by: David Foster [ ]
The Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruiser Noshiro was an Agano-Class Cruiser which served with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. She was named after the Noshiro River in the Akita Prefecture in Northern Japan.
Noshiro was the second of the four vessels completed in the Agano-class of light cruisers, which were intended to replace increasingly obsolete light cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Funding was authorized in the 4th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme of 1939, although construction was delayed due to lack of capacity in Japanese shipyards. Like other vessels of her class, Noshiro was intended for use as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla.
On 15 August 1943, she was reassigned to Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita's Second Fleet as the flagship of DesRon 2, replacing the cruiser Jintsu, which had been sunk a month earlier at the Battle of Kolombangara.
Class and Type: Agano Class Cruiser
Displacement: 6,652 t (6,547 long tons) (Standard); 7,590 t (7,470 long tons) (loaded)
Length: 162m (531 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Draught: 5.6 m (18 ft)
Propulsion: 4 shaft Gihon geared turbines, 6 Kampon boilers, 100,000 shp
Speed: 35 knots (65 km/h)
Range: 6,300 Nautical Miles (11,670 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h)
Armament (initial Load Out): 6 x 152mm Type 41 guns (3x2)
4 x76mm Type 98 DP Guns (2x2)
2 x triple Type 96 25mm AA Guns
2 x 13mm Machine Guns
8 x 610mm Torpedo Tubes (4x2)
48 Naval Mines
Armament (Final Load Out): 6 x 152mm Type 41 guns (3x2)
4 x76mm Type 98 DP Guns (2x2)
10 x triple Type 96 25mm AA Guns
18 x 25mm Machine Guns
8 x 610mm Torpedo Tubes (4x2)
48 Naval Mines
Type 13 Air-Search Radar
Type 22 Surface-Search Radar
Armor: 60mm (belt); 20mm (deck)
Aircraft Carried: 2 x Floatplanes
Aviation Facilities: 1 Aircraft Catapult
The Hasagawa kit represents the IJN Noshiro during the Battle of Leyte Gulf and represents the final load out of the ship. Initial inspection of the kit reveals a well-designed kit with fine crisp details.
The Limited Edition IJN Light Cruiser Noshiro kit comes in the standard Hasagawa box with a separate lid from the main container. The box art is a beautiful picture of the IJN Noshiro steaming through what I assume is the Philippine Sea. Upon opening the box I was confronted with the hull secured to the cardboard with slots for the sprue edges to slip into to secure the hull sprues. The cardboard provides a top layer of protection for the eight plastic bags stored below. Also on top was a beautiful full color photo of the ship which I will describe later.
After removing the top cardboard I saw eight individual bags containing the remaining sprues for the kit nicely packed into the box. The top cardboard provides a divider for the lower parts so as to prevent the bags from sliding around and getting damaged. At this point I will provide a review of the sprues as I pull them out of the box.
Sprue A: This sprue contains the hull halves. Hasagawa has done a great job in replicating the hull including detailed hull planking along the entire length and width of the hull. In addition to the hull plating Hasagawa has included the degaussing cable which is clearly defined and detailed. The only issue I see is that they have molded the forward anchor shape into the hull instead of a realistic opening. This will limit the modeler’s options if they want to replicate the model at anchorage.
Sprue D: This sprue contains the remaining detail for the hull.
Sprue B: This sprue contains the three deck parts and parts for the propeller shafts. Since these parts are common to the Hasagawa Agano kit it is labeled as such and requires drilling of select holes as directed by the instructions. There are a significant amount of holes required to be drilled but the instructions are clear and provide the correct dill bit size for each hole. The detail on the decking is crisp and the brass strip while present is not so defined as to prevent the modeler from removing them in favor or PE brass stripe or risking damage to other details. In my opinion Hasagawa has provided the right level of molded detail so as to give the modeler quite a bit of options.
Sprue AE: This sprue contains the required parts for the lifeboats. This includes the boats themselves and the davits. Hasagawa has provided a high level of detail for these parts to include the rudders and other small details. This sprue also contains the anchors which have the anchor stem at the correct angle. One drawback to the life boats is that Hasagawa has molded on the storage supports under the boats which will need to be removed if the modeler chooses PE parts.
Sprue AN / AM: This sprues are attached and contain the parts needed to build the float planes and the aircraft catapult. The aircraft catapult is a little “clunky” and begs to be replaced by PE. The float planes are a model into themselves and are in multiple pieces. That being said they are extremely detailed and provide for a great replication of the actual plane. The detail goes so far as to provide a nicely accurate engine cowling as opposed to the basic flat front seen in other kits.
Sprue AF (2 each): These two sprues contain many of the small detail parts required to build this kit including the deck vents, 25mm ammunition boxes, and deck generators. All are small and will required steady handling but there are significant numbers to I am sure there are extra. It also contains the single Type 96 25mm Machine Guns, the Type 89 Dual Purpose Guns, and the triple Type 96 25mm Machine Guns. Also included are some of the firing control elements, searchlights, radars, binoculars, and deck reels. The detail on the triple machine guns is nice but does contain some molding flash. The detail for the Type 89 Dual Purpose guns is also nice and will provide for a relatively nice completed model if the modeler does not choose to replace with AM options.
Sprue R / Q (2 each): These sprues contains one of the main gun turrets. The detail is nice but removal of molded ladders might present a challenge to the modeler who decides on PE ladders.
Sprue L (2 each): These sprues contain the main gun barrels and the remaining parts for the main gun turrets. From the looks of the main gun barrels it provides an option to mount either with blast bags or without. This sprue also contains accommodation ladders. While it is nice they are not molded on the detail is “clunky” and begs to be replaced with PE ladders.
Sprue E: This sprue contains the parts for the bridge section. Hasagawa has provided great detail for the bridge but for those modelers looking to replace molded water tight doors or ladders they will face a slight challenge as to not damage other molded details. Also on this sprue are parts for the top of the funnel which are nicely molded, the rudder, and parts for the exhaust system.
Sprue NA: This contains the flight deck. The detail is nice as they have included the support structure below the deck. The aircraft movement rails are molded onto the deck along with some 25mm ammunition boxes.
Sprue X: This sprue contains the main funnel. The detail is crisp and clean and seems to require little upgrade.
Sprure T: This sprue contains pieces of the stand and the support structures for inside the hull.
Sprue S: This sprue contains the pieces for the masts and the aircraft crane. The aircraft crane is “clunky” and as with other parts begs to be replaced with PE. The mast parts are nicely molded and appear very fragile. Unfortunately Hasagawa has seem fir to add a few ejection pin points on the masts which will be difficult to remove without damaging the masts. Care will have to be the watch word when tackling the removal of mast parts. Also included on this sprue are some of the piping for the main funnel.
Sprue G: This sprue contains more parts for the bridge and other detailed parts for the ship such as the Type 13 Air-Search Radar. The parts are molded nicely and include all of the support structures below overhanging parts. As with other parts of the bridge the modeler will need to take care if replacing doors and ladders.
Sprue AL / AJ (2 each): This sprue contains a vast amount of details for the building of the ship and the torpedo tubes. The torpedo tubes are nice with a little mold flash but a little light on details. The remainder of the sprue includes more lifeboats and details such as the steering wheel, more vents and generators, ammunition boxes, machine gun parts, davits, and life rings. There are also some spare torpedoes.
Sprue AQ: This is the clear plastic sprue which contains the bridge window, clear sprue for the search lights and the canopies for the float planes. Painting the cross bars on the canopies will definitely be a challenge but will look good when applied.
There are 20 pages of instructions that provide clear details to the builder. Progress follows a common sense path and should provide the builder with limited confusion. One great aspect of the instructions is that it provides for the upgrade kits available from Hasagawa. In the instructions it lists what parts from either the IJN Noshiro upgrade set or the Agano upgrade kit is used and where it is placed. This further reduces possible confusion when trying to replace kit parts with PE. In the front of the instructions below the diagram of included parts is a paint chart providing the required paints for Mr. Color and Hobby Color paints.
The decal sheet is nicely done with limited over flash of the decals. It provides all the necessary decals for the float planes to include the white stripes on the tail. There are enough decals that extra will be available to put in the spares box.
Also included is a heavy weight paper flag set. It provides for the IJN flags and a couple of signal flags. All are perforated for easy removal.
Markings and Painting Roll Out
This provides a large scale picture from above and both sides of the ship. Great detail is included in the picture and provides a great reference for the builder. When you flip this over you will find a rigging diagram on the back which I thought was a great inclusion in the kit.
My overall conclusion of the Limited Edition IJN Light Cruiser Noshiro kit from Hasagawa is that it is an outstanding kit. There are some parts that are “clunky” and beg to be replaced with PE but overall great detail and great design. There are a significant amount of detail parts that will increase the realism of this kit and provide for a sufficient amount of extras for the modelers spare parts box. The parts are well detailed and are sturdy with the exception of the mast. There are two PE upgrade sets which go with this kit which will provide for a greater level of detail and address those “clunky” parts. I highly recommend this kit for those Imperial Japanese Navy builders, it will make a great addition to your IJN fleet.