Hasegawa 1/700 IJN kongo
(High Grade Full Hull Special)

Japanese Battleship
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Kongo Class Battleship was the front-line battle wagon for the Japanese Navy. There were three other ships in the class, the Kirishima, Hiei, and Haruna. Whether sailing with the task force that attacked Pearl Harbor, or slugging it out with the US Fleet at Guadalcanal, these ships saw action all over the Pacific. Though they date back to a WW1 design, they were modernized and at one time they were the pride of the Japanese fleet.
This kit represents an upgrade to their old kit, there are cast metal gun barrels and photo etch provided as well as a lower hull and base. The hull is pretty well shaped and appears to match the drawings I have. The molding is crisp but there was a little flash on the bow and stern a result of the complex mold that allows for the secondary gun recesses to be molded in. 
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The superstructure parts are pretty good, with splinter shields pretty good for an injection mold. The funnels have pretty good detail and the main mast and supports look too scale. The searchlight towers are in need of photo etch replacements. 
The weapons are nicely cast and the anti-aircraft guns are pretty delicate. Float plans are well done as are the boats and cranes. There are two each of the sprues included that are shown on the right.
One of the "extra's" in this kit is the Photo Etch fret. One fret contains the railings for the deck and also for the turret tops. There is a second fret with the aircraft catapult and crane included that is pretty well done. Float plane propellers and radar are also included. I don't understand why the search light towers and platforms were not included, but if you want replacements for these then you might want to get an aftermarket set such as Tom's Modelworks #731 set, and Flagship Models Kongo set . Also included are cast metal main gun replacements, these are well done and some of the nicest metal castings I've seen.
For those of you that like to build full hull, there is an entire lower hull molded in red. The propellers are cast metal with the other parts in plastic. Supports for the ship and a wooded base are also included. Decals are provided with the ship and float markings and ship names in case you chose to use them. There is also a brass colored plastic nameplate with the Japanese name on it.
Instructions are pretty good with several exploded views and all parts locations shown. A painting guide is included with colors listed. Photo etch parts placement is shown but you will have to determine your own bending angles. This might be a little tough for a beginner, but the advanced modelers should have no problems with it.
For reference on the Kongo and it's sister ships I would recommend getting Classic Warships book. It has photo's of the Kongo all though out her career, as well as some nice drawings to refer to.

This is a pretty good kit, made better with the lower hull and base option if you are not into waterline kits. I think that for the photo etch set is too basic and will still require additional aftermarket parts to be done right. With a retail price twice what the waterline version is most modelers may be scared off, however I have seen this kit on sale for half that amount at some mail order shops making it a reasonable purchase..

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