Pit-Road/Flyhawk 1/700 Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyer Yukikaze, 1945 fit
Skywave Kit # W232

 

Reviewed July 2022
by Dan Kaplan

 

(Note: Background and Design are repeated from the MW review of the Tamiya 1/350 Kagero kit of April, 2016 and the Flyhawk/Pit-Road 1/700 Kagero kit review of May, 2020.)

 
BACKGROUND

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.



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.
SHIP HISTORY

Yukikaze was one of the very few Imperial Japanese Navy ships to participate in the entirety of the Pacific war and survive. One of two Japanese destroyers to accomplish this, she participated in close to 20 major operations and over 100 escort missions. She did so with a minimum of damage and was known as a lucky ship. Postwar, she was handed over to the navy of the Republic of China as a war repatriation prize and served in that nationís navy for almost twenty years, mostly as a flagship. Over time, her renown has grown in Japan and elsewhere as one of the best-known ships of the Imperial Japanese navy.

Yukikaze (雪風, "Snowy Wind") was laid down at the Sasebo Naval dockyard on August 2, 1938 and commissioned into service on January, 20, 1940. She was initially placed in the Kure Naval District while awaiting divisional assignment. With the commissioning of many Kagero class destroyers in a short period of time, her divisional assignments changed frequently.

By late 1941, she was the flagship of DesDiv 16 (Destroyer Division), partnered with sisters Amatsukaze, Hatsukaze and Tokitsukaze. The division was assigned to Destroyer Squadron 2. During the war, the attrition rate of Japanese destroyers was such that by early 1944, division mates Hatsukaze and Tokitsukaze had been sunk, and Amatsukaze badly damaged.

DesDiv 16 was dissolved, and Yukikaze was attached to DesDiv 17, joining Urakaze, Tankaze, Isokaze, and Hamakaze.  She remained with DesDiv 17 until August, 1945, shortly before the surrender of Japan, as the only remaining member of that division. She then joined the Akizuki class sisters Fuyuzuki, Natsuzuki, and Yoizuki to constitute DesDiv 41 until the surrender of Japan.

The sheer amount of activity makes a recounting of her wartime history lengthy. Some service highlights are listed immediately below. A full accounting of Yukikazeís activities can be found in her Tabulated Record of Movement (TROM): http://www.combinedfleet.com/yukika_t.htm

1941
        
Invasion of the Philippines (landings at Legazpi, Lamon)

1942
        
Invasion of the Dutch East Indies (landings at Menado, Kendari, Ambon, Timor, Eastern Java)
        
Battle of the Java Sea
        
Invasion of Western Java
        
Battle of Midway
        
Battle of Santa Cruz
        
First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (likely engaged DDs Cushing and Laffey, torpedoing the latter)

1943
        
The Evacuation of Guadalcanal
        
Battle of the Bismarck Sea
        
Battle of Kolambangara (her new passive ECM detected the approaching USN force, her torpedoes were part of the spread that sank USS Gwin and damaged USS Honolulu and St. Louis)

1944
        
Battle of the Philippine Sea
        
Battle of Leyte Gulf, off Samar (likely engaged USS Johnston briefly)

1945
        
Ten Ichi-Go Operation

During the war, Yukikaze underwent several refits and upgrades. Among the most notable changes:

         In early May, 1943 at Kure, she had a twin 25mm mount placed on a bandstand in front of the bridge and her twin 25mm mounts to either side of funnel number two were swapped out for triple 25mm mounts. She also had a passive ECM radar detector mounted on her bridge.  Some preliminary work was performed on her foremast to enable the eventual installation of a Type 22 radar. The work involved adding the new platform upon which the radar would rest as well as some support bracing.

         Back at Kure during the last two weeks of 1943, Yukikaze finally had her Type 22 radar installed atop the foremast. Doing so required changing the top of the mast from a tripod to a single pole upper mast that carried the yardarms. Her number two turret was removed and replaced by two triple 25mm AA mounts placed on bandstands. She also received a Type 13 air search radar placed upon her mainmast.

         She returned to Kure in late May, 1944 and received an AA upgrade of ten additional single 25mm AA mounts and four single 13mm MG mounts. She also had repairs done to a damaged propeller.

At warís end, she was in stationed in Miyazu Bay with destroyer Hatsushimo to avoid air raids on Maizuru Naval Base, which was a few miles to the southeast. After the cessation of hostilities, Yukikaze was demobilized by having her weapons removed by yearís end 1945. She began repatriation voyages in February, 1946 and continued them until the very end of that year. She was then handed over to the Allies as a war repatriation vessel on the last day of 1946.

On July 6th, 1947, along with seven kaibokan escort vessels, Yukikaze was handed over to the Republic of China (ROC) at Singapore. She was officially named Tan Yang on May 1, 1948. At that time, the Chinese Civil War between the forces of the Peopleís Republic of China (PRC) and the ROC was in full force. She remained unarmed during this period due to the lack of safe facilities on the Chinese coast from which to undertake the necessary work of re-armament. Instead, she made several trips evacuating ROC personnel and material to the island of Taiwan. She remained unarmed until 1952, serving as a training vessel.

Finally, in 1953, Tan Yang was rearmed with surplus Imperial Japanese Naval weapons. A twin 12.7cm 40cal mount was installed as turret number one, along with two twin 100cm/65cal mounts installed at turrets two and three. All had customized shields. A number of 25mm AA guns were also re-installed. Her torpedo tubes had been previously removed.

Dwindling and deteriorating IJN ammunition stocks eventually necessitated a change to US Navy weapons. In 1955, she was re-armed with US Navy weapons, including three single, open 5Ē38cal main mounts, two 3Ē guns, and several Bofors 40mm mounts.

During her ROC service life, Tan Yang patrolled constantly to enforce a blockade of mainland Chinese ports. She intercepted a great many ships trying to run the blockade with armaments for the PRC. She also participated in several offshore battles with naval forces from the PRC.

Eventually, age, wear and tear took its toll on Yukikaze. She was retired from active service at the end of 1965 and transferred to the ROC reserve fleet, where she used as a training vessel. At this time in Japan, a petition was circulated by former crew members of Yukikaze to return the ship to Japan as a memorial and museum ship. The petition gained a groundswell of popular support, and a formal request was made of the ROC government. Unfortunately, the petition was denied. Even more unfortunate was the subsequent grounding of Yukikaze in 1969 as the result of a typhoon.  Sadly, she was damaged beyond repair and scrapped. Her rudder and anchor were returned to Japan as a gesture of goodwill, and are displayed on the grounds of the Japanese naval academy at Etajima. One of her propellers is on display at the ROC naval academy at Zuoying, Taiwan.
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 early war version had been the latest of the 1/700 Kagero class kits released to date. From all accounts, the Kagero kit appears to have been a great success. It was reviewed for Modelwarships.com in May, 2020.

Pit-Road/Flyhawk 2022: This monthís review subject
This is the follow-up kit to that Pit-Road Kagero class kit release of 2020. Itís also the second kit collaboration between Pit-Road and Flyhawk. Given Pit-Roadís practice of releasing early and late war versions of IJN destroyers, this late war version has been expected ever since the new Kagero kit first appeared.

This new Yukikaze kit shares several sprues with the Kagero kit. While Iíll be repeating some of that information, there are some instances in which Iíve added some additional comments based on new observations and comparisons.

Once again, 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 a hint of plastic flash residue in a few places, but no sinkholes.

The kit comes packaged in a fashion identical with both the previous Kagero kit and most 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, a new sprue with late war parts, and some separately molded parts. Altogether, the kit has 219 pieces, though not all are used.

Unlike the Kagero kit, this one comes with a molded-on degaussing cable. (Know that the specific pattern of this degaussing cable applies to many, but not all, of the Kagero class sisters.) The kit has all the parts necessary for a very late war version of Yukikaze as she appeared alongside battleship Yamato on her last sortie in April, 1945. However, the layout of the kit has been engineered so that it is easy to mix and match parts in order to build a Kagero class ship in the 1943 Ė 1945 timeframe if one so desires.

SPRUE B1 (Hull) - new

At first glance, this hull appears to be the same as the that of the Kagero kit. It remains 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, some 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.

However, unlike the Kagero kit hull, this one does carry a degaussing cable with brackets that is very sharply molded, yet subtly so. The pattern is the same as worn by Yukikaze and several of her sisters. Also different from the Kagero hull is that many of the portholes are closed off with sealed covers as befits a late war ship. The covers are equally sharp and properly scaled. Like the eyebrows over the few open portholes, these are among the most impressive Iíve ever seen in 1/700. Similarly, they are so fine that they are easier to feel with oneís finger tips than make them out with the Mk.1 eyeball. The details become far more apparent in close-up digital photographs.

As I wrote in the Kagero review, the hull strakes are exceptional. My opinion remains unchanged about the need to provide for hull strakes 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. The only nitpick here is a tiny wisp of flash at both the seam of the prow and the stern, above the degaussing cable. The flash can easily be removed with some swipes of a high grit sanding stick.

Surprisingly, this hull retains the same odd aspect to it as does the Kagero hull. It lies absolutely flat along its port side, but the starboard side bows very slightly upward in the mid-section. I will say that the bowing here is much less noticeable than that of the Kagero review kitís hull. I happened to dry fit the main and forecastle decks to the hull, and it seems as if the hull bowing flattened out. Itís hard to be sure since the decks donít snap into place. I sense that with the decks and waterline plate in place, the hull will remain flat all around.

Like the Kagero kit hull, this hull scales out beautifully for a Kagero type. Unlike most 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 are:

  Actual   Calculated   Measured
Overall Length: 118.5m/388í9Ē 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 - unchanged
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 A1 Waterline Plate - unchanged

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.

Sprue D1 Main Deck Ė unchanged, butÖÖ.

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 sized), 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.

The main deck of a late war ship differs from an earlier version due to changes in equipment and weaponry carried upon it. What I had not paid much mind to in the original Kagero review is that the underside of the deck is transversely notched at the rear, at the point under where the paravane winch is situated. The modeler is supposed to separate this stern piece from the main deck, to be replaced by a late war stern deck piece located on sprue P. There are also several holes meant to be drilled through with a 0.5mm mini drill bit. Doing so will allow the placement of light splinter shields for some single 25mm AA guns as fitted in 1945 to the outside edge of the deck.

Oddly, in this late war kit, the paravane winch has been replaced by another Y- thrower for the depth charges. Iím not sure where the documentation for that comes from. While itís true that paravanes aboard destroyers were generally discarded late in the war, itís clear that some remnant of the paravane winch is still aboard Yukikaze in that same position in post-war photos.

Sprue E1 Forecastle Deck Ė unchanged, but Ö.

As before, 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 still 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.

This piece also has holes molded into the underside of the deck. As with the main deck, these are also meant to be drilled through with a 0.5mm mini drill bit to allow the placement of light splinter shields in place of the 7m cutters.

Sprue F1 Aft Deckhouse - unchanged

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.

The topside was always configured to allow for either a superimposed main battery turret as equipped the early war version, or bandstands for two triple 25mm AA mounts as on the late war ships.

As mentioned in the Kagero review, 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 - unchanged
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.
Sprue I1 Ė unchanged

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 - unchanged
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 K1 - new
Like the early war kitís bridge, this single piece 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. This late war bridge sports molded vertical plates around the bridge windows, meant to replicate the splinter shielding often installed on late war destroyers. The rear of the compass bridge deck is also wider, and the bridge wings show extensions, as befits the installation of more equipment on late war ships.

However, itís not a solid piece. The rear bulkhead for the lower portion of the bridge is a separate part carried on Sprue O. This rear bulkhead forms two vertical seams, but unlike other 1/700 Kagero kits, these are located out of sight under the rear extension of the compass deck. Itís a smart configuration.

The splinter shielding is formed in a way that seems counter-intuitive, but works. On the actual ships. separate vertical plates were welded or bolted onto the bridge face above and below the windows of the compass bridge deck in a manner that left small vertical seams visible. Most kit depictions of this type plating are molded with engraved lines for the seams. Here, the seams are replicated by using raised lines, not depressions. The lines are very sharp, which is nice, and it does convey the sense of the plating.

The bridge itself is superbly molded, sharply defined and detailed like the rest of the kit. The bridge wings have fine molded 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.

Strangely, the bridge face of the new kit echoes that of the Kagero kit in that it has two slight vertical seam lines to either side. Originally, I thought these probably reflecting the shape of its slide mold form. Now I wonder if the bridge was supposed to have a separate face piece insert. What I donít understand is, given that this is a completely new piece, is that these seams appear at all. The seams can be probably eliminated with a couple of swipes from a sanding stick. Some filler might be needed.

The only other nitpick is the lack of the small, passive ECM devices that were attached to her bridge face.
Sprue L Ė unchanged
A very small sprue, 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.
Sprue M x2 - unchanged
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.

Not all the parts are used. One main turret and all its components are left over for the spares box, as is a paravane and davit.
Sprue N x 2 - New
A smaller weapons sprue, this sprue carries two triple 25mm AA mounts and bases, along with ten single 25mm AA mounts. The triple mounts are nice, similar to those contained in Pit-Roadís NE accessory set series, but FineMolds Nanodread mounts remain the benchmark for styrene injected versions. The same can be said for the single mounts.
Sprue O - unchanged
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.

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.

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 attaches to funnel number one is correctly formed,

As I pointed out in the Kagero review, 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.

Some parts are not used for this build. These include the foreleg and trailing tripod legs of the foremast, the raised bandstand holding two twin 25mmAA mounts set in front of funnel number two, the roof to the compass bridge deck, some boat davits, and a few smaller pieces.
Sprue P Ė new
This is main late war sprue. Included here are all the components of the revised foremast (tripod legs, braces, radar and platform, yardarms) the extended radar compartment, the revised stern deck insert, the revised 25mm AA bandstand in front of number two funnel, the new 25mmAA bandstands that replace main battery number two mount, another bandstand and its column support that sits in front of the bridge, splinter shielding for the single 25mm AA guns, a new roof for the compass bridge deck, two roll-off depth charge racks, a lattice set of supports for flotation lumber, a Type 13 radar, davits for reloading depth charges, and a few smaller pieces

Most everything is scaled and as nicely detailed as one might expect. The late war masts are just as delicate as those of the early war version, with the same concerns regarding rigging. This concern is buoyed by the fact that the lower portion of the foreleg was bent on my sample. Fortunately, itís resilient enough to be bent back into place without issue. I donít care for the thick lattice work on the girder structure that supports emergency flotation lumber; this piece will likely have a PE alternative at some future point. Despite good execution, photoetch alternatives for the depth charge racks is also something worth considering. Otherwise, everything is up to standard.
Base
The kit comes with a small, black rectangular base and two support arms, to cradle the completed ship.
Decals - unchanged
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.

I will amend my original comments on this sheet to say that while most of these decals apply specifically to sisters Kagero, Shiranui, Kurushio, Oyashio, Hayashio and Natsushio in their pre-war markings, some aspects of this sheet apply to late war ships as well. Namely, the funnel bands and the funnel markings (both symbols and lettering, sheet numbers 9, 13, 14, 15, & 16). Some research would be required to correctly identify the particular markings for a given ship, though not all ship markings are known.
Also included is the name ďYukikazeĒ rendered in white and the red flag (numbers 10 to 12). These markings were worn by Yukikaze in her postwar, demobilized state and were applied to her hull sides, much like the pre-war katakana markings.

The decal material is thinner and cut closer to the lettering than in previous efforts. These are really nice decals.
 
INSTRUCTIONS

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 a short history of Yukikaze, along with an illustrated parts guide. The pages show a step-by-step progression of assembly using exploded, three-point perspective illustrations.

The color callouts appear on the rear box art and are tied to the Gunze Sangyo Mr. Hobby line of paints.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Unsurprisingly, itís a very impressive kit. Itís exactly what one would expect, given it's origins in the earlier, equally impressive, Pit-Road/Flyhawk Kagero kit. This is a very worthy counterpart as a late war ship.

Very highly recommended.

This kit comes courtesy of my wallet, via  Hobbylink Japan, where it's priced for approximately US$24.00, plus shipping.

This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum especially if you can share details about fit, ease of assembly and accuracy. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.