Pitroad/Skywave 1/700 IJN Takao

Japanese Heavy Cruiser (1942)
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The long awaited Takao from Pitroad is finally here, and it was worth the wait. This important class of Heavy Cruiser was the result of Japan's aggressive naval expansion. There were four ships in this class, the Takao, Atago, Chokai and Maya. They were basically an improved version of the Myoko Class. These ships were involved in most major actions in the Pacific. Though there has been a kit of the Takao available from Aoshima, it is an old tool, and is suffers from a lack of detail. This new kit from Pitroad is not a retool of the earlier kit, but rather a total new design, and remedies that lack of detail in the former kit. 
The hull is molded in two halves, and are nicely cast, with the overall shape appearing quite accurate. The kit definitely captures that distinctive Japanese Cruiser bow shape. 
The main deck is split into a bow section and a stern section, with the deck detail sharply rendered with raised tread plate in the appropriate places. The other deck levels are also nicely molded with no evidence of any flash. This kit also captures that stylish appearance of the funnels, with molded on piping and vents. The boat davits are thinly molded as is the masts, which look good especially considering the small scale of this kit
There are two each of the main and secondary weapons sprues included so you will have a few left over parts for your parts bin. The 8" main gun turrets are very nice, the panel lines are indented, not raised, and gun barrels have a tapered look. There are two different float planes, the old Mitsubishi "Pete" biplane, and the more modern Aichi "Jake" float plane. Both are finely molded, with remarkable detail considering their small size. The forward superstructure closely follows the lines of the real ship, and has that imposing look of the Takao class. Decals are provided for the ship markings and the aircraft in two separate sheets.
The instructions are well illustrated with several pages, there is very little text, but the exploded views pretty much show where everything goes.
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The back of the box includes a painting guide for the ship and the aircraft typical of Pitroad kits. 

If you are a fan of the Imperial Japanese Navy or just appreciate well designed kits, you need this kit. The quality is evident from the instant you open the box. Pitroad is to be commended for the engineering that went into this kit. The benefit is apparent as we now have an accurate Takao in 1/700 scale and this kit has broken records for Pitroad. They are now on their third lot with over 15,000 produced in three months! I highly recommend this kit.

Special Thanks to Kitlink.com for the review sample. Check out their expanded line of ships with online ordering. This kit has a suggested retail of $49.95 but is available from Kitlink.com for $34.95

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