Bunka Kyozai Co. Ltd. or as we here in the modeling world have come to know them Aoshima
has been providing models to the world since 1929; however, back then wooden model kits were their specialty. For a while now Aoshima
covers a wide range of hobby related items from RC’s to Armor, Sci-Fi to Figures. One of the larger production lines from Aoshima
is based in ship models, more specifically the 1/700 scale Water Lines Series.
One of Aoshima
’s recent releases is the 1/700 Scale Ashigara kit. The Guided Missile Destroyer Ashigara (DDG-178) in fact was the first Japanese Maritime Self-defense force (JMSDF) was the first ship the Japanese Defence Ship (JDS) to change to the “JS”, Japanese Ship two-letter designation.
The Ashigara is an Atago Class destroyer weighs in fully loaded close to 18,000 tons with a beam of 68.9 feet, length of 560 feet and a draught of 20.3 feet. She can sustain 30 knots with a range of around 4,500 nautical miles. This destroyer carries a multitude of armaments on board:
- 8 x SSM-1B SSM
- SM-2 Standard SAM
- ASROC Anti-submarine Rocket
- 1 x 5 inch – 127mm/62 cal. Mk-45 mod 4
- 2 x 20mm Phalanx CIWS
- 2 x HOS302 6 x Mk-46 or Type 73 Torpedoes
Along with a formidable cash of armaments the Ashigara carry’s one Mitsubishi SH-60K which was based on the Sikorski SH-60B Seahawk.
’s 1/700 Scale Ashigara comes in a standard slide off the top box with a depiction of the ship the kit is modelled after on the front. All of the parts are sealed in individual polypropylene bags and there is 175 parts to this kit consisting of the following:
- 9 – Grey colored sprues
- 1 – Clear sprue
- 1 – Small steel plate
- 1 – Decal sheet
- 1 – Paper flag sheet
- 1 – Instruction manual
The Ashigara kit is laid out rather well and all the parts have little to no flash and are molded cleanly. The surface details to the kit are molded raised rather than recessed. This of course would be a preference call whether to like the details as typically accenting panel lines around hatches and such have a much cleaner look when recessed but in this scale the raised features look decent.
This kit is more or less a reboxing of an earlier release from Aoshima
, the Atago. All of the sprue trees are labeled as such. The only addition from what I can find is one sprue containing aircraft for the JASDF. All of this ships various structures and features appear to be represented decently, especially for the 1/700 scaling; however the mast spars seem a bit chunky but thinning or replacement is a viable option.
As part of this kit there is the SH-60B which was part of the original ship’s compliment. In addition to the SH-60B, there is the extra parts tree containing three F-1’s, two F-4’s, two F-15’s and one E-2J Hawkeye.
There is an extensive decal sheet included with this kit; the ships ID and deck marking are all present as well as separate decals for all of the aircraft included in this set.
The instructions for this kit are laid out in an eight page, twenty-six step, exploded view, black and white format. The instructions are fairly straight forward and easy to follow. There is only the one painting scheme offered as I don’t think that the JMSDF only has one painting option of their ships; a light naval grey.
Since the Ashigara kit is part of the Water Line Series of model kits there is only one option to depiction of the finished model, a water line version. The hull for this ship is actually a four piece affair; two sides and a bottom plastic plate. The fourth piece is a small steel plate included with the kit to weigh the base of the kit so the small ship does not tip over. The weather deck is a one piece mold to which all the superstructure parts will get added to. After the main superstructure parts are constructed, there are a slew of armament pieces such as the SMM and SAM’s as well as the 5 inch deck gun and 20mm Phalanx.
The 1/700 scale Ashigara JMSDF Defense Ship by Aoshima
is one more nice addition to the ever growing Water Line Series of ships. The details are crisp and the part count manageable. For fans of the 1/700 scale Series of ships on the market this should be just what you have come to expect from Aoshima
and should appeal to fans of building ships from the JMSDF. The chunky molding of the mast sections is nothing new and should be of no surprise.
The apparent re-boxing of the earlier released Atago from Aoshima is not too offensive as this is common place with many companies and the two ships are basically identical with the exception of the identification numbers and that is handled through a different decal sheet included in this kit. I did think it was a bit strange with the addition of the separate sprue tree of aircraft but I look at it as just what it is, a bonus. Save these little planes for a rainy day and make yourself a mini air force.
The Ashigara JMSDF Defense Ship by Aoshima
should make for some modelling fun for any fans of the series and subject matter or to further one’s collection of the JMSDF Ships.