Gallery Models/MRC
1/200 Japanese Battleship Yamato


Reviewed August 2022
by Martin J Quinn

One of those ships that really needs no introduction, the Japanese battleship Yamato has attained almost mythical status, and is a popular subject for armchair admirals, who wonder how she would have faired against an Iowa-class battleship in a duel, especially if Admiral Halsey hadn't left the entrance to San Bernardino Strait unguarded, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944.  

Here's a snapshot of what Wikipedia has to say about the behemoth:  

"Yamato (大和) was the lead ship of her class of battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) shortly before World War II. She and her sister ship, Musashi, were the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever constructed, displacing 72,800 tonnes at full load and armed with nine 46 cm (18.1 in) Type 94 main guns, which were the largest guns ever mounted on a warship.

Named after the ancient Japanese Yamato Province, Yamato was designed to counter the numerically superior battleship fleet of the United States, Japan's main rival in the Pacific. She was laid down in 1937 and formally commissioned a week after the Pearl Harbor attack in late 1941. Throughout 1942, she served as the flagship of the Combined Fleet, and in June 1942 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto directed the fleet from her bridge during the Battle of Midway, a disastrous defeat for Japan. Musashi took over as the Combined Fleet flagship in early 1943, and Yamato spent the rest of the year moving between the major Japanese naval bases of Truk and Kure in response to American threats. In December 1943, Yamato was torpedoed by an American submarine which necessitated repairs at Kure, where she would also be refitted with additional anti-aircraft guns and radar in early 1944. Although present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944, she played no part in the battle.

The only time Yamato fired her main guns at enemy surface targets was in October 1944, when she was sent to engage American forces invading the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. While threatening to sink American troop transports, they encountered a light escort carrier group of the U.S. Navy's Task Force 77, "Taffy 3", in the Battle off Samar. The Japanese turned back after American air attacks convinced them they were engaging a powerful US carrier fleet.

During 1944, the balance of naval power in the Pacific decisively turned against Japan, and by early 1945, its fleet was much depleted and badly hobbled by critical fuel shortages in the home islands. In a desperate attempt to slow the Allied advance, Yamato was dispatched on a one-way mission to Okinawa in April 1945, with orders to beach herself and fight until destroyed, thus protecting the island. The task force was spotted south of Kyushu by US submarines and aircraft, and on 7 April 1945 she was sunk by American carrier-based bombers and torpedo bombers with the loss of most of her crew."

For more details on the design and history of Yamato, see her Wikipedia page:


The Gallery/MRC Yamato

As can be expected, due to her elevated status, Yamato has been offered many times in kit form, most recently with a 1/700 offering from Pontos.   The most popular scale for Yamato kits seems to be 1/700, but the kits have also been released in 1/500, 1/450, 1/350 and 1/200 scale.  

The Gallery/MRC 1/200 rendition of Yamato comes in a large (and I mean large) box.   On the cover there is a painting of Yamato at either sunset or sunrise, presumably preparing for her final mission.  Upon opening the lid, you'll find smaller boxes nested inside, with the instruction booklet and decals laid on top.   The largest of these boxes holds the hull, which is padded with foam at the bow and stern, and wrapped in clear plastic for protection.   The rest of the parts are apportioned off to different boxes, depending on shape and size.   All of the sprues are either in clear plastic bags or bubble wrap.  Many of the more delicate parts are wrapped again with thin white plastic for added protection. 


As you might expect with a 1/200 scale model, the hull is massive!  It's a two piece affair, almost 52 inches long and over 7 1/2 inches wide, which scales out pretty close to the real thing.   While the hull is split in two, it's already held together by large "U" shaped metal braces, which are, in turn, screwed into the sides of the hull.  The hull isn't exactly put together though - it's up to you to glue it together and clean up any seams. Which "seams" like it's going to be a chore.  

There is some fine detail molded into the hull, like the degaussing cable.  There is also hull plating present.  I don't find it to be too overstated, especially for this scale, but I've seen some complaints about this on the internet.  I think once paint is on, it will look fine.  

There are four deck parts included, labled ZA, ZB, ZC and ZD:  
  • ZA - Main Deck
  • ZB - Aircraft handling deck
  • ZC - Fo'c'sle
  • ZD - Hangar deck/Boat Stowage
ZA - Main Deck - The planking on the main deck is well done, with very subtle butt ends.  So subtle that you have to turn the deck to catch them in the light to see them.  That's going to be a recurring theme in this review - there is quite a bit of subtle detail molded into it this kit.   
ZB - Aircraft handling deck - There is a engraved pattern, like a grid line on the majority of this deck, and very nice diamond tread plating.   A nice touch is recessed holes in the deck, for perfect placement of the photo-etch aircraft trolley rails. 
ZC - Fo'c'sle - The smallest of the decks, it also has the diamond tread plating. 
ZD - The hangar/boat stowage deck - The hangar area has the same molded into slots at the deck above it, for the trolley rails.   The outer parts of the deck have the same diamond tread plating as the other decks, while the center of the deck has a grid pattern on it.  The same type of grid pattern is seen on both the Pit Road and Fujimi 1/700 scale Yamato kits, as well as the 1/10 scale Yamato at the Kure Maritime Museum.

The rudders, struts (the shafts are metal, and in a separate bag), the scrollwork at the bow and stern and some parts for the boat stowage area (like the doors) are included on this sprue. 

There are vents, ships boats, and boat cradles here.  Detail is good, especially on the inside "screen" portions of the vents, as well as the boat cabins.   This sprue has a large empty area on it, as if something was left out or removed. 
Here you'll find sponsons the top level of the tower bridge and wind deflectors, along with various platforms that attach to the bridge. 
This small sprue has parts for the massive funnel.  Surface detail is really good. 
There are additional parts for the funnel here, as well as more sponsons and vents, platforms and piping which goes along the sides of the hull.   The detail on the decking and inside faces of the splinter shields of the platforms is nicely done.
Masts, booms and the bars to prevent the arcs of fire for the AA guns from hitting the superstructure are here.  All the parts are very delicate and finely molded.
The catapult, boat davits, props (one prop blade was snapped off, but should be easy to fix) and the supports that hold up the overhanging section of the aircraft handling deck are here.  The supports are particularly nice, with small lightening holes in them, though the prop hubs have mold lines which will need attention.  The catapults may be the finest injection molded versions I've seen, with really nice surface details.  Very impressive.
More ships boats and associated cradles.   A few of these boats are the size of 1/700 destroyers! 
This sprue has the secondary battery 6.1 inch turrets.  Note that there are 4 of these sprues, so there are four 6.1 inch turrets.  Perhaps an "as launched" version, or a Musashi, is in the works (I'm sure the more ambitious among us may be able to back date the model to an earlier configuration).  Along with the turrets, which have nice surface details, are the barrels, with blast bags, 12.7cm and 25mm AA guns and searchlights.  The faces the searchlights have really great detail.
Additional sponsons, guns tubs, "sandbags" for the open AA guns, and some of the larger components of the superstructure.   The diamond tread plating on the decks of the gun tubs is very subtle and very nicely done.  There are, however, some sink marks on one side of the aft gun tub platform.
This holds the port and starboard bases for the AA guns, installed on either side of the superstructure.  This part features nice tread detail on the decks.
More masts and gun barrel stops. 
More gun tubs, some ready ammo boxes (in two sizes), directors, 25mm AA guns with open muzzles on the barrels and the bases for the deck edge AA guns.   The decks of the gun tubs have the really fine plating texture on them. 
This sprue has the parts for the main battery - the raison d’ętre for these huge ships.  The upper portion of the turrets are HUGE.  They are literally bigger than a 1/72 German Stug III assault gun!!  Along with the tops, the base, barrels and blast bags are also included, as are the two AA platforms that top turrets 2 and 3.  Nice detail on the turrets, including recessed holes for the photo-etch railings that go on the top (the turrets will also receive a heavy dose of photo-etch parts to dress them up), while the AA platforms have that subtle tread plating thing going on.   The blast bags and barrels will need some cleaning up - there are pronounced mold lines on both of them.   At this point in the review, I'd say the barrels are the weakest point of the kit, and would recommend finding suitable after-market replacements for the barrels. 
Gun tubs and sponsons are on this sprue.  There is ribbed detail inside the splinter shields and even more of the subtle diamond tread plating on the decks. 
These hold the parts for the 12.7cm AA guns, which feature open muzzles on the barrels and more of that plating detail on the deck parts.   There is also very nice detail on the gun mount and shield. 
More gun platforms, and, yes, more of that plating detail.  There are also more vents and smaller bases for deck mounted AA guns. 
There are actually multiple Sprue labeled "Z" in the kit, with everything from the massive central superstructure base to small directors and gun mounts. 
The base for the central superstructure.  There is some good detail here - the "screens" in the vents are really nice - and this part will also be dressed up with photo-etch add-ons.  Though the W/T doors look like they might be molded upside down? 
The instructions show this as a sprue, but in the kit the two parts come already snipped off whatever sprue they were on, and are bagged together.   Combined, they make up the bulk of the tower bridge.  Same comments as above, in regards to details and photo-etch.
Here you'll find the structures that hold the secondary battery and the main battery rangefinders. 
More gun directors and a structure that sits atop the aircraft handling deck.  Unfortunately, there's a prominent mold seam going right through a hatch on one of the parts. 
More directors (with a lot of AA guns comes a lot of directors)
Various enclosed AA guns, in different sizes.   Each mount, numbers 1 through 4, come bagged, each number in its own bag.   Some of the mounts look identical, but have different numbers.  I'm guessing they are each meant for a specific place on the ship, hence the numbering convention. 
The mounts for the 25mm guns, which have nice detail.

 There are four aircraft included in the kit - two Mitsubishi F1M "Petes" and two Aichi E13A "Jakes" - both in clear plastic.  These are some of the nicest clear plastic aircraft I've seen, with nice panel lines.  

A name plate is included.   Surprisingly, for such a large model, there is no display stand.

There are a whopping 14 photo-etch frets included in the model!   There are railings (galore), vertical ladders, inclined ladders, funnel cap, aircraft handling crane, radars, cable reels, braces, lattice support columns, boat props, aircraft trolley rails and bridge windows (and more).   It all looks nicely done and is quite extensive. While there are after market upgrade sets in the pipeline, I think most modelers will be happy with what comes in the kit.  

The propeller shafts are metal rods.   There is also some brass anchor chain included.  You may want to upgrade the anchor chain with something from the aftermarket-market.   


There are two small decal sheets included.  One is for the aircraft, the other for the ship.  The latter includes the markings for the funnels and the banners Yamato carried on her last mission.  They'll do the job, but the do appear to be a little on the thick side. 


The kit includes a 92 page instruction booklet, in which the model, interestingly enough, is never called by it's name.  It's referred to as "Battleship [No.1]".  The instructions are similar to what we've seen from Gallery/HobbyBoss/Merit/Trumpeter in the past, with exploded view diagrams showing you where everything goes, over 117 different steps.   There are two painting and marking guides included in the kit - a large one that comes folded, and a smaller 8 1/2 by 11 sized version, that is printed on a heavier paper stock.   These refer the modeler to paints from Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master and others in the instructions.  

This is a gigantic kit of the largest battleship ever built.  Given the increasing popularity of 1/200 scale, it's not surprising that it's finally made it's appearance.  It's certainly the biggest and baddest model of Yamato kit to come to market (to date).  Is it the best?  I haven't seen enough of the other Yamato kits on the market to make that statement, but it certainly is very good kit.  It has really fine details, like the degaussing cable, the deck tread plating, the detail inside all the vents, the piping and more. I was, on the other hand, not impressed with the main battery gun barrels and blast bags, and there are some mold lines here and there, always seemingly in awkward spots.  The model also has lots and lots of parts (over 2,800!), which should keep one busy for hours and hours and hours. It has a extensive photo-etch set that has everything you need to build it, along with a logical and easy to follow instruction booklet.  Speaking of the photo-etch, I like how they they molded recessed attachment points into the parts, to assist with the placement of the PE. 

I have seen some comments on the internet, knocking the kit over its accuracy.  I can't speak to that, as, comparing it to photos and line drawings, it looks like the Yamato.  I think most modelers will be satisfied with what's in the box.  The only real drawback is the price point:  the kit retails for $829.99.  That's a big chunk of someone's modeling budget. I think that this kit, due to the size and especially the price, will mostly appeal to hardcore IJN fans and Yamato-aholics.  

Overall, I am impressed with what I've seen, and would definitely recommend this kit to the aforementioned IJN/Yamato fans, battleship fans, or anyone who's looking for big project to keep them busy for a few months.  This is Gallery Models/MRC's 1:200 Battleship Yamato, kit number 64010.  As mentioned above, it retails for $829.99. The model is available directly from Model Rectifier Corporation, or from many of our fine sponsors.   Many thanks to MRC for the review sample! 

This is an review of the box contents only.  Your mileage may vary, once you start construction.