Hasegawa 1/700 
Imperial Japanese Navy Heavy Cruiser Kinugasa 
Reviewed May 2017
by Abram Joslin
History (from Wikipedia)

Kinugasa and her sister ship Aoba were originally planned as the third and fourth vessels in the Furutaka class of heavy cruisers. However, design issues with the Furutakas resulted in modifications including twin turrets and an aircraft catapult. These modifications created yet more weight to an already top-heavy design, causing stability problems. Nevertheless, Kinugasa played an important role in the opening stages of World War II.

In 1941, Kinugasa was assigned to Cruiser Division 6 (CruDiv6), as flagship of Rear Admiral Aritomo Goto as part of the First Fleet under overall command of Vice Admiral Takasu Shiro. CruDiv 6 consisted of Kinugasa, Aoba, Furutaka and Kako. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, CruDiv6 was engaged in the invasion of Guam, following which it participated in the second invasion of Wake Island.

From January–May 1942, Kinugasa was based out of Truk, in the Caroline Islands where it provided protection for the landings of Japanese troops in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea at Rabaul, Kavieng, Buka, Shortland, Kieta, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands and Tulagi.

Kinugasa participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea as an escort to the light aircraft carrier Sh?h?, which was sunk in the same battle. Furutaka and Kinugasa, undamaged in the battle, escorted the damaged aircraft carrier Sh?kaku back to Truk. On 14 July 1942, Kinugasa was assigned to the newly created Eighth Fleet under Vice Admiral Mikawa Gunichi.

On 8 August 1942, north of Guadalcanal a three-seat Aichi E13A1 "Jake" reconnaissance floatplane launched from Kako was shot down by an SBD Dauntless of VS-72 from the aircraft carrier USS Wasp. This was the prelude to the Battle of Savo Island the following day.

On 9 August, the four heavy cruisers of CruDiv 6 (Aoba, Kako, Furutaka and Kinugasa), the heavy cruiser Ch?kai, light cruisers Tenry? and Y?bari and destroyer Y?nagi engaged the Allied forces in a night gun and torpedo action. At about 2300, Ch?kai, Furutaka and Kako all launched their reconnaissance floatplanes. The circling floatplanes dropped flares illuminating the targets and all the Japanese ships opened fire. The cruisers USS Astoria, Quincy, Vincennes and HMAS Canberra were sunk. The cruiser USS Chicago was damaged as were the destroyers Ralph Talbot and Patterson. Kako's gunfire hit Vincennes in the hangar and destroyed all of her Curtiss SOC Seagull floatplanes. On the Japanese side, Ch?kai was hit three times, Kinugasa twice, Aoba once; Furutaka and Kako were not damaged.

At the Battle of Cape Esperance on 11 October 1942, CruDiv 6's (Aoba, Furutaka and Kinugasa), and destroyers Fubuki and Hatsuyuki departed Shortland to provide cover for a troop reinforcement convoy by shelling Henderson Field on Guadalcanal. The fleet was spotted, coming down "the Slot" at 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph), by two Vought OS2U Kingfisher reconnaissance floatplanes. So alerted, the radar-equipped American cruisers USS San Francisco, Boise, Salt Lake City, and Helena and five destroyers steamed around the end of Guadalcanal to block the entrance to Savo Sound.

At 22:35, Helena's radar spotted the Japanese fleet, and the Americans successfully crossed the Japanese "T". Both fleets opened fire, but Admiral Goto, thinking that he was under friendly fire, ordered a 180-degree turn that exposed each of his ships to the American broadsides. Kinugasa straddled Boise and Salt Lake City with 8-inch salvos, knocking out Boise's No. 1 and 2 turrets. Kinugasa sustained four hits in the engagement. The following morning, Kinugasa was attacked but not damaged by five American planes, and then returned to Shortland.

On 14 October 1942, Kinugasa was designated flagship of Crudiv 6. The following day, Kinugasa and Ch?kai bombarded Henderson Field on Guadalcanal with a total of 752 8-inch shells.

From 24–26 October and 1–5 November, Kinugasa and Ch?kai provided cover for replacement convoys of troops and equipment to bolster Japanese defenses at Guadalcanal. On 14 November, during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Kinugasa was attacked by Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers and Douglas SBD Dauntlesses from USS Enterprise and USMC Avengers from Guadalcanal. At 09:36, a 500-pound bomb hit Kinugasa's 13.2 mm (0.5 in) machine gun mount in front of the bridge, starting a fire in the forward gasoline storage area. Captain Sawa and his Executive Officer were killed by the bomb, and Kinugasa gradually began to list to port. Near-misses caused additional fires and flooding and a second attack by 17 more Dauntlesses knocked out Kinugasa's engines and rudder and opened more compartments to the sea. At 11:22, she capsized and sank southwest of Rendova Island at 08°45?S 157°00?ECoordinates: 08°45?S 157°00?E, taking 511 crewmen with her.

Kinugasa was removed from the Navy list on 15 December 1942.

The Kit

Hasegawa has been stepping it up in the ship model world with many new kits hitting the market. One of the newest additions to their ship line is the IJN Kinugasa Heavy Cruiser kit, my review sample is the limited edition full hull version. First impressions of the kit are very good. Upon opening the box you can see several bags of parts made up of several different media. The main bag consists of all the plastic sprues to build the ship itself. In a second bag Hasegawa has provided cast metal propellers, turned brass barrels for the main guns, a photo etch fret, and a supplementary anti-aircraft/boat/aircraft sprue, and a nameplate. Also included is a wood display base and full decals with markings for Kinugasa and sister ship Aoba. Since the Kinugasa was built as a follow up to the Furutaka class many of the sprues are the same as in the Kako kit, but ship specific sprues are also included.
Sprue E
This sprue consists of the main deck piece, which is nicely molded as one piece, and assorted superstructure decks/platforms along with a funnel and hangar. The detailing on the parts is nice and crisp and mostly in scale. On some of the deck pieces is a molded on diamond tread pattern which would most likely not be visible in this scale. On this kit the diamond tread pattern is very small and could disappear after being painted. SprueE1
SprueE2 SprueE3 SprueE4 SprueE5 SprueE6 SprueE7
Sprue F
This sprue contains the main hull, main turrets, and more assorted superstructure decks/platforms and torpedo tubes. The hull is finely cast with excellently round and full portholes, rear anchors, and a slight semblance of hull plating. The deck pieces are as excellent before.. The main turrets are well molded and seem to be proportional.
SprueF1 SprueF2 SprueF3 SprueF4 SprueF5 SprueF6
Sprue J
This is includes the main funnel and yardarm and more superstructure decks/platforms. The funnel is well molded and the assorted vents and exhaust pipes on its sides are very well done.
SprueJ1 SprueJ2 SprueJ3
Sprue K
This sprue is mainly the waterline plate, but also has the main gun director and main funnel cap. The grill on the funnel cap is finely molded and should look true to scale if you do not wish to replace it with photo etch. The gun director is nicely detailed as well.
SprueK1 SprueK2
Sprues L and Q (x2)
These sprues are attached on the same runner and consist of assorted small detail pieces such as davits, gun barrels, directors, etc. The casting quality on these parts is excellent and fine.
SprueLandQ1 SprueLandQ2 SprueLandQ3
Sprue S
This is the main sprue included with the limited edition kits. This is the lower hull and all of the running gear. Also included are the stands to attach the kit to the display base. The propeller shafts and rudders are finely cast and look true to scale. Normally 1/700 kits are only waterline, so this is a welcome addition to provide the modeler with more options.
SprueS1 SprueS2 SprueS3
Sprue W
This is the supplementary sprue mentioned earlier. Not being ship specific it provides the modeler with lots of extras of the smaller parts. The detailing is pretty good, especially on the aircraft and boats. The barrels on the anti-aircraft guns seem slightly over scale, but any smaller and they probably wouldn’t have survived the injection molding process.
SprueW1 SprueW2 SprueW3 SprueW4 SprueW5 SprueW6
Photo Etch
This kit also includes and basic photo etch fret. While most times kit included photo etch doesn’t do much for the modeler, this is a welcome addition to the kit. It includes all of the main deck railings and parts to replace catapults and cranes as well as some other assorted small bits (the box art shows the built kit with the unpainted photo etch added). PhotoEtch
Other small parts
As mentioned before the kit also includes metal barrels for the main turrets, cast metal propellers, a display base, and name plate. These are all excellent quality and will help to make an out of the box build really pop.
SmallParts1 SmallParts2 SmallParts3 SmallParts4
Instructions and Decals
The instructions are printed on a two sided large sheet of paper that is folded into quarters. The front gives a brief history of the ship and includes the painting/marking diagrams. These are very clear and easy to understand. The reverse side consists of the building steps. There is a lot of information here in a small space, so it might be a little hard to follow. Reading over the instructions several times before starting the build is always a good idea. That being said I feel the instructions are very good and progress the building in a logical manner. Being the limited edition the instructions include the folding guild for the photo etch and construction of the lower hull. InstructionsandDecals7
InstructionsandDecals1 InstructionsandDecals2 InstructionsandDecals3 InstructionsandDecals4 InstructionsandDecals5 InstructionsandDecals6

All in all this is a very good kit and will make an excellent addition to anyone’s IJN fleet. The addition of photo etch and brass parts help to make this an excellent display piece directly out of the box without the need to purchase further aftermarket parts. Another bonus is you should end up with spares of some of the smaller parts to add to your spares box to use on other projects. 

I recommend this kit and hope Hasegawa continues providing us with more excellent ship kits. Thanks to Hobbico (Great Planes) Model Distributors for the review sample. They are your US distributors for Hasegawa.

This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum especially if you can share details about fit, ease of assembly and accuracy. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.

© modelwarships.com