1/700 Kajika
IJN Kongo 1914

Reviewed April 2017
by Randall Shoker
Kongo was the first of a four ship class of fast battlecruisers built for the imperial Japanese Navy. She was built during a time of much change in both the IJN and naval warfare which resulted in many alterations during its design and construction. Heavily influenced by British battle Cruiser theory, Kongo was designed and built in Britain for Japan. As such her original lines were graceful and un-cluttered. But this would be the last warship built for Japan outside of Japan. The next three ships of the class were Hiei, Kirishima and Haruna all launched in that order with the last being launched less than two years after Kongo. Built as a battlecruiser, Kongo went through major modifications leading up to WWII. In 1929, she was rebuilt with additional armor and reclassified a battleship, losing a funnel but gaining aircraft capability in the process. In 1935 she underwent reconstruction again. Her Stern was lengthened 25 feet and she is re-engine with oil fired boilers and parsons turbines, increasing her speed to 30KTS.   Her bridge is rebuilt pagoda style and a catapult and rails are installed. In addition, the elevation of her main guns are increased.

By the time WWII came around one would barely recognize Kongo. The large Pagoda Mast and superstructure were adorned with search lights and AA guns. In the 30s the Kongo’s were reclassified as fast battleships and were assigned to fast carrier protection duties due their speeds. All ships of the class were destroyed in WWII with Kongo being sunk on November 21, 1944 by the US submarine Sealion. Up to that point, Kongo had seen action in both Midway and Leyte-Gulf.

Kajika has released their new model of Kongo as built in 1914. I am not sure what the relationship is between Flyhawk and Kajika, but Flyhawk’s influence is clearly seen in this excellent kit. While the kit does not come with photoetch, they do sell a photo etch detail set available separately, along with a wood deck, or a deck mask. All are available from Freetime Hobbies

The kit comes as a waterline option only, with a one piece hull with a weighted red base plate. The molding is as good as it gets with Flyhawk’s superb slide molding abilities, very little seam filling will have to be done. 

When measured out, the kit seems to be dimensionally correct, the hull length is is a little difficult to be sure of, but I had several sources list her original as built OA length as 706 feet which is just about where the hull come out to. The beam is also about dead on, about 6 scale inches too wide, well with my measuring capability margin of error.

The parts sprues are shown below. The parts are well laid out with separation points that seem to make sense while not making more work for the modeler. I have just a few comments on the various parts.

As with the main deck the molding quality is outstanding as is the detail of the molded on deck fittings. See the close up detail photo of the area around Turret 3. Click images
to enlarge
Main Deck, the only thing here of note is the anchor chains are molded in. Not a negative in any way as a lot of modelers prefer this, and they are very well done.
Hull with Close up of Bow and Stern.  Excellent molding again with a ledge for the torpedo netting molded in. Very subtle plate lines.
Red base plate with protective sprue trees on each end. Very well thought out.
Forward superstructure with conning tower. Nicely molded with detail on all sides.
Turrets, top and bottom and barrels. Turrets are nicely detailed and the guns can be elevated independently. 
Top and bottom of main battery turret bases and secondary casemate guns. The casemate guns will rotate after placement. Main and secondary barrels.
Superstructure base and boat deck. Nice treatment of portholes and molded in detail all around.
Given the time period, Kongo had anti torpedo netting, here are the torpedo net booms. Also are the second funnel base and supports for the boat deck. There are two molded searchlight towers which while nicely done, are replaced with photo etch in the optional add on set. 
The level of molded in detail is excellent. Look at the close up of both the searchlights and funnels. We have come a long way since the Kongo of my youth!
This is the sprue that blew me away. Flyhawk- Kajika has solved the problem of the “flat” 1/700 ships boats, these have to be seen to be believed. Look at the detail pics.
The ships masts are crisply molded, with protective bumper to prevent damage.
Hull Weight
Regular and wind-blown flags are included sharply registerd.
Instructions are four extra-long pages printed in color. These include sub-assembly views and color guides for painting.  There is a nice detailed guide to painting the ships boats.
While I am not sure of the relationship between Flyhawk- Kajika, I am sure this is another homerun of a model. Outstanding detail and buildability (my made up word). With the optional Kajika photo-etch set this will be a fantastic build.

Retails for $49.95 Highly recommended. Thanks to FlyHawk Models for the review sample.

This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.