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Hasegawa 1/350 scale IJN Mikasa

Kit: No. 40021
Scale: 1/350
Manufacturer:: Hasegawa, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322, www.dragonmodelusa.com
Price: $99
Comments: Injection-molded, 420 parts, decals, printed poster, commemorative coin, 54mm metal figure of Adm. Togo
Pros: Excellent detail throughout, great subject, accurate dimensions, nicely molded, bonus items
Cons: Many small, fragile parts, small display base
The IJN Mikasa is to Japan what the HMS Victory is to England or the USS Constitution is to America. The Mikasa was the flagship of Adm. Togo at the Battle of Tsushima (also known as the Battle of the Japan Sea) in 1905, where the Imperial Japanese Navy destroyed a numerically superior Russian fleet.

Hasegawa has long been known for 1/700 scale waterline ships. The release of the Mikasa marks the first time Hasegawa has released a ship model in 1/350 scale.

The box is well packed, and each gray sprue is individually bagged. Also included in this commemorative first-issue of the kit is a print of Adm. Togo, a commemorative silver coin, and a 54mm metal figure. Random boxes will include a gold coin in place of the more-common silver.

The hull is nicely molded in port-and-starboard halves with no flash or ejector-pin marks. The hull assembly required only a spot of putty on the keel and light sanding with 400- and 600-grit paper. I glued the bulkheads in place and attached the deck with no problems.

I sprayed the wooden deck area with Testor Acryl Desert Storm yellow, allowed it to dry, masked the deck, then sprayed Testor Acryl dark gull gray over the upper hull and fittings. I also sprayed each of the sprues to speed up the assembly. The lower hull, prop skegs, and rudder were sprayed Testor Acryl anti-fouling red.

Assembly of the forward and after superstructure and gun deck was straightforward. The parts fit nicely, and the instructions were concise.

This kit has an abundance of small parts, and it's inevitable that some will be lost in your carpet, so exercise caution.

The kit-supplied plastic railings were cumbersome, so I left them off.Once the main components of the model were assembled and painted, I started adding the smaller detail parts to the deck and hull sides. I attached the assembled masts last since I knew they could be damaged during construction.

After the model was assembled, I gave the gray areas of the hull and superstructure a black wash. I allowed it to dry before I started dry-brushing with Vallejo medium gray paint.

The screws and prop shafts were painted with Testor Metalizer brass and attached to the hull.

I decided not to use the kit-provided display stand since it was too narrow. Instead, I drilled holes into the keel of the model and attached it to a wooden base with screws and brass lamp finials. The wider base provides sufficient room to display the commemorative coin and 54mm figure of Adm. Togo.

The Hasegawa 1/350 scale Mikasa is one of the finest ship models I've ever built. The ease of construction, superb engineering, and detailed instructions are only slightly offset by the number and fragility of the small parts.

- Jeff Herne

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