Tamiya 1/350
Japanese Heavy Cruiser Mogami

Reviewed by Nichol Caballero

The IJN Mogami began life in July 1935 as the lead ship of her namesake class of 4 large light cruisers armed with 5 15.5 cm gun turrets. The other ships of the class were Mikuma, Kumano and Suzuya. After Japan withdrew from the London Naval Treaty, the ships were refitted with twin 20.3 cm gun turrets and re-classified as heavy cruisers. In fact, these ships were carefully designed so that their 15.5 armament would be easily replaced with the 20.3 guns when the treaties were lifted, as part of the planned Third Fleet Replenishment Program in 1937.

During World War II, she sank the cruisers USS Houston and HMAS Perth at Sunda Strait and was heavily damaged after colliding with her sister, Mikuma at Midway, which resulted to Mikuma's loss. She was converted into an aircraft carrying cruiser at Sasebo Naval Arsenal from September '42 to May '43 in order to increase the Navy's reconnaissance ability.

She participated in Operation "Sho-Ichi-Go" on the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After very tough fighting, Mogami was considerably damaged and withdrew from the action. While being escorted by Akebono, both ships were sighted by US aircraft and more than 30 aircraft set the Mogami into flames. She was finally scuttled off Panaon Island in the Surigao Strait by a torpedo from the Akebono.

After the release of their I-400 and the Yuikakaze, Tamiya has once again participated the race for 1/350 IJN ships with their Mogami. Tamiya released the Mogami class in 3 versions; as a light cruiser (Mikuma), as a heavy cruiser , and as an aircraft carrying cruiser.

This review covers the Mogami as she appeared as a heavy cruiser. As usual with most Tamiya releases, the kit is well packaged with card dividers. The large one has a diagram of the Mogami including her brief history and specifications written on it. The smaller one contains the photo-etch and rods.


The hull is built from 2 sprues; sprue A for the upper hull, and a lower hull and waterline plate sprue, molded in red.

Unlike Tamiya's older 1980 releases, this model can be modeled as waterline or full hull. The upper hull is divided into 2 sections, the port and starboard. Some of the Japanese style chocks are molded on the hull parts. The hawse pipes for the anchors are also molded open. The chrysanthemum base look very nice. The portholes also have "eyebrows" on them. The only part missing on the hull are the degaussing cables which are supplied by Tamiya as a separate photoetch item (TAM #12630)

The lower hull has slots and holes to which the supports and screws will be placed. The bow tip of the waterline plate is protected with sprue, in case this area might be damaged. The rudders are moveable thanks to polycaps supplied with the kit. The Type 89 passive sonar and paravane ports are very nicely molded. Both the upper and lower hull have very nice hull plating even underneath them!


This sprue includes the bow deck, the central deck, the upper front deck and hull support brackets. The decks have very nice tool boxes and diamond pattern plate detail on the bow and some parts on the upper front deck. Some decks also have watertight doors molded on it. The bow deck has locating holes for the anchor chain (not molded!). You will notice lots of large holes around the decks, well these holes are for the screws that will secure the decks to the hulls and will be hidden with parts in that specific area, very nice! The linoleum deck is littered with raised lines which are brass colored (I think) and are usually common on most IJN ships. Also included in this sprue are the nicely molded propellers & rudders.


Sprue C contains most of the odd-looking funnel structures common to most IJN designs, the lower front superstructure, shields for the Type 89 guns and bulkheads as well as some vents. The funnel grilles are excellent and molded as a separate piece, now advanced modelers won't have such a hard time replacing these grilles with PE counterparts. The tiny but nicely molded chrysanthemum is also included in this sprue as well as the main turret barbettes.


This clear sprue includes the bridge windows and searchlight lenses. It's a nice touch that the lenses and windows are supplied as clear parts as it adds a higher level of realism on these models. only part F3 will not be used since this part is for the late-Mogami version.


Sprue H comes in 2 sprues and has all the good stuff! The bridge binoculars are amazing! Even the torpedoes have propellers on their tips and the torpedo tubes with torpedoes underneath! There are some parts in this sprue that will be used for the Twin 12.7 cm or for short, the "Type 89". It's too bad the lattice structures are made of a solid block of plastic. Tamiya could have gone the same approach like with the funnel grilles. The cutters and motorboats include very nice surface detail. What's bad with these boats are the ejector pin marks on their decks. Some might try to fill these holes and scribe it to blend in with the molded planking, which can be very challenging. Also included in this sprue are the mushroom vents, searchlight bases, davits, rangefinders and the very detailed triple 13mm guns, which are sadly, not to be used on this kit.


Sprue J comes in 3 sprues and all include parts for the 20.3 cm guns. The turret sides, upper side and lower part are molded as separate parts, which might leave very tiny gaps. The blast bags are molded nicely including the turret rangefinder. The barrels are molded in three different positions, but the barrels have no openings on their tips, another part left out on this kit. The barrels are secured by polycaps, so the gun positions can be changed by shifting the current barrel with another barrel included on the sprue. There will be an extra turret left since Mogami only has 5 mounts.


This sprue includes some of the aircraft used in Mogami. The aircraft are a small kit by themselves. It has engraved panel lines, separate propeller tips (!!), nicely molded floats, separate wing parts and molded cockpit windows. Another drawback on this part is that the windows are molded together with the fuselage, when it might have been made as separate clear piece. But anyway, the windows do have a decal substitute, lessening the chance of painting the windows. A real eye candy in this sprue are the catapults. They're not molded as solid blocks, common to most kits, but as nicely represented lattice structures. They even have PE upper parts. This approach could really have been applied with the ones on Sprue H.

There are 2 E8N "Dave" and 4 E13A "Jake" supplied. Only 2 Daves and 1 Jake will be used, leaving an extra of 3 Jakes. Now you will have lots of spare planes for your IJN ships!


Sprue L includes the aft deck and upper aft deck or flight deck. Both parts have the same characteristics as the ones on Sprue B. The deckhouses for the Twin 25mm and bases for the Type 89 have diamond pattern plating on them. The aft deckhouse windows is another part left out by Tamiya. Part 20's ladders can be removed and replaced with PE to replace the chuncky looking ones.


This sprue contains some of the thin structures. These parts are made of soft, flexible ABS plastic, so they won't break easily, especially for rigging the masts. The recovery cranes look alright. They do have PE upper and lower parts. Another nice feature in this sprue are the steam pipes for the funnel. They have holes on their tips, minimizing the challenge to drill these parts. The gun barrels could have been done this way.

Also included in this sprue are the main mast tripod (not to be used), the tiny but nice loop antenna, and the aft ensign staff.


This sprue includes the extra aircraft not to be used in this version (these aircraft are to be used for the light cruiser one), and another set of catapults, which for me, I think, will be the only parts used on this sprue. You can keep 4 aircraft if you have early IJN ship builds there!


R contains the main mast tripods to be used on this kit. This sprue is molded with plastic same with Sprue M, made of ABS. Also included are a pair of barrels for Turret 3 or 4. The twin 25mm guns and Twin 13mm guns are very detailed, like their unused triple 13mm counterparts. The hose reels, some deck vents, the Type 91 angle director, a few decks and splinter shields for the bridge windows are also included.


This small sprue contains mostly the Antenna Masts for the No. 2 and 4 turret. They are nice and well molded, although others might ought to replace them with thiner photo-etch counterparts.


This thick, very shiny(!), and relief-etched stainless steel fret contains parts for the fore mast, aircraft propellers, cranes, prop guards, catapults, aircraft trolleys, and funnel shields. Unlike some kits, these parts have no optional plastic ones so all stuff on this fret will have to be used. It would be better if Tamiya included PE parts for the chuncky and plastic lattice parts. There are also 3 aluminum rods supplied if you want to depict your planes in flight.


Tamiya uses a wide variety of screws and polycaps to make almost every rotating part on the real ship rotate! Included on this bag are metal shafts for the propellers, the anchor chain, and a bonus screw driver!

The anchor chains are very excellent. It's nice Tamiya used real anchor chain for this kit unlike most kits that have there chains molded on to the decks. There are 2 pairs of them and fit snuggly through the holes on the bow


There is a small decal sheet, paper flags, guide stickers and vinyl nameplates included. The decal sheet includes parts for the large flag on Turret 1 and for the 3 planes to be used. The numbers are very nice and well-registered. Even the Jake cockpit windows are supplied as decals! The guide stickers serves as templates for drilling the turret tops for placement of the turret antenna masts.

When I saw the nameplates on the release photos, I thought these were real metal ones, now I know they are just stickers! A real good job of simulating them as metal ones!


The display stand is molded in black. A separate sprue includes the risers and bases for the aluminum rods to which the planes will be attached.


A large and long back to back color sheet is included and the illustrations show actual model size. The front page shows the starboard side as full hull and some specific names that match out specific parts around the ship. The back page shows the port side as a waterline version and serves as the color sheet for the ship and planes.

There is a 24 page instruction booklet comprising of 31 steps with detailed diagrams of parts placement and a "history page" very common to most Tamiya kits. The assembly calls out when specific colors are to be used. There is a small sheet showing the correct placement of Part M4 at step 18.


Truly another achievement by Tamiya. The minor issues would be the searchlight structures and the barrels. Although some parts were left out, especially the degaussing cables, it will still turn out to be an excellent addition to your IJN fleet, even without PE or other aftermarket parts. I do hope that this 15 year old can accomplish this kit before classes start here!

My dad bought this as a gift from a local hobby shop and costs about $116. Expensive though [ : ) ] but well worth the amount of detail on this kit!