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1/700th Kajika Imperial Japanese Navy, IJN Hiei, 1915.


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Hi all, this is my most recent maritime model, built for last month's issue of Airfix Model World. A great model can be built from the basic kit boxing, but to fully realize its potential, you'll need to purchase the extra packs of PE, wood decks, and brass, as well as a very natty (and expensive) acrylic and metal base. As to be expected, all these extras come at a cost, bringing the total to an eye-watering £200! That is ridiculous for a 1/700th ship kit. Fortunately, Kajika provided all of the extra aftermarket to AMW. These extra parts significantly increase the build time, and to be honest, you have to look for most of them with a magnifier as they're so small. The model is still a work in progress and will soon receive additional deck and superstructure weathering, as well as an acrylic water base, which I'll post for anyone interested.  All in all, it was a lot of fun to build, and with Kajika being a part of Flyhawk, the quality and details are, naturally, superb.

 

Quick history of the ship. The design of the Kongo Class battlecruisers originated in Great Britain. Impressed with the new Lion class adopted by the Royal Navy, the Japanese opted for this design over the earlier Invincible class. Vickers & Sons at Barrow built the lead ship, Kongo, however, the following three vessels of the class were built in Japan. Around 30% of construction material used to build the Hiei originated from Britain whereas the other two were built solely from material sourced in Japan. Weighing in at 34,400 tons with a length of 704ft (214m) and a beam of 102ft (31m) the Kongos were built as fast battlecruisers requiring high speed and good range. Power was supplied from no less than 36 boilers that used oil spraying to increase both power and range. Throughout their lives, all four vessels underwent numerous design changes and reconstructions, so much so that they were all rerated as battleships. During the first Battle of Guadalcanal, Hiei was hit by a torpedo but managed to limp back to Savo Island, where she was bombarded and sunk by USAAF bombers, USN, and USMC attack aircraft in the early hours of November 14, 1942. Ignominiously, Hiei was the first Japanese battleship sank during WWII. 

 

Thanks for looking. 

 

Cheers:cheers:

 

Melchie... 

 

 

 

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Edited by general melchett
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Thanks Stuart, yes, a ridiculous amount. Talk about a cash grab. The basic kit is quite good enough but still fairly expensive, and the 'enhanced' version with a few extras, even more so. The full blown deal is way over the top for what it is...

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Gidday General, it's personal taste/opinion but I think the Kongo class were the most graceful and best looking of the IJN capital ships. I like this model very much, it's superb. Thanks for posting.

Regards, Jeff.

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Thanks Jeff, I agree. Although I also like the quirky look of the pagoda battleships, these earlier Kongos look sleeker and more balanced. I'm just finishing off a Fujimi Fuso in 1/700th which really is the  opposite end of the scale, an ungainly beast but still very interesting. I'm glad you like it.

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28 minutes ago, general melchett said:

I'm just finishing off a Fujimi Fuso

Gidday again, in a book I have I've heard that IJN Fuso with her pagoda mast was considered the ugliest ship in the IJN. Put these two together and you've definitely got Beauty and the Beast. 🙂

Regards, Jeff.

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And off on another slant - I take you're aware of the very similar looks of the Kongo in her original form, HMS Tiger and SMS Derfflinger. Again my opinion but definitely good-looking ships, arguably the best looking of WW1. Regards (again🙂), Jeff.

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Hello Melchie,

A really successful model, with all the PE parts. It would be very unfortunate if such an expensive kit failed!

So it's worth the money. In terms of design, I find the three different funnels a little bit strange.

Regards

Andreas

Edited by Andreas.R
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Thanks guys, appreciated.

 

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I take you're aware of the very similar looks of the Kongo in her original form, HMS Tiger and SMS Derfflinger. Again my opinion but definitely good-looking ships, arguably the best looking of WW1. Regards (again🙂), Jeff.

 

Thanks Jeff, yep, very similar class layout to both, along with the Lion class battlecruisers, on which the Kongos were based. Kongo was, after all, designed by the British naval architect George Thurston and built by Vickers, at the Barrow shipyards.

 

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 In terms of design, I find the three different funnels a little bit strange.

 

Thanks Andreas, yes, the three-funnel arrangement does look a bit odd, especially as they are all of different designs...it looked even stranger post-1926 reconstruction with the large smoke deflector fitted...

 

1920px-Hiei_Sasebo_1926.jpg

 

 

 

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Beautiful build of a beautiful battlecruiser, well done. The level of detail and quality of paintwork are excellent and really bring it to life. Also love the random dynamic posing of the guns.

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Very nice indeed!:coolio:

 

I have both the Kajika and Fujimi kits of Hiei as an "Alpha and Omega" comparison, but I'm very tempted to built the Kajika as per the photo Melchie posted. The intermediate period between the original tripod and the full pagoda configurations is fascinating.

 

Mike.

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British lines with a Japanese flag. I imagine that could get a bit confusing at a distance. 

Lovely work on her and I look forward to seeing her on the glossy pages! There are too few ship builds in model magazines.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Thom216
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Thanks chaps, very kind of you all. Personally I'm more interested in these older 'Dreadnoughts' than the later vessels.

 

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 look forward to seeing her on the glossy pages! There are too few ship builds in model magazines.

 

Thank you Thom, the model appeared in the February issue of Airfix Model World magazine. The editor agrees with you and wants to include more maritime subjects in future so that's what I'm currently working on...plenty more interesting ships on the way.

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  • 2 months later...

VERY nice kit Melchie,

 

Extremely impressed by the rigging.

 

Got 2 of these kits in the stash, one to build as you have, and one to depict as a Royal Navy Kongo what if in a world where the IJN admiralty accepted the RN's request to borrow some Kongos in ww1

 

If only more companies would release battleships in their original fits...

 

James.

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Thanks James, appreciated. Funnily enough, being a born-again masochist, the rigging is what I enjoy the most.

 

The Kongo's would be a good fit into the RN at the time and as they were of British design to begin with so your what-if doesn't seem such a stretch. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

I completely agree, and I hope more companies would do the same. We are bombarded with later reconstructions and fall well short of these vessels in their original configurations, though more appear to be coming through.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys, 

 

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enjoyed the article in AMW.  

 

Glad you liked it Dave, more in the pipeline.

 

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a poignant reminder of the real-life stories behind these ships.

 

Thanks, good point, that's an important part of the modelling process for me and what we're trying to pay tribute to, in model form. Sometimes it's all too easy to forget the bravery, courage and loss suffered by both sides.

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Excellent buid, lovely work on a lovely ship. The classic battlecruisers (Moltke, Seydlitz, Derfflinger, Lion, Tiger, Kongo) are the best-looking vessels of the Dreadnought era. The interwar conversion to the Kongos is hideous IMHO.

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Spectacular build, lots of detail in there, I wouldn't know it was 1/700 if you hadn't specified, plenty of 1/350 don't come out looking as good. As mentioned you can really see the British heritage of these ships, especially before their pagoda style refits.

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Thanks again chaps, very kind of you,

 

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The interwar conversion to the Kongos is hideous IMHO.

 

Totally agree Micha, the increased belt armour, external torpedo bulges and pagoda superstructure didn't exactly enhance its looks.

 

 

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you can really see the British heritage of these ships, especially before their pagoda style refits.

 

Thank you, MRMRL. Although I've built a few larger scale warships, I prefer working in 1/700th and have completed quite a few now, most of which are posted here on BM. Yes, the earlier designs were streamlined and functional before being transformed into top-heavy floating steel fortresses....the Fuso and Yamashiro being extreme cases, (which strangely I happen to like and a Fuso is on its way).

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