. Additionally, they include the ship’s name in individual Japanese characters, 1 cm tall, in gold self-adhesive plastic.

I compared the thickness of the brass sheet to a GMM sheet. It is actually a small fraction thinner than the GMM Takao sheet that I used for comparison. What does it contain? A lot of stuff!




Fret A (16 X 19 CM) Accommodation ladders with individually bendable steps, railings various small ladders (with bent ends where needed, which will allow the modeller to pose them in “3-D”, as you only glue the ends), various stairs, small platforms with rails, complete funnel hand-rails, support brackets for platforms, mast details. The deck detail, provided where needed in various platforms is excellent. I also like the mounting system of the main deck railings: the parts are bent to provide three-dimensional stanchions. They are delicate, though! I don’t know how they will react to rough handling.


Fret B (18.5 X 19.5 CM) This fret is dominated by a PE representation of the “airplane handling area”, which in the original was covered by linoleum. Boat derricks, catapults, aircraft rails, bridge windows, radars, a large number of doors (both open and closed, mast details, crane details, boat ladders (you know the ones –hanging from a wooden boom which is deployed when the ship is at rest), funnel caps, more railings, boat stands (strangely, no boat detail whatsoever is offered), more mast details.


Fret B2 (8 X 18.5 CM) Contains the starfish, searchlight platforms, more platforms, more derricks, more funnel details, and more structural details… you get the picture (or just look at the accompanying photographs!)


The ship’s name in individual Japanese characters, 1 cm tall, in gold self-adhesive plastic.


A double-sided sheet of instructions is included. The instruction steps and part numbers have no correlation to the kit instructions; there are some aftermarket photoetchers that do this, so it seems odd that Trumpeter did not. There are a few places were a kit part's number is references for replacement or additional detail, but this isn't consistent.

Read through the instructions carefully; there is that extra leg to fold at each stantion on the main deck. It is shown on page 2 but not necessarily before you try to fit the rails!


Fujimi seems to have taken a giant leap in less than two months! The basic sets are not really competitive with the best aftermarket products, but the Deluxe set is. I, for one, welcome this development. Competition is good, and I look forward to seeing what the aftermarket producers will come up with.

Price? In Japan the basic sets have a list price of about 3000 yen each (28 US dollars at the time of writing) while the deluxe set is listed at 6800 yen (63 US dollars). As they have not yet been released abroad, we do not know the recommended retail price in the US or Europe.

As always, selection will depend on skill level and sensitivity to price. It’s nice to have choices though!