IN-BOX Kit-review

HASEGAWA 1/700 IJN Battleship Ise SuperDetail-Version

 by Tom Kristiansen


IJN Ise official trial data (after second major modernization, 1937):
Length: 215.8 m Displacement: 40.699 tons Main armnt.: (twin) 12 x 356 mm / 14"
Beam: 33.8 m power gen.:  81.360hp Secondary (single) 16 x 140 mm / 5.6"
Draught: 9.32 m speed:  25.2 kt AA-heavy (twin) 8 x 127 mm / 5"
Crew:  1571 Airplanes: 3 AA-light (twin) 20 x 25 mm
Ise was completed December 1917 and commissioned April 1918. 

The two Ise-class battleships; Ise and Hyuga was constructed during WWI and were meant to be the third and fourth ships in the Fuso-class, but delays and improvements in the Fuso-design lead to the design being altered. Thus a new class was born which had the 3. and 4. main turret aft of the funnels. After commission Ise was assigned to Battleship Sqdn. of fleet. From 1934 until 1937 these ships underwent major reconstruction resulting in the pagoda-style bride area so characteristic for IJN BB's. Ise was the first ship to test IJNs new airborne  radar system, carrying this equipment in the battle of Midway 1942. After the disastrous losses of four fleet carriers, Ise and Hyuga was converted into hybrid seaplane tender/battleships. The 5th. and 6th. turrets were removed and the aft deck was covered with a flight deck. After conversion Ise was assigned to Carrier sqrdn. of 3.rd Fleet, taking part in the Cape Engao engagement during the battle of Leyte gulf as a part of IJN's risky Operation Sho in the Philippine Islands in October 1944. She along with her sister returned to Kure after this and sat out the remainder of the war there until damage from US air raids on july 24th and 28th sunk her at her moorings. 


Hyuga standard kit (2002) vs. Ise Super Detail-kit (2003)

The only difference between the standard and the superdetail-kits of Ise/Hyuga is that SD-kits have a sheet of photoetch. Other than that the plastic parts are identical to the standard versions. Also the standard kits of Ise and Hyuga are identical to one other. The only difference for a out-of-box-buildup will simply be to turn Hyugas aft antenna backwards.
The plastic parts come in a single plastic bag. Not a good thing since the parts collide with each other if the box is roughly handled. This was evident as I opened the box and inspected the parts. A handful of them was bent or broken. If Hasegawa had used one bag for each fret this would not have happened - but since it would increase the cost of packing each kit, I will be forgiving. 

Hasegawa old tooling vs. new tooling

In the japanese ModelArt modeling magazine no.6, some 65 pages are devoted to modeling of Ise-class battleships. Among many great pictures is a photo comparing between the old tooling and the new. It is clear that Hasegawa has greatly improved their kitmaking-skills. The details are better, crisper and reasonably accurate when I compare the kits with the Gakken PacWar26-book of the Ise-class. The kits still has some some minor simplifications and inaccuracies and the injection-molded plastic is maybe not as crisp and as Tamiyas or Skywave, but nevertheless the retooled kits of this class are quite satisfactory for today's standards. 

The new kits are designed with photoetch in mind. For instance if you wanted to replace the searchlight-platforms around the funnel on the old kit, you had to cut off the on-molded platforms and scratchbuild the lower half of the funnel. On the new kits the funnel and platforms are in separate pieces - you just throw away the kit-molded platforms and glue on the photoetch. (unless you want to fix some kit- inaccuracies/simplifications)



Ise-class SuperDetail photoetch

Lately Hasegawa has launched a series of photoetch-sets for their kits. And still are more to come. The Hasegawa-etchings are generally beautiful and since they are made of stainless steel (or aluminum), they are more robust when it comes to accidentally bending parts. On the other hand, it is easier to snap parts at the joint if you stress the joint too much. 

The several ship specific parts on this fret are most welcome, like the funnel grill, the two searchlight platforms and the aft antenna. These two assemblies are quite a job to but together for shaky hands, but the instructions are quite simple to follow. 

Included are standard IJN equipment, like boat davits, float plane trolleys, catapults and railings. Beautifully etched! However there is not enough railing and second the railings can be unsatisfactory for a modeler-enthusiast. Small gluing surfaces simplifies the job with attaching the railing to the deck. Handy for the novice modeller, but these surfaces are not pretty to look at for a modeller with perfection in his mind. The surfaces can be snapped off if you like - although this makes them weaker and more difficult to place since the area of the contact points are dramatically decreased.

Kit plastic parts

The hull is in two halves. This breakdown of parts may give the halves a greater level of detail, but Hasegawa could have done a better job with the fusion points of the bow. To have a sharp bow the seam is placed on starboard side, resulting in an ugly seam that has to be filled and sanded down dangerously close to some details. Also there is seams that run along the waterline that needs filling. A positive side is the structural support beams ensures that the hulls shape is correct. The crane-house mounted on the side of he aft hull is difficult to place correctly. The holes on the drawing does not correspond with the holes on the parts. Be prepared for some drilling, sanding and filling at this section. 

Good detail on the hull halves! Portholes are correctly positioned! Only weak detail is that the towing-fairleads at the bow are poorly shaped.

Deck details are very good. Far better than what I have seen on other Hasegawa ships. Hose-reels could have been better shaped and mushroom vents are cylindrical, which is not correct, but Hasegwa is to be excused since it is close to impossible to  manufacture mushroom vents as a part of the deck. For a more accurate solution the mushroom vents should be small parts themselves, but this would unnecessary increase number of small parts. Superdetailers will have to put a small disc on top. Layout of deck seems correct to me. Comparing with my sources I could not discover any errors.

There are only two aztek-stairs and they seems to be designed to be cut off., which is a painless operation. The details on the stairs themselves are OK, but with the photetched replacement parts for this supplied in this kit most people would probably use some plastic surgery on the molded stairs. 

Some small seams and gaps are visible when at the lower parts of the superstructure and also between the hull and deckparts. Requires some filling and sanding, 

The breakdown of the bridge is generally good but has a weakness in the angular support mast for the bridge. First, they are on molded details on each platform of the bridge. On one platform the mast is forgotten or omitted. It suddenly stops in midair and then starts again on the next platform. This detail is not very visible for an an untrained eye. A non-modeler will probably miss this detail, but it is still ...not... there. The rods that are supposed to be the masts on the higher parts of the bridge are a bit rounded and does not make a smooth transition to the lower level. A crack is visible. Hasegawa should have drilled holes on the platforms and provided longer plastic rods to slide down the holes instead of this clumsy solution. 
Second, the angular masts are a bit thin, 1.0 mm. Photographs of  Ise and Hyuga suggest that 1.5 mm thickness is closer to being accurate. Apart from this, detail and fit is good. The breakdown of parts lets the modeler replace plastic windows with photoetched windows or ladders in the right size. 

Kit parts have good detail and fit. The funnel itself is close to accurate.  The top shielding of the searchlight platforms have somewhat thick edges, but to replace these could be catastrophic if you are not experienced with styrene.. I would rather mask the edges with a single bar of railing. 

The plastic searchlight platforms support are OK. A great improvement from the old retooling, but most people would replace the plastic pieces with the photoetched supports supplied with this kit. These are great! If you do not dare to play with the photoetched supports, the plastic pieces will look fine with a good weathering job.

The platform-support-base is an interesting issue that have put me into hours of studying photographs and drawings of the Gakken PacificWar 26. My conclusions is that Hasegawa has simplified the base. It should have been at the same level as the level rest of the superstructure part. (see the workbench below) The accurate base is barely visible on the 1/110 scale model in the GakPacWar26- book, but nevertheless I think the combined drawings and photos supports my conclusion that Hasegawas base is simplified.. So far I have not seen any 1/700 japanese modelers who have corrected this simplification so I am not 100% certain that I am correct, but I stick with my conclusion for now. 

General equipment
Excellent! Hasegawa seems to have used an external provider for the general equipment. The W-fret dates 1994 and is marked "Shizumo, Kyoto". I have seen this fret on the retooled 1/700 Tamiya Yamato so Hasegawa is not the only one using this fret.

The Shizumo plastic is good and details are excellent. Hasegawa has some better boats tough. More details and the Shizumo-boats have some sinkholes. Also on this W-fret you will find a nice chrysanthemum crest that you should paint in gold and put on the bow! Makes it a true IJN vessel. 

Main turrets and barrels are beautiful compared to earlier plastic moldings! Blastbags are molded on. Barrels have the correct shape and dimensions. A bit rounded at the muzzle but with a small file this detail will be sharpened. Unless you really want bored out muzzles and do not want to drill the kits barrels yourselves, there is no reason to replace these with aftermarket brass-barrels.

Secondary  armament. Blastbags are also molded on. Barrels are thin and seems to be close to correct in dimensions. The turrets are to be glued onto the side of the superstructure. This is to simplify manufacturing of the hybrid-battleship-carrier version of this class, which had all the secondary turrets removed. 

127 mm Heavy AA. Mounts are of the external W-fret and way better than Hasegawa's 127 mm mounts on Kongo class battleships.

The 25 mm MG are provided on Shizumos W-fret. Nice details but not surprisingly the barrels are a bit over scale. Myself I will use AA-photoetch from FineMolds instead of these plastic Mg's. 


Instructions are clear and precise and follows the usual style of japanese kit-producers. The photoetch-instructions are written in japanese only, but illustrates clearly how to fold, and where to place parts.


This kit is very good and close to excellent, although no cigar yet! There are seams, but they are easy to fix. Simplifications and a somewhat clumsy bridge-mast makes me want to save the best part of the superlative spectrum for other kits to come. Tough still a bit behind, it is clear that Hasegawa breathes Tamiya and Skywave in their necks with this kit. And I am looking forward to seeing new releases from Hasegawa in the future. 

If you have no problems with a small amount of occasional filling and sanding (no kit is perfect) - this kit is worth picking up!  The photoetched set in this kit makes it better then the standard versions. A bit more expensive - but not much! ($8-$9) No more expensive that it is worth it.If you buy the light-photoetch version to go with the standard kit, the superdetail will overall be cheaper and contain more details anyway. If you have not already bought the standard-set, I will recommend to buy the Super Detail-version.

I bought this kit from HobbyLink Japan for $38 USD ; € 32 Euros

Tom Kristiansen



: in-process project notes for build-up of Ise & Hyuga 1941

I am building Ise-superdetail and Hyuga-standard with Hasegawa MA-163 photoetched set. So far I am using Hyuga as a testing rabbit. The errors I do on Hyuga is the ones that i should not do on Ise. Hopefully Ise will be the star of those two but I try to make Hyuga every bit as detailed as well. Some of the modifications that I have decided to do are below:

Brass tubing for bridge support
I am using 1.5 mm brass tubing to replace the kits angulated plastic masts. And 2.0 mm styrene rod to replace the vertical mast. How to do this? Dry fit parts with strong tape and work in sections. Use a thin drill (0.6-0.8 mm) to drill a pilot hole through the molded detail or the path of the mast. Check the progress with string/tubing as you go.  Then increase the size of the drill and keep drilling a bigger hole. Adjustments have to be done. Errors will be made. Filling is unavoidable. I have so far only laid my hands on Hyuga. In time I will publish a build-up article of the sister where I richly illustrates how the process went with Ise.
NOTE: You should have some brass tubing to spare under the bridge. The tubing crosses a vertical wall and continues down into the fore deck behind the 127 mm AA-mounting. You do not want to repeat my error: my onglued tubing was too short! (see the un primed bridge) I had to replace them. Luckily the removal went pretty easy by turning the tubes until the superglue loosened from the tubes.. The primed bridge pictures shows how it should be.

Bridge windows
The models window bars are a bit too thick and in my mind need replacing. After the brass tubing was successful - I used pieces of styrene to simulate the platforms correct height and sanded down the plastic windows (1/350 ladders) The styrene bits helped keeping the correct height. I glued on the brass windows, removed the styrene bits and was very carefully with the pieces until it was time to glue the whole bridge together. Windows length in this scale should be close to 0,7 mm wide. 
NOTE: On the pictures to the right I have made an measuring error and used 1.4 mm width. This width is 200% over scale! I have to replace the windows again. 

Bridge cave-in for Hyuga
If you build Hyuga there is also a small detail of the back base of the bridge to be aware of. A small "cave-in" if you like, that was not on the back parts of Ises bridge. The shape of the cave-in is rectangular just inside the red markings you see on the picture to the right. The cave-in is about 34 mm deep.

Scratchbuilt searchlight-platform-support
My drawing pretty much describes the dimensions. After these are made I will detail them with scrap brass photoetch. Thin single brass bars can be placed over each other with thin styrene strips to simulate grating. The result might even look better and more realistic than photoetched grating. With this method it will be more custom built. More accurate. Small holes ill have to be drilled in the styrene strips. Might be tricky to get right. 

Platform bracings
Common technique. Cut small pieces of styrene to glue under platforms to simulate bracing.

Hyugas aft anteanna will look thick in comparison with Ises superdetail-antenna. I will then make a scratchbuilt antenna of thin brass wires. 0.2 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm 0,6 mm...

To simulate among others the grating pattern on the angulating sides of the deck (next to the hull) I will make decals in 100 pixels/cm resolution on PC, print them and place where needed. Also some shallow superstructure details can be achieved with this.

Tom Kristiansen