by: Jay Massey [ ]
Originally published on:
"Jay Massey takes a closer look at Hasegawa's 1/350 scale Yukikaze, and tells us his thoughts and opinions in this MSW Inbox Review!"
Specifications for Yukikaze
Displacement: 2,490 Tons
Dimensions: 388’ 9” X 35’ 5” X 12’ 4’
Speed: 35 knots
Armament: 6 X 5”/50Cal. Dual Purpose guns in twin mounts
2 X Type 96 25mm MG twin mounts
2 X Type 92 Quad mount 61cm Torpedo Tubes
1 X Type 94 Depth Charge Projector (“Y” Gun”)
6 X Type 94 Depth Charge Roll Off Racks
Engines: 2 X Kanhon Type Geared Turbines
Powerplants: 3 X Rou-Go Kahnon type tubed water boilers
HP: 52,000 Hp
Cruising Range: 11,000 Km at 18 knots
The Yukikaze was the 8th ship of her class and completed in the Sasebo Naval Yard on January 20th, 1940. Her Class was an improvement of the Toku Class laid down by the Imperial Japanese Naval Headquarters demanding a ship with longer range and a higher speed. Her first commanding officer was Commander Torbita Kenjiro former commander of the Destroyer Umikaze. She was assigned to DesDiv 16 DesRon 2 Second Fleet. On November 26th, 1941 she steamed with DesRon 2 from Terashima Strait to Palau arriving there on December 1st, 1941. Her first operation was the Legaspi Landings on December 12th, 1941. She remained in the thick of all of the operations at the beginning of the war until the 2nd of May when she was docked at Kure Naval Yard for maintenance.
In the later part of May she steamed to Saipan with DesRon 2 to prepare for her next mission as convoy escort for the troop transports for the Midway Operation. Upon returning from this operation she received her second Captain, Commander Sugama Ryokikchi formerly the Captain of the Isonami. In mid July she was reassigned to DesRon 10, Third Fleet and escorted the transport Nankai Maru from Yokosuka to Rabaul then returned to Kure escorting the Mogami and Akashi from Truk. She spent most of August in training exercises with the Aircraft Carrier Hiyo and in September escorted the Aircraft Carrier Unyo to Truk spending the rest of that month and the next performing patrol duties north of Truk to the Solomons.
In mid November at the first battle of Guadalcanal she escorted Admiral Abes’ Bombardment force and operated with the Nagara, engaging the USS Cushing and USS Laffey, torpedoing her. She was ordered to stand guard over the crippled Hiei during air attacks and suffered minor damages to her engineering spaces from near misses then took Admiral Abes’ Flag from the Hiei when it sank as well as assisting in survivor rescue operations. She escorted Hiyo from Truk back to Kure Naval Yard then docked for repairs to her engineering compartments suffered during her engagements.
During the next few months she was heavily engaged in troop transport operations, rescue efforts and patrol duties. During the Battle of Kolombangara she escorted the troop transports then led a counter attack on a US Cruiser /Destroyer group that sank the USS Gwin and damaged the USS Honolulu and USS St Louis. She participated in further transport runs to Kolombangara and at the end of July departed Rabaul for Truk. At the end of August she escorted the Aircraft Carrier Taiyo from Truk to Kure, arriving there on the 2nd of September.
She had a maintenance and refit period that lasted for nearly a month at Kure receiving a pair of triple mount 25mm MG’s for increased antiaircraft protection losing her “X” turret in the process. While the 5’/50 Cal. Dual purpose mounts were intended to be effective as surface and air engagement weapons, as far as antiaircraft mounts they were not quick enough in tracking to be effective in that respect. She also received two 22 Go Air Search Radar antennas on her forward mast and a 13 Go Anti Aircraft Radar Antenna on her after mast. Upon completion of her refit she was assigned to escort the Ryuho from Kure back to Singapore and return. She then escorted the Irako from Yokosuka to Truk and then returned as escort to the Chitose and Irako.
On December 10th, 1943 Commander Sugama was relieved by one of Yukikazes’ most colorful commanders, Commander Terauchi Masamichi, former Captain of the Inazuma, the fifth in sucession. In his innaugural address to the crew he stated that “Yukikaze will not sink because I am Captain of the Yukikaze.” He was a bold and energetic figure, training and fine tuning his men for battle and duty. During one air attack with cigarette dangling from his mouth, he used the tip of his foot to direct the steersman to avoid a falling bomb from above from his perch on the upper bridge. More escort duty and patrol operations followed.
She was assigned as escort to the Shinano along with the Hamakaze and Isokaze when she was going from Yokosuka across the inland sea to pick up her aircraft at Kure. Captain Abe, in charge of his detatchment of three destroyers and aircraft carrier had warned the captains of the escorts not to stray from their assigned positions for fear of enemy submarines. While the destroyers were all suffering from some sort of damage in the battles off Leyte, two of them had their sonar and radar sets damaged and inoperative, as well as no time for any sort of rest from the strains of battle, when a submarine was sighted off the starboard bow the Isokaze had turned away to go investigate. Abes’ caution called the straying destroyer to return to position and saving the USS Archerfish, the submarine from an attack and later enabling it to get in a firing position at 3:20AM. The Yukikaze participated in rescue efforts with a warning from Commander Terauchi for the crew to only pick up survivors who were not panicking, “such feint hearts can do the Navy no good. Pick up only the strong ones who remain calm and courageous.” Needless to say more were lost than were rescued including Captain Abe.
In January through March of 1945 she participated in upkeep and training in the inland sea including service as a target ship for Kaiten crews under training and then in April 1945 was assigned to Operation Ten Go to escort the super battleship Yamato on her attempted attack mission to Okinawa. When the Yamato was sunk she helped rescue survivors and then later removed more survivors from the Isokaze and then scuttled her with torpedoes. During this operation they suffered strafing attacks from TF-58’s aircraft that killed 3 and wounded 15 as well as some light damage to the ship.
On 10 May Commander Terauchi was relieved by Commander Koeu Keiji , the previous commander of Gunboat Division 22. With Sakawa and Hatsushimo she steamed form Kure to Maizuru and performed security patrols through the end of the war. On July 30th, 1945 she was strafed by aircraft from TF-38 with minor damage, one dead and several wounded. On October 5th, 1945 she was removed from the Navy list and then used for a repatriation ship for overseas troops because of her range capability. On December 20th, 1945 she was docked at Maizuru Naval Dock for removal of weapons and conversion to a repatriation vessel. From February 11, 1946 until December 30, 1946 she performed those duties returning troops from various outposts.
In July of 1947 she was delvered to the Kuomintang Government as partial compensation for the countries war debt and admitted into the Republic of Chinas’ Fleet as a Flagship under the name of Tan or Dan Yang. When she was turned over to the Chinese Navy, one of the officers commented on how well the ship had been kept up by her crew during her initial inspections. She was refitted with US Naval weapons from surplus stocks and served as flagship and patrol duties until 1966 when she was removed from their list as a superannuated ship. She became stranded during a typhoon in 1969 and was dismantled in Shanghai in 1970. In 1971 her steering wheel and anchor was returned to the JMSDF Officer Candidate School and is on display there, a reminder of her past efforts for the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Of the 19 ships of her class, she was the only one to actually survive the war, the rest having sucumbed to surface fire, aircraft attack, torpedo attack or mines in the course of the war. Her class was the first of the long ranged destroyer classes fielded that transformed the fleet into a well rounded sea challenge for the allies With her twin quad torpedo launchers and long lance torpedoes, she was a formidable foe to ships up to the size of cruisers. With later additions to her antiaircraft suite in the form of triple 25mm MG mounts she was much better prepared to fend off air attack than some of her contemporaries. As a ship that was in constant use throughout the war as escort, transport, rescue vessel and attack craft she deserves a place in history. That Hasegawa has given her to us in two variations in 1/350 scale is a comment on that place.
and now, the kit...
Hasegawas’ 1/350 Scale model of the Imperial Japanese Navys’ Kagero Class destroyer the Yukikaze is quite the boxful of lovely bits, 177 in all on 10 sprues. It includes a pair of brass colored plastic stiles to mount it to the plastic base and brass colored plastic propellers on one as well as a small plastic bag with the anchor chain. There are two smaller sprues of soft plastic vinyl that carry the various parts that are supposed to be able to rotate. One completely clear sprue carries the accessory Kawanishi H8K2 Emily flying boat while all the rest are devoted to the model itself.
The hull is split into two separate parts that are glued lengthwise and then reinforced with five separate spreader type supports. The two bilge keels are glued to the hull and then the fun begins. The three section main deck is laid in and then the rudder and propeller shafts and propellers are added. Weapons build up continues with a four part assembly for each main turret, two part 25mm twin mounts and the two quad type torpedo launchers. A nice touch with the torpedo launcher assemblys is the torpedoes are separate and the tops of the tubes go over them making for a much nicer appearance than is usual for smaller scale ship kits. The cutter and launch assembly is two parts for each and then fitting up the pilot house. They do include a clear part for the bridge windows that is a little thick and could be replaced with some thinner and clearer material.
The stacks and masts are assembled next then these parts are added to the deck. Assembly continues with various vent tubes, bracing and cross members and the midship twin 25mm platform and mounts. They do supply you with several of the deck fittings, paravanes, depth charge “Y” gun,roll off racks and other small parts that go on as you build the structure up making for a very detailed and busy model. The final assembly steps cover the base and assembly of the Emily. They give you decals and painting instructions for 3 different flying boats which using the clear parts and some careful masking will let you build a pretty nice looking small scale representation of the plane.
The instuction manual that comes with the kit is a 16 page booklet in itself. It is printed in Japanese and English and while it does suffer from some syntax errors here and there is easily understood. They do provide you with a pretty good if short history of the ship, a parts map of all the sprues, painting guides for ship and plane and a very complete rigging diagram. The painting colors are called out in GSI Creos Aqueous Hobby paint and Mr Color as well as named colors. A good paint cross reference chart will steer you in the right direction for other brands of paint you may prefer if these don’t suit you. The decal sheet that comes with the kit includes large decals with the ships’ name in English as well as Japanese designed to be applied to the sides of the base. There are three pairs of depth marker decals for the hull and the “target” lettering for the sides of the hull as well. The upper third of the decal sheet is primarily for the various Emily marking options.
The parts are wrapped in clear plastic wrap in three separate bags to protect them in shipment and my example did have a few odd parts floating free but nothing looked damaged. It comes in a slipcover type box with a sturdy cardboard inner box that contains the parts, instructions and decal sheet. It is rather large, 2 7/8” X 9 ½” X 17 ¾” with a very nice painting of the ship itself cutting through the water. It would almost be frameable if it were not for the small blurb advertising the Emily Bonus kit in the upper corner. Looking over the parts I didn’t notice any major sinkholes, parting line problems or flash or for the most part any ejector pin marks, these mostly being on the underside of the parts.
You can purchase a number of accessory parts for this kit from Hasegawas’ own Photoetched set listed in the instructions, to Toms’ Model Works set to the rather deluxe Lions’ Roar outfitting set that I am planning on adding to my build. There are other options that can be had from other vendors and I am sure that Gold Medal Models will probably be coming up with something for it as well in the near future. Such a rather nice kit as this does deserve at least a set of rails but for the most part is building out of the box is your forte, I am sure that you would not be disappointed with your result. Those of us with AMS can look forward to a long and tortuous road to completion of this one with the plethora of bits that can be added.
I can recommend this one for those seeking a detailed build of a Japanese Destroyer, overall I didn’t see anything that I didn’t care for except for the fact that I will probably have to do surgury to turn it out as a waterline type rather than the full hull, my own preference in that regard. With the Emily, it does beg to be set into a sea base as a diorama as well as the addition of some crew figures to populate the overall setting. With the kit also available as its’ 1945 Ten Go operation version I think that Hasegawa has done a good thing with those fascinated by one of the better looking IJN Destroyers. With those who would like to convert either one to the version of the ship after she was transferred as a war reparation to the Taiwanese Navy, fitting it out with US weapons sets available from the aftermarket would be a little costly but definitly do-able.