Reviewed by Timothy Dike
One of the lesser known combatants is the lowly minesweeper. Usually sent in in advance these little ships were usually about the size of a small destroyer or escort. They would be deployed ahead of any invasion force and tasked with clearing the way for the rest of the fleet. So if your fleet doesn't have one, your ships are operating at great risk.

This kit by Kobo-Hiryu, a small Japanese company that is better known for producing many obscure resin ships, is now producing kits in metal. The W 5 class minesweeper is one such ship not available anywhere else to the best of my knowledge.

The hull is cast in white metal with some of the superstructure. The detail varies from nice diamond plate detail, to simplistic anchor chain details that are blended into the hull. 
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The bridge is cast in such a way that the windows appear open. Fit is pretty good from the test fitting I did. Items such as the gun mounts look pretty good, and unlike plastic should be more durable. Cleanup will be more time consuming due to the nature of metal castings. But it doesn't appear that there is very much flash on this kit.
There is a couple of lengths of brass rod to fabricate the masts, a nice touch.
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The instructions are in Japanese, however there is plenty of views showing where the parts go and you should not have a problem using them to assemble this kit. Some of the paint color instructions are translated into English.

If you like those obscure ships that not everyone else is building, this would be  a good kit for you. It is not overly complicated and could be built in an evening or two. This is kit #AM005 Kobo-Hiryu  IJN Minesweeper Type 5 for $35.00. A decent price for a metal kit of this size.

Be sure to check Pacific Front's new online store for this and other hard to get kits from Japan.