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Tamiya 1/700 scale IJN battleship Yamato

Kit: No. 31113
Scale: 1/700
Manufacturer: Tamiya, distributed by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, phone 800-826-4922
Price: $32
Comments: Injection molded, 159 parts, decals.

The heaviest battleships ever made were the Imperial Japanese Navy Yamato and sistership Musashi. (Another vessel, Shinano, was converted to a carrier, and battleship No. 111 was never completed.) They displaced almost 70,000 tons and had the heaviest guns ever taken to sea - nine 18.1" barrels. As powerful as they were, Musashi was sunk in the Battle of the Sibuyan Sea on Oct. 24, 1944, and Yamato sank off Okinawa on April 7, 1945. Ironically, both succumbed to attacks from U.S. dive bombers and torpedo planes.

Tamiya's newly tooled kit takes advantage of recent research and has a narrower bow than previous Yamato models. It represents the ship with a full complement of antiaircraft guns as it appeared on its last mission. A few parts are not used, evidently intended for the Musashi kit (No. 31114).

Molding is crisp throughout with minimal flash. Parts breakdown also is improved, and many subassemblies and turrets are pressed into poly caps that hold the parts without glue.

The two-page, 15-step instruction sheet is easy to follow. A separate in-scale color illustration provides painting and marking guidance.

Assembly went smoothly, and the parts fit perfectly. Flashed-over holes for the small guns in the main deck must be bored open from below; do that before adding the waterline base. I built the model in several major subassemblies to ease painting. Leave off the aft gun tubs in step 10 to avoid trimming the deck decal.

I painted the model with Tamiya and Polly Scale acrylics following the color illustration. The decals went on fine with a little Micro Sol. When the decals were dry, I overcoated with Polly Scale clear flat.

I spent 18 hours building and painting the Yamato and was pleased at every turn. It scales well to the dimensions given in Hugh Lyon's The Encyclopedia of the World's Warships (Crescent Books). I have no reservation recommending Tamiya's new Yamato to any ship modeler used to handling small parts.

- Phil Kirchmeier


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