Aoshima 1/350
IJN Takao Class Heavy Cruiser

Reviewed by Sean Hert and Dan Kaplan

The Takao class was a follow on design from the preceeeding Myoko class. Consisting of four ships, the Imperial Japanese Navy launched them between 1930 and 1932. Heavily armed with 5- twin 20.3 guns and up to 16 torpedo tubes, the Takao class was arguably the most heavily armed cruisers ever built.

All of the Takaos were damaged in the actions surrounding Leyte Gulf in 1944, with Takao surviving to be sunk in port almost a year later.


Sprues A & B make up the two-piece hull and seperate torpedo bulges. Aoshima has nicely captured the undulating lines of this Japanese cruiser. All the hull and superstructure portholes have “eyebrows”, which is another nice detail. More manufactures have been including this detail, and it is nice to see it here. The hull is designed to accept a system of bulkheads to assure the proper hull form, which is another technique I have seen used in more recent kits.

It is pretty obvious that by molding the bulges as separate pieces, Aoshima will be able to kit all 4 cruisers in ths class from the same mold; I also think it is a nice touch, and will help those who wish to backdate the kit perform their task a bit easier.

The Takao class OA length was 203.76m, which scales out to 582.2 mm in 1/350. I took a perfunctory measurement of 583mm. Works for me.

Bow form does need to be a little finer at the waterline and below; again, no big deal. Also the plating lines should not extend right to the bow.

Hull plating lines do match close ups of Takao at launch and in drydock, 1941. Eyeballs as pretty close to AOTS: Takao.

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This sprue has the main deck pieces, paravanes and some other details. The crane on this kit arrived broken, but should be easy to repair. The deck detail, especially those deck hatches, is fantastic. The raised lines for the brass borders between the linoleum are fine, and the molded on anchor chains are some of the better examples I've seen. The decks have the correct mix of treaded and plain plates on forecastle. Bizarre that Aoshima left off the treaded deck detail on the extreme stern, but included a PE piece with treading in the aftermarket PE set to cover the area.

It is impressive that Aoshima took the time to mold correct diameter size mushroom vents, including subtle detail on top, but, IMHO, a poor choice to mold them onto deck as vertical columns. These could and should have been molded separately – more realistic detail and probably no more expensive to execute. Ditto with the hawser reels. I don’t understand this choice. Could have had a separate sprue or been part of the weapons sprue, as PitRoad does.

Sprue D has the rudder, screws and shafts, the bulkheads for the hull, and the stupendous funnels. More superstructure, and the aft two funnels- both continuing to show the same level of detail, and the lattice work for the mainmast. No auxiliary intake piping for the vents on either side of the base of funnel #1, but this is a minor detail.

There are two of these sprues in the kit, and they basically consist of the main guns for Takao.

Some of you know that I have serious scale issues with the turret lagging seamwork on the 20.3cm turrets. Nicely executed but way overscale. IIRC, the actual ribbing was 820mm wide x 5mm high. This detail is rarely visible even in close-up photos except in circumstances derived from extreme weathering. I believe attention to this detail erroneously stems from pics of Tone’s turrets after the war’s end, when they had been sitting for months without maintenance of any sort. And, just to beat a dead horse, pics of Takao's own turrets postwar in Singapore do not show that much weathering or detail. She and Myoko were reasonably well maintained by their crews until turned over to the Brits and abandoned. This is an incredibly OVERSCALE detail on this kit. (Don’t get me started on the 1/700 versions). It’s gotta come off.


Clear plastic windows, and search light inserts are provided, though I think the PE window frames still look better. It's too bad there are air bubbles in the searchlights. Portions of this sprue are unused on Takao.


G has the deckpiece that goes before the bridge; this piece is obviously designed for the future Maya option.


The H sprues have many of the kits platforms and 01 level decks.

Portions of this sprue are unused on Takao.


Torpedos, torpedo tubes and and bilge keels are here, as well as the hull sides for the HA gun deck.

Using one hull means that the torpedo bay openings/siding for HA gun deck had to be interchangeable for Chokai vs. the 3 sisters. I wonder how this seam line will look when finished. Should be “seamless”.


This sprue has more AA supports, and the main superstructure pieces; the vertical side detail is excellent, but some of the surfaces are a bit rough. The aircraft handling deck has some nice raised detail, although the ladders will need PE upgrades.


AA guns, turrets and directors.

The twin 25mm barrels/mounts are not great, especially when compared to those by Hasegawa for Yukikaze or Tamiya's I-400.

Sprue Y has masts and funnel gratings.

I think the seaplanes and boats are sharply executed, though no wood deck scribing on the boats. They do it in 1/700. This was a clearly a cost savings choice.

Type A Midget Submarine Extra
A white metal Type A Midget submarine is the "extra" included in the Takao kit.
A display base is included for full hull display.
A basic decal sheet with Imperial Japanese naval flags is included. The ones in this kit are a little off register.

A sixteen page instruction booklet describe the assembly in great detail with a variety of sub assembly views. These instructions are well done and should provide all the information that is needed to build this ship.

There is an additional sheet of "engrish" instruction steps, to be used in conjunction with the main instruction booklet.


This kit would require some changes to the bridge front (replace 25mm AA positions with scratchbuilt enclosed lookout positions) and other subtle changes to make into a pre 1942 version. One thing I noticed throughout this kit was the oversized sprues- harkening back 20 years- some approach 1/4" in diameter!

Overall, this is a truly excellent kit. Any shortcomings can be corrected by a modeler with modest skills. I'm also sure that there will be plenty of aftermarket PE to fill in gaps.