In-Box Review
IJN Tatsuta CL
Tatsuta Waterline Japanese Navy Light Cruiser
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Tatsuta is a 1/700 Waterline Series HIJMS light cruiser by Hasegawa. Hasegawa has been kitting a wide assortment of fine Waterline models since the 1970s. Tatsuta is model No. 9358.

Tatsuta was one of two light cruisers of the Tenryu class in the Junyokan(IJN Cruiser Force). Launched during WWI, Tatsuta was actually commissioned before Tenryu.
    Iron lance of the IJN

    Tatsuta and her sister ship Tenryu were tough Japanese light cruisers commissioned just after the first world war and used in WWII. Tatsuta followed Tenryu into the Second Sino-Japanese war then, during WWII, fought at Wake Island, off Guadalcanal, and extensively in the waters around New Guinea before catching a torpedo from USS Sand Lance in 1944. The vessels of the Tenryu class were new designs intended to lead destroyer flotillas. Long, thin, and fast for cruisers, their only flaws were in their light armament.
    - Hasegawa

Tatsuta was an advanced cruiser for the time. Teikoku Kaigun (the Imperial Navy) used the CL (Light Cruiser) as flagships for destroyer flotillas. The Tenryu class was fast yet was more of a big destroyer, the larger size allowing for more command and control. It also had torpedo mounts amidships for firing port or starboard, then a relatively new development.

With the ascent of aircraft over surface vessels, a fatal weakness of Junyokan ships became obvious - lack of anti-aircraft protection. In 1942 Tatsuta was augmented with two Type 96 twin-mount 25-mm AA guns.

Tatsuta had an active career from beginning the war with the attack on Wake Island through the South Seas Campaign, including New Guinea and Guadalcanal. 1943 saw her out of action for repairs, refits, training, then convoy duty, with only a few hostile contacts. On 13 March 1944 in convoy Tei No. 3, she was sunk by USS Sand Lance.

Twenty-two IJN light cruisers of seven classes missed much of Japanese surface action in World War Two. Lightly armed compared to their Allied rivals, they lacked the batteries of deadly Type 93 “Long Lance” torpedo, and offered paltry anti-aircraft capability. Some were fitted with depth charges. Ultimately, only two cruisers survived the war. Despite their depth charge armament the light cruisers were slaughtered by Allied submarines, a full half of the units harvested by torpedo attack. Only two went down by gunfire, the rest met destruction from the air.

Tatsuta displaced 4,350 tons loaded and dashed at 33kts with 51,000 shp. Armament was initially
    4 × 14 cm/50 3rd Year Type naval guns
    1 × 8 cm/40 3rd Year Type naval guns
    2 × Type 93 13 mm AA machine guns
    6 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes*

The kit
Hasegawa molded over 100 pieces to build their 1/700 Tenryu class ships. The light gray plastic parts are held on six sprues. Some of the "sprues" hold numerous sub-sprues for a total of 17:
    A. Port hull, funnels, masts

    B. Starboard hull and hull internal braces, fo'c'sle, 9m and 10m motor launchs

    C. Waterline base, superstructure parts, stack caps, 9m cutters

    D. Not included

    E. Upper deck, superstructure, flak platforms, mainmast

    F. Type 96 25mm AA gun deck (optional for 1942 augmentation)

    G. Pre-war 6m sampan

    H-I. Not included

    J. Foremast, searchlight, 8cm/40 gun, miscellaneous parts

    K x 2. Torpedo mounts, Type 96 25mm AA guns, 14cm/50 guns and housings,
paravane, davits, misc.
    L. Mast top, capstan

    M. None

    N. Mast top, misc.

    O-Q. None

    R x 2. Type 93 13mm AA machine gun

    S x 2. Davit for pre-war sampan

I do not know what year Hasegawa released the basic model, if it is a recent tooling or one from the 1970s or 80s. Molding is very good with no flash, seams, sink marks or visible ejector marks. The parts are held to the sprue with reasonably small connectors. Many parts have expansion plugs to nip off. Most pieces are molded smooth although the hull halves have a slight texture to them.

The sprues with the guns and masts seem to be new tooling upgrades of those parts from the 1970s. They are amazingly thin compared to my Hasegawa 1/700 ships from that era. As are the davits, which also have flange and rivet detail. Sprues J, R and S have fine scale pieces. Not all the sprues appear to be new tooling, e.g., sprue C does not seem to have the refinement of sprue K. Overall, molding quality is up to Hasegawa's high standard.

Tatsuta did not change much during the war expect for the addition of the light AA in February 1942. So it is fairly easy and cost effective for Hasegawa to include optional parts to build the "pre-war" (December 1941) outfitting or the 1942 upgrade. The difference is in the AAA battery, a small boat, and some other items.

Much of the detail is molded on, the anchor chains and anchors, for instance. Yet, Hasegawa has a number of items that are separately molded that most companies would probably just have machined into the surface of the host part.

The minuscule AA guns have amazing detail for their size, as do the davits.

Painting, decals and Instructions
The assembly sheet is a one-sheet affair. It has line art and gray shading. The assembly side is somewhat cluttered, with painting symbols and optional items shown in sidebars. Small insets show what parts are used for the ship's outfitting when the war started, and the fittings when the AA was increased.

Eleven paint colors are referenced for GSI Creos, Mr. Color, and Tamiya. Additionally, six special IJN colors are listed. The colors are listed with an English translation.

I was surprised by the decal sheet. It is large and colorful. It includes IJN battle flags and ensigns. Those are printed as rigid and square, and simulated flapping in the breeze. Bridge and crows nest windows are decals. There are small shape decals for the ship, too. Kit features two sets of decals.

Decal Options:

1. I.J.N. July, 1942 (after anti-aircraft weapons are increased)
2. I.J.N. December, 1941 (the outbreak of war)

This long thin ship model is an impressive offering from Hasegawa. The weapons and masts and other small parts enhance the overall quality of the model. The decals look very good. The instructions are nice but cluttered.

Some of the parts look re-tooled. Some look vintage.

I appreciate that Hasegawa made this model for two configurations. That gives modelers flexibility.

Tatsuta is a nice 1/700 model from Hasegawa. Modelers of Tenryu class CLs, Junyokan, and Teikoku Kaigun should want this model. Recommended.

* Wikipedia. Japanese cruiser Tatsuta (1918). [Web.] 2 January 2016, at 19:11.

Navweaps.com. Japan, 5.5"/50 (14 cm) 3rd Year Type, 14 cm/50 (5.5") 3rd Year Type. [Web.] 12 July 2015.

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: The weapons and masts and other small parts enhance the overall quality of the model. The decals look very good.
Lows: Some parts look a little vintage.
Verdict: TATSUTA is a nice 1/700 model from Hasegawa. Modelers of Tenryu class CLs, Junyokan, and Teikoku Kaigun should want this model.
  Scale: 1:700
  Mfg. ID: 9358
  Suggested Retail: $29.99
  Related Link: Tenryu Waterline IJN Cruiser
  PUBLISHED: Jan 25, 2016
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Hasegawa Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


Great review Fred! Look to be a decent little kit right there...guessing a rack of some cheap PE Rails and you might have something pretty for the shelf! Thanks for making the review!
JAN 26, 2016 - 05:59 AM

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