Kongo was a warship of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War I and World War II. She was the first battlecruiser of the Kongo class, among the most heavily armed ships in any navy when built. She was laid down in 1911 at Barrow-in-Furness in Britain by Vickers Shipbuilding Company. Kongo was the last Japanese capital ship constructed outside Japan. She was formally commissioned in 1913, and patrolled off the Chinese coast during World War I. Kongo underwent two major reconstructions beginning in 1929. This kit represents Kongo from her commissioning up to the start of her first major rebuild.
I can find 15 1/700 Kongo kit releases over the years, but I think this is the first of her as she was in 1914. That makes it the best Kongo available depicting her between 1914 and 1929. In 1929 she had her first major refit and the bridge was changed more to be the pagoda structure we associate with WW2 Japanese capital ships.
Kajika is a new company and although it has been reported as a subsidiary of Flyhawk in a few places – it isn’t. It’s actually a sister company to Flyhawk and the 2 are separate businesses. Both are subsidiaries of Chongqing Jiahe Art & Craft. However, in looking at the sprues I can see a lot of similarities to the way Flyhawk do things, which is a good thing in my opinion. Kajika is going to concentrate on Japanese ships. Their next 3 releases will be other ships of the Kongo class, next is Hiei, then Haruna and finally Kirishima. There are some small differences between these ships as built.
The box is a standard top opening box and inside everything is bagged. Some bags have a couple of parts inside, but they are bagged so that nothing will be damaged. There’s also a cardboard box that contains a sprue containing the masts. The sprue is designed to give maximum protection to he parts it contains – a very nice idea.
The box contains:
- 8 sprues of varying sizes holding 268 parts
- 5 larger parts
- 1 metal base plate
- 1 small decal sheet
The instructions are on a single sheet of glossy paper. The build is covered in 11 steps and all look to be clearly laid out and easy to follow.
- Step 1. Putting the bridge together
- Step 2. Putting the masts together.
- Step 3. Putting the funnels together along with other pieces such as ships oats that are in the centre of the superstructure.
- Step 4. Putting the 16 secondary guns together.
- Step 5. Putting the main turrets together.
- Step 6. Putting the 2 part deck together and adding the secondary guns before the deck goes in place.
- Step 7. Putting the rest of the ships boats on their davits.
- Step 8. Putting the ships boats and other small pieces on the ship.
- Step 9. Fitting the main parts of the superstructure and main armament onto the ship.
- Step 10. Adding small part at the bow.
- Step 11. Adding small parts at the stern.
The level of details on the plastic parts is as good as you will find anywhere. Attachment points are small and ejector pin marks are unobtrusive. There are lots of small parts, but they will build into a finely modelled kit of the Kongo. I noticed that the funnels are one piece and hollow and the stacks are also a framework and not a solid piece of plastic. Normally to get this level of detail companies resort to PE. Doing it this way is probably more scale accurate to be honest.
The paints are called out in Mr. Hobby and Tamiya. The colour chart in the instructions is in colour which makes things a lot easier. The ships does not have a camouflage pattern so it should be a pretty simple painting job.
The decals are 2 Japanese flags and look to be good quality with minimal backing sheet.
I can see this kit is currently available at HLJ for $27.27. That’s really good value considering some places have it closer to $40.
Overall it’s an impressive first release from Kajika and bodes well for the future. They chosen a time period for the Kongo that will appeal to many people and has not been touched upon before. The quality of the kit is as good as any out there and up on a par with their sister company, Flyhawk.
Many thanks to Kajika for sending the kit along for review.