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Hasegawa Mikasa

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/700 scale plastic model ship kit
Japan’s Mikasa is the only pre-dreadnaught ship still in existence. Built by Vickers between 1899-1902 as a modified Formidable-class battleship of the Royal Navy with two additional 6-inch guns, the ship served during the Russo-Japanese War and is now a museum in Yokosuka, Japan.

Hasegawa offers a couple of versions of its 1/700 scale Mikasa, including a waterline model and this Limited Edition full-hull kit with photo-etched (PE) parts, metal gun barrels, and a wooden stand. Optional ventilators, yardarms, and armament allow the ship to be finished as the Japanese flagship at either the Battle of the Yellow Sea or the Battle of Tsushima.

Including the PE and metal details, there are more than 350 parts in the kit — all for a ship that is 7 inches long and a little more than an inch wide.

The crisp, clean parts show no flash or mold seams. Clear instructions, a highlight of the kit, show part placement and PE bends.

In Step 1, glue the three internal braces (parts D1-D3) for the upper hull to one half, rather than both as shown. This provides play in the upper hull when attaching the lower hull. I followed the instructions and had to shave the inner section of the hull to correct the fit. Step 1 also shows an option to drill holes for davits on the quarterdeck for the 1902 version.

Addition of PE parts, shown in separate instructions, begins with Step 4; pay careful attention to both sheets.

Take care attaching the central citadel structure to the deck. Mine had a slight curve, and clamping it to the deck caused the bow to rise. I loosened it with liquid glue to correct the hull’s shape, leaving a fine gap at the front of the structure.

The rest of the build was trouble-free, if fiddly given the amount of PE involved. I spent about 25 hours on basic construction and painting, but adding all of the PE took about 50 more hours; much of the extra time was spent trimming, bending, and attaching — as well as fixes for accidents. I appreciated the excellent PE railings with attachment points on the top and side sections, leaving the gluing surfaces smooth. Vulnerable catwalks for the torpedo netting and the captain’s walk fit nicely and proved to be sturdy during construction. I bent most gangway ladders to shape while still on the fret, leaving one side attached.

I painted with acrylics throughout: Testors Model Master Yokosuka Naval Arsenal gray (No. 4253), wood (No. 4673), and oxide red (No. 4882), and a little Tamiya linoleum (XF-79).

The only thing missing is a rigging diagram, but that information is available from many sources.

This is a kit for intermediate-to-experienced modelers with keen eyesight, infinite patience, and extremely fine tweezers.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2017 issue.
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