Hasegawa 1/350
IJN Submarine Depot Ship Heian Maru

Reviewed by Sean Hert
April 2013

Laid down in 1929, Heian Maru, along with Hiye Maru, were sister ships to the Hikawa Maru. All three ships were luxurious ocean liners in their time, and were pressed into service for the Empire of Japan during World War Two. While Hikawa Maru spent the Pacific War as a hospital ship, Heian and Hiye Maru were converted into Submarine Depot ships. This conversion included the mounting of various searchlights, weapons, as well as torpedo maintenance and storage.

Hasegawa's Limited Edition kit of Heian Maru was previously released as the Hikawa Maru and molded in white styrene. The Heian Maru is molded in grey plastic, with four additional sprues. These additional sprues, with the original kit, allow you to build either the Heian or Hiye Maru Submarine Depot Ships. This review of Heian will only examine the new sprues, unique to this kit. Please see 2012's review of the Hikawa Maru for the rest of the kit.

The version of Heian Maru has four 150mm guns; one each mounted on a platform in the bow and stern, as well as two more mounted on the after accommodation deck. Additionally, there are twin 13mm machine guns mounted to the roof of the bridge.


The small sprue has a large single part for the front of the bridge and superstructure. Heian Maru, while a sister ship of Hikawa, did differ slightly in appearance, and the arrangement of the windows here is one of the most easy to determine The windows on this part will be backed with clear parts from sprues U and V during assembly. It has the same great level of detail as seen on the previous parts.


Sprue L is the largest sprue unique to Heian Maru, and there are two included in the this kit. Each copy of sprue L includes two of the 150mm guns and gun shields, one 150mm gun platform, a twin 13mm machine gun and one each of the 12m launch and 13m landing craft.

The 150mm guns are made three parts; barrels, breech and gunshield; the 13mm guns from two.


Sprue M has the parts which comprise the supports for the two 150mm gun platforms, the rangefinders, and searchlights and searchlight towers. The solid plastic lattice would be better replaced with photoetch.


This is a sprue of clear styrene for the bridge windows for Heian Maru, and two clear lenses for the main searchlights.


Heian Maru also includes a fret of photoetch. Most of these parts are railings, but there are also some nice replacements for the searchlight towers, non-skid for the waist 150mm's, and cradles for the launch and landing craft. Along with the cradles, Hasegawa has also included etched alignment jigs for both of these embarked boat types.


The decal sheet includes decals for both the Heian Maru and Hiye Maru.


A 28 page instruction book is included, There is also a full 1/350 scale poster with a painting guide, with a rigging diagram on the reverse. The color poster (seen here stitched from difference scans) has a nice splinter-effect scheme, a nice change from the usual overall IJN grey.

The instructions are quite good, and laid out in a simple, logical style. When assembly order influences parts fit, there are directions indicating this.


Hikawa Maru's layout alluded to future variants being released, and this kit is the result. While this ship does offer some great diorama opportunities, the hull is not easily waterlined; too bad Hasegawa didn't include a submarine, like a Type KD or B1.

Thanks to Great Planes Model Distributorsfor the review sample. It is listed as #40082 1/350 IJN Submarine Depot Ship Heian Maru with a MSRP of $184.99 US. Great Planes is the exclusive US importer for Hasegawa.