IJN Tone
Reviewed by Timothy Dike

The Heavy Cruiser Tone formed the 8th Cruiser Squadron with her sistership Chikuma. They operated together through most of their careers, including the covering force for the Pearl Harbor operation in Dec 1941. She participated in operations against Wake Island, the raid on Darwin in Feb, and operations in the Indian Ocean in Mar-Apr. She returned to the Pacific for Midway campaign, and saw action around Guadalcanal. On 24 Aug Tone was damaged by aircraft from USS Saratoga during the Battle of Santa Cruz, while Chikuma was hit by aircraft from USS Hornet. After repairs, both were at Simpson Harbor, Rabaul, on 5 Nov. 1943 when aircraft from Saratoga and Princeton again damaged them. In Feb 1944 they were formed into the 7th Cruiser Squadron and sortied into the Indian Ocean. They returned to the Pacific and were present at the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June, and formed part of Kurita's Center Force at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During the action with US escort carriers and destroyers off Samar, Chikuma was sunk by aircraft torpedoes, 25 Oct 1944. Tone survived and returned to Japan after bomb damage in Mar 1945. She was sunk in the raids on Kure, 24 Jul 1945, raised postwar and broken up in 1948. 
Minekaze a new company producing resin kits and accessories has made a bold entry into the ship modeling world. This is just what many modelers have been waiting for. From the looks of it, there is a lot of experience behind the production of this kit. From the design of the parts to the style of casting used. The kit include resin, white metal, and photo etch components to achieve a first rate product.
This is a large kit with an overall length of 22-1/2" by 2-3/16". The kit is cast as a waterline kit with an included lower hull. The surface detail is pretty good as is, but it gets better as there are many deck detail parts cast separately. Diamond treadplate detail is visible on the bow and stern and flash is at a minimum.
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This hull is pretty large and it is not possible to show all the detail in one picture. 
The major parts of the casting are hollowed out saving on resin and reducing the shrink commonly found in large resin castings. This also allows for the upper and lower hull to be mated with out a lot of sanding. On this kit there will be very little sanding as when I test fitted the two halves they joined almost perfectly as the following photo's show.
The main deck that forms the middle superstructure is opened up in the area that enclosed the torpedo launchers. This part is also well cast includes the same level of detailing as the hull. Separate walls fit into notches in the hull and superstructure.

The main superstructure parts and funnel are all cast in a two part mold that eliminates the need to sand off the typical resin wafer that is found on these parts. Some of the bridge parts were joined with a thin resin sheet, but it intersects the part in the middle and can be trimmed away with a sharp hobby knife. This technique allows for upper and lower detail to be cast on one part and eliminates much of the tedious sanding of earlier generation resin kits. I have trimmed some of those parts to better show the detail in the images on the right. Refer to the image of the overall kit to see how these parts look out of the box.

An overall look at the kit contents.

Completed turret assembly
The main gun turrets are well cast and are designed for the use of machined brass gun barrels. These are inserted into cross drilled brass rod to form a pivot point for the barrels, and allow the modeler to easily pose the barrels at different angles. The barrels are center drilled and have a very realistic appearance that cant be duplicated in resin or cast metal. 

The turret base are separately cast with gusset detailing included. Two of the turrets include sighting hoods that fit into notches in the turret. Photo etch ladders will finish off the assembly, and all that's left to the modeler is to add blast bags if they so choose.

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The ships boats and other items are all cast on a resin sprue. These are crisply molded and some of the boats have molded on fenders on the sides.
White metal castings are very well done for the most part. The quality ranges from average to exceptional on the many parts included. For example the 5" gun assembly include some really fine detailing, with a thin scale appearing shield. There are even cast metal open chocks to add further detailing to the deck.
The photo etch included with this kit is very extensive. Everything from railings and ladders to bridge window and catapult details is included. The deck railings are etched without the lower bar found on many other sets instead every other railing is a little long to allow for a locator.  The crane assembly is relief etched in such a manner as to give the impression of actual angle iron. 
Funnel grills and inclined stairs with steps that can be posed are among the other notable items on the fret.
The bridge assembly utilizes photo etch to allow for interior detailing. Note the fine appearance of the mast after assembly.
Many of the photo etch frets included in this kit are also available separately such as the boat chocks and cradles and the cable reels and other sets shown above. Each will be reviewed in detail in the future.
Two sharp decal sheets are included, one is for the aircraft and the other has the flags, draft marks, and ships name. They are all very well registered and as good or better than most after market decal sets.
The instructions are the kits one weakness. While there are several detail views and a full parts breakdown and list (not shown), there are no 3D assembly view and it will take some studying to figure out where everything goes. The photos of the completed bridge and crane assembly should help.
A full buildup will accompany this review just as soon as possible so we will document the process to assist you in your build.
Finally several lengths of brass rod in different sizes as well as a length of chain complete the kit so there is really nothing else for the modeler to have to buy to complete this kit except for paint and rigging.


This is a very impressive kit, it is well engineered with the advanced builders in mind. It has a suggested retail price of $445.00 US and is available direct from the manufacture. Plans are in the works to add dealers to carry this line in the near future. Thanks to Shigeru Mine, President of Minekaze for the review sample. Click the logo to vist their webpage for ordering details. A buildup of this kit by Martin Quinn can be found here.

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