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Hasegawa 1/700 scale Akagi

RELATED TOPICS: SHIPS
Kit:49227 // Scale:1/700 // Price:$42.99
Manufacturer:
Hasegawa
Pros:
Great attention to detail, including tiny markings for the aircraft; good fits and scale fidelity; clear instructions ehanced with detail drawings
Cons:
Decals for deck markings silvered
Comments:
Injection-molded, 225 parts, metal weight, decals
FSM-NP1214_05
FSM-WB0315_Hasegawa_Akagi_02
FSM-WB0315_Hasegawa_Akagi_03
FSM-WB0315_Hasegawa_Akagi_04
FSM-WB0315_Hasegawa_Akagi_05
FSM-WB0315_Hasegawa_Akagi_06
Hasegawa’s new 1/700 scale Hasegawa Akagi is based on the ship’s appearance after its 1937-38 conversion to a single flight deck. It can be built as it appeared at the attack on Pearl Harbor or as it appeared at its sinking at the Battle of Midway on June 5, 1942. The fatal blow, a single bomb on the deck as it was preparing to launch torpedo bombers, revealed the “glass jaw” of a 1922 conversion with minimal dedication to damage control, including one fire main within the hangar.

The waterline kit includes 10 gray styrene sprues, a metal weight for stability, and an extensive decal sheet.
The parts look terrific. The moldings for splinter shields, hatches, portholes, and ladders look scale thin, and the parts capture the complex curves of the battlecruiser that was converted to an aircraft carrier.

While the rest of the kit is new, Hasegawa retained the original 30-year-old-plus sprue of five A6M2b Zeros, three D3A1 Vals, and four B5N2 Kates. Although they aren’t up to the standard of the rest of the kit, the aircraft are finely molded — only the peg-leg landing gear exposes their vintage.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow, with 17 main steps and 10 subassemblies. The enhanced areas for “installation reference views” were most helpful.

Pay careful attention in Step 1, the construction of the hull halves, five internal braces, metal ballast, waterline plate, and stern upper boat deck. The internal braces draw the waterline tighter than the waterline part.

Assemble everything at the same time to be sure it all fits right. If you do, the flight deck goes on easily in Step 15.

I diverted from the instructions in Step 3, where the 12 tall vertical bow and stern flight-deck supports are supposed to be installed. I waited and attached them in Step 17, after the deck was on, to ensure correct alignment.
Everything else goes together smoothly until Step 15. The boat gantry system under the flight deck and support-column locations are indicated in a detailed view. It took a bit of juggling and slow-setting glue to get it right.

To finish Akagi at Midway, I painted it with Testors Model Master Kure Naval Arsenal gray. The carrier had just completed a 30-day dry-dock period at Kure, departing May 27, 1942.
 
Seven long decals run the length of the finely detailed flight deck. They include the Katakana symbol A for Akagi, the white lines for the center and side lines, and the bright red and white stern round-down stripes. (The Japanese navy did not use landing-signal officers for flight ops; instead, the engine-cut signal for pilots was the loss of view of stern stripes, while the glide path was determined by a series of red, white, blue, and green lights). A lot of carrier film on these markings silvered; I should have trimmed away as much of it as possible.

I added the large, red national insignia to the flight deck for the Midway option, and used stretched sprue to string the standard rising-sun ensign, as well as a large battle flag with a superimposed flag admiral’s symbol, to the mast. Decals are provided for each of the 16 ship’s boats.

There are extensive markings for the aircraft — some need as many as 11 individual decals — including national insignia, individual tail codes, and tiny no-step boundaries.

This fine kit, true to 1/700 scale, accurately portrays Akagi during its last months. I spent 57 hours on the build, many of them devoted to putting decals on the wee aircraft.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the March 2015 FineScale Modeler.

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