by: Dariush [ ]
First off, let us have a look at the basic Data provided by Wikipedia.org :
Builder: Yokosuka Naval Arsenal
Laid down: October 25, 1924
Launched: April 16, 1927
Commissioned: July 31, 1929
Struck: 10 August 1946
Fate: 21 September 1945 Surrenders at Seletar and got scuttled in the Straits of Malacca, 8 June 1946 at position 03-05N, 100-40E
Class and type: Myōkō-class cruiser
Displacement: 13,300 long tons (13,500 t)
Length: 201.7 m (661 ft 9 in)
Beam: 20.73 m (68 ft 0 in)
Draft: 6.32 m (20 ft 9 in)
Propulsion: 4-shaft geared turbines
Speed: 36 knots (41 mph; 67 km/h)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)
10 × 203 mm (8.0 in) guns (5×2)
6 × 120 mm (4.7 in) guns (to 1934) or 8 × 127 mm (5.0 in) guns (from 1935)
up to 52 x 25mm AA
2 × 13 mm (0.51 in) machine guns
12 × 610 mm (24 in) torpedo tubes 
Main belt: 100 mm (3.9 in)
Main deck: 37 mm (1.5 in)
Turrets: 25 mm (0.98 in)
Barbettes: 75 mm (3.0 in)
Aircraft carried: 2 / 3
Major dockyard work:
Yokosuka July 1929
Sasebo June 1936
Kure April 1941
Sasebo January 1942
Kure June 1944
To sum up the impression let us further have a look at what battles this vessel was involved:
Operations NTK Myoko:
Battle of the Philippines (1941–42)
Battle of the Java Sea (1942)
Battle of the Coral Sea (1942)
Battle of Midway (1942)
Operation Ke (1942)
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay (1943)
Battle of the Philippine Sea (1944)
Battle of Leyte Gulf (1944)
Yes, the ship saw the Yamato as well about all other major IJN battleships and heavy cruisers during the career. Among all are the IJN Nagato, IJN Mogami and the IJN Shokaku. Further on, the ship fought side by side with various Takao class cruisers. The Takao class was designed basically starting with the Myoko features plus adding many modifications which were learned from Myoko´s active duties and handling.
I know the Takao Class receives commonly more attention since those ships were one of a kind for themselves. However, the Myoko class did not suffer as much from top weight and stability problems as the Takao Class did. With her speed and agility the Myoko outclassed many competitors at her time.
Even though at the beginning of the Pacific war the armor was never adequate, it is amazing to see how long the IJN Myoko lasted through out the war before she got scuttled. At that time the ship looked back at a lifetime that began back in 1924.
I am aware in the English speaking areas of the world the Japanese naval vessels of the Pacific War are referred to with IJN (=Imperial Japanese Navy) or HIJMS (=His Imperial Japanese Majesty's Ship).
However at the same time it is common to use the suffix the country itself gave to its own navy.
E.g. the German Navy of WW II would be referred to as DKM (= Deutsche Kriegsmarine) and the Italian Navy of WW II would use RM (=Regia Marina).
For this, the Myoko´s prefix should actually be NTK.
NTK stands for "Nihon Teikoku Kaigun" and translates into "Imperial Japanese Navy"
The word "Kaigun" translates as "Navy"
[Ref.: Kaigun, David C. Evans, Mark R. Peattie, P. XIX, ISBN: 0-87021-192-7]
The name "Myōkō" relates according to the NTK naming convention for heavy cruisers to a mountain located in Niigata prefecture.
Today, mount Myōkō is well known as ski resort with expensive hotels.
Sister ships of the "Myōkō" were Haguro, Nachi and Ashigara.
The history of the Myōkō class is determined by the Washington Treaties dated June 6th 1922
This is the reason why the Myōkō is also called a treaty cruiser even though reality looked much different.
I’ll save you all the big and small obstacles regarding the planning and building of the Myōkō involved.
However it is important to understand that the torpedo development within the Japanese Navy was showing superb results just as the Myōkō was about to be started.
The technical stuff developing the torpedo weapon more and more gained influence into the design of the Myōkō in terms of they achieved to raise the number and position of the torpedo tubes.
The drawback however was a gain in weight which partly leads to the later stability problems.
Just to get the impression right: Developing and utilizing the torpedo weapon was not just a fancy technical idea of some geeks but fitted perfectly into the Japanese doctrine pursued in 1922. Japan always felt to have been left back regarding the allowed number of ships and equipment. For this, it is comprehendible they tried to find a solution to gain more strength per ship. This way Japan could maintain the lower number of ships as allowed by the treaty but at the same time provide more fire power to equal the disadvantage in numbers.
Laying down the Myōkō got delayed due to the earthquake September 1st 1923.
The dockyard in Yokosuka was severely damaged and at the same time funding had to be cut for the dockyards.
Never the less the dockyard started working on the Myōkō even before the sister ship Nachi was laid down.
The build of the Nachi advanced quiet fast and the assumed launching was dated September 15th 1926.
If things would have worked out as planned, the whole class should have been named "Nachi-Class".
Two heavy tower cranes broke down while building the Nachi. The cranes harmed the hull of the Nachi quiet bad and delayed the launching considerably.
This is the reason the rather slowly built Myōkō was launched as first of the class hence explains the correct naming as Myōkō-Class.
Outside Japan this was learned quiet late and not before after the Pacific War despite the fact, that Japanese literature always referred to the class as Myōkō-Class and not Nachi-Class.
For unclear reasons the Myōkō displaced 12% over her calculated displacement.
There are voices claiming that Japan did this on purpose as a violation of the Washington Treaty. Investigating these claims proves them not to withstand a second thought.
One can not ignore the fact that the gain in displacement ruined all calculation about CWL, center of mass and seaworthiness.
The Myōkō sure had massive stability problems and most of it relates directly to the unplanned gain of displacement.
The launching of the Myōkō was attended by Emperor Hirohito (裕仁) personally accompanied by some 150.000 people.
The first ship of this class to be totally commissioned was the Haguro btw.
As indicated, the Myōkō suffered from heavy stability problems. The addition of more torpedoes, the changed armament design and loads of instruments like rangefinder etc. built into the command bridge made her quiet top heavy.
The armor was not designed very convincing since design wise it could only withstand indirect 20cm hits.
Myōkō was refitted and modernized several times between 1934 - June 1936.
With changes in the Japanese naval doctrine beginning June 3rd 1936 more enhancements to the Myōkō were planned and executed. Beside that, Japan started to standardize according to classes which indicates preparation for war starting with the Chinese-Japanese war July 1937.
The main 20cm weapon of the Myōkō and all other classes had some bad accuracy issues. The second barrel was by far more inaccurate than the first one. The engineers developed a forced delay for the second barrel so the first one could not interfere with the second barrel in one turret.
From 1939 to 1941 more extensive modernization and standardization was fitted to Myōkō. Parts of the command section were rebuilt (e.g. wind deflectors added) and the engine was reworked.
The Myōkō received heavy damages throughout the Pacific War but managed to survive until that very last incident with USS Bergall, which made the Myōkō almost useless to work with.
The last action the Myōkō actively saw was as a floating AA battery in Singapore. This is the only time and place the Myōkō received a camouflage.
The story of the Myōkō starts 1922 and ends definitely 1946. This is by far longer compared to other even more modern ships of that time.
Being planned as a treaty cruiser and with a speed of 36 knots and a convincing fire power the ship sure was a vessel to be well respected if in fighting situation.
Also, this is not a fancy prestigious ship with wood decks with all the bells and whistles. It was designed and executed as a workhorse.
One may argue the chosen design and features of this ship but to me, it is one of the most respectable designs Japan provided during the Pacific War. Many ships built timely after the Myōkō show great design influence.
Hasegawa depicts the Myōkō as a 1/700 scaled kit. Soon the model building community will be presented the AOSHIMA 1/350 scale Myōkō.
I have chosen the kit version for a full hull model.
The difference to the already available waterline model lies in the provided under water hull, a wooden model stand, ship screws made out of white metal and photo etched parts.
Hasegawa shows a ready built model on the front side of the package.
If you look close enough you will notice there is a gap at the bow of the ship right at the CWL. The moment I noticed that I thought to myself: "Oh well, even the manufacturer did not manage to build a decent model out of this kit."
The side of the package shows pictures of the decals, the ship screws and the photo etched parts included.
.... and what is inside? ...
After opening the box a single clear bag holding all the kit parts is revealed. The double strengthened box is well filled with the sprues. No fear due to transportation issues.
The wooden stand is packed separately.
Let us have size wise a look at the main part of this kit: The Hull
The under water hull comes as two pieces in red plastic. There is no hull structure included but the shape is spot on.
My camera did not qualify to catch one single issue in form of a sink mark. It is a small sink mark which can easily be filled and sanded away.
The waterline hull comes in contrast to the given underwater hull. You can find fine details included. Such as the degaussing cable sits where it should, the not broken through portholes are included as well as the step iron.
The main deck…
The main deck and the 1st deck come as a single kit part. The brass bar that held down the linoleum comes as a molded on and raised element. This is by far beyond any in scale representation but on the other hand a good solution to achieve a straight and clean result.
The fore deck comes with molded on anchor chains. The main deck shows molded on vents, boxes and skylights. The flight deck comes with molded on rails for the transportation wagons. The rails are way off scale but they are there at least.
Overall the model builder is confronted with 5 sprues holding all the kit parts.
The parts are generally well usable with a quality mostly beyond average.
Some parts do show little "fish skin" which is paying due to the age of the kit.
Some sink holes at miserable places will require additional work.
The naming of the sprues is quiet unusual. There are sprues C, 2 x E, K und 2 x W.
This sprue mostly deals with superstructure elements and the smoke stacks. Beside that you will find some platforms with corresponding bulwork for the 12,7cm AA weapons as well as radar equipment and masts.
This sprue comes twice and is designed to solve the turret, AA weapon and torpedo problem.
The main turrets are true to scale in shape and size. However, the heat shields of the turrets are not shown. This problem can not be resolved by plain intelligent painting either.
The heat shields were located within a distance to the main turrets body.
As far as these sprues provide crane and support structures, these are almost unusable. This is due to the fact that the hollow spacing is filled with plastic. There is no way to make these look even roughly realistic.
Sprue K deals with the command bridge, rangefinders and the fire controls. I could not find any major mistake. It remains regrettable that Hasegawa did not provide a clear bridge section for more realism.
Alright, we are heading for the sprue dealing with all those accessory parts. These include the recon planes, catapults, search lights. Medium and small AA armament, boats and anchors.
What the model builder gets here is sobering. The AA armament is at its best a very rough representation of the original part. The boats show some sink marks at inconvenient places.
To make things worse, the sprues contain parts regarding the AA armament that never were fitted to the Myōkō.
Last but not least one can not build the Myōkō with the appropriate number of 25mm AA armament no matter which date you pick.
The ship screws…
The four ship screws are provided in this kit as white mental parts. The blades are well done and the whole screw appears to be true to scale. The model builder is well advised to spend some thorough cleaning of these parts to achieve a worthy result.
The Photo Etched Parts…
The photo etched parts replace some kit parts which honestly need help.
This includes the radar equipment, the catapults and cranes. The reeling is also included as well as the funnel caps.
This kit version comes with a printed on brass name plate in Japanese language only.
At this point something rather disappointing is revealed. Hasegawa provides decals for all 4 ship classes.
The manufacturer obviously indicates that this kit could be used to resemble any of the four ships of the Myōkō class.
This is actually not true because the Haguro and Ashigara had some different configuration.
E.g. the funnels were closer to each other and all together placed more towards the bow.
Beside that, one is provided some side structure for the medium AA armament which is color wise not a good point to start with.
The recon planes received their own set of decals.
Beside my complaints there is nothing wrong with the outprint or quality of the decals.
The model Stand…
The model stand consists of a piece of wood with pre drilled holes
The painting Guide…
The painting guide is part of the instructions and refers to Mr. Hobby Color paints as well as to the Tamiya line.
The model builder is given no hint which time period relates to which main color. The only information one receives is that there were different grays at all.
The instructions are printed very well on paper.
However, the given steps are all drawn into each other causing some confusion. Beside that, the different configurations for different time frames are not so clearly distinguished as one would ask for.
For some parts the drawings show points a kit part should be attached to that lies behind the visible area. The drawings are quiet small.
The photo etched parts come with an additional instruction which show clear and readable how to build each part. However, it is not clarified where these parts go within the kit.
A small piece of paper shows how the recon planes and the 12,7cm AA Weapon should be built.
With the given scale of 1/700 we have what some consider the king class in model ship building.
I am quiet disappointed about this kit. My concerns relate not so much to what is given but to what is entirely missing. Even though a small scale to work with at least one could have expected the proper amount of 25mm armament for the various time frames. The main turrets are missing their heat shields as well.
The super structure can be considered average at its best. If you compare to photos you will instantly notice the lack of detail.
Too sad Hasegawa does not provided the command bridge windows as clear parts.
The armament is sup standard and the resembling of armor as well. The recon planes do not come as clear parts and will give headache resembling the cockpit area.