by: Alex Gerdow [ ]
The Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carrier Akagi was originally ordered as a Battlecrusier of the Amagi class in 1920 at Kure Naval Yard. She was named after Mount Akagi, Akagi translates to Red Castle. The Akagi was converted to an Aircraft Carrier to comply with the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty while still under construction.
Built as the second of four Amagi Class Battlecruisers the Akagi was to be armed with 10 41cm guns in five turrets with a 9.8in armor belt. After the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty the class was prevented from being completed as designed. But with a allowance on completed hulls to be converted into Aircraft Carriers the Akagi and Amagi were slated for conversion. But due the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 that hit the area of the yard the Amagi was badly damaged and scrapped. Thus leaving the Akagi as the sole survivor of her class. Completed in 1927 with three flight decks to aid in recovery and the launching of aircraft at the same time, with a total capacity of 60 aircraft. Rebuilt in 1931 with a single flight deck and a compliment of 91 aircraft.
The operational history of the Akagi is quite extensive since she was attached to the Combined Fleet in 1927 to her demise 1942. Her first action took place on the 9th February 1939 as her aircraft covered the landing forces of Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutakeís as they landed on the south shore of Hainan Island. After that she continued to take part in the support of various amphibious landings in China and she continued to do so until April of 1940. After her action in Chinese waters she was involved in various training exercises. On December 7th of 1941 her air group joined the aircraft of the Kaga Soryu and Hiryu on the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. After the attack she took part in the invasions of Rabaul and Kavieng in January of 1942. On 15th of February 1942 there was action against Port Darwin, Australia and lasted until the 19th of February. On the 25th of February she departed for the invasion of Java and left when Java fell on March 10th of 1942. After that she joined the fleet for action in the Indian Ocean where there were attacks on Colombo Trincomalee and China Bay in Ceylon between the 26th of March and about the 9th of April 1942. On the 4th of June the invasion of Midway commenced Akagi was attacked by U.S. Naval aircraft from the USS Enterprise where three bombs dropped from Dauntless dive bombers critically wounding the ship she was finally scuttled by torpedoes from three destroyers the next day.
Characteristics of Akagi
Displacement: 34364 Combat
Machinery: 4 sets Bihon Geared Turbines
19 Kampon Boilers
4 Propeller shafts
Machinery Power: 13300 shp
Speed: 31 kts
Fuel: 3900 Oil
Range: 10,000 Nautical Miles at 16kts
Armor: Belt: 6in
Flight Deck: 3.1in
Armament: 6 @ 203mm dual mounts
12 @ 120mm mounts
14 @ 25mm dual mounts
Aircraft: 66 25 reserve
21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero
18 Aichi D3A
27 Nakajima B5N
(Depending on operational requirements)
Beautiful box art is on the box with the Akagi steaming toward Pearl Harbor. There are three photos of the built model and a few notifications in Japanese.
The Instructions are well printed and are easy to follow. There are Japanese characters throughout, which I do not understand but seem to be very informative and well written from what I translated through Google. There is a separate instruction sheet for the photo etch they are full color and show you where everything is located. It does have a few folding diagrams for the ladders, cable spools and the nets along the flight deck. There is a instruction sheet for the included ocean base but it is all in Japanese so I canít make out much from it.
The decals are very finely printed and in register they depict the Akagi in her 1941 guise. The flight deck decal is in one piece which is welcome since placing individual decals is tedious but often necessary but I am concerned by the clean up involved with the film between the printed areas you can always just cut very close to the printed areas and make them individual decals. The Japanese flag decal in very nice but is straight and I am accustomed to two different flags included in kits one straight and one waving. There are individual roundels of different sizes for the aircraft and are quite nice.
The Photo etch
The photo etch is very nice and includes the railings, boat davits, funnel railings, flight deck nets for the sides, stairways, cable reels, flight deck nets for aircraft and bridge windows. The parts are finely detailed and are very thin and are up to the aftermarket standards we are all accustomed to.
The Ocean Base
The ocean base is well molded and looks like the ocean with the wake of the ship and propeller wash. There is also a molding for the funnel exhaust with an indentation in the base and it looks fine to me but I do not know if it is accurate.
Sprue A is the hull. The hull is very finely molded with rather excellent molded in details like the port holes have the water deflectors above them. There are hand holds up the hull and look great and the vents molded in the hull look very nice.
Sprue B is the flight deck, elevator floors, elevator shafts and rear deck floor. The flight deck has very nice molded in wood planks on the underside there are molded in deck supports and look convincing from what I have seen in photographs of the prototype abut lack the thinness of it. The elevator floors are fine with all the appropriate details. The elevator shafts look great with the supports on the sides and are a very cool inclusion. The rear deck has very fine details molded on it like the anchor chain and the nonslip tread. The linoleum decking on the rear deck looks good as well.
Sprue C consists of the waterline portion of the hull, bow deck, aft secondary deck and plastic struts that go in between the hull halves to maintain the distance between the two. The bow deck section is very nice with the nonslip tread pattern mold and the anchor chain is nice. Apart from the bow deck there is not much to say about the other parts other than there is no flash on the parts.
Sprue D consists of the flight deck support pillars, the aft deck above rail system, aft under flight deck support struts, a couple life boats and quite a few support braces/antennas. The flight deck pillars look the part and have all the appropriate details. The rail system is a nice mold and very nice looking. The flight deck support struts is one piece which simplifies matters and very much looks the part. The lifeboats are very clean molds with tiny anchors molded on the bow and very nice wood deck details. The braces and supports are appropriately thin and are quite nice.
Sprue E consists of smaller vertical support pillars, upper deck side walls, anti-aircraft gun positions, main antenna, gun tub supports, three armored anti-aircraft gun turrets and a few other miscellaneous parts. The small vertical support pillars are nice like the larger ones and will fit the bill with a wash of black paint and highlights. The upper side deck walls are very nice with hatch detail and a few smaller details. The anti-aircraft gun positions have good nonslip tread on them and have ammunition lockers as well which is just amazing. The main antenna is fine and thin and looks the part. The gun tub supports have a 3d look to them which is welcome. The anti-aircraft gun turrets have the correct proportions and have supports on the underside.
Sprue F, G, H, I
These trees are aircraft on a clear plastic tree and are very well molded with separate propellers, landing gear, canopies and drop tanks. Also on the tree are searchlights and a canvas cover for the larger lifeboat.
Sprue J includes smaller details like boat davits, stairways, supports, couple side walls, gun directors and a gun tub deck. The boat davits look good with block and tackle details. The stairways are fine for the scale. The supports are like the others thin and well represented. The side walls are nice with all the molded detail. The gun directors are very good and look like the scale nice and of the right shape. The gun tub deck look like the others but I still cannot get over the ammunition lockers (so cool). There are a few other smaller details like hull details, a boat and a few others and they look good and well molded.
Sprue K consists of the funnel halves, bow horizontal braces, bow vertical braces, the bridge, bridge details, bow lower deck walls, and a couple flight deck platforms. The funnel halves are very nicely molded with a ladders and panel details. The bow flight deck horizontal supports are pretty good but are marred by injector pin marks. The vertical supports look the part and on one there is a ladder. The bridge is divided into halves and look like Akagiís bridge and the details are very good and look to scale. The bow lower deck walls are like the others with nicely detailed portholes and a couple other things. The flight deck platforms have the nonslip pattern with a couple small lockers.
Sprue L consists of anti-aircraft guns, anchors, lifeboats, casemate guns, and the radio masts that go along the flight deck. The anti-aircraft guns comprise of dual 25mm, 127mm and single 25mm guns and look great but there is some flash on the 127mm gun barrels. The anchors look appropriate and to scale. The life boats look great with their molded deck detail and the fine detail is quite nice. The casemate guns have blast bags and sight notches. The radio masts are very nice with the folding mechanism molded on the bottom.
Sprue M is a few parts like the upper bow walls, side platforms and one set of gun tubs. The upper bow walls are large and are in two pieces port and starboard the look accurate and have the support pillars. The side platforms have the nonslip patters and support pillars on the bottom. The set of gun tubs are fine with nonslip thread and ammunition lockers.
Well I think this kit is beautiful and very well thought out. Some parts do beg to be replaced with photoetch but when you compare this with the older Akagi kits, this blows it out of the water. The individual parts look great and the amount of detail is amazing especially the ammo lockers (I had to :P). The injector pin marks are quite minimal and very much out of sight. A little bit of flash is present but itís not something that would deter me from the kit. The ocean base is nice but I would say the blue is a little too blue for me. Overall I would say you should buy this kit if you are a fan of the I.J.N. then do yourself a favor and get one.