|The Murasame Class is general purpose
escort, fitted for anti-submarine and anti- surface warfare as well as
limited anti air warfare. The Murasame class is basically an improved Asagiri
Class, (Timothy you could insert the link to the Pitroad Asagiri review
I did some time ago here is wanted) with vertically launched missiles.
The Murasame incorporates the Mk 41 VLS system that could carry Standard
and Tomahawk missiles but is currently only loaded with ASROC. The first
ship was commissioned in March of 1996 and the last of the 9 ships in March
of 2002. This class is intended to replace the 12 General Purpose Hatsuyuki
Class Destroyers, commissioned between 1982 and 1987.
|Out for a couple of years now, the Skywave kit of DD-101 Murasame (J17) is molded in typical Skywave light grey on three sprues. Sprue A holds the hull and waterline. The hull is crisply molded and has no sink marks and thus should need no putty. The two pieces of the hull fit nicely together, a small seam will show and this can be fixed with Gunze Sangyo Mr. Surfacer 500. The helicopter landing markings, as well as the walkways around the main deck, are depicted as raised lines. I wish these lines where more like Aoshima's very slight lines on their Murasame and Takanami Class kits, Skywave's are definitely raised too much, an area they could improve upon. These raised lines are "ok" for the walkways, as it will aid in painting these sections. The lines on the helicopter landing area, although, will need to be removed so the decals, provided in the kit, will lay flat. The helicopter recovery system tracks are also depicted as raised lines and you may want to leave them that way since there are no decals to represent them. The forward Mk-41 VLS hatches are well defined and not just a blob of plastic, they maybe slightly over scaled but they look fine.||
|Sprue B is the latest version of the Skywave modern weapons sprue. This incarnation contains a CH-47J Chinook and an AH-1S Cobra. Along with the new 54-caliber 127mm OTO Breda single mount rapid fire gun, and old stand-by Mk 112 ASROC launcher, Mk 29 Sea Sparrow Launcher, Harpoon/SSM-1B launchers, 20mm CIWS, 127mm 54-caliber Mk 42 and Mk 45 dual purpose guns. 76mm 62-caliber OTO-Melara gun, SH-60J Sea Hawk ASW helicopter (more correctly proportionate than previous versions), various radars, illuminators, chaff launchers, ASW triple torpedo tubes, Mk 13 Missile launcher, life raft canisters and various ships boats and davits to name a few. Only a fraction of which will be used on the kit. The extra parts provide a wealth of spare parts for any type of "what if" building you may want to do. All parts are molded with a great amount of detail and are crisp in appearance with no flash.|
|Sprue C contains the remainder of the parts necessary to construct the ship. All pieces are very detailed, molded crisply and, with the proper wash, will really stand out and show the cluttered look of this modern naval ship. The Murasame Class has a large amount of air intake grills on the side of the ship. These are represented by individual parts for each grill section. The hanger doors can be represented in either the open of closed position. The masts are not bad but once again the Aoshima kits masts are truer to scale. Skywave has come out with a dedicated PE set J-17E for the Murasame Class and it does contain new masts as well as some other items.|
|The decals are sharply registered but only hull numbers for DD-101 are provided. This is a shame as I am not aware of any visual differences between DD-101 and say DD 109 the last ship of this class. Decals are provided for the SH-60J helicopter in the kit.|
|The instructions provide more than adequate direction to
build this kit, using exploded views with arrows to show how all the pieces
fit together. In addition, a small sheet is provided to aid in the assembly
of the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-1S Cobra, this sheet also provides painting
guides for the helicopters using FS numbers when applicable. Most of the
painting instructions are in Japanese though references to Gunze Sangyo
Mr. Color paints are also provided.
|A painting guide is provided on the back of the box as well as a description
of the various items on the ship. I like these descriptions as it allows
one to learn about the ship especially if this is the only reference material
they posses. Paint referenced is, as stated before, Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color
paints and Pit Road's own line of paints, FS numbers are given when applicable.
There does not seem to be any confusion on what is to be painted what color,
all shaded areas are clearly marked. For those who don' t mind using enamels,
remember WEM makes correct matches for JMSDF deck and vertical grey, codes
P1 and P2 in this kit as well as P4 would be USN deck grey.
The front box cover art by Y. Mizuno is wonderful and depicts the Murasame gracefully cutting through the water.
This is once again a wonderful kit by Skywave, I would say this is not for a beginner in 1/700 scale but not too difficult for anyone with a few 1/700 scale kits under their belt. In the hands of a skilled craftsman, with some PE rails and the Skywave PE masts this kit could become a real showpiece. In the hands of the majority of us it will be a fun build and look great with the rest of our modern navy.
The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998-1999 Conways All The Worlds Fighting Ships 1947-1995