by: Jim Adams [ ]
Originally published on:
June 5th 1942 Cruiser Division 7 was ordered to turn south and shell Midway Island prior to the invasion force arriving. The cruisers dashed south at 35 knots. This combined with the heavy seas allowed the cruisers to run ahead of their destroyer escorts. The division soon came within range of a US submarine, USS Tambor. The lead ship spotted the sub and ordered an evasive turn. Each ship in line made the correct turn, except for Mikuma, she turned too sharp. Mikuma was now directly in the path of Mogami, which rammed her sister just in front of the bridge.
Mogami and her sister Mikuma both began to limp back home. They were attacked time and again by US aircraft, both sustaining damage. Mikuma finally sank, but Mogami made it back home. Her bow was smashed and her number 5 turret destroyed. Mogami under went extensive repairs and a conversion at the Sasebo Navy Yard. Her bow was fixed, number 4 and 5 turrets were removed, and her flight deck extended. Japan felt it needed to expand its fleet reconnaissance capabilities. Mogami also had the magazines for the removed guns converted into fuel tanks for her new role.
After her refit was finished in April 1943 she was re-commissioned into the First Fleet. Along with the new flight deck Mogami also received dual 25-mm AA guns and 13-mm machine guns were replaced by 10 triple mount Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Guns and a Type 21 air-search radar. She was to carry the new Aichi E16A Zuiun "Paul", how ever these were not ready so she instead carried Mitsubishi F1M2 Type 0 "Pete" two-seat biplanes and four Aichi E13A1 Type O "Jake" three-seat reconnaissance floatplanes.
Following her refit she took part in the Battles of Philippine Sea, Leyte Gulf, and Surigao Strait. During this last action she was hit by four 8” shells. While turing to leave the area she collided with Nachi. The resulting fire ignited torpedos and destroyed her starboard engine. During the ensuing fight Mogami was hit repeated times by US gunfire. Her port engine became non-operational.
She was finally abandoned and the Akebono sent her to the bottom with a single Long Lance torpedo. She sank at 09°40'N 124°50’0”E with a loss of 192 of her crew.
This is a large box and it is loaded with plenty of hardware. Each different sprue is sealed in its own bag and carefully placed inside the box. The plastic sleeves are securely closed so any loose parts do not become lost. My kit came to me from Japan and arrived in not such a great state. The shipping box was smashed and the kits box was pushed down as well. However, to my surprise, nothing was broken and only two small parts were loose from their sprues.
Inside there are several bags of parts, one fret of PE, six small wire rods, decals, a nice 1/350 scale color diagram of the ship, and the instruction book. You might also notice a smaller piece of paper that corrects an error in the instructions. As I have said before the packing of the kits parts tells you a great deal about the kit before you even open it up. Including a fix for an error really tells you that Tamiya really cares.
Before I get into talking about the sprues let me first give a quick run down of the kit overall. To put it bluntly, this kit is nice. The level of detail included in the parts was very nice to see. The aircraft are some of the best looking I have seen in a good deal of time. It also has a very unique construction system using nuts, bolts, and screws. It will be interesting to see how that works out.
The main hull is made in three different parts. This allows us waterline builders to take advantage and put our ship in the water. You full hull builders will be happy to know the kit comes with a decent looking stand and a set of screws to secure your ship to it. The cross supports are made so you can easily convert them into the waterline version without dragging out the heavy equipment.
The lower section of the hull and the waterline plate are molded in a dark red color. The armor plating is represented nice along the lower section of the hull. Even the torpedo bulges mesh into the hull nicely. You will notice there are no perpendicular seam lines to interfere with the plating. The rudders, screws, shaft blocks, and shaft extensions are all molded nicely. Here is something different, the shafts are actually metal. The bilge keel is molded into the lower hull so no need to do much work down in that area. Then throw in seawater intakes and other openings in the hull and things look top notch. Did I mention the rudders will be movable when you are finished?
The upper hull is split down the axis of the ship. Here is where some of nuts and bolts come into play. One word of caution waterliners, make sure your supports are attached at right angles to the base, this is important. The sides of the hull are attached to two of the supports using a screw. I am curious how well this actually works, but I can imagine it will be a big help when working in this area. The port and starboard sides care done very nicely. The portholes even have their drip edge molded above them. The only major item missing is the degaussing cable. But as you know Tamiya has produced one of those in PE.
Spure B holds the cross supports and main deck sections. Once again screws are used in this section to help attach the decks to the hull. The fo'csle has nicely done antiskid decking and the hawse-holes are open. The divisions in the linoleum decking are finely raised. You will notice the decks are fairly empty. There is not a good deal of molded on parts. However, those that are molded on are crisp.
Sprue C moves a little farther back on the ship to the center section. Here is where we fine the ships distinctive funnel along with some other sections of the superstructure. The funnel is missing one notable part, the ladder running along the forward edge. The funnel grates are some of the finest in plastic that I have ever seen, no need for any PE replacements.
One surprise on this sprue is the aft searchlight tower, it is molded solid. With some of the other details in this kit I figured this piece might have been open, but it is not. But, the platform on top has the typical pattern found on normal IJN searchlight platforms. The platforms also have the solid gussets underneath. Tubs for the high angle AA guns have the correct curved lip around their rims.
Sprue D moves to the aft end of the ship with the flight deck and fantail deck section. The fantail deck has the typical anti-skid pattern over its surface. There are two different ladders molded onto this deck. So if you plan to replace them, be careful with the anti-skid. The flight deck also has anti-skid decking on it. The top aft section of the flight deck has the indentations for the decks drain holes. When you look at the bottom of the flight deck you see the underbracing for the deck as well as the overhead rails for the torpedo room.
The superstructure portions on this sprue all have anti-skid decking where needed and gussets as well. Another let down is the ships radar antenna, it too is solid. Something I forgot mention on a previous sprue are the molded watertight doors. They have the correct number of dogs, external cross bracing, and the drip edge. In, other words, these two are nice! Air intake gratings are finely recessed as well. Even the external piping for the funnels has opened ends.
Sprue E holds the masts and other fine piping sections for the ship. Just as on sprue D the external piping for the funnel has its end hollowed out. The masts are some of the finest in a recent kit. Something else that is nice, the attachment point are not heavy on these parts, but still take care not to break any.
Sprue H is home to secondary weapons and the ships boats. The triple 25mm AA guns are very nice looking up close. There are spare torpedoes to put in the torpedo room. The whale boats have nice external planking, but have ejector pin marks on their open interiors. The boat davits will great the way they are, so no need for PE replacements. Hose reels also look great just as they are. The plastic ladders can be used, but for those who are comfortable with PE, replace them. Once again the searchlight platform is solid, but it still looks nice. The high angle gun mounts do not have the canvas covers, so that will have to be corrected.
Sprue J packs the punch for the ship, her guns and planes. Mogami had two different types of turrets. Turret #3 has the built in range finder, turret #1 and #2 are regular. There are also two different types of barrels in the kit. These can be changed after construction, because there are poly caps inside the turrets and the barrels slide right in. The catapults are so nice that you can use the plastic version with now oversize worries.
Now to the planes. There are two types included, Petes and Jakes. I looked these two up in my Jane’s aircraft book. They are Spot on! Correct angles and shapes to the wings. Proper float and body shapes. There are even PE props provided with the kit. I will cover this here as well, window decals. Instead of trying to paint the windows blue there are decals included. These might be a little hard to work with, but it is a novel idea.
As I had mentioned before the kit uses nuts, bolts, and screws for construction. That is not all. Also in the hardware bag is a small Phillips head screw driver. This also doubles as a small drill to add some of the holes that are required. Anchor chain is also included in this bag. Small poly caps are present and use on most gun mounts so you can have movement. Also as mentioned before there are four metal rods to be used as the propeller shafts. I didn’t open those bags for the picture, because I did not want to loose any of these.
The PE pieces are mainly focused around the aircraft. Dollys for the rail system, the crane, and the tops to the catapults. It would have been nice to have some ladders included with the kit. Or even the radar transmitter. There are also 6 pieces of rod included. These are to allow a plane or tow fly.
The decals are almost all used on the aircraft. There is the one large air identifier for turret #1. The remainder are for all of the aircraft. They all appear to be the correct markings for the ships air wing. A sheet of flags is printed on a parchment type paper. There are even tiny flags for the ships boats if you wish to put one of them in the water. Two sets of foil stickers with the ships name are also included. You can use either the Japanese version, or English.
Just when you thought it was almost done it is not. The bridge windows come in clear plastic as do the searchlight lenses. One more nice touch is a full size, in 1/350 scale, elevation and plan view of the ship assembled. So if something is not clear on the instruction, look at the full size view. Both style of the ship are depicted, full hull and waterline.
The instructions are in a 24 page booklet. Each assembly step has just enough so you can progress at a decent pace, but not so much that it is confusing. “Local” painting instructions are clear and called out with Tamiya colors.
Buy this kit! You will enjoy it and it is such an unique ship. The level of detail in this kit is great. Anyone can assembly the Mogami and have a ship they can be proud of. I am a little surprised Tamiya did not include a few more parts on their PE fret. Also it does seem strange they did not include the degaussing cable since it is pointed out on the instructions. But all in all, this is a great kit and you will not be sorry you picked it up.