Haruna was the fourth and last of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Kongō-class battlecruisers.
The keel of Haruna was laid down at Kobe by Kawasaki on 16 March 1912, with most of the parts used in her construction manufactured in Japan. Due to a shortage of available slipways, Haruna and her sister ship Kirishima were the first two capital ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy to be built in private shipyards. Launched on 14 December 1913, Haruna’s fitting-out began in early 1914 and she was completed on 19 April 1915.
Armament was a key consideration for the class and the main gun arrangement was made up of 8 x 14″ guns in four twin-gunned turrets, two fitted forward and two fitted aft. This marked the first class in the world to feature this large calibre armament as a uniformed main battery. 16 x 6″ guns were also fitted and these across sixteen single-gunned turrets set about midships. 8 x 76mm guns were installed as a final line of firepower. The original armament suite was rounded out by the inclusion of 8 x 530mm (21″) submerged torpedo tubes – a common trait of pre-World War 1 warships.
Following the successful conclusion of her trials period, Haruna was made a part of the Third Battleship Division (Second Fleet) and began service in the East China Sea for her part in World War 1 (1914-1918). In 1915 she sported a camouflage pattern made entirely of chevrons and this as possibly the only camouflage pattern ever used by a Kongo class ship. Following the war, during September of 1920, an accident at one of the No.1 turret guns killed seven and caused damage to the installation. A faulty fuse on one of the charge bags was blamed for the explosion. She entered reserve status as the worldwide military followed all nations with the conclusion of World War 1.
This new kit from Kajika follows up on their previous release of the IJN Kongo and Hiei depicts the Haruna as she would have appeared in 1915 shortly after her commisioning.
I can find 17 1/700 Haruna kit releases over the years, but I think this is the first of her as she was in 1915. All the other ones are by just Fujmi, Aoshima and Hasegawa, with a couple of other one-off companies from the 60s, and are of the 1942 version of the ship after a major rebuild. That makes it the best Haruna available depicting her between 1915 and 1926. In 1926 she started a 2-year modernization rebuild.
Their next release will be the Kirishima, also of the Kongo class.
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. I suspect there will be quite a few parts left over as there are quite a few sprues the same as in the Kongo and Hiei kits. This box contains the same sprues as the Hiei with the addition of new sprue W, which contains new main turrets, 2 funnels and some smaller parts. The Kongo had 4 sprues, not in the Hiei and Haruna and didn’t have 7 sprues used in the later 2 ships.
The box contains:
- 6 sprues of varying sizes holding 354 parts (not all are used)
- 8 larger parts
- 1 metal base plate
- 1 small decal sheet
The instructions are on a long single sheet of double sided 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 boats 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 ship’s 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 parts 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 Harun. I noticed that the funnels are one piece and hollow and the stacks are also a framework and not a solid piece of plastic.
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 ship 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 a minimal backing sheet.
I can see this kit is currently available for pre-order at HLJ for $30.80.
Overall it’s an impressive kit from Kajika with a lot of fine detail and a high parts count. They are continuing with their WW1 time period that will appeal to many people and has not been touched upon before for this ship. The quality of the kit is as good as any out there and on a par with their sister company, Flyhawk.
Several extra parts are available for this kit, detailed below. These are not part of the kit itself but available to purchase as optional extras. Have a look at our review of the Hiei if you want to have a close up look at what those parts will probably look like.
- KM71019 PE fret of approx 123 parts. It covers the usual railings as well as replacing several plastic parts throughout the ship.
- Km71020 Wooden Deck.
- KM70003 – Deck Paint Mask
- KM71002 – 36cm Brass Gun Barrels
- KM71003 – 15cm Brass Gun Barrels
- M71006 – Rigging Line
- KM71012 – Anchor Chain
Many thanks to Kajika for sending the kit along for review.