Available at HobbyLink Japan: http://hlj.com/product/HSG151
Mikasa was a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in the late 1890s, and was the only ship of her class. The ship served as the flagship of Admiral Togo Heihachiro throughout the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, including the Battle of Port Arthur on the second day of the war and the Battles of the Yellow Sea and Tsushima. Days after the end of the Russo-Japanese War, Mikasa’s magazine accidentally exploded and sank the ship. She was salvaged and her repairs took over two years to complete. Afterwards, the ship served as a coast-defense ship during World War I and supported Japanese forces during the Siberian Intervention in the Russian Civil War (From Wikipedia).
Hasegawa’s Mikasa kit allows for two building options: the ship as she appeared in 1905 at the Battle of Tsushima, and the ship in 1904 as she appeared at the Battle of the Yellow Sea. Both versions are similar so either one of them can be built as an impressive model of this important ship. The model is waterline style ship, but there is a full hull version which can be bought as well.
The kit includes dark grey plastic sprues which are very nicely molded, an instruction sheet with explosive black and white diagrams placed on a single page, a comprehensive decal sheet, and a weight for additional sturdiness of the completed model.
Building a ship of this complexity will require planning ahead, especially on what should be built before painting and what afterwards. The construction starts with the hull, which is built from two sides on which the detailed deck part is placed. Hasegawa provides internal plastic beams for support, and this is a nice touch as it will make the hull stronger and align better.
The superstructure is completed at this stage, and placed on the deck. I think that it would be better to paint and finish the superstructure before gluing it to the deck, as the deck will be hard to reach through the superstructure for painting and weathering.
The funnel, cutters, launches, and vents are glued to the superstructure, along with rapid fire guns which, in my opinion, would be easier to paint and finish separately as well.
The Mikasa’s two 30.5 cm main gun batteries are built and placed at this point, and lastly the front and rear mast assembly is complex and made from delicate parts.
The ship is painted in dark gray, and paint numbers for Tamiya and Gunze colors are provided. The hull is painted in tan.
The model is a very nice offering from Hasegawa of an important ship with interesting history. The kit would be impressive right out of the box, but as it involves building a number of complex assemblies — and the ships of that era have many small details — I think that the kit would benefit from aftermarket detail sets.
I think that at least railing should be added, as well as replacing the plastic masts with brass. Also, a wood deck can be a nice addition, and replacing the rapid fire guns, which are a bit over scale, with PE. When finished the ship has extensive rigging and this can be added using thin wire or stretched sprue.
All in all this is a wonderful kit that can be built into a detailed and interesting model. I hope that Hasegawa continues to explore this era of ship warfare, as there are not so many plastic kits of this period.
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