Box Art
Reviewed by Jeff Hughes
The JMSDF newest surface warships are of the Takanami Class, at present 8 are planned.  The Takanami was launched in July of 2001 and the Onami (second of the class) was launched September of 2001.  This new class is actually a modified Murasame Class general-purpose escort.  They differ from the Murasame in that they are fitted with a OTO Breda 127 mm 54-cal dual-purpose gun and enlarged (32 missiles compared to 16 for the Murasame Class) Mk 41 Vertical Launch System group forward for Standard, ASROC and Sea Sparrow missiles.  The standard missiles are to be controlled by an accompanying Kongo Class Aegis Destroyer. The Takanami as well as the Murasame Class escorts are an excellent combination of anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare on a compact platform.
Propulsion: COGAG 4 - Ishikawajima Harima LM2500 gas turbines 2 shafts.
Output: 60,000 horsepower
Length: 151 meters (495 ft)
Beam: 17.4 meters (56 ft.)
Draft: 5.3 meters
Displacement: 5,350 tons
Speed: 30 knots
Crew: 170
Aircraft: 1- SH-60CJ anti-submarine helicopter
Armament: 1 - OTO 54-caliber 127mm single mount rapid fire guns, 2 - Phalanx 20mm CIWS, 32 cell MK-41 VLS SAM & ASROC, 2 - SSM-1B SSM4 connected
equipment launchers, 2 - Type 68 triple-mount ASW torpedo tubes 
Radar: OPS-24 2-D air search
Sonar: OQS-5 bow mounted MF, OQR-2 TASS towed passive array,
Fire Control: 2 FCS-3 missile control
EW: NOLQ-3 intercept/jammer, SRBOC RL, SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy system.
The Aoshima kit of the Onami is their second series of modern JMSDF ships, the first being the Murasame Class.  The kit is molded in a dark grey and is really their Murasame kit with an added sprue for the changes found in the Takanami Class.

The hull is molded in one piece and my kit has a small sink mark forward but other than that it does not appear that any other areas on the hull will require putty.  The deck is split into two pieces, as is standard practice in 1/700 ships.  The fit of the forward section is pretty good and should require very little work to make the seam disappear.  The warning circle for the forward OTO Breda 127 mm 54-cal dual-purpose gun is molded into the deck as well as walkway lines.  I like the raised lines as they are very slight, can be sanded off very easily or left on to aid your painting of the walkways, which on JMSDF ships are anti-skid and darker than the rest of the deck.  The aft LSO pit is not correct per the pictures I have found of the Murasame Class.

Click images
to enlarge
click here
The aft wall should be angled.  I was not able to find any photographic evidence of what the Takanami Class LSO looks like but I am assuming they are exactly like the Murasame Class.  The waterline bottom fits extremely well, and the kit comes with weight to be added to the bottom hull.  I like this feature as it gives these small models some substance when fondled.

The superstructure pieces are pretty well detailed, not as crisp as Skywave but with a little wash it will stand out and come to life.  The masts are very well molded and are much better than Skywave.  They are so delicate that great care should be used when removing them from the sprue.  The helicopter hanger doors are molded closed and will need to be removed if you choose to display them open.

Aoshima's weapon's sprue is a mixed blessing.  The Type 68 ASW torpedo tubes, CIWS, and Chaff Launchers are extremely fine and much closer to scale than Skywave versions.   The SH-60 helicopter lacks detail compared to Skywave and the Harpoon/SSM-1B (the Japanese version of the Harpoon) is maybe closer to scale but is really a blob of plastic, the Skywave version is much better.  Overall, I would replace the Harpoon launchers and possibly the SH-60 helicopter with Skywave versions.

The decals give you only one hull number, so the Onami is the only ship of this class that can be built from this decal sheet.  The helicopter landing markings are provided and are very thin and should look good once installed. Since I don't speak or read Japanese I am assuming that the name of the ship is also provided.  A warning circle is provided but is way too small to be of any use; it barely goes around the base of the large OTO Belar 127mm gun housing.  I searched the web and could not find a shot of this area on the Onami or her sister the Takanami.  I am not sure if this decal is to be used or if you are supposed to "paint" the raised line molded on the deck white. Ok you say, why don't I look at the directions. well, as stated previously I don't read Japanese and the directions are basically all in Japanese.  There are no flags or markings provided for the SH60 helicopter.
As stated the directions are all in Japanese, the exploded views provide an easy step by step process that will guide you though building the model. Just don't expect any guidance on colors. Luckily modern warships do not have a great variety of colors.  I must state that this kit was purchased direct from Japan and this is my first experience with Aoshima.  I don't know if kits for export have different directions or not.

Overall this is a nice kit of a very new class of modern warship that is currently not available by any other manufacturer.  Aoshima has re-released their Murasame Class kits with a photo etched fret with the radars, masts, mast platforms, helicopter safety nets, ventilation grilles and other small details.  This fret would be a welcome addition to this kit.  Skywave also has a new PE fret for the Murasame and is available separately.  I hope to review the Skywave frets in the coming months. Overall a very impressive kit, not quite Skywave, but in some areas better. I look forward to more modern releases by Aoshima.

WEB sites with Info and Pictures of the JMSDF.

The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998-1999
United States Naval Institute Magazine Proceedings, March 2002
Global Security Web Site,