by: Dariush [ ]
I am one of the few who happened to be lucky enough to watch Ralph Kuo, a model builder in Taiwan, build his version of the AOSHIMA IJN Takao, online.
He worked from the start with the FlyHawk TAKAO set. For him, it was a test of feasibility and for me, the reason why I obtained medical adhesive tape.
While watching his progress my jaws constantly kept dropping and I helped myself by fixing it with normal adhesive tape. I am sure you understand that a normal tape hurts pretty much the skin when pulled off.
Also, I have had contact with Ralph and asked him if I am granted to use some of his online pictures for this review. However, as I am writing his photographic building process can be watched within the current issue of the “Model Art” magazine.
Please take your time to go through my pictures and describing text, get yourself something to eat and drink and be warned, the following might be addictive.
When I received the item I was not very happy with the result. My first thought was like: “Oh well, so much efforts obtaining it and now look at this”
An ordinary blister package fixed on a mainly black cardboard. If the content follows the design...
... turning the package to the backside revealed my first optical disappointment. “Aye, so that is all that is included?”
All right ladies and gentleman ... please fasten your seat belts, stop smoking and erect your backrest, we are ready for take off
Veteran Model Resin Parts…
The first surprise is hidden behind the blister package. FlyHawk has hidden 9 clear plastic bags containing resin parts within a cavity. If you look at my photo showing all the bags it looks like someone swept a floor and sorted all the debris in little plastic bags ... ouch!
To be honest, that is definitely not the case. What is provided within those bags is stunning at least and when looked at closer at least makes one speechless.
I provide pictures of the kit parts out of each bag for you to judge. I may excuse that some of the pictures are not as sharp as they honestly deserve but I am missing the right hardware to provide that.
One bag is filled with the blast bags to fit the barrels of the main artillery.
Another provides ammunition boxes and lots of them.
A third bag deals with searchlights in different sizes and comes along either the appropriate support.
Another bag provides the AA guns along with the mount. The gun barrels are really very delicate and nicely done. My Photos do not justice to the kit parts. You should have a look under magnifying glasses to fully understand the provided quality. However, the barrels need to be fixed since they are not very parallel to each other and some lost their form a bit. Nothing serious though.
The fifth and sixth bag comes with parts for the heavy AA guns respectively.
Bag 7 surprises us with the bigger binoculars
Bag 8 shows the single mount AA guns.
Bag 9 comes with the speaking tubes and some even smaller binoculars.
Please be reminded, that my photos show the raw parts. As always, one has to wash and clean resin parts before using them. The thick end usually shows the gate mark and those tiny and delicate ends the kit part. If you could even closer at the examples you would notice how many nice details have been included even into the smallest part.
With all these Veteran Model could not possibly stop. All I have described so far was just the beginning. Veteran provides photo etched frets for the various AA guns to even further detail the parts.
Since each fret comes with an etched description please have a close look for yourself.
FlyHawk photo etched parts…
What started with a most pleasant surprise hidden behind the blister package turns out to get better and better with every part. We are turning our interest now at the FlyHawk parts.
The manufacturer provides photo etched brass frets from A - K
This fret shows parts for the masts and also an IJN Type 13 Radar and some support girder.
Feet B is most likely one of the real highlights among all these brilliant parts. It gives the model builder the armor plating for the main turrets. In fact, the armor plating was not added directly to the main turrets body but within a distance of 65mm. This was done to achieve a better cooling for the turret. Knowing this, these parts turn out to be a gem and are very well and nicely executed.
This fret offers the board crane including platforms and support structure.
Fret D deals with the handrails and the smoke stack.
This time the model builder is provided parts for the catapult and the airplane transportation utility.
Now we are offered the whole flight deck as well. This comes with the appropriate relief as well as the center of rotation and further support struts. Any question so far?
With fret G follows something that does not look very spectacular. However, having seen Ralphs building process all I can say is that this fret is a winner on its own. It enhances the given plastic parts to a gem. Some parts deal with the motor launch and others with the rowboats.
This fret gives us the chance to enhance all the hatches and doors with impressive parts. The doors come with different front and backside and also with the rain protectors above them.
You may find here davits, platforms, supporting struts and galleries which are partly missing in the AOSHIMA kit.
Alright, anything missing? Oh yeah, the guardrails, which are provided with this fret along with the ships screws and the anchors.
The last fret deals with the degaussing cable, some declining ladders as well as some parts to enhance the board planes.
Ok, so Far all we have seen looks outstandingly well done and also showed us some thoughtful planning on FlyHawks part. Also, where FlyHawk does not manufacture parts themselves they involved those experts from Veteran Models, who did an outstanding job themselves.
Now, is there anything missing?
Indeed there is ...
Turned brass barrels…
The set comes with turned brass barrels for the main artillery and the heavy AA guns. The nozzles are opened for more realism.
I included two detail shots so you can visualize what we are talking about.
The instructions are printed on letter sized paper. The print itself is of very good quality. The main aspects of the building process are illustrated quiet nicely. Since I did not build the TAKAO yet I am not sure the instructions cover each and every part.
Over all we have 12 pages. The last page included is a revised instruction of Veteran Models dealing with the AA Armament.
Oh well, what shall I say about this blister packaged set beside that it is a shame what FlyHawk offers.
How on earth does a company like FlyHawk dare to come out of the blue and declassify so many competitors?
Looking alone at the turned brass barrels and the frets A- K reveals a class of its own. Wherever the TAKAO kit shows some slight weaknesses those people from Veteran Model took the challenge and fixed it.