by: Jim Adams [ ]
The Nagara Class…
During the 1920’s ships around the world were laid down according to a standard sizing program. 5500 tons was accepted size light cruisers during the early 1920’s. The ships in the Nagara class closely resembled British cruisers of the same time. They even shared the placement of a catapult over the forward two turrets.
All of the ships in the class were modified during the war. The most noticeable of these refits was moving the catapult from the forward guns to a rotating boom near the aft section of the ship.
Displacement: 5,570 tons
Length: 534’ 9”
Propulsion: 4-shaft geared turbine 90,000 shp
Speed: 36 knots
Armament: (As built)
7 x 5.5 in guns
2 x 13 pdr (3” guns)
8 x 610mm torpedo tubes (12 type 91) 4x2 launchers
Armor: 62mm belt
Aircraft: 1 float plane.
The Nagara was laid down September 9, 1920 and commissioned on April 21, 1922. Her initial home port was to be in Port Arthur. From here she would patrol the Tsingtao coast and eventually took part in the Second Sino-Japanese war. She took part in the invasion of French Indo-China, the invasion of the Dutch East Indies, and the Invasion of the Philippines, all in 1941.
She kept up the pace by taking part in the Battle of Midway, Battle of the Solomons, and pretty much every action during 1942 associated with the Solomon Islands. During these actions she was flagship for DESRON 10. The night battle of November 15, 1942 saw her and her destroyers attacked American ships with gunfire and up to 30 Long Lance Torpedoes. In the resulting action three US destroyers were lost. Nagara continued to lead her destroyer squadron for the next few months.
During 1943 and 1944 she took part in different operations against the American fleet. Desron 4 was deactivated so Nagara took over as flagship for Desron 2. After being replaced as flagship for Desron 2 she became the flagship for Fourth Fleet. She received many upgrades during the 1943-44 time frame. Most of the modification centered on improving anti-air operations and installing new radar.
In early August while heading back to Japan for more modifications she was struck by a single torpedo fired from the USS Croaker. Even after surviving many different hits during the war she could not survive this single hit. She slowly sank by the stern taking 348 crewmembers and her captain down with her. She was removed from the Naval registry in October 1944.
The kit comes in a lidded box with a nice painting of a starboard bow view of the ship. The box is full of sprues, an instructions booklet, decals, one small PE fret, and a 1/350 scale fold out of the ship.
Sprue A… The hull of the ship come in two haves on the same sprue. The hull does have a groove on the inside which allows it to be cut down for waterline builders. The outside has the full degaussing cable running around the ship molded on it. The portholes running around the exterior are also present as are the ladders needed on the side of the ship.
Sprue B… These sprues run backward from a normal kit. This one has one of the ships possible sea planes in it. The body and wings are very nicely done with recessed lines. It is one of the nicest aircraft I have seen in a kit.
Also considered part of B are the clear parts for the kit. These are bridge windows and search light lenses. In lieu of having the PE windows these will work out wonderfully. Just be careful when attaching them so they do not cloud over.
Sprue C… Now we have portions of the deck, cross bracing for the hull, the rudder, and propeller shaft braces. The aft section of the deck has the typical linoleum type finish, smooth with cross lines. The lines represent brass strips used to hold down the sections of linoleum decking. The very forward section of the deck has finely molded non-skid decking just forward of the breakwater.
The very forward portion has holes where the hawse pipes are located. But, there are no holes headed down into the chain locker. The rudder has plating lines and seems to have the proper shape.
Sprue D… Parts from all around the ship are here. One of the nicest parts is the catapult. It is one of the finest molded parts in a plastic kit seen in a long time. Other parts are used for the superstructure. These have watertight doors and port holes molded on them. The portholes do have the rain guards molded over them, but the are very thin and easy to miss. The screws have all three blades molded thinly.
Sprue E… Funnels are brought to life on this sprue. Again we have some very nice parts. You will not have to replace the funnel guards with PE for this ship. The funnels themselves are also top notch with finely molded details.
Sprue F… Here we have another deck section and some of the ships masts. I forgot to mention before about the main deck sections. They all have the camber present. One of the mast sections has the ladders molded on each leg.
Sprue I… Now we get into the weapons. Torpedo tubes, main guns, secondary weapons, and boat davits are all here. These too continue the run of nice parts. You will need to take care when removing some of these from the sprues, they are delicate. The main gun guards are pretty plain with only the view ports molded on them, they are all closed.
Sprue J… More portions of the decks and superstructure. These too are nicely done. The undersides have support gussets and also have ejector pin marks. Luckily none of the gussets are compromised by the pin marks.
Sprue M…There are two of these sprues with boats and secondary weapons. The bad thing is most of the parts are not used, but that is good news for the spare parts box. It also points to another kit down the road. I want to point out the paravanes. Most of the time they are molded onto the bulkhead they are mounted to, not these.
Airplane… This sprue hold three different aircraft, only one is used. These all feature recessed panel lines.
The kit uses small screws to hold the hull to the more decorative of the two stands. You also have poly caps to let the guns and torpedo tubes to move. Then there is a strand of anchor chain, nice touch.
Well, there is not much here, only 4 parts. Two screw guards, deck bracing, and a cage like structure. Not much to say, other than I wish there was more included with the kit.
One sheet of decals is included along with a sheet of paper flags. The decals are mostly used for the aircraft. There are also draft markers included on the sheet. There are three different styles of flags on the sheet.
These come in a 27 page booklet. The first few pages are in Japanese and are probably a history of the ship. The remainder are the construction steps for the ship. One thing I like about the assembly steps is they use both plan views and isometric to clarify steps. Also included are the locations for the optional PE items, which are available separately.
This is a nice addition in the kit. It is to scale, 1/350, and represents the ship in full color.