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  1. HIJNS Yahagi Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The four Agano-class cruisers light cruisers operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy. All were named after Japanese rivers. Larger than previous Japanese light cruisers, the Agano-class vessels were fast, but with little protection, and were under-gunned for their size. They participated in numerous actions during World War II. The Agano class was followed by the larger Ōyodo-class cruiser, of which only a single vessel was completed. The Imperial Japanese Navy had developed a standardized design for light cruisers as flagships for destroyer and submarine squadrons, based on a 5,500 ton displacement, shortly after World War I. However, by the 1930s these vessels were obsolete, as contemporary destroyers were faster, carried more powerful armament, and had greater endurance. As soon as the restrictions of the London Naval Treaty were removed, the Navy General Staff developed a plan within the Fourth Fleet Supplemental Budget to build 13 new 6000 ton cruisers between 1939 and 1945 to replace the Tenryū, Kuma, and Nagara-class cruisers. These vessels were intended to be the flagships for six destroyer squadrons and seven submarine squadrons. The new design was finalized in October 1937; however, construction was delayed due to overloading of the Japanese shipyards. Construction costs came to 16.4 million yen per vessel. The design for the Agano class was based on technologies developed by aboard the cruiser Yūbari, resulting in a graceful and uncluttered deck line and single smokestack. Unlike most Japanese designs, the Agano class was not overweight, so it exhibited good stability and seaworthiness. The Agano class was armed with six 152 mm Type 41 guns in three gun turrets. These guns were also used on the Kongō-class battlecruisers, some of these weapons having been removed from the Fusō-class battleships and the Kongō class during their modernizations in the early and late 1930s, respectively. This gun fired a 100 lb (45 kg) projectile 22,970 yards (21,000 m). The Agano class was unique among Japanese cruisers in that its main armament could elevate to 55 degrees, but this was still not enough to make them effective as anti-aircraft weapons. Secondary armament included four 76 mm Type 98 DP guns designed specifically for the class, in two twin turrets amidships. Anti-aircraft weapons included two triple 25 mm AA guns in front of the bridge, and two twin 13 mm mounts near the mast. The class also had two quadruple torpedo launchers for Type 93 torpedoes located below the flight deck, with eight reserve torpedoes. The torpedo tubes were mounted on the centerline, as was more common with destroyers, and had a rapid reload system with eight spare torpedoes. Being mounted on the centerline allowed the twin launchers to fire to either port or starboard, meaning that a full eight-torpedo broadside could be fired, whereas a ship with separate port and starboard launchers can only fire half of its torpedoes at a time. Two depth charge rails and 18 depth charges were also installed aft. The class was also equipped with two Aichi E13A aircraft. The first two vessels in the class (Agano and Noshiro) had a larger flight deck with a 26-foot catapult. The later Yahagi and Sakawa had a shorter 19-meter catapult. The engines were a quadruple-shaft geared turbine arrangement with six boilers in five boiler rooms, developing 100,000 shp (75,000 kW) for a maximum speed of 35 knots (65 km/h). Like Yūbari, the Agano class had its stacks join into a single funnel. All of the vessels in the class were updated with additional anti-aircraft weaponry and radar at various points in their service lives. Commissioned on 29 December 1943 Yahagi, the subject of this book, saw action in the Marianas in May/June 1944, during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. After the US invasion of Okinawa on 1 April 1945, she was ordered to accompany the battleship Yamato on its suicide mission against the American fleet at Okinawa. Yahagi was hit by some seven torpedoes as well as a dozen bombs, and sank on the afternoon of 7 April 1945. This latest book of Kageros 3D Drawings is actually the 36th in the series, which is building up nicely into a superb single point of reference for maritime modellers. Following the now familiar format the first eight pages contain text describing the design of the ship and its operational service; these are followed by sixty three pages of beautifully rendered drawings covering all external areas of the ship, a lot of which shows up details that you couldnt get from period photographs of plans. Each rendering has brief annotations which give useful insights as to what the areas are and the subtle details included. The last eighteen pages show similar detail, but are printed in such a way that you need to used the red and blue 3D glasses provided, otherwise they make you eyes go a bit weird. Whilst this is a bit of a gimmick it does work and gives the reader a sense of proportion and depth of the ship. A while ago Kagero stated that they werent going to include plans with these books and were going to sell them rolled up so that buyers could mount them in frames. So, it was a bit of a surprise to find that they have included a double sided A1 sheet of plans. One side contains five views of the ship in 1:350 scale, along with a couple of scrap views of the funnel area. On the opposite side plans of the superstructure, aircraft handling deck and main mast, some in 1:350 and some in no particular scale. Conclusion This is another great addition to the series and will be very useful if youre building the superb Hasegawa 1:350 kit, although it will be just as useful for any other scales. The 3D pictures at the back of the book are a bit of fun and its surprising how well they work even with the cheap cardboard glasses included. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. IJNS Yahagi Hasegawa 1:350 Yahagi was the second of the four vessels completed in the Agano-class of light cruisers, and like other vessels of her class, she was intended for use as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla. Yahagi was completed at Sasebo Navy Yard on 29 December 1943 and was dispatched to Singapore for patrols of Lingga and for training in February 1944. In May, it departed Singapore for Tawi Tawi with the aircraft carriers Taiho, Zuikaku and Shokaku and cruisers Myoko and Haguro. The Battle of the Philippine Sea occurred on 19 June 1944. Yahagi was in Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's “Force A” to oppose the American Fifth Fleet in a "decisive battle" off Saipan as command ship for DesDiv 10's Asagumo, DesDiv 17's Urakaze, Isokaze and Tanikaze, DesDiv 61's Wakatsuki, Hatsuzuki, Akizuki and Shimotsuki, screening the aircraft carriers. On 19 June 1944 the Mobile Fleet's aircraft attacked USN Task Force 58, but suffer overwhelming aircraft losses in the "Great Mariana's Turkey Shoot". Yahagi and Urakaze rescued 570 crewmen from the carrier Shokaku after it was torpedoed by USS Cavalla. After dry dock and refitting at Kure from late June – early July 1944, Yahagi was fitted with two additional triple-mount Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Gun mounts amidships (bringing its total to 48 barrels) and a Type 13 air-search and a Type 22 surface-search radar set. On 8 July 1944, Yahagi departed Kure with troops, and numerous battleships, cruisers and destroyers to return to Singapore. On 22 October 1944, Yahagi was in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Second Section of Force "A" of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's First Mobile Striking Force: (Center Force), commanding DesRon 10's DesDiv 2's Kiyoshimo, DesDiv 4's Nowaki and DesDiv 17's Urakaze, Yukikaze, Hamakaze and Isokaze. It is accompanied by battleships Kongo and the Haruna and cruisers Tone, Chikuma, Kumano and Suzuya. During the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea on 24 October 1944, the fleet endures 11 raids by over 250 Task Force 38 carrier aircraft from the USS Enterprise (CV-6), USS Essex (CV-9), USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Franklin (CV-13), USS Lexington (CV-16) and USS Cabot (CVL-28). Although Japanese battleship Musashi was sunk and Yamato and Nagato were hit, Yahagi was unscathed. Likewise in the Battle off Samar on 25 October 1944, Yahagi fought its way through the battle without damage. On 26 October 1944, Force A was attacked by 80 carrier aircraft off Panay, followed by 30 USAAF B-24 Liberator heavy bombers and an additional 60 carrier-based aircraft. Throughout these attacks Yahagi was not hit and returned to Brunei safely. On 16 November 1944, DesRon 10 was deactivated and Yahagi was assigned as the flagship of Rear Admiral Komura Keizo's new DesRon 2. Yahagi was ordered back to Japan on the same day for refit. It remained in Japanese home waters until March 1945. On 6 April 1945, Yahagi received orders for "Operation Ten-Go", to attack the American invasion force on Okinawa. Yahagi was ordered to accompany Yamato from Tokushima for its final suicide mission against the American fleet. At 1220 on 7 April 1945 the Yamato force was attacked by waves of 386 aircraft (180 fighters, 75 bombers, 131 torpedo planes) from Task Force 58. At 12:46, a torpedo hit Yahagi directly in her engine room, killing the entire engineering room crew and bringing her to a complete stop. Dead in the water, Yahagi was hit by at least six more torpedoes and 12 bombs by succeeding waves of air attacks. Japanese destroyer Isokaze attempted to come to Yahagi's aid but was attacked, heavily damaged, and sank sometime later. Yahagi capsized and sank at 14:05 at 30°47′N 128°08′E taking 445 crewmen with her. Rear Admiral Komura and Captain Tameichi Hara were among the survivors rescued by Hatsushimo and Yukikaze. Her survivors could see the Yamato in the distance, still steaming south as U.S. aircraft continued their attacks. However, in reality, Yamato was only minutes away from sinking. Yahagi was removed from the Navy List on 20 June 1945. The Model The kit comes in the standard Hasegawa style box with a great artists rendition of the Yahagi at sea on the Japanese Navy’s last mission. Inside the two hull parts are mounted on a separate “shelf”, on which there is also a rolled up poster of the cover art. Pulling the shelf out, the modeller is confronted with eleven sprues of grey styrene and one of clear. There is also a nice decal sheet, a sheet of self adhesive flags and a length of metal anchor chain. The parts are beautifully moulded with some exquisite detail, no sign of flash, just quite a few moulding pips, particularly on the smaller parts. Some are on quite fragile pipework which will need some care to remove and clean up. Since the Yahagi is the sister ship to the IJN cruiser Agano, reviewed HERE the majority of the parts are the same as is the build, therefore it seems a little disingenuous to repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that the kit will build into a very nice model. As with the Agano there are several detail sets available from Hasegawa which would have been nicer to have them included as they are rather expensive, but make the model into a real stunner. These sets for the Yahagi are the same as those for the Agano and have also been reviewed on this site HERE The ship can only be built full hull with no option of water lining it without major surgery, which may be a problem for some modellers. Decals The decal sheet provides a full set of insignia for the two aircraft, plus range of markings for the ship. The decals are well printed and in good register. They are slightly matt and should settle down pretty well with softener and setting solution, as experienced on other ship models from Hasegawa. Whilst there are flags included on the decal sheet, there is also a sheet of self adhesive flags which are a lot stronger and will last longer on the completed model. Conclusion Whilst this is almost a complete re-release of the IJNS Agano there are enough parts to make it different. With the ships history, being part of the Last Mission, it will make an interesting addition to any collection. Just a shame that the etch detail sets aren’t included in the box as they really do make a difference. Amerang Hasegawa Review sample courtesy of UK distributors for