by: Jay Massey [ ]
"Jay Massey gives us a look at a 1998 release of the IJN Kiji, from Pit-Road/Skywave Models, in this "inbox" review!"
IJN Kiji Torpedo Boat
The IJN Kiji was one of the eight ships of the Otori Class torpedo boats. She was designed along with the others of her class to have longer sea legs than the Chidori as well as having better sea keeping qualities. This was accomplished by lowering the height of the pilot house structure as well as downsizing her weapons compliment. The Chidoris’ having a nasty habit of turning turtle in rough seas due to the amount of weight of their armarment suites located above the waterline.
The Kiji was initially assigned duties in the Chinese theatre of operations and as the war progressed she used her range capability to engage in patrol and escort duties to Kure and other areas of IJN operations. She saw considerable action in her escort role and was damaged a few times during air attacks but never sunk. At wars’ end, due to her range capability she was refitted as a repatriation vessel and returned members of the Imperial Army and Navy back to the home islands until 1947 when she was given to the Soviet Union as a war reparation.
Displacement: 840 Tons
Dimensions: 88.5 m X 8.2 m X2.8 m draught
Horsepower: 19,000 HP
Speed: 30.5 knots
Range: 4,000 NM/14 knots
Original 1937 Configuration
Armarment: 12 CM 45 Dual Purpose mounts X 3
53 CM triple Torpedo Launcher X 1
40 MM AA gun X 1
Type 94 Depth Charge “Y” Gun
Modified 1945 Configuration
Armarment: 12 CM 45 Dual Purpose mounts X 2
53 CM triple torpedo Launcher X 1
25 MM Twin mount MG X 3
25 MM Single mount MG X5
Type 94 Depth Charge “Y” Gun X 1
Type 81 Depth Charge Roll Off racks X 6
Depth Charge Rails fitted to aft end X 2
The IJN Kiji kit, W 42, SW 1600, from Sky Wave Models/Pit Road is another of their two models in one box kits which enables you to build both the original configuration as well as the late war version out of the same box. You also have the option of building either the Kiji, Kari, Sagi, or Hato in either version with the included decal sheet. The instruction sheet is a single page printed on both sides, the front covering the history of the ship in English and Japanese and the pictographic directions to complete the model as the original configuration.
The back page details the conversion and assembly to complete the kit as the late war version. That page also contains the needed information to assemble the three piece 17M Motor Pinnace and what bits you have to remove to complete the conversion to late war status. While not mentioned, you would also have to remove the lines on the deck where the ship had her original linoleum hold down rails as the late war version had all steel decks. For those wanting to really suffer, you could also add the corrugated deck plating, Lions’ Roar makes replacement plating sheets.
The molding is the usual excellent job that Sky Wave/Pit Road offers, no flash or parting lines to deal with. The mast is a bit simplified and could be improved with some work on the modelers’ part. The sprues, there are three, one for each of the two ships as well as a bonus Small IJN Ship Equipment fret to aid in adding all the weapons required, not to mention you will have parts left over, always a good thing for the stash.
The kit box is the usual stylized dashing art work of the ship in motion with lots of white water while the back of the carton holds the specifications, painting guides and color call outs. These are Pit Road Ships Colors, Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color paints as well as named colors. Overall another nice looking IJN small ship combatant to add to the collection. They also have another kit of the Otori that has the same basic features enabling you to build the first 4 ships of the class in the same manner as this one does for the latter ships of the class.
If you would like to add a few extra details to this little kit and turn it into a real nice display vessel, there are PE sets that while not ship specific would do to deal with things like railings, Depth Charge racks, weapons accessory parts and other small bits that can be made better in PE than the molded bits are from the box. Among these are Toms’ Model Works, Gold Medal Models and Eduards’. The Eduards’ set of Miscellaneous IJN ship fittings would apply to most IJN ship kits as it contains parts to add to the various weapons systems, small boats, and such items that other PE makers leave off their sets.