About the Ship - Text From Wikipedia
The Atago class is fundamentally an improved and scaled up version of Kongō class destroyers. It features large accommodation and capable of flexible operation. One of the most obvious changes is an additional hangar to carry one SH-60K helicopter. In comparison to the Kongō-class/Arleigh Burke-class (Flight I) which only had helicopter platforms (but no support equipment), these ships have better helicopter handling facilities. To enhance Atago class' function as command centers, the bridge is two floors higher than Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA, making her full load displacement over 10,000 tons—the first time for a JMSDF surface combat vessel. The gun caliber has extended from the 54 caliber of the Kongō class to the 62 caliber with strengthened powder charge capable 38 km firing range. As with other Japanese ships being refit, the American-made Harpoon missiles (such as in the initial configuration of the Kongō class) have been replaced with the Japanese-made Type 90 (SSM-1B) surface-to-surface guided missiles.
The fire-control system for the Atago is Aegis Weapon System Baseline 7 phase 1, which will combine American- and Japanese-manufactured systems to make up the complete Aegis system. The Aegis Weapon System baseline 7 has improved tracking accuracy for vertical targets, and an acquisition capability for small low-altitude targets compared with the Aegis Weapon System baseline 4 and 5, used in Kongō class. The Atago also use a new stealthier plain-structure mast, which was originally designed in Japan, rather than familiar lattice type mast. New modified smokestack and other improvements are also introduced to make Atago stealthier.
Like the Kongō class, the Atago destroyers are equipped with a comprehensive suite of weapon systems including:
- Japan Type 90 (SSM-1B) anti-ship missile
- 96-cell Mk-41 VLS (64 cells in the forward area, 32 cells in the stern area)
- RIM-66 Standard surface-to-air missile
- RUM-139 VL ASROC
- Two Mark 15 20 mm CIWS gun mounts
- Two torpedo mounts in a triple-tube configuration
- One Mk 45 Mod 4 127 mm 62-caliber gun, in a stealth-shaped mount. Made by Japan Steel Works under an American license from its original manufacturer.
The Kit Parts
This fret has only the hull on it. It has little vertical detail but most modern ships are smooth anyway. There are several fine fairleads along the top that are very tiny and well done.
This has the waterline plate, main deck and several small details. I was impressed with the stern of the deck as aircraft tiedown holes have been included in the molding.
The main piece is the forward superstructure, MK-45 forward gun and several other small details. The superstructure piece has excellent detail. The main issue I see is that the connection points to the small pieces are quite large when compared to the actual piece itself which could make cleaning them up more difficult once separated.
This is clear parts. Only three are on the fret and it includes the bridge windows for the kit.
This fret has more superstructure details and several other small details. Most pieces are well detailed and look very good. The mast yardarm is here as well but looks a bit thick and overscale as well as a small landing craft on the fret.
More superstructure and smaller details are on this fret. Again the level of detail is excellent on the larger pieces and the funnel tubes on the two pieces are molded deep and look really good.
This small fret has the modern radar and the stern hull pieces. The detail is again good here.
This fret isn’t needed to build the ship but is a bonus fret and includes a F2 fighter jet with stand and land based missile launch pad.
These two frets are aircraft. The first is again a bonus fret of a P3C surveillance aircraft and the second is a SH-60 helicopter for the stern flight deck of the ship. The details and molding on the fuselage of both is quite good, though the propellers and rotor blades are over scale and your aircraft will benefit from suitable photo etch replacements.
Miscellaneous and Decals
The wire in the kit is to hold the bonus F2 jet up on its stand included on its fret, and of course you get a basic flag sheet. The decals are very finely done and you get enough of them to complete the ship and aircraft, even the bonus ones.
These are well illustrated with a painting guide in several languages including English. The only issue is that most of the other writing is in Japanese.
There is an additional small instruction sheet where a few illustrations make sense visually but a few frames only have Japanese writing which makes it impossible to understand what it is trying to convey unless you know the language.
Most of the kit has great detail with a few minor drawbacks and some over-scale pieces. The other negative is that Aoshima does not include or even produce an additional photo-etch option for the kit. As other manufacturers are now doing this on most of their new ship offerings, this is somewhat of a disappointment and Aoshima should look into producing one to make an already good kit even better. For now, you will have to look for third party options for finer details and even railings if you want them.
Still, out of the box, this is a nicely detailed kit that should go together well and make a nice model.