Pit-Road/Flyhawk 1/700 Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyer Kagero
Skywave Kit # W213
Reviewed May 2020
by Daniel Kaplan 

Japanese naval doctrine leading up to the Pacific War was focused on the concept of the decisive battle. It was multifaceted, yet all of it was concerned with whittling down a large enemy fleet, largely through night attacks using superior weaponry fired from long ranges. While the traditional battleship and battleline remained a cornerstone of this doctrine, the preliminaries were to be conducted by massed torpedo attack, particularly at night, by squadrons of heavily armed, high speed destroyers with torpedoes of greater range, speed and warhead size than those of other countries.  Accordingly, much attention was given over to new destroyer design.


Omitting subclasses, the Kageros were the fifth class of modern destroyers built for the offensive battle doctrine of the IJN, and the class was widely considered by the Japanese to have reached the ideal combination of speed, range, firepower, and stability as required in a destroyer. Nineteen units were built between 1939 and 1941.

The Kagero type was an improved version of the preceding Asashio class destroyer, with slightly more powerful engines, a slightly higher top speed, improved turning radius, and a re-positioning of the forward torpedo reloads bays and torpedo reload equipment for improved reload performance and better overall stability. In fact, the Kageros benefitted greatly from the early issues that plagued the Asashios, so much so that the Kageros had essentially none.

Aside from the changes to the forward torpedo reloads, they were nearly identical in appearance to their immediate predecessors; mounting the same armament of six 5" guns in Type C turrets, two twin 25mm AA and eight 24" torpedo tubes. Sixteen Type 93 torpedoes were carried, enough for two full salvos. Eighteen depth charges were dispensed off individual roll off racks at the stern, and by a Y gun thrower. At 2,023 tons standard displacement, the Kageros were 72 tons heavier than the Asashios, with a slightly thicker bridge structure.

A Brief History

Kagero (?? Gossamer Haze) was the lead ship of her class of nineteen vessels. Authorized under the 3rd Naval Armaments Supplement Program (also known as the Circle Three Plan), she was laid down at the Maizuru Naval Dockyard on September 3, 1937 and commissioned on November 6, 1939. 

At the start of the war, she was assigned to Destroyer Division 18 (Shiranui, Kagero, Kasumi, Arare Ė a mix of Kagero and Asashio class ships), and that division was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 2. DesDiv 18 accompanied the Kido Butai as part of the escort for the Pearl Harbor Attack Operation. She and her division mates continued to escort the carriers on numerous strikes and forays throughout the South Pacific and into the Indian Ocean for the first six months of the war.  In June, at the Battle of Midway, DesDiv 18 escorted the Midway Troop Convoy. 

In July, after Midway, she and her division mates were all involved in escort duties in the Aleutians. It so happened that on July 5,1942, she was on a separate escort mission when all three division mates were torpedoed outside Kiska Harbor by USS Growler. Arare was sunk, and both Shiranui and Kasumi lost a substantial portion of their bows.  With lengthy repair yard visits ahead of those two ships, the integrity of the division was ruptured and Kagero was re-assigned to DesDiv 15 (Kurushio, Oyashio, Hayashio), also of DesRon 2, which had lost sister Natsushio to a torpedoing earlier in the year.

The division soon joined Japanese efforts to retake Guadalcanal.Kagero engaged in several bombardment missions (including that of Henderson Field, twice), and participated inmany troop transport and attack missions. Ultimately, Kagero and her division sisters recorded more escort and attack missions to Guadalcanal than any other Japanese destroyer division. Kagero recorded 14 runs, Kurushio and Oyashio 10 trips apiece, and Hayashio embarked on 7 runs before she was sunk by air attack in late November, 1942. 

Kagero also fought as part of the troop convoy escort during Battle of the Eastern Solomons, as part of the Vanguard Battle Force at the Battle of Santa Cruz, the Naval Battles of Guadalcanal (where she and Oyashio attempted an unsuccessful torpedo attack upon USS Washington), and in the Battle of Tassafaronga.  She also helped cover the subsequent evacuation of Guadalcanal in early February, 1943.

Along with her division mates, Kagero returned to Japan in mid-February, 1943 for refit, and the repair of light damage sustained at various times during the Guadalcanal campaign.She gained a new, twin 25mm AA mount on a raised platform in front of her bridge.  Also, while not confirmed, it is likely that she and her division sistershad her twin 25mm AA mounts to either side of number two funnel changed to triple mounts.

Upon their return to the Solomon Islands in early 1943, Kagero, Kurushio and Oyashio participated in several successful troop transport reinforcement missions around Shortland Island, and to a garrison at Vila on Kolambangara. For many of these missions, the division transited east to west through the relatively narrow waters of Blackett Strait for their return to base. The US Navy had learned of these missions and sent a small force of old DDs converted to minelayers to successfully mine the strait on the evening of May 6/7, 1943.

DesDiv 15 reinforced Vila once again, early on May 8th, approaching from the east. After unloading troops and cargo, they again transited to the west through Blackett Strait on the way back to Buinon Bougainville, which lay to the northwest. Within an hour, Oyashio staggered to a halt after hitting a mine. Assuming a submarine attack, Kagero and Kuroshio took up anti-submarine positions around Oyashio. Shortly thereafter, Kagero, and then Kurushio, also struck mines. Kurushio was immediately rent by a number of massive explosions, probably her magazines, and sank immediately. Kagero was rendered immobile. 

Kagero and Oyashio subsequently drifted helplessly to the west and southwest, respectively, throughout the rest of the day, while enduring further attacks from the air by American divebombers.  Both ultimately succumbed to progressive flooding in the early evening, barely 20 minutes apart. Losses for DesDiv 15 included 18 men on Kagero, 91 on Oyashio, and 83 on Kurushio.It was a tragic loss of men and ships that was likely avoidable, had the Japanese command bothered to vary their tactics. Complacency and obstinance on the part of their higher command, with regard to the deployment and use of assets, would continue to plague the IJN throughout the war, with grievous impact. 

(Note: Background, Design, History are repeated from the MW review of the Tamiya 1/350 Kagero kit of April, 2016)

The Kit (and some prehistory)

Kagero class destroyers have been a mainstay of 1/700 scale Imperial Japanese Navy model collections since the original Waterline Consortium banded together to market this scale in the early 1970s.  There have been five (!) distinct moldings from various manufacturers prior to the release of this current kit. So, if you want a brief synopsis of their ever-evolving development for some perspective on the current kit, just keep reading. Otherwise, please skip to the sprues. 

Aoshima 1972

The original Kagero class kit was produced by Aoshima. Dimensionally, it was very close to accurate for overall & waterline length, as well as just being a tad narrow on width. The biggest dimensional issue actually had to do with freeboard, which was significantly higher than it should have been by 1.5mm.

Shapes were generally good, particularly the bridge and funnels. One exception was the forecastle deck, which sloped up to the bow in a gently rising curve instead of a straight plane.These kits were devoid of small details: there were no bridge windows, hatches or doors, portholes, degaussing cables, etc., as well missing equipment such as the large paravane winch at the stern. The kits were also equipped with generic or block-like looking weapons, boats, and accessories. However, the shortcomings of the kit were very much a function of the limitations of the injection molding technology of the time, available references, and cost. The kit itself was quite typical of the original waterline series. The box art was generally dynamic and accurate 

Still, there were those talented modelers who found ways (and references) to improve the models. In time, Skywave/Pit-road, began producing improved weapons and accessory kits to add greater detail to these kits as well as the other 1/700 offerings. Even the Waterline Consortium released new weapons sets to provide more accurate details by the 1990s.

Pit-Road/Skywave 1992

Twenty years passed. Pit-Road began to fill the growing demand for improved features in the 1/700 range by producing newly tooled 1/700 IJN kits that sought to raise the level of detail and accuracy in this scale. They released a new set of Kagero class kits (Yukikaze and Kagero) in the early 1990s. 

Still sold today, these are very nice kits with sharp, though slightly overscale, details. (This is how Pit-Road achieved its great reputation.) In the early 90ís, better molding technology allowed for improved detail, though not as precise as can be done today. Pit-Road used highly detailed masters that were just slightly overscale that allowed for more and nicer detail on very small parts and surfaces, something that hadnít been available before. 

Dimensionally, the kitís overall length, width and freeboard are correct. The waterline length is slightly undersized, and that impacts on the shape/silhouette of the bow, which is the only thing that I can really fault the kit on.The Japanese DDs have a very specific bow form, and I just donít care for the way Pit-Road has molded it. It shows a more generalized clipper-shape rather than the specific angle changes typical for a Japanese destroyer. The bow can be fine-tuned with some sanding. 

The forecastle rise to the bow is correct, there is steel treading and linoleum tie-downs on the decks, bridge and funnels are detailed, there are paravanes and a winch as well as separate hawser reels, the turrets have vent shields on top, the main guns have blast bags, and the 25mmAA secondary armament and shipís boats are vastly improved over those from the Waterline Consortium. Everything is distinctly molded. Still, the main turrets are oversized, the portholes arenít fully formed, no external degaussing cable is present, and some hatches and doorways are not fully developed. Overall, though, these kits are far better than the original Aoshima kits. 

The Pit Road Kagero kits are all popped from the same mold; some are now offered with a bottom hull to create a full hull, others with new decals for different ships in the class, and of course, there are early and late war versions. Pit-road also developed its own, new NE line of even more detailed accessories, some of which are also now bundled together with these kits.

Aoshima 2003

Eventually, Aoshima responded to the Pit-Road challenge with its own new tool Kagero class kits in 2003. Aoshima took a different tack with regard to detail and scale. For the most part, it adhered more closely to actual scale for its details, which meant both a little less fine detailing, and fewer small parts.These kits feature a beautiful hull, forecastle and bow forms, (they even managed the slight turtleback rounding of the forecastle sides as it meets the hull) and accurately scaled detail for what is there. Aoshima also took the care to mold new main turrets and blast bag equipped barrels for the kit while relying on the Waterline Consortiumís Small Vessel Ordinance set for the other accessories. 

Despite these improvements, there are molded-on hawser reels, no portholesor degaussing cable, and little bulkhead detail, among other things.  An issue for some modelers is that the detail is scaled so correctly that itís almost too small to see (particularly the linoleum tie-down lines after painting), hence a preference for the kits from other manufacturers. Dimensionally, the kit is slightly undersized in length by 1mm, which is a little surprising given the apparent emphasis on scale accuracy. Width and freeboard are fine. 

Aoshima markets the kit as several ships in various early, mid and late war fits. Additionally, there are late war, full hull versions for Isokaze and Yukikaze, as well as a full hull, post-war version of Yukikaze as a war repatriated destroyer for the Republic of China, renamed Tan Yang. The hull breakdown is a little different, and the linoleum tiedowns are erroneously recessed instead of raised, but otherwise, it's the same tooling. Interestingly, these full hull kits are the proper length.

Fujimi 2010 

Fujimi entered the Kagero class fray in 2010. They issued a kit that aimed to match the proper scaling of the Aoshima kit with the detail level of the Pit-Road kit, as they attempt with all of their current kits. I would say that they did so with a moderate amount of success. 

The kit hull itself is reasonably good with a late war fit of full portholes and some sealed scuttles and a degaussing cable with brackets. The late war hull matches Yukikazeís late war fit. The prow is molded separately from the hull with two parts, and this can complicate the lines of the bow. Dimensionally, the kit is spot-on accurate in all respects save, possibly, the freeboard. The kit uses a hidden bottom plate instead of a waterline plate, and the resulting freeboard appears a shade low. 

The rest of the kit seems over-engineered with too many parts. It is, by far, the most complicated of the 1/700 Kagero kits to build. The bridge has so many pieces that there even more seams to fill than on the Pit-Road version. Still, a higher level of detail has been achieved; the bridge compass deck interior even has a molded wood grating within it. The main turrets and torpedo mounts are also well done. 

However, the detail molding is not always sharp. In fact, it's inconsistent. Different sprues and assemblies almost appear as if they are from different kits. One only has to compare the excellent aft deck house assembly against the bridge assembly to get a sense of how the sharpness of the moldings can vary. The styrene has a nice matte finish, but seems a little on the soft side. 

A nice bonus is that there are two ships included in the boxing. Fujimi has marketed the kits as several sisters in various guises (full hull, with photoetch) and also included new parts to market some in early war fit.

Fujimi NEXT 2016

The NEXT series of kits are essentially highly detailed snap-together kits utilizing pre-colored parts, all to ease assembly without glue or paint. The hulls are one-piece upper hulls with a separate, snap-on lower hull. A waterline stance can be achieved without the lower hull, but there is no hidden bottom plate, nor waterline plate, just an internal mounting plate for the lower hull.

Dimensionally, the hull is correct, and the hull itself is beautifully molded with very distinct detailing of the portholes and degaussing cable. The bow form is perfect. The linoleum decking comes as separate pieces that snap in place. The bridge and aft deckhouse are also superior in appearance and details.

While all the larger housing assemblies are sharply molded, some sinkholes do appear in the smaller ones, like the forward funnel assembly. The combined, black funnel band and grills are bulky, and all the small pieces (ex. masts, davits, searchlights, 25mm AA) are slightly oversized, to bulk them up to allow for the stress of snapping them into place. Conversely, the torpedo tube mounts and main turrets are beautifully molded. 

These kits are also packaged two to the box and marketed as several sisters in early and late war fits. 

Pit-Road/Flyhawk 2020:  This monthís review subject

In what I consider to be a very shrewd move on the part of both companies, Pit-Road and Flyhawk have joined forces to produce this latest kit. Itís just my musings, but I would think that Pit-Road gets to take advantage of state-of-the art production and cheaper labor, while Flyhawk gains significant project revenue and a possible addition to its Kajika division product line. 

The kit is molded in a medium blue-grey, with options for both a waterline plate and underwater portion of the hull for a full hull display. Details are very sharply molded and all the details appear to be extremely well scaled. All the kit surfaces have a nice satin matt finish. On my kit, there was neither plastic flash residue nor sinkholes.

The kit comes packaged in a fashion identical with Flyhawk/Kajika kits in that the hull portions, waterline plate, and major decks are all wrapped within a roll of thin foam and secured at the ends by rubber bands. Beyond those components, there is one large, extensive sprue, a mid-sized sprue, two small sprues, and some separately molded parts. Altogether, the kit has approximately 125-130 pieces. 

There is no degaussing cable and all the components are for an as-built configuration.  So, straight out of the box, this kit can be built as any of the of the Kagero class destroyers prior to the war.

Sprue B1 (Main Hull)
The hull is a one-piece waterline hull, very cleanly molded in gray with extraordinarily crisp and properly scaled details. It has alternating longitudinal bands to replicate the hull plating. The strake molding is noticeably sharp, and includes the vertical plate joints at the bow. Also depicted are a bullnose, tiny leadsman platforms to either side of the bow, properly shaped anchor recesses, recessed portholes with subtle eyebrows, spurnwaters (with runoff outlets) all around the hull perimeter edge for both the forecastle and main decks, bollards, and propeller guards that are solid, but with recesses that highlight their individual support members. 
None of the portholes have sealed covers, as befits an early to mid-war fit ship. Iím not a fan of porthole eyebrows in this scale, but these are certainly the most impressive Iíve ever seen in 1/700. They are so fine that they are easier to feel with oneís finger tips than make them out with the Mk.1 eyeball. They become far more apparent in close-up digital photographs. 
Likewise, the hull strakes are exceptional. Admittedly, I still have mixed feelings about providing them in this scale, as they would normally be all but invisible unless one were to be close-up to the vessel. Still, I canít deny how nice their execution is here.The bow profile is spot-on and the freeboard is correct. The bullnose is small but beautifully crisp. And, as far as I can remember, this has to be the first 1/700 IJN DD kit with molded on leadsman platforms. Plus, theyíre in scale. 
Hullsdeckswrapped SprueB1waterlinehull SprueB1waterlinehullandC1lowerhullplatetestfit SprueB1waterlinehullandplatetestfit1 SprueB1waterlinehullandplatetestfit2
My kitís waterline hull does have an odd aspect to it, though. It lies absolutely flat along the port side, but the starboard side bows upward in the mid-section. This, despite the now standard (to Flyhawk and Kajika) rigid, multi-pronged runner molded to the inside of the hull and meant to stabilize it. In my experience, such bowing seems common to many ofthe waterline hull portions of Flyhawk/Kajika kits, but their arrangements utilizing the internal runner, waterline plate and main decks do seem to correct for such bowing. Hopefully, that will be the case here as well. 
SprueB1waterlinehullbow SprueB1waterlinehulloverhead SprueB1waterlinehullstern SprueC1lowerhull SprueC1lowerhullinverted
The hull scales out beautifully for a Kagero type. Unlike other kits, the bull nose is integrated into the hull portion, allowing for more precise measurements. Those class particulars versus the scale and this kit: 
Actual Calculated Measured
Overall Length:  118.5m/388í9 1/700 OA length 169.28mm  Kit OA length:  169.75mm
Waterline Length: 116.2m/383í3Ē 1/700 WL length 166mm  Kit WL length: 166.25mm
Beam:  10.8m/35í5Ē  1/700 Beam: 15.43mm  Kit Beam: 15.5mm
Sprue C1 Lower Hull
The lower hull has a series of raised locator nubs around the inner edge of its perimeter that fit within the corresponding base of the upper hull. A test fit was very satisfying in that the pieces fit together well. Some side to side play at the bow and stern is evident but should not be an issue when finally glued together. Even better is that the lower hull matches upper perfectly with the upper waterline hull in term of length. 

The lower hull also continues the series of alternating hull strakes in a manner that shows no interruption of the pattern. Details on the hull include nicely thinned bilge keels, glands for the propeller shafts, and locating points for the prop shafts, prop struts, and rudder.  One last touch is a series of water inlets molded into the bottom of the hull. 

Sprue C1 lower hull
Sprue A1 Waterline Plate
Like-wise, the waterline plate is designed to fit neatly into the base of the upper hull, with a similar sort of locater nubs. The waterline plate itself is thinner than what is typical of the original waterline series kits. Even more interesting, and accurate, is that the very aft end of the plate does not lie flat, but inclines up to meet the knuckle formed by the upper hull at the stern. Thereís also a hint of the underwater portion of the hull strakes at this end. SprueA1waterlineplate
Sprue D1 Main Deck
This is a deceptively simple looking piece, devoid of any standing structures so as to enable easier painting. Itís sharply but subtly detailed, with properly scaled fittings including deck treading, linoleum tie-down strips, hatches, engine room skylights, rails for the torpedo trolley, one molded-on hawser reel (medium), the base and ring for turret number three, and single depth charges in their individual racks at the stern. The treading is similar to the porthole eyebrows in that it is incredibly small, but the overall pattern is visible. The deck is meant to fit within the spurnwaters running along the perimeter of the upper hull piece.  SprueD1MainDeck
Sprue E1 Forecastle Deck
This piece echoes the main deck in its depiction of the metal deck treading, linoleum tie-downs, small hatches, a breakwater, and the number one turret ring. Three small hawser reels are molded onto the deck ahead of the bridge superstructure position. Anchor chains, retaining chains and chaffing plates complete the piece. 

Iím a little surprised to see the hawser reels molded on, but they are so tiny (in scale) that I imagine the production consensus was to mold them in. Obviously, they can be replaced with PE versions. The scale of the overall detailing is reminiscent (to me) of the 2003 Aoshima Kagero tooling, but crisper in execution. 

Sprue F1 Aft Deckhouse
Molded with intricately detailed doors and hatches (all with dogs), equipment boxes, treaded metal, small vents, and the like, itís an exquisite piece. The detailing and scale here is excellent. The torpedo reload bay hatches are correctly reproduced, and the top of the compartment is devoid of molded on equipment.  SprueF1a
I have always looked to this particular structure as a point of comparison between the various Kagero offerings. I have to say that this unit is very comparable to the hereto unbeatable version from the Fujimi NEXT kit. The NEXT kitís metal deck treading maybe subtler, but the new kitís torpedo reload hatches are more accurate and detailed. Plus, finally, the erroneous mushroom vents have been left off the top of the deck house. These are properly replaced by this kitís torpedo adjustment table housings, which is part O83. 
SprueF1b SprueF1rightNEXT(F)left1 SprueF1rightNEXT(F)left2
The only misgiving here, and itís really more of an instruction-related dilemma, is that the modeler is instructed to attach this piece to the deck without the fittings and equipment added to it first. Given how small these additional pieces are, I wonder if it might not less frustrating to build it as a complete unit separately, then handle the deckhouse with tweezers to glue it on. Just a thought. 
Sprue G1 
This is the number one funnel base and housing that sits over all the boiler rooms. It also acts as a raised platform base for torpedo mount number one.  Like the aft deckhouse, itís finely detailed with hatches, deck treading, and properly shaped and positioned auxiliary air intakes to either side of number one funnel.  SprueG1
Sprue H1 
This single unit encompasses the entire bridge structure up to and including the compass deck level, though not the windows, roof or large compartment on that level that also supports the main gun director.  However, itís not a solid piece, as with the Fujimi NEXT kits. The back of the bridge is a separate part carried on Sprue O, along with those aforementioned upper bridge parts.This rear bulkhead forms two vertical seams, but unlike the other 1/700 Kagero kits, these are located out of sight under the rear extension of the compass deck. Itís a smart configuration. SprueHSprueI1
The bridge itself is superbly molded, sharply defined and detailed like the rest of the kit. Itís a pre-war/early war type bridge, without splinter shields on the front of the compass bridge deck fairing, and the smaller,as-built compass bridge deck extension out back. The bridge wings have fine supports underneath and navigation light boxes to either side. The portholes have the same fine eyebrows, the hatches are detailed, and thereís an auxiliary vent and some molded-on ladders and an awning anchor rail.
SprueHSprueI2 SprueHSprueI3 SprueHSprueI4 SprueHface
The bridge face of my example does have two slight vertical seam lines, probably reflecting the shape of its slide mold form.  I feel they can be eliminated with a couple of swipes from a sanding stick. 
Sprue I1
Another small, single piece, this unit is comprised of the base of number two funnel and the two-level structure holding the RDF compartment under the searchlight. It exhibits the same, superb, scaled detailing with some hatches with dogs, small equipment boxes, ladder rungs, and treaded metal decking.  Most pleasing is that some of the hatches have been molded in the open position, with deep recesses marking the openings. 
Sprue J
These are the two funnels. Each is molded as an entire piece, with grab rails, vertical access ladder and hollowed interior under where the funnel cap would be located. Number one funnel also has auxiliary piping on it. Both units are crisp and sharp.

In my opinion, the only other Kagero kit funnels that are remotely as nice as these are those from the Fujimi 2010 kits, and those are two-part funnels with seams.

Sprue L
The last of the small sprues, this one holds the main gun director and the front half of the compartment/support upon which it rests atop the compass bridge deck. Both parts are sharply formed. SprueL1
Sprue M x2
This is predominately the weapons sprue. Each contains one quad Type 92 torpedo mount holding four Type 93 Long Lance torpedoes (molded with the torpedoes contained in their launch tubes), the shield for the mount, two Model C main gun turrets, separate rear bulkheads for the turrets, four 12.7cm main battery barrels with blast bags attached, two bases for the turrets, shipís boats including a 7m cutter, a hull and upper deck for a 7.5m motor launch, and a hull for a 6m motor launch, a paravane, a paravane davit, and a two part twin 25mm mount. 

The main battery turrets are beautifully executed with very crisp detailing. The rear bulkhead is molded separately with access hatches. Ventilation covers are molded on the turret sides as well as the top. No grab rails are molded on, but stiffening bands do surround the front and sides of the turret. While thatís not entirely accurate (the bands were present on number one turret, but not the aft two for this class), removing the bands seems very problematic, and most modelers will be fine with it. Rivets dot the surface and, while they may be overscale, they are impressively formed.

The torpedo mount benefits from the same crisp detailing. Ditto the paravanes and paravane davits. The 25mm barrels seem a little thick as compared to some aftermarket versions, but still very serviceable. The 6m motor launch is not used for this class. Iíve no idea why itís included. 
SprueMTorpedmountNEXTleftPRright SprueMclose1 SprueMclose2 SprueMclose3
SprueMclose4 SprueMturretNEXTleftPRright SprueMturretPRleftNEXTright1 SprueMturretPRleftNEXTright2

It is instructive to compare the Fujimi NEXT turrets and torpedo mount with these units. Like the deckhouse, the NEXT units are very impressive bits of molding. Still, the argument can be made that the PitRoad units are a hair sharper.  This seems clearly so with regard to the torpedo mount. 

Sprue O
This is the main sprue, carrying close to 100 small parts. Among them: all the components to both masts, the bulkhead at the aft end of the forecastle, auxiliary funnel piping, rudder, propellers and shafts, the AA bandstand holding the twin 25mm mounts to each side of funnel number two, the main air intakes for the engine room as well as funnel number one, the other components for the compass bridge deck, the 3m cupola atop the main gun director, the forward torpedo reload bays, the torpedo reload gantry girders for all three positions, the searchlight platform, a searchlight director, the funnel grills, lifeboat davits, several hawser reels, paravane winch, deck winches, anchors, 90cm searchlight, jack staffs, torpedo davits, mushroom deck vents, Y-thrower for depth charges, aft depth charge rack, small navigation rangefinders, 25mm ammo boxes, 12.7cm gun practice loader, and a host of other small equipment pieces.  SprueO
Everything is wonderfully molded. The torpedo reload bays are particularly notable in their detailing, with proper lightening holes, hatches on tops and sides, and the large openings under their forward ends. Itís the best 1/700 version Iíve seen.
SprueO1 SprueO2 SprueO3torpedoreloadbays SprueOfittings SprueOgalleypipePRleftNEXTright
The small hawser reels, deck winches and mushroom vents are clearly on a par with similar offerings from Yamashita Hobby. The funnel grills are solid pieces, but with deep recesses surrounding the grill members that do a better job of depicting the funnel grills than do funnel grills from other kits. Similar deep recesses highlight the girder supports for the torpedo reload gantries. The searchlight comes with a separate lens that, while not clear, does allow for a more distinct lens once painted.

The galley pipe that is attached to funnel number one is correctly formed, and all the masts are thinner and truer to scale than any previous Kagero kit. In fact, while beautiful, they are so thin that I would have concerns about their supporting any significant rigging other than that using stretched sprue. The yardarms are molded in a more accurate fashion than previously seen.

The kit comes with a small, black rectangular base and two support arms, to cradle the completed ship. Base
This is one sheet, printed on both sides in black and white, and folded into panels. The style is more in line with a typical Pit-road instruction sheet than that from Flyhawk. The front page has both a short history of the class and of lead ship Kagero, along with an illustrated parts guide. The pages show a step-by-step progression of assembly using exploded, three point perspective illustrations. 
Instructions1 Instructions2 Instructions3 Instructions4
The color callouts appear on the rear box art and are tied to the Gunze Sangyo Mr. Hobby line of paints.  Boxartrear
These consist of one sheet with some beautifully reproduced and registered markings. Markings include division numbers displayed at the shipís bow, shipís name in the katakana style for the sides of the hull and the hiragana style for the stern, funnel striping, individual funnel markings, two Rising Sun ensigns, and a hinomaru on white flag. 

Importantly, these decals apply specifically to sisters Kagero, Shiranui, Kurushio, Oyashio, Hayashio and Natsushio in their pre-war markings. The first two ships were part of DesDiv 18, while the other four vessels fully comprised DesDiv 15. The funnel bands are keyed to those particular divisions. Interestingly, funnel markings used to identify individual ships in lieu of the katakana markings after the war started are also included. The box art on the rear of the box lays out the particular pre-war markings for each ship listed, while the front box art shows the stripped down marking typical of a wartime vessel, but with no degaussing cable showing. 

 Iíve always thought well of Pit-road decals but these, like this kit, have gone one step further. The decal material is thinner and cut closer to the lettering than in previous efforts. They are really nice.

Final Thoughts
All in all, itís a very impressive kit.
I have built a great many different 1/700 Kagero class kits over the years, adding details and striving for greater accuracy with each succeeding iteration. None were perfect, but each had pluses and minus. Ultimately, I did a lot of kit-bashing, taking the best features of several different makes in order to come up with the ďbestĒ Kagero model. 

This kit makes that sort of effort no longer necessary. With a kit equal to their superb renditions of numerous DKM and RN warships, Flyhawk has raised the 1/700 Kagero bar to a substantially higher level. Now, by virtue of Flyhawkís partnership with Pit-Road, the Imperial Japanese Navy finally has a 1/700 Kagero class kit worthy of comparison. 

My opinion seems to be shared by a variety of Japanese reviewers. From what I have gleaned off several Japanese modeling sites using Google Translate, the kit is a major hit. Very highly recommended.

This kit was courtesy of my wallet, via HobbyLink Japan. The cost, less shipping, was approximately $25.00. The kit is available from several online retailers.

More of Daniel Kaplan's work.
Updated 5/2/2020

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